Bus Reads for April

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 April:

Book cover image for FreshwaterFreshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. This book is so hard to put into words with its madness and dark tales of a person consumed by multiple identities. Born in Nigeria to parents who desperately wanted her, yet ultimately fail her, The Ada goes through life without the support system one usually has. As she travels to America for college, those selves evolve even more after she experiences a trauma. Her “identities” take her, guide her, and force her through her life – she at times fights against them, at times succumbs to their whims. Eventually as an adult it all comes to a breaking point. Such a beautiful and tragic read…I couldn’t put it down. The author does an amazing job of making the identities full-blown characters, and with the description of their world within The Ada and beyond. Continue reading “Bus Reads for April”

Why you should read Les Misérables

You’re watching it on PBS, and maybe you can hum all the tunes from the musical – but there’s nothing quite like reading the book itself.

But it’s so looong!

True. Compared to the miniseries adaptation‘s six-hour running time, the unabridged audiobook – read by master narrator George Guidall – runs for over sixty hours, and the Modern Library edition is 1,330 pages long, with 365 chapters. One reason that many 19th Century novels are so long is that they were originally read serially, in weekly installments, rather than straight-through. Read this way, the novel’s length becomes an asset, stretching out the narrative across time. Prolong the pleasure! Set out to read one chapter a day, for a year – and enjoy binging ahead when you just can’t stand the suspense.

What suspense? I already know the story! Continue reading “Why you should read Les Misérables”

The Year’s Best Crime Writing: The 2019 Edgar Awards

Pulitzers, Bookers, Nobels – bah! For crime fiction fans it’s all about the Edgars. Last night the winners in several categories of crime and thriller books were announced at the Mystery Writers of America’s annual Edgar Awards ceremony: here’s a full list of these titles in our catalog, including non-fiction, books for children and teens, and the Mary Higgins Clark Awards for less violent novels with strong heroines.

As for the felonious Best In Show, we give you the nominees for the category of Best Novel:

Continue reading “The Year’s Best Crime Writing: The 2019 Edgar Awards”

Taking Me Back

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day over our love of Spam. One year for her birthday her husband bought her a sampler pack of 12 different varieties! That was something new I learned – I had only ever known of the true blue original can. Growing up my mom used to mix spam, shredded cheese, and mayo together and place it on an English muffin then pop it in the oven where it got melty and crunchy. It was delicious!

That got me thinking about other recipes I enjoyed growing up – the ones my mom learned from her mom and on and on it goes. Here are a few books in our collection that highlight those recipes with a modern twist: Continue reading “Taking Me Back”

Reading Notre Dame

Vision of Notre Dame: a sketch by Victor Hugo

It has to be the worst possible reason to have a bestseller. In the wake of last week’s devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel Notre Dame de Paris – perhaps better known to English speakers as The Hunchback of Notre Dame – has climbed to the top of the charts.

One unforgettable passage in particular has grown more even more poignant. Continue reading “Reading Notre Dame”