#BookBingoNW2017: Science Nonfiction or Science Fiction

Book Bingo 2017 is nearly at its end, with just two weeks left to get your bingo or blackout and turn in your card. Have you been puzzling over the Science Nonfiction/Science Fiction category? Enjoy these ideas for avenues to explore.

Science Nonfiction

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Interested in genetics? Try The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee, a history of the quest to understand the gene and the impact of genetic study on our everyday lives. Or try How to Tame a Fox by Lee Alan Dugatkin, about a long-term experiment in Russia with the aim of domesticating foxes and thus better understanding how wolves were domesticated into dogs. Sticking with animals, read along with Frans de Waal as he asks Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

With the solar eclipse on August 21, perhaps astronomy is on your mind. Mask of the Sun: The Science, History, and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses by John Dvorak gives an overview of how eclipses work and how people have interpreted them through time. Touch down on nearby planets with Mark Thompson’s A Space Traveler’s Guide to the Solar System. Or check out Neil deGrasse Tyson’s quick and convenient introduction to the universe, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

Hope Jahren recounts a life spent working with plants as an environmental geologist in Lab Girl. Sam Kean has been writing interesting science nonfiction for years; check out his latest, Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us.

Science fiction

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Perhaps you’d like to explore a science fictional universe. Shall we start with some titans in the genre? I, Robot by Issac Asimov is a collection of interlinked stories that chronicles the development of robots from origin to perfection and their interactions with humans. Octavia Butler imagines a future version of our world in Parable of the Sower, in which a young woman with empathic abilities joins a group of refugees in Northern California after the country is devastated by disasters and her home is destroyed. Or explore a totally new world with Dune by Frank Herbert, in which Paul Atreides, given up for dead on a treacherous desert planet, is helped by its nomadic people in unraveling his destiny.

Would you like more recently published science fiction? Try Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, in which life on Earth is doomed and a small group of people are selected to inhabit a community surrounding the International Space Station, a community that will try to survive the 5,000 years it will take for Earth to become habitable again. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty begins when six clones wake up early, and then must discover who has murdered the crew of their starship. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie follows Breq, whose artificial intelligence once commanded thousands of soldier bodies and ships but is now confined to a single mortal body and focused on revenge. Or check out The Three-body Problem by Cixin Liu, where scientists communicating with aliens try to figure out what they want from Earth, all set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution.

Join The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures for our 3rd annual Summer Book Bingo for adults! Follow us throughout the summer for reading suggestions based on each category.

~ posted by Andrea G.

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Solar Eclipse 2017: Reading for all ages

Whether you’re reading in advance of the solar eclipse on August 21, or stockpiling suggestions to read afterward, here are a selection of books for readers of all ages; check out the full list in our catalog.

Mask of the Sun: The Science, History, and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses by John Dvorak (adult)
Dvorak addresses both the scientific and the cultural aspects of solar eclipses, with an overview of how eclipses work plus a survey of how different peoples have interpreted them through time from the ancient Chinese, to the Mayans, up to the most recent eclipse viewable from the United States in 1978. A four page eclipse primer with illustrations is included.

American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World by David Baron (adult)
Focusing on the eclipse of 1878, Baron traces the goals and efforts of three scientists during an important moment in the emergence of American science.  James Craig Watson hoped to discover a new planet; Maria Mitchell led an all-female expedition to prove that women could contribute to science; and Thomas Edison wanted to test out a new invention for measuring solar heat.

Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets by Tyler Nordgren (adult)
In this mix of memoir, history and science narrative, Nordgren shares his enthusiasm for solar eclipses and his travels around the world to see them, while also incorporating astronomy lessons and the varied history of human cultural response to eclipses.

When the Sun Goes Dark by Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz (grades 3-6)
Schatz provided the Library’s Summer of Learning eclipse programs, and here explains solar and lunar eclipses, why our view of constellations changes during the year, and more.

Eclipses by Nick Hunter (grades 2-4)
In this introduction to easily observable astronomical phenomena, Hunter describes solar and lunar eclipses, their effects on wildlife, how they are studied, and what people thought of eclipses in the past.

Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey (preschool-grade 2)
Although this is not actually about a solar eclipse, it is a lovely story of the Moon and the Sun and the Earth they look over.

~ posted by Andrea G.

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Making a Library Purchase Suggestion

“They have every other book in this 57 volume manga series, how can they not have volume two?!?!”

Sometimes the library doesn’t have what you’re looking for. This can be a frustrating or confusing situation. The library is supposed to have everything, right? Sometimes it’s one part of a book series, or one movie of a particular director you’re binging. What can you do? Go to another library system if you have another card? Interlibrary Loan? Buy the thing? Go into a library branch and complain to the librarian? Yes, these are all things that one might do. But there is another option that should be considered: making a materials purchase suggestion. Continue reading

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Washington State Book Awards finalists for 2017!

Take a look at this lineup of stellar authors from Washington state! These 32 books, published in 2016, are finalists in the 2017 Washington State Book Awards. Find the full list later in this blog post, or if you’re itching to place holds right away, check out the WSBA 2017 finalists in adult categories and finalists in the four books for youth categories in our catalog.

Winners will be announced at the awards celebration on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Central Library downtown. Lots of awards ceremonies are pricey affairs, but ours is free and open to everyone. There’s even a post-awards reception (also free and open to all!), book sales, and book signing.

And here is the list of finalists, otherwise known as books you want to read and authors you want to know: Continue reading

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Library Reads: 10 top picks for September 2017

Extra celebrating this month with the Library Reads Top Ten list — because two local authors are shining bright on this selection of books that librarians across the U.S. are loving! Our beloved Nancy Pearl, former librarian at The Seattle Public Library, has a debut novel you must place on hold now! And Jamie Ford, who you may know best for The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, has deep Seattle roots (although he lives in Montana now) and we still claim him as one of ours, has a new novel set in Seattle in 1909.

And here they are, new books for September 2017 that librarians are raving about!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: Little Fires Everywhere delves into family relationships and what parenthood, either biological or by adoption, means. We follow the members of two families living in the idyllic, perfectly-planned suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio: Mia and Pearl, a mother and daughter living a less traditional lifestyle, moving from town to town every few months, and the Richardsons, the perfect nuclear family in the perfect suburb…until Izzy Richardson burns her family home down. Ng’s superpower is her ability to pull you into her books from the very first sentence! ~ Emma DeLooze-Klein, Kirkwood Public Library, Kirkwood, MO Continue reading

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#BookBingoNW2017: Reread a Book You Read in School

Although we are hard pressed to think of a single drawback to Book Bingo, it is true that for some readers it calls forth unwelcome memories of required reading. Yet the popularity of bingo and similar reading challenges and groups suggests that something appeals to us about being stretched beyond our habitual reading appetites. Might those same restrictions we chafed at in school suddenly feel like a welcome dose of structure, now that we can read whatever we please?

Rereading can be an interesting way of deepening our awareness both of a text, and of our former selves. This is especially true when we willingly and with curiosity take up some book that we have previously experienced as obligatory drudgery. Freed from the need to take notes, uncover themes or prep for a quiz, we can encounter afresh some of the best and most engaging books ever written, reclaiming them for our own.

Continue reading

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#BookBingoNW2017: Finish in a day

As much as I enjoy being immersed in a great book for days on end, there is something particularly satisfying about finishing a book quickly. This year’s Summer Book Bingo again features the category “Finish in a Day.” For the sake of consistency, I have chosen to limit this list to books that average about 200 pages in length. There is a wide variety here, from memoirs to classics, which can help make quick work of some of the other Book Bingo squares as well. After all, you’ll have this particular square done in a day! Continue reading

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