#BookBingoNW2019: Set in the Northwest

Welcome to another year of Summer Book Bingo and suggestions for the category “set in the NW!” This category is one of my favorites because it gives me a chance to explore my home region in fiction. Find these titles and other suggestions here.

While I’m native to Portland, OR, there’s one book that made me want to call the Puget Sound region home: David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars. I read it as a teen and fell in love with the lush descriptions of the San Juan Islands. The novel is a moving portrait of what happened to the region’s smaller communities in the face of the Japanese-American internment camps of WWII.

I spent a lot of time at the Oregon coast growing up and a less well-known title from beloved, recently deceased author Ursula K. Le Guin, chronicles that area beautifully. Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand is a set of loosely connected stories about the residents of Klatsand, a fictional Oregon costal town, and features strong, resilient women. Le Guin’s writing is a treasure, as always.

Shifting to a well-known nonfiction author to include another piece of classic writing, Timothy Egan’s The Good Rain is history, ecology, environmentalism and personal narrative all rolled up into one beautiful book about the Pacific Northwest.

In Marrow Island, Alexis Smith also uses an ecologist’s lens to consider our relationship to place and each other in the wake of a fictional Big One (earthquake). The majority of the novel takes place on Marrow Island, north of the San Juans, after The Big One destroys the oil refinery on the island, making it uninhabitable. 20 years later, the main character’s best friend invites her back to the Island where miraculous new growth and sustainable living is possible, but at what cost? Moody and mysterious, this novel will haunt you.

Mink River by Brian Doyle is set in a small town at the mouth of the Mink River on the Oregon coast. It follows the lives of the residents as well as two friends, one of whom is trying to record the stories and oral histories of his Coast Salish relatives for his grandson. Doyle does for the residents of Mink River what Sherwood Anderson did for Winesburg, Ohio.

In his 2016 novel Summerlong, fantasy author Peter S. Beagle, most famous for my childhood favorite The Last Unicorn, gifts readers with a contemporary take on the ancient myth of Persephone set in the islands of the Puget Sound over one glorious summer (this one could also count for “set in summer”).

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu explores the lives of five women after a traumatic event during a kayaking trip at a sleep-away camp in the Puget Sound. The story moves between the event itself and its reverberations throughout their lives as the years pass.

For a too-prescient topical novel, Leni Zumas imagines the lives of five women in a small town on the Oregon coast in an America where abortion is once again outlawed in her debut novel Red Clocks. Grounded in the realism of everyday life, this novel and the questions it asks stay with the reader long after the last page.

Finally, with the movie coming out this August, I’d be remiss not to mention Where’d You Go, Bernadette by fellow transplant Maria Semple (could also count for “made into a movie”). I read this shortly after moving to Seattle and thoroughly enjoyed this biting send-up of the best and worst of Seattle. Our very own Central Library is a setting for what will surely be a delightfully funny movie starring the amazing Cate Blanchett.

For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2019 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2019 on social media. Need a Book Bingo card? Print one out here or pick one up at your Library. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.

~ posted by Veronica H.

#BookBingoNW2019: Comics

Comics is a magical and mysterious medium that can fill one or all of your Book Bingo card squares this summer! It’s up to you!

Take a look at this recent staff booklist of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Comics and Graphic Novels and maybe try out In Between, a collection of poetry comics by local creator Mita Mahato (and don’t forget to stop by the Ballard Branch where Mita will lead a graphic memoir workshop, Thursday, June 6th @ 6pm).

For the hungry folks out there, maybe some Food-themed Comics & Manga is what you need in your life? Delicious in Dungeon (currently at 6 volumes of manga) is a dungeon-crawling adventure full of food, friends, and monsters (aka the food).

The Lambda Awards were just announced on June 3rd, and the library has you covered with this list of finalists, including graphic novels. With On A Sunbeam, Tillie Walden (Spinning) interweaves a beautiful tale of moody space exploration, with an earthly recollection of two girls falling in love at boarding school.

If you’re a short story reader, then comics anthologies are for you! Puerto Rico Strong is a recent anthology published to support disaster relief and recovery in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. With stories of survival, colonialism, diaspora, and science fiction by Puerto Rican comics creators, there’s something for everyone!

Looking for an experience that is more local and unique? Try visiting the Zapp Zine Collection at the Central Library to peruse or read a few of the over 30,000 self-published and small press zines and minicomics!

Browse the comics or graphic novels tags on our Shelf Talk blog for many more recommendations!

For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2019 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2019 on social media. Need a Book Bingo card? Print one out here or pick one up at your Library. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.

~ posted by Mychal L.

New Fiction Roundup, June 2019

No matter what kind of summer reader you are – romance, mystery, fantasy, historical fiction, general fiction – something is coming out in June for you to savor.

6/4: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin – In this contemporary take on Pride and Prejudice set in Toronto’s Muslim community, poet and teacher Ayesha is holding out for true love over an arranged marriage when smart, judgmental Khalid comes into her orbit.

6/4: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert – 89-year-old Vivian reflects back on the years she spent living with her Aunt Peg in Manhattan, working at the Lily Playhouse theatre and living the single life, as well as the personal mistake she made that led to a professional scandal and changed the course of her life. A Peak Pick! Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup, June 2019”

Library Reads for June 2019

Ten books coming in June that librarians across the US are loving.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
Relationships are hard, whether with a spouse, a best friend, a new love interest, or ourselves. Evvie navigates all of these after a life-changing series of events. An engaging novel that explores relationship nuances without being too dark or too cutesy. For fans of Jenny Colgan, Cecilia Ahern, and Sophie Kinsella.  ~ Maribeth Fisher, Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains, NJ  Continue reading “Library Reads for June 2019”

Bus Reads for May

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 May:

Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin
A nice little thriller, reminded me a bit of Josh Bazell’s book Beat the Reaper, which I also enjoyed. Rice Moore is seeking a hideout from the Mexican cartel he betrayed, he finds that in the Appalachian Mountains working on a nature preserve, but its not all peace and quiet. The bears protected on the preserve are found dead, while he searches for the poachers it brings him a little too close to the past he was running from.

Continue reading “Bus Reads for May”