Bus Reads for October

october-booksThe Well by Catherine Chanter has an edge of magical realism, but for the most part it is the struggle for life, marriage, family, and self under pressure; I loved it. Mark and Ruth Ardingly seek a new start. They leave their London life behind and find their new home at The Well. The Well turns out to be a sort of paradise, for while the country falls into a drought The Well still gets love from the rain. As the country gets desperate their paradise begins to turn sour. Some criticize the Ardinglys, others seek them out; Ruth’s daughter Angie, her grandson Lucien, and a religious sect called The Sisters. All of this comes into play as the first few pages we find Ruth by herself at The Well serving a prison sentence.

Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton. A historical novel based on the infamous “Mad Madge”, Margaret Cavendish, the scandalous celebrity of 17th century England. The imagery was stunning and the tale enthralling. From the details to her dresses and to the thoughts and philosophies floating threw her mind; she was definitely born before her time. This book felt as if I was reading one long poem and I enjoyed every second. It was definitely a quick read at 176 pages.

Rise: The Complete Newsflesh Collection by Mira Grant is a collection of eight short works and two original novellas that takes place in the Newsflesh Universe. The universe was created in the trilogy of Feed, Deadline, and Blackout. The Newsflesh Trilogy was one of those series where I wish I could read for the first time so to have this chance to get a large stock of material to go back into that world makes me so happy! For those who don’t know Feed is unlike any zombie book you’ve ever read, the intelligence and care Mira took into creating that book then two others is remarkable. While the collection can be standalone I encourage you to devour all of Mira Grant!

~posted by Kara F.

Posted in BOOKS, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Other Side of the Rainbow: Homeless GLBTQ Youth

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

This is my second year on the Rainbow Book List Committee whose charge is:

“To select from the year’s publications, books that reflect gay/lesbian/bisexual/trans-gendered/queer-questioning (glbtq) experience for young people from birth to age 18 and to annotate selected titles.”

Ultimately that means for the past two years I have dedicated myself to reading and evaluating fiction and nonfiction titles for and about GLBTQ youth. A little while ago, I was asked to suggest fiction titles that included GLBTQ youth who are homeless. As I was asked this, I immediately thought about the fact that there are 1.6 million youth experiencing homelessness in America, 40% of those youth identify as LGBT when LGBT identified youth only make up about 7% of the total population of youth. The numbers are staggering – “more than 1 in 4 teens are thrown out of their homes” when they come out. If fiction were to reflect reality, it would mean that of all the books published about homeless youth, forty percent of those titles would include LGBT protagonists, and 1 in 4 fiction titles about LGBT youth would include these teens being asked to leave their home for revealing that they identify as LGBT.


Taking a look at the amount of books reviewed by the Rainbow Book List Committee over the past 4 years, that amount of queer fiction and nonfiction published for youth 0-18 took a definite jump this past year. In previous years titles reviewed for the list were hovering around 150 (2013, 150 titles; 2014, 150 titles; 2015, 140 titles), but in 2016 the number rose to 250 titles. This is to say that representation of GLBTQ youth in fiction and nonfiction titles is going up, and that is an exciting thing!

However, last year’s list is comprised of 40 titles, and only 4 titles included youth who identify as LGBT and are either kicked out, or leave their home because they feel unwelcomed in their living situation: Fans of the Impossible Life, Lair of Dreams, Alex as Well, and When Everything Feels Like the Movies. One youth, Andrew from The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley enters homelessness because the rest of his family dies in an accident. So although GLBTQ books are definitely on the rise, the challenges faced by the protagonists are not representative of realities for youth identifying as LGBT.

These books depict the varied experiences of homeless and insecurely housed teens. Fictional works featuring homeless characters are listed first, followed by nonfiction titles. This list was created by a librarian at The Seattle Public Library for the “Streetwise Revisited: A 30-year Journey” exhibit, September 15th through November 3rd, 2016 at the Central Library: Streetwise Revisited: Teens and Homelessness

~posted by Shelley M.

Posted in BOOKS, Fiction, Library Events, LOCAL INTEREST, Nonfiction, Teen Books | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

History, only better!

Don’t get me wrong, I love history, but sometimes I need a more satisfying narrative. Here are a few titles that will transport you to another time and place and you may learn a little history at the same time:

Secret Book of Frida Kahlo by F.G. Haghenbeck

fridaThis fictionalized version of Frida Kahlo’s life is based on a recently discovered notebook in which Kahlo recorded her thoughts, recollections and (wonderfully) her recipes for offerings on the Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos. This holiday celebrates the return to earth of dearly departed ancestors. Altars are filled with marigolds, incense, candy sugar skulls, sweet pastries, old photographs and candles to light the way to the next life. Continue reading

Posted in BOOKS, Fiction, Historical Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Black Lives Matter At The Library

Today across the city, many Seattle Public School teachers and staff are wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts and stickers, holding rallies before school, and teaching lessons on Black history and institutionalized racism in a district-wide action, #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool. Here is more information about the action.


To support these very important conversations happening throughout our city with youth of all ages, check out these great resources for talking with children and teens about race and social justice: Continue reading

Posted in BOOKS, Children's Books, Events, LISTS, LOCAL INTEREST | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Retiring With a Plan

Last month, I suggested some books to get you started on investing. This month, we move on to the different but related topic of retirement planning. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be employed for a significant number of years expect to retire at some point. The choices that we make years – sometimes decades – before retirement can have a huge impact on our standard of living when we are no longer working. Investments can be a valuable part of planning for retirement, and I encourage you to check out the blog post on investing, but there are many other moving parts to retirement: homes, debt management, pensions and 401Ks, Social Security, and insurance. Here are some books to help make sure your retirement years will be your best years.


How to Retire with Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is by Teresa Ghilarducci. A great overview for anyone who is starting to think about retirement, this book briefly covers many important topics such as 401K’s, saving, spending and debt, investments, and even the role of civic involvement in creating a better retirement system for the future. It also has an excellent resource list at the end to help you delve deeper into some of the topic covered. Continue reading

Posted in BOOKS, Nonfiction | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A note from Brit Bennett, author of ‘The Mothers’

the-mothers-by-brit-bennettWhen I was sixteen, I started my first job at the Oceanside Public Library, a job that I, naturally, assumed would entail sitting at a desk, answering the occasional question, and spending the rest of my shift powering through as many books as I could. Little did I know what being a library page actually requires: pushing a heavy cart of books from shelf to shelf, feebly explaining to patrons that I was not a librarian and therefore unqualified to answer their research questions, and climbing into the dusty book-drop bins each evening before closing where I became increasingly paranoid that I’d reach for a book and instead pull out a spider or a snake or any other creature that might have found its way inside. Continue reading

Posted in BOOKS, Events, Fiction, LOCAL INTEREST | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Tiny: Streetwise Fiction

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

The life of Erin Blackwell can be flipped through in a book and analyzed through the television screen, but don’t think for a minute that she’s not real. Tiny has had a life all her own and so have countless other children of the streets. While this list of books contains fictional characters they touch upon very real situations that people on the streets deal with on a daily basis. Where to eat, where to sleep, and wondering if they will ever find “home”.

two riversTwo Rivers by T. Greenwood is mainly the story of Harper Montgomery, but it is also the story of love, connection, and redemption going back and forth between the past and the present. When a train derails in the small town of Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper takes in Maggie, a survivor of the wreckage with nowhere else to go. As the story unfolds we find that Maggie is expecting a baby, Harper is still distraught over the death of his wife 12 years earlier, and Harper’s daughter Shelly is eager for an emotionally available parent (although finds friendship in Maggie). As the pieces come together you see the whole story and what a story it is. Continue reading

Posted in BOOKS, Fiction, Library Events | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment