#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.

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.

 

#BookBingoNW2020 – History or alternate history

“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” – Winston Churchill

One of the squares for adult bingo this year is History or Alternate History.   History is just one great big story told from different perspectives.  Also, since it’s so diverse the chances are high that you will find a story that you will enjoy. Here are a few that are available via ebook!

Chief Seattle and the Town That Took His Name: The Change of Worlds for the Native People and Settlers on Puget Sound  by David M.Buerge

An in-depth historical account of Chief Seattle, an advocate for peace and Native American rights, from the late 18th to mid-19th centuries.

The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind An American Myth  by Josh Levin

Levin exposes the racist myth of the “welfare queen” through the life of Linda Taylor. “THE QUEEN tells, for the first time, the fascinating story of what was done to Linda Taylor, what she did to others, and what was done in her name.” (Little, Brown & Co)

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in A Young America by Catherine Kerrison

Kerrison examines slavery, race, class, and family ties through the story of Jefferson’s three daughters—one enslaved, two free—asking readers to contemplate why “discredited ideologies of gender and race continue to control and separate Americans so powerfully.”

A World on Fire: A Heretic, An Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen by Joe Jackson

An enthralling account of the almost simultaneous discovery of oxygen by Englishman Joseph Priestley and Frenchman Antoine Lavoisier.

The Great Halifax Explosion: A World War I Story of Treachery, Tragedy, and Extraordinary Heroism by John U. Bacon

The best-selling account of “the largest man made explosion prior to the atomic bomb,” which took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia during World War I. Loaded with 3000 pounds of munitions, the Mont-Blanc ship exploded once it reached Halifax, causing 11,000 fatalities and leveling the city. Bacon recounts the heroism shown throughout the disaster, and its strengthening impact on U.S.-Canada relations during the war.

If the TV series The Plot Against America has you looking for alternative endings to history, here are some books you might be interested in. Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan, Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar, and The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark.

If you still can’t find a book that interests you check out these blog posts from previous years:

Also, take a look at 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 Pamela H.

#BookBingoNW2020: Myth or Fable (original or retold)

During quarantine one of my goals was going through all the Marvel movies in order of release (I’ve heard I’m not the only one).  This had me falling in love with Loki all over again.  This set of a spark in me to read more books about Loki and myths in general. I also lucked out that there is a bingo square this year just for this purpose: Myth or fable (original or retold).

When I was looking for books to read for this square, I stumbled across The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris and Mist by Susan Krinard.  Both of these books feature Loki prominently.  Mist is a re-imagining of a Valkyrie and Loki. It is set in modern day San Francisco and the main character realizes that she isn’t living a normal life like she thought.  She is a Valkyrie and her mortal boyfriend is actually the trickster god, Loki.  The Gospel of Loki is the Norse myths told from his perspective.

Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2020: Myth or Fable (original or retold)”

Pride Reads: Black Women Writers

This Pride month, as the world is rising up in solidarity with American cities protesting against racism, white supremacy, and police brutality, it is sobering to think about the many Black, queer lives that have been lost to these oppressive systems. As queer people, it is also a great time to remember that we celebrate Pride each year to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969, which were led by Black trans women in protest against police brutality. Although Black femmes have always been vocal leaders in our queer community, they are also most likely to face discrimination, harassment, and violence, and to have their voices silenced by others among us. Every Pride month, we should remember that Pride was not established to be a party, but a protest – and a protest against systemic racial oppression, at that. To help you do so, here are three books by Black queer women for you to read as Seattle’s queer community grieves and resists alongside our Black community this June. Continue reading “Pride Reads: Black Women Writers”