If You Liked Where the Crawdads Sing

With its lyrical descriptions of nature and tempestuous love story, Delia Owens’ evocative debut novel Where the Crawdads Sing (a current Peak Pick selection) has taken the literary world by storm. If you enjoyed it, or if you’re still waiting for your reserve copy to arrive, here are some similar titles you might enjoy.

Aldo Leopold’s classic A Sand County Almanac is one of the books that Owens says inspired her to write her novel: “After university, I spent much of my adult life studying wildlife in some of the most remote regions of Africa. Living in those far reaches of the earth inspired me to wonder if I could write a work of compelling fiction against the backdrop of a wild and wonderful place. To combine Leopold-inspired nature writing with a (hopefully) page-turning plot. Where The Crawdads Sing is my attempt at such a dream.” Continue reading “If You Liked Where the Crawdads Sing”

New fiction roundup, April 2019

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming, and the books actually coming out this April. In the fiction realm, you have several options for revisiting high school and its lasting impacts; stories of immigrants trying to forge their lives in the United States; and much more. Happy Reading!

Continue reading “New fiction roundup, April 2019”

Seattle Reads: An Interview with Thi Bui

In celebration of Seattle Reads 2019, Jess Boyd spoke to Thi Bui about her award- winning graphic novel, The Best We Could Do (TBWCD), the 2019 Seattle Reads selection.

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An Interview with Thi Bui
by Jess Boyd

Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do is a story that moved me, my family and my community. It gave voice to feelings and frustrations that I had yet to articulate and acted as a medium to bridge generations and countries.

The story is a multigenerational saga told through Bui’s past and present selves. Bui generously shares herself at different moments throughout her life, as a child, as a sibling, as a new mother, allowing us to see the far reaching ripples of war, and the way that those ripples can become waves that carry people across oceans.

Jess Boyd: Where was the birthplace of your creativity?
Thi Bui:
I have to take a moment to allow myself to accept the compliment embedded in this question. “Ya not creative!” shouts my inner Viet.

Okay, it’s good now. I remember making things and daydreaming when I was a kid as a form of escape. Whether I was escaping my drab physical environment or tense emotional environment, I’m not sure … maybe both? It’s not like that anymore but that was how being creative started — first as an escape and then as a rebellion.

Why is it important to remember and reflect on the past?
We apes learn slow and we keep having to learn the same lessons over and over again. History keeps us humble and it also lends us perspective. Continue reading “Seattle Reads: An Interview with Thi Bui”

Historical fantasy – the best of both worlds!

I appreciate the way genre designations can make books easier to find, but I confess that I love the bleeding edges where books shade from one genre into another; my current bailiwick is historical fantasy. I find that it brings the best elements of historical fiction – a strong sense of time, place, and culture – and melds it with the fantastical elements that make anything possible. Here are a few recent titles that I’ve been thrilled to find.

Book cover image for The Bird KingThe Bird King by G. Willow Wilson – In 1491, Granada, the last remaining vestige of Muslim Spain, has been surrounded and besieged by the Catholic Spanish forces of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. When a delegation comes inside the walled city to negotiate, young concubine Fatima is charged with welcoming the female delegates, including a member of the Spanish Inquisition. After Fatima accidentally reveals that her friend Hassan, the court’s mapmaker, can draw places he’s never seen and reshape reality, she realizes she has put him in danger. Aided by jinn, Fatima and Hassan flee the city. Continue reading “Historical fantasy – the best of both worlds!”

Bus Reads for March

Commuting to Seattle by bus five days a week gives me a lot of reading time.

Here’s what I read on the bus in March:

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio. On the day that Oliver is released from prison, Detective Colborne, who worked the case and is now retired, has come to ask a question. Oliver agrees to answer, but in his own way. He takes him back 10 years to when he and his classmates at Dellecher Classical Conservatory were working their way through Shakespeare. In their fourth year, the tragedy that was so popular in Shakespeare finally takes its toll. I was a little worried that the Shakespeare would overwhelm me, but the author did an amazing job of making the story accessible for everyone – both those enthralled by the stage and those who prefer to sit in the shadows. I also loved all the characters; they felt so real and flawed. Continue reading “Bus Reads for March”