Book Bingo: Memoirs

Join The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures for our 2nd annual Summer Book Bingo for adults! Follow us throughout the summer for reading suggestions based on each category.

From gossipy tell-alls to the extraordinary lives of ordinary individuals, the popularity of memoirs endure. Here are some memoirs to consider for Book Bingo – and best of all, these should be readily available, so let’s get rolling!

Click here to view Do No Harm in the SPL catalogMedical memoirs have been incredibly popular for the past few years, with Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air at the top of SPL’s list of popular nonfiction. If you’d like something on the shelves or with a short wait, check out Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh, an exceptionally candid memoir from a British neurosurgeon; Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan, about the rapid and inexplicable physical and mental decline of a young reporter; and The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives by New York Times columnist Theresa Brown, which spends a day in a hospital cancer ward.

Click here to view Fresh Off the Boat in the SPL catalogAre you a foodie with a comprehensive cookbook collection? Then a culinary memoir might be for you. Julia Child’s My Life in France and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly are examples of a timeless and a contemporary classic, respectively. To go a little deeper, check out Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage by Molly Wizenberg, owner of the beloved pizza restaurant in Ballard; Eddie Huang’s Fresh Off the Boat, about a chef’s coming of age as the hip hop-loving son of Chinese immigrants; and Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites by Kate Christensen, which documents the ups and downs of the author’s life, and the role food played in nourishing her body and spirit.

Click here to view Men We Reaped in the SPL catalogSome of the most powerful memoirs are by people of color or minority groups, shedding light on realities that many of us would not have experienced. In NegrolandMargo Jefferson recounts growing up black and privileged in a Chicago in the mid-20th century; Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reapedin which the author recounts the loss of five black men – four friends and her younger brother – and the systemic forces that contributed to their early deaths; Take A Stand: Lessons from Rebels recounts the life and career of Mexican American journalist and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos; and Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identify, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock, which follows her journey as a girl born in a boy’s body to her role as a writer and transgender activist.

Click here to view Binge in the SPL catalogFinally, perhaps the unlikeliest of memoirs are coming fast and furious from YouTube and blogs. A Work in Progress by Connor Franta and Binge by Tyler Oakley write about growing up LGBT in the millennial generation; You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by actress and proud geek Felicia Day discusses her life, from her unusual childhood to gaming, acting and YouTube stardom; and Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Moran – host of the web series “Ask a Mortician” – which blends memoir with an honest discussion of how Americans generally fail to deal with death.

~posted by Frank

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Language Learning Resources for Children

Learning another language is not just for adults who want to travel. When children learn another language they improve their vocabulary and cognitive ability, so it is no wonder many parents are now starting their kids off young. Even just learning a few words can be useful. There are many fun and easy ways to introduce a child to a different language. Here are a variety of resources for tiny tots to preteens. Continue reading

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Bus Reads for May

– Posted by Kara

The commute from hell? Hardly. Here are some titles that have turned my long bus commute into reading heaven.

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen; when you are the star of a basketball team in a small town all eyes are on you, that’s the case for Mercy Louis. However successful she may be on the court things lie ahead that are less than perfect and the road out of town gets more and more difficult. Between her over-controlling religious grandmother, a mother’s abandonment, and a town’s secret, the whole world turns upside down for Mercy and the girls in the town of Port Sabine. There were a few emotional hard spots to get through, but I enjoyed how different this novel was, even though the small town theme has been played before this seemed like a very real possibility and that kind of made the creep factor more real. Continue reading

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Wheedle’s Groove: Seattle’s Forgotten Soul of the 1960s and ’70s

On June 2nd, as a part of the African American Film Series, we will be screening the documentary Wheedle’s Groove: Seattle’s Forgotten Soul of the 1960s and ’70s. This documentary, directed by Jennifer Maas, and distributed by local record label Light in the Attic Records, captures some of the heyday of Seattle’s soul, funk and R & B that was lost to time until avid record collector DJ Mr. Supreme came across some Seattle labels and amazing Seattle sounds. But Seattle’s living legends and fans remember, and Wheedle’s Groove brought this important history to life and back into the limelight. Continue reading

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Book Bingo: #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Join The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures for our 2nd annual Summer Book Bingo for adults! Follow us throughout the summer for reading suggestions based on each category.

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign launched in April 2014 by calling out the lack of diverse narratives in children’s literature. This grassroots effort advocates for essential changes in the publishing industry in order to foster books which reflect and honor all lives. They define diversity as: “all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.” Learn more at their website, Continue reading

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Life in the City: Unique Perspectives on Urban Living

It’s no secret that Seattle is going through a boom. For some of us, it’s an exhilarating time as we build housing and transit on our way to becoming a vibrant and diverse first-class city. For others, it’s an overwhelming period where we yearn for less congestion, greater civic pride, and the simpler, less-bustling days of yore. Urban life is complex, and these four books look at life in the city from a variety of unique perspectives. Continue reading

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It’s back: Summer Book Bingo!

book bingo nw 2016 photoAre you ready to play along with the most fabulous adult summer reading program around? Great — because today Seattle Arts & Lectures and Seattle Public Library launch Summer Book Bingo, the 2016 edition! Pick one up at any of our Libraries or download this PDF of the Book Bingo card.

Here’s a brief rundown of how it works:

  • You have a glorious summer of reading books that you enjoy
  • You write titles of books that fill challenges in each Bingo square
  • You keep reading through Labor Day, and then if you have Bingo (five in a row down, across, diagonally) or a blackout (all 25 squares/challenges filled) you enter a drawing for fantastic book-ish prizes.*

Continue reading

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