#BookBingoNW2020: In Translation

This year traveling around the world is put on hold, but there is another way you can do it this summer with Summer Book Bingo. The “In Translation” square let’s you travel by armchair from China to Morocco to India. Here are a few recommendations to get you started on your Book Bingo journey. Safe travels!


First stop is Iraq with The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq by Dunyā Mīkhāʼīl. A nonfiction book translated from Arabic, it tells the story of several women who have been held captive by Daesh (ISIS) and of their escape with the help of a local beekeeper.

Second stop on our journey is Casablanca in The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun. Translated from French, this fiction novel is told from two separate points of view, the husband who has written and hidden a book blaming everything wrong with his life on his wife. When his wife finds it, she writes her own interpretation of the events held within.

The third stop on our journey is India in The Story of A Goat by Perumāḷmurukan. Translated from Tamil, the story is told from the goat’s perspective. A farmer and his wife are given a black goat kid who is the runt of the litter. As the goat gets nursed to health and continues to live a very full life we learn of her adventures and tribulations.

Let’s stop next at Japan and visit a library in The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami. A young boy gets lost in a maze inside a nightmarish library where an old man wants to eat his brains. With the help of a voiceless girl and a sheep man, they will attempt to escape.

Our final stop is China with The Four Books by Lianke Yan. Translated from Chinese, artistic and academic free thinking individuals are in a reeducation camp to bring them back to Communism. The person in charge of them is a preadolescent child who is cruel in their punishments, but can also at times be sympathetic.

For more inspiration read these previous blog posts:

For more books in translation, check out our book list!

For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2020 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2020 on social media. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures .

~posted by Pam H.

Positive Reflections of Older Adults in Movies

It’s not so easy to find movies about characters in the 60+ age category, let alone ones that depict older adults in a positive light. Fortunately, some are available for free viewing on Kanopy and Hoopla attesting that seniors can indeed lead interesting and meaningful lives.

My Old Lady Movie PosterMy Old Lady, a 2014 English movie adapted from Israel Horowitz’s book by the same title, can be streamed on Kanopy.  This sophisticated portrait of a lady in her 90’s shows someone in full control of her sharp mind carrying on with her profession. She handles a scheming guest trying to displace her from her Paris home and deals with the drama which plays out when we learn family secrets about the intruder! With Maggie Smith in the lead role some delightful dialogue reminiscent of the one-line ‘zingers’ from the TV series Downton Abbey embellish this film and Kevin Kline holds his own. Well worth watching.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, inspiring older adults appear frequently among foreign language flicks, particularly from France where “joie de vivre” continues in later years. A noteworthy French movie from 2011 is All Together: Et si on vivait tous ensemble which not only shows five friends courageously living together when one of them can no longer live alone, but also successfully handling problems on their own which inevitably come with aging. Iconic actor Jane Fonda depicts graceful aging through her character Jeanne, while the other four actors lend creativity and feistiness to their character depictions. The taboo topic of sex in older life is also candidly depicted and the film is thought-provoking and modern.  Continue reading “Positive Reflections of Older Adults in Movies”

What is Cyberpunk?

I recently saw an article with the headline We’re on the Brink of Cyberpunk and while I did not read this article it did get me thinking about what people might consider a Cyberpunk world to be. With images of from the movies eXistenZ and Ex Machina running through my head, I did my best to envision this future we are on the ‘brink’ of.

Some might ask, “What is Cyberpunk?” It’s a combination of advanced technology paired with a gritty society, one that’s falling apart. This term was initially coined by Bruce Bethke in his short story Cyberpunk.    You’ll find plenty of options in our catalog for exploring how different authors envision cyberpunk worlds.

To start us off, if you’d like a little mood music, try the album 100 Greatest Science Fiction Themes which has 100 songs from different movies that would go great as your Cyberpunk background music.

As for books, try Moxyland by Lauren Beukes.  It’s set in a dystopian South Africa where you get in serious trouble for disconnecting from the internet. You get to see this world through four different narrators challenging this way of life. In Infomocracy, a political thriller by Malka Older, we see a world controlled by a search engine with an election on the horizon.

In a city full of pollution and illness, the wealthy buy their way out of the smog and leave everyone else to suffer, until some teenagers decide to make a change in Cindy Pon’s young adult book Want.  Another young adult book is Warcross by Marie Lu, in which we follow a bounty hunter who accidentally hacks her way into an online gaming tournament. Making a sensation of herself, she gets hired to discover a security problem in the tournament but ultimately has to unravel a conspiracy.

Next are two books with the same theme of drugs in the future. In Ramez Naam’s book Nexus, a drug connects you to another person’s mind. This gives us a world where people want to improve, eradicate, or exploit the drug and leaves us with a book about international espionage. False Hearts by Laura Lam is centered around conjoined sisters who get separated and are given artificial hearts. They go about their lives until one of them is accused of murder and associated with a crime syndicate that specializes in a drug that allows people to live out their most violent desires.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you get the feel for Cyberpunk, if that does end up being our fate.

~Posted by Meranda T.


Write On!: Publish Your Writing

Check! You did it, you’ve done the hardest part. You’ve taken an idea, a slither of an idea and honed it into a strong piece of writing. Now, you’re ready to send it out into the world.

This brings you to another beginning. This beginning is just as crucial and just as important as completing that piece of writing. Now comes the process of finding the journal, magazine, publisher or website that will accept your work.

You have to start somewhere! There are more options available today, than ever, for getting your writing read, accepted and published in print, online, by others or by publishing it yourself.

Publishing moves a work into the world; thoughts travel on paper, across screens where ideas can be talked about, contemplated by friends, family, colleagues and strangers.

So, where to start? It might be prudent to consult the Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Becoming a Writer and follow that with The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers.

You’ll find resources in The Seattle Public Library’s collection to assist you as you move forward. You might call them tools of the trade. First, I’d like to bring your attention to the library’s Seattle Writes programming. This includes podcasts such as: Seattle Writes: Taking the Mystery out of Getting Published: Six published crime writers unveil the mysteries of writing and publishing in today’s evolving marketplace and Seattle Writes:  5 Things You Need to Know Before You Self-Publish with Beth Jusino.

There are books to discover, each one offering something useful in its own way. If you’re new to the process, then How to Publish Your Book is a good place to start. Publishing is a world and it is a savvy move to understand as much about that world as possible. This includes learning the role Agents, Editors and Publishers play in the publication process. What is involved in Researching Writer’s Markets and what is necessary to know about the Art of the Book Proposal. Having an idea of what happens Before and After the Book Deal will, surely, give you a window into the world of publishing.

Considering putting on the hat of publisher and publishing your own work? Check out The Self-Publishing Path. Learn about what it takes to Start Your Own Self-Publishing Business. Follow up with How to Self-Publish Your Book and you’re on your way. Besides books there’s the Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Comics and Make a Zine:  Start Your Own Underground Publishing Revolution.  

The journey of creation and the journey of placing your work on the world stage is a journey that can be well worth the journey, if you persist. Are you ready to begin? Check out the resource list Write On!: Publish Your Writing. We hope the resources on this list will help guide your path to publication.

This blog post is part of a multi-part series. Catch up with other posts: Write on!: The Very Personal Journey of Keeping a JournalWrite On! Nonfiction Writing Informs the WorldWrite On! A Story Only You Can Tell, Writing a Memoir;  Write On! Crafting the Novel, Creating Imaginary Lives; Write On!: Get Moving, Write that Screenplay; and The Last Note Begins with See Sharp: On Transforming Your Thoughts Into Poetry.

~ posted by Chris

Shakespeare Shows and Shorts on Kanopy

If you’re like me, you’ve been spending the past few months missing going out to see plays and performance in Seattle’s theatre scene. As the days get warmer and brighter and summer seems just around the corner, we still don’t know whether we will be able to enjoy Shakespeare in the Park season as we have in past years. Of course nothing can make up for the experience of seeing the Bard performed live, but there ARE some excellent shorts, feature films, and recorded theatre productions based on Shakespeare’s work available on Kanopy. Here are just a few to get you started:

Macbeth, directed by Robert Goold

Starring Sir Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood as Macbeth and Lady M, this film from 2003 sets the action onto a contemporary, vaguely “central European” backdrop with stylistic nods to Soviet propaganda artwork. It is also shot on location in an underground English abbey, giving us a very intense, intimate experience as viewers. The movie is based on a hugely successful play Continue reading “Shakespeare Shows and Shorts on Kanopy”