This year’s adult book bingo issues one compound challenge, two squares that can be filled by reading the first book by an author, and then the most recent book by the same author. It’s a neat challenge – do you go with an author who has been writing for 40+ years? A newer author still getting started? Below are some suggestions for possible combinations.
Louise Erdrich’s first book, the award-winning Love Medicine (1984), is a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the closely connected lives of two extended families living in and around a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation. Erdrich’s latest is The Sentence (2022), set in a small Minneapolis bookstore from November 2019-November 2020 as new employee Tookie must figure out why the store is being haunted by its most annoying customer, recently deceased.
Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro debuted with 1982’s A Pale View of Hills, the story of a Japanese woman who immigrated to England, coping with the suicide of her daughter while experiencing flashbacks of the bombing of Nagasaki. Klara and the Sun (2021) follows Klara, a solar-powered AF (artificial friend) who has been purchased as a companion for teenage Josie. Through Klara’s point of view, the reader sees her learn about emotions and humanity, tackling ideas of love, humanity, and science.
Mia P. Manansala has two books in her charming, food-centric cozy mystery series. Lila Macapagal reluctantly returns to her hometown to help with her family’s struggling Filipino restaurant, only to end up the prime suspect when a food critic (who is also her ex-boyfriend) drops dead in Arsenic and Adobo (2021). Sequel Homicide and Halo-halo (2022) finds Lila helping out with the town’s beauty pageant and investigating the death of a pageant official.
In the mood to mix fiction and nonfiction? Check out James McBride, who published the memoir The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother in 1995 and award-winning novel Deacon King Kong in 2020. In The Color of Water McBride describes growing up in an interracial family with a Black father and a white mother, and his belated discovery of his mom’s extraordinary personal history. Novel Deacon King Kong draws a rich portrait of a 1969 Brooklyn neighborhood and the darkly humorous aftermath of the day the Deacon shoots and wounds a drug dealer.
Engaging and often humorous science writer Mary Roach got her start with Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers (2003) about, you guessed it, all the uses for bodies after death. More recently Roach examines the nexus of human-wildlife conflict in Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law (2021).
Graphic novel fans (and those short on time) can check out local author Susanna Ryan’s keen observations of Seattle in Seattle Walk Report (2019) and Secret Seattle (2021).
Weike Wang’s novels follow Chinese American characters making their way in science careers: a graduate chemistry student questioning her life choices in Chemistry (2017), and ICU doctor Joan in Joan Is Okay (2022) as she grapples with the push and pull of family and career obligations.
Award-winning author Colson Whitehead has written across a multitude of fiction genres in his prolific career. His first, The Intuitionist (1999), focuses on Lila Mae Watson, the first Black woman elevator inspector. In the bustling metropolis envisioned by Whitehead, elevators have a mystical component. Shaken by an accident, Lila Mae finds herself pulled into the political crossfire between elevator inspection factions. Whitehead’s latest is the historical fiction novel Harlem Shuffle (2022), set in 1960s Harlem. Roy Carney is a furniture salesman and occasional stolen goods fence who signs on for a heist.
Looking for more?
- Try the historical fantasy mysteries of Nicole Glover (The Conductors; The Undertakers)
- Sink into the romances of Jasmine Guillory (The Wedding Date; By the Book)
- Groove to the music along with Questlove (Mo’ Meta Blues; Music Is History)
- Think about food with Stanley Tucci (The Tucci Cookbook; Taste: My Life Through Food)
For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2022 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2022 on social media. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.
~ posted by Andrea G.