Summer Reads: Delridge, Madrona and South Park readers share a few suggestions

Espionage, werewolves, Ivy League and the Ivory Coast — aaah, summer reading! Take a look at the varied reading happening around town, with a sampling of titles recommended by Seattle readers. We’d love to hear what you’re reading, too! Sign up for the Adult Summer Reading Program and share your recommendations with other book lovers around town.

Readers in Delridge recommend:

Restless by William Boyd
In this story of WWII espionage, the author gives up plenty of hints to put together an outcome, but the details of spy-work, the intriguing characters and the post-action vantage point from which the story is told all made it very difficult to stop reading. Great read!!

A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League by Ron Suskind
Cedric Jennings is a young black man trying to break out of the ‘hood in D.C. In a world where the cycle of poverty, drugs, and violence threaten his every move, Cedric manages to make it to Brown University but Continue reading “Summer Reads: Delridge, Madrona and South Park readers share a few suggestions”

Seattle’s vibrant early music scene

In recent years, Seattle has become a mecca for early music, the world of music created from its earliest beginnings to about the year 1750. World-class performers such as Stephen Stubbs have moved here to join long-time Seattleites Margriet Tindemans and Nancy Zylstra. It means that there are some thrilling opportunities for exploration of the world of music before Mozart, right in our own backyard!

An upcoming concert that is a must-hear (and, in the spectacular surroundings of Seattle’s St. James Cathedral, is a must-see as well) will be presented on Sunday, July 27, at 8 p.m. by the internationally renowned Tallis Scholars, in Seattle for their summer school, performing with members of the local group The Tudor Choir.  They’ll be singing English church music with a small

group of voices, transporting you in to the world of soaring Gothic cathedrals. Musically, these works range from somber to virtuosic, with every shade of emotion in between, and include some conventions that sound marvelously strange to our modern ears. If you can’t hear them live, try this recording of the Tallis Scholars singing Robert White’s Tudor Church Music, which is a great introduction to this sound. Pair Continue reading “Seattle’s vibrant early music scene”

Summer Reads: Green Lake and International District reader suggestions

Want to share what you’re reading? Enter the Adult Summer Reading Program at any branch (or downtown at the Central Library), write one or two sentences about three books you’ve read. You’ll be entered in a weekly drawing to win a book bag (one winner per week at each location; lots of chances to win!).

Greek Lake readers recommend:

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.

I’ve read almost all of Hemingway’s fiction, but have never before read this autobiography which covers 5 years in Paris. An intriquing, nonchalant account of his life, his approach to writing, and the daily lives of famous 1920’s expat authors.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. 

The story centers around Liesel, a young girl living near Munich, Germany. Her foster father teaches her how to read and she becomes obsessed with books. It is her book-stealing and story-telling talents which help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding. A riveting account of life in Germany during WWII.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.

Pollan’s account of the industrial food chain impressed upon me the extent to which man has perverted nature to suit his largely short-sighted purposes. I was a little bit disappointed, however, that the author did not offer a clear-cut answer to the “what to eat ” question.

International District / Chinatown readers recommend: 

The Laughing Buddha of Tofukuji: The Life of Zen Master Keido Fukushima by Ishwar C. Harris

Within the Zen tradition, a Zen master is a Buddha. His enlightenment is to be reflected through his life & message. Keido (Buddism’s teacher), his lecture derived from Zen Buddhism in general.

The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan

Luling Young searches for the name of her mother trying to hold on to evaporating past. Meanwhile, her daughter, Ruth, loses the ability to speak up for herself. Ruth starts suspecting that something is terribly wrong with Continue reading “Summer Reads: Green Lake and International District reader suggestions”

Housekeeping

Have you ever lost yourself in the library? Have you ever felt curious about something, looked up a book on that topic, which led to another and another, and then you went to the shelves and found not only the books you were looking for, but something else fascinating and unexpected? Part of the fun of a library is following all the threads of your interests, and sometimes finding yourself with books that somehow found you, instead of the other way around.

Recently I was telling a friend how much I was enjoying a book that I had happened upon, called The Illustrated History of the Housewife 1650-1950  by Una Robertson.  This author explores each household activity in turn, such as cooking, heating the home, doing the laundry, etc., and describes exactly how it was done. In the chapter on Lighting, she finally explained to my satisfaction the confusion around the verb “to snuff” a candle. Back when everyone knew all about using candles, to snuff a candle meant to straighten and trim the wick, to adjust the flame.  Every household had candle snuffers, which had tongs on one end and scissors and a tiny receptacle for burning wick ends on the other, and everyone knew how and when to use them. When candles became less common, people no longer had the implements, and “to snuff” began to be understood as “to extinguish.” And, nowadays, none of us knows what to do when the wick Continue reading “Housekeeping”

Summer Reads: West Seattle and Southwest reader suggestions

In Seattle, the term “beach reads” is generally used figuratively (if not a little wistfully) for books more generally read on decks, in parks, on busses, but not on our pebbled shores. In West Seattle, however, beach reading actually happens on a beach! Here is some of what readers at our West Seattle and Southwest branches have been enjoying this summer.

West Seattle Readers recommend:

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Great breezy read! I finished it in 24 hours. I’m eager to read the sequel and see what other messes Georgie can get into.  🙂

Nothing to Lose by Lee Child

His books are marvelous – wonderful summer reading! Jack Reacher, as usual. He is walking in a town called Hope – wants coffee but gets involved with the entire town.

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie and her friends follow Grandma Mazur to Atlantic City, where she’s gambling Continue reading “Summer Reads: West Seattle and Southwest reader suggestions”