You’re on a train

A train is a great setting for a novel because it inherently heightens the tension and conflict – the characters are all trapped together, with a limited number of chances (station stops) to leave. Enjoy this handful of books set on trains.

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka
Five assassins board the Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Morioka: Nanao  needs to grab a suitcase and then get off; duo Tangerine and Lemon also need the suitcase, and to deliver the rescued son of a crime lord; the Prince is lying in wait for an assassin who wants him dead, and Kimura has come to kill the Prince for injuring his son. As the train hurtles forward, the assassins fill the tight corridors, each trying to take out the competition.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Traveling from Syria to Paris, the Orient Express is halted by a snowdrift on the tracks. The passengers discover that a wealthy American has been stabbed to death, in a train compartment locked from the inside. The killer must be on the train. Luckily, ace detective Hercule Poirot is also on board, and on the case. What list of train novels would be complete without this classic mystery?

Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi
Otto and Xavier Shin have been gifted a remarkable honeymoon gift by Xavier’s aunt: a trip onboard a former tea-smuggling train with an unknown destination. This is no ordinary train, but instead is seemingly curated just for them. Indeed, they appear to be alone on the train, until they meet a secretive woman with a surprising message.

Blood on the Tracks edited by Martin Edwards
Part of the British Library Crime Classics series, this anthology gathers together 15 classic mystery short stories set on trains.

Snowpiercer by Jacques Lob
Following an environmental catastrophe that has brought about a new ice age, humanity now survives on a 1,001 car train called the Snowpiercer in this graphic novel. It mimics the hierarchy of the world we lost, with the elite traveling in luxury at the front and things getting progressively more miserable toward the back. But impending mechanical failure; a virus; and human greed are about to throw everything into chaos.

~ posted by Andrea G.


Ready, Set, Read! The 8 Great Books of the 2022 Global Reading Challenge

Stack of Global Reading Challenge 2022 books for fourth and fifth graders
The Global Reading Challenge 2022 books

All over Seattle, fourth and fifth graders are forming teams and starting to turn pages for the 2022 Global Reading Challenge, which launched earlier in November with the announcement of this year’s books. Now in its 27th year, the Global Reading Challenge is a reading incentive collaboration between the Library and Seattle Public Schools. Fourth and fifth graders of all reading abilities read the books together and team up for trivia competitions related to the books in 2022.

But let’s get to the books! The 2022 Global Reading Challenge lineup includes eight wonderful titles that represent a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. As Ms. Louisa explains in this year’s Global Reading Challenge video, they represent “all different kinds of books about all different kinds of kids all around the world.”

Below, find a bit about each book and why it was selected. We’ve included links to the books in our catalog, so you can easily check them out with your Library card, or with your Library Link account (which allows all Seattle Public Schools students to check out e-books and e-audiobooks with your student ID number). We have lots of digital copies of each book available.

Global Reading Challenge books will also be distributed at participating Seattle Public Schools, so check in with your school librarian or teacher. And many of the are also available at Library locations in the “uncatalogued” section – meaning you don’t need to officially check them out. Just take a copy home, and bring it back when you’re done!

The 2022 Global Reading Challenge books

Red Panda & Moon Bear, by Jarod RosellóRed Panda & Moon Bear, by Jarod Roselló

Red Panda and Moon Bear have hoodies that give them Superhero powers. They’ve sworn to defeat evil and protect their neighborhood, and this graphic novel is full of their hilarious and hair-raising adventures!

Why did we pick it? We loved the humor, the heart and the seamlessly bilingual dialogue. Author Jarod Roselló draws heavily from his own Cubano-American experience in his writing, and the story sings off the page.

Tip! You can instantly download this book in Hoopla in English or Spanish! You’ll just need your Library card or student ID number. Continue reading “Ready, Set, Read! The 8 Great Books of the 2022 Global Reading Challenge”

Books for the Young Hockey Fan

It seems everyone in Seattle has hockey fever right now – even the kids. Here’s everything you need to capture the interest of even the youngest hockey fans.

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Ice Clash, by Emma Carlson Berne. Their losses started when their new coach replaced 12-year-old Louise with his own son, refusing to accept that the team’s true star was a girl. Grades 4-6.

Breaking the Ice, by Nancy Bullaro. The inspiring true story of Manon Rhéaume who became the first woman to play in a major North American sports league when she hit the ice in 1992 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Grades 2-3.

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story, by Maureen Fergus. In this charming, offbeat picture book, 800-year-old Vlad finds a new lease on the afterlife when he puts on the pads and hits the ice at his local community center. Grades 1-2.

What is the Stanley Cup, by Gail Herman. This colorful history of the oldest sports trophy in the world contains all you need to know to full appreciate professional hockey’s own ‘superbowl.’ (Did you know the Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917?) Grades 4-6.

Lake Placid Miracle, by B.A. Hoena. At the height of the Cold War, a rag-tag U.S. team beat the mighty Soviet behemoth, and the crowd went wild! Here’s how it all happened. Grades 4-6. Continue reading “Books for the Young Hockey Fan”

Talking Romance (and Sci-Fi and Speculative Fiction) with Librarian Misha Stone

Misha Stone, Adult Services Librarian with The Seattle Public Library

At the Emerald City Writers’ Conference in October, the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America (GSRWA) named our very own Adult Services Librarian Misha Stone their Librarian of the Year, citing Misha’s commitment to promoting the romance genre and uplifting traditionally marginalized voices.

Misha has been a librarian in the Seattle area since graduating from the UW’s Information School almost 20 years ago. She regularly appears on local television programs promoting books and library programs, and has hosted everything from Karaoke and pop culture conventions to literary readings and writers workshops. One constant is the passion she brings to fostering the love of reading and learning and to helping people find their next favorite book.

We had the opportunity to speak with Misha recently about her introduction to the romance genre and support for local authors, developments in speculative fiction, the importance of representation and diversity in literature, and so much more. Our conversation is below.

How were you introduced to the Romance genre and what were some of the first books in that genre that you read?

I grew up reading lots of Horror and Gothic fiction and thought that my vampire novel obsession meant I had read romance! I fell for the tortured love affair trope at the time. But it’s not a romance unless it’s got a Happily-Ever-After (HEA) or Happy-For-Now (HFN). I credit learning more about romance from Nancy Pearl’s Genre class at the University of Washington where King County Library System’s Alene Moroni presented on her love of romance with memorable enthusiasm. Jayne Ann Krentz’s Bowling Green Keynote speech also stayed with me from that class as she defends beautifully the reasons that romance is looked down upon and why it is so beloved — because it offers us a deep, affirming belief in the power of love.

I also credit librarian Claire Scott, who worked here at The Seattle Public Library, for introducing me to Courtney Milan — she was my gateway drug to romance! Milan’s character-driven romances, both historical and contemporary, are diverse, witty and utterly delightful!

Congratulations again on your Librarian of the Year Award from the GSRWA! Can you tell us about some of the ways you and the Library have helped support local Romance authors? Continue reading “Talking Romance (and Sci-Fi and Speculative Fiction) with Librarian Misha Stone”

Cozy Mysteries of the Magical Variety

In the wake of Halloween, All Saint’s Eve, Samhain, and Dia De Los Muertos, there’s quite a bit of magic lingering in the air. The leaves have turned, the weather is harsher, and the nights are chilling. Many peoples view this time of year as the time to honor their ancestors as the veil between this world and the world of the dead is thinner. We are in the liminal time between seasons as the days grow shorter and winter readies its cold, cold breath here in the PNW. The harvest is complete and we are ready to tuck in for the long, dark nights ahead. Cozy mysteries are a prefect genre to tuck in with: light and fluffy with little violence, no gore, and big hearts centered on community. If this sounds like your cup of tea, here are some very magical cozies to cozy up with this liminal season.

Samhain Secrets by Jennifer David Hesse is the perfect book to read this time of year. It touches on the sabbat of Samhain, a Wiccan celebration that coincides with Halloween, which often includes the honoring of ancestors. New junior partner Keli Milanni is disturbed to hear of her free-spirited aunt’s seeming disappearance, she is intrigued. Then a body is found in the woods and her missing aunt’s secrets come to haunt her in more ways than one. This is the 4th book in the series, but it’s ok to read them out of order.

Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon is a light mystery featuring African-American classical musician Dr. Gethsemane Brown who takes a teaching gig at a school in Dunmullach, Ireland after a major career letdown. With a delightfully creepy old house and a snarky ghost who wants his murder solved, this is a pitch-perfect first-in-the-series that continues with Death in D Minor. Continue reading “Cozy Mysteries of the Magical Variety”