Book Bingo: Recommended by a Friend

Book Bingo Recommended     – posted by Hayden

This summer The Seattle Public Library, in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures, is excited to offer a summer reading program for adults called Summer Book Bingo! In order to help you along on your quest to complete your bingo sheet, we have pulled together some book suggestions based on each category. Follow this series throughout the summer!

In 2014, I was on a book award committee. It was a great experience—lots of fun, lots of reading. But with 200+ books to read, there was essentially no time left over for reading books that weren’t eligible for the award.

Ever since my committee work ended in January, I’ve been a little bit drunk with the freedom to read whatever I want. I’ve been asking everyone I meet for suggestions, hoping to find books completely different from my usual choices.

Here are some of the best suggestions I’ve gotten so far. Feel free to use them for your own “Recommended by a friend” square—because we’re all friends here in blog land, right?

Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary, by Harryette Romell Mullen
Short, accessible, often startling poems inspired by Mullen’s “nature walks” in and around Los Angeles.

Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson
Who could resist a graphic novel with this title and the motto “Friendship to the max!”?

Cordelia’s Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Space opera, adventure, romance, and a sardonic sense of humor. A good place for the sci fi novice to start.

Godforsaken Idaho, by Shawn Vestal
Dark, gripping short stories that deal with family, faith, the afterlife, and the power of truth and lies.

The History of White People, by Nell Irvin Painter
I just started this fascinating cultural study and I’m already hooked.

Still looking for ways to fill the “Recommended by a friend” square—and maybe the rest of your bingo card, too? Here’s my approach to recommendation-seeking, guaranteed to eliminate reading ruts or your money back.

  1. Define “friend” broadly.
    Ask everyone–your coworker, your pharmacist, your neighbor’s kid, your librarian. The less someone knows you, the greater the likelihood that their suggestion will be different from what you usually read.
  1. Be open.
    Don’t set any parameters. Just ask for good books.

Admittedly, employing steps 1 and 2 might result in the occasional book that just isn’t for you. In which case:

  1. Be a quitter.
    I’m a great believer in Nancy Pearl’s “Rule of 50,” in which she gives us all permission to abandon a book after 50 pages. Life is short and books are plentiful. (In fact, don’t tell Nancy, but sometimes I don’t even make it to the 50-page mark.)

However, when you DO find something special:

  1. Pass it on.
    Don’t forget that middle Bingo square! When you find a great book, be sure to “passionately recommend it to a friend.” In fact, why not share it in the comments on this blog post? I’m still looking for ideas!
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