Our guest blogger today is Ruth Dickey, executive director of Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL). She’s here to share some titles by authors who are coming up in the new SAL 2016-2017 season, as well as some from previous years, to help you fill the “Written by a SAL Speaker (past or upcoming)” square.
I’ve been looking forward to the return of Summer Book Bingo all year. As a kid, I loved nothing more than summer reading – the freedom of diving into piles of books and the fun of reading to complete a challenge (while talking to other kids who were reading too) was the best part of summer for me. So I couldn’t be more delighted to be entering into our second summer of Book Bingo with our friends at the Seattle Public Library, and to spend a whole summer reading, and thinking about, and talking about, and having fun with books. And all of you!
I have the pleasure of writing about the “Written by a SAL Speaker, past or present” square for bingo, which is exciting and also overwhelming. I just finished my third season at SAL, and from each season, there are several books that I have pressed ardently into the hands of friends and strangers. That’s a long list already, and we haven’t even talked about our 2016/17 season! So rather than create an overwhelming list, here are the five books from authors coming to SAL next season that I’m most excited to read this summer:
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. The whole SAL staff will be reading this book together this summer – it’s a book of critical importance, and I’m looking forward to reading it and talking about it.
- What is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi. This spring I heard an NPR interview with Oyeyemi that knocked my socks off. I don’t read as many story collections as I’d like, so I’m looking forward to this one.
- Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon. For the title alone!
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. So many people I deeply respect adored this book and this story. The only reason I might not read it this summer is if I save it for when the air turns crisp in the fall and it feels like football season.
- H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. I bought this book with a birthday gift certificate at Phinney Books last July, and it’s been on my shelf all year. I confess I’m a tiny bit scared to read it because my mom died two and a half years ago, and that grief still feels raw and present. But I’m also excited to dive into Macdonald’s beautifully rendered world.
If you want even more author ideas, here are my absolutely must-read books from the three prior seasons at Seattle Arts & Lectures. Meanwhile, I wish you shady reading spots and at least a few deliciously long afternoons of reading.
Prior Season Picks:
- Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders
- Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
- The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
- A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coats
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
- Citizen by Claudia Rankine
- Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert