John Wyndham’s Work Remains Scary and Thought-provoking

I love discovering authors that were impactful in their era and whose work still holds up today. Wyndham is the kind of writer I truly enjoy–he writes the kind of unfussy, competent prose that is underrated and more supple than it first appears. His writing reminds me of the work of Walter Tevis, Theodore Sturgeon, and James Tiptree, Jr. where the first lines draw you in, and the characters are drawn swiftly in compelling details without overdoing it.

Wyndham wrote short, chilling novels that he called “logical fantasy” and what were alternately and perhaps dismissively called “cosy catastrophes.” He also knew how to draw you in from the first sentence and paragraph.

Here is the first sentence in The Day of the Triffids (1951): “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like a Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” Continue reading “John Wyndham’s Work Remains Scary and Thought-provoking”

New Fiction Roundup – September 2018

9/4: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory – When her boyfriend surprises her with a Jumbotron proposal at a baseball game, Nik says no, and is saved when a stranger steps in to whisk her away. That stranger is Carlos, and could there be a spark between the two?

9/4: The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker – Set in the midst of literature’s most famous war, Barker imagines the events of The Iliad as experienced by the captured women living in a Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War.

9/11: She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore – In a novel shot through with magical realism, Moore reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three characters who share an uncommon bond. A Peak Pick!

9/18: 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day in this literary puzzle. Evelyn Hardcastle dies at a party Aiden Bishop is attending. Waking up the next morning, Aiden finds it is once again the morning of the party, only he is in the body of a different guest. He’ll inhabit 8 people on that day, until he can solve the crime. Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup – September 2018”

#BookBingoNW2018: First in a Series

2018 Summer Book Bingo is upon us, so let the booklists begin! This list will focus on that pesky category First In A Series. There are many, many beloved series out there, many of them in genre fiction. Hopefully there will be a little something for every reader here.

The Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn are a delightfully savage take on modern British aristocracy. Never Mind starts the series and is included in the omnibus edition of all 5 novels (Showtime is releasing a miniseries based on the novels starring Benedict Cumberbatch). For a lighter, shopaholic take on modern aristocracies, try Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (also soon to be in film), a voyeuristic look into the lives of China’s uber rich from the perspective of Rachel Chu, the American Born Chinese protagonist and girlfriend to the heir of one of China’s richest families, the Youngs. If snarking about the fabulously rich isn’t your jam, Rachael Cusk stretches the novel to new shapes with Outline, Transit, and Kudos (forthcoming). The novels merge oral history with fiction as a recently divorced woman encounters and listens to the stories of strangers and friends while her apartment is being renovated. Finally, if you haven’t read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, starting with My Brilliant Friend, maybe this is the summer to check that off your list. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2018: First in a Series”

Don’t be afraid of the dark: Thrilling Tales just for you!

For several years now, audiences have been flocking to our twice monthly lunch hour program Thrilling Tales: A Storytime for Grownups, and every so often someone tells us they wish there were an evening version of these readings. Well, it’s finally happening!

Staring on June 18, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite suspenseful tales in monthly readings at the Central Library. We’re calling it Thrilling Tales After Dark. Written by a variety of master storytellers such as Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson and Truman Capote, the stories range from wondrous to eerie to truly terrifying, and are drawn from the early years of Thrilling Tales. All readings run from 7-8 p.m., at the Central Library’s Microsoft Auditorium, finishing in just under an hour, and they are free. Take a look at what’s coming up:

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Continue reading “Don’t be afraid of the dark: Thrilling Tales just for you!”

#BookBingoNW2018: Author (or character) with a disability*

Something special is happening in Seattle July 1 through the 6th: The USA Special Olympic Games! “More than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 state Programs and the District of Columbia, along with the support of tens of thousands of volunteers and spectators, will compete in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports.” –from Special Olympics USA.

Image of the Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the Olympic Stadium in the background
Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver

It’s also in it’s 50th year! Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5.7 million athletes and Unified partners in 172 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year.  In the United States, over 700 thousand athletes and Unified partners from 52 state Programs participate in sports offered at the national, regional, state, local and area levels. From Traditional (athletes with intellectual disabilities) to Unified Sports (athletes with and without disabilities competing together), Special Olympics offers activities every day of every year for people to get involved locally to globally. –from Special Olympics USA

In honor of that event Book Bingo this year features a square for a disabled author or disabled character. Here are a few title suggestions to complete that bingo square: Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2018: Author (or character) with a disability*”