#BookBingoNW2021 Black Joy

A short list of good reads that can be applied to the Black Joy 2021 Book Bingo square. These are funny, romantic stories that follow Black characters whose best lives find them.

Girl Gurl Grrrl: On womanhood and belonging in the age of Black girl magic by Kenya Hunt, deputy editor of the fashion magazine Grazia UK, is an anthology of essays about her life and career, sharing the joys and trials of being a Black American in the UK. 

28-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate in Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers, having just completed her PhD in astronomy. A straight-A high achiever, she is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman she doesn’t know, until she does exactly that… Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Black Joy”

#BookBingoNW2021 Small Press

Those who follow the literary world know the agglomeration of mega-publishers that was once termed the “big six” long ago became the “big five,” and through yet another merger/acquisition will soon become the “big four.” It seems just a matter of time before we’re talking about the “big one.” Fortunately, there are many many small publishers out there bringing a panorama of distinct editorial styles and missions to bookstore and library shelves. As you approach this Book Bingo square, you may want to browse this mega-list of small and independent publishers from our catalog. Here are just a few of my own favorites from this eclectic list:

Archipelago Books specializes in beautifully produced international titles, often in their English language debuts, making them a sort of United Nations of literature. Their big cash cow has been Karl Ove Knausgaard’s popular soul-searching six volume memoir My Struggle, the kind of commercial success that most small publishers dream of, and one that helps underwrite a wide range of other less profitable but no less fascinating titles. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Small Press”

Explore Pacific Northwest History with Newly Digitized Photographs

More than 500 new historic photographs from our Northwest Photograph Collection are now available through our digital collections. These photographs feature images of Washington, Oregon and Alaska spanning from the late 1800s to the 1970s and include shots from prominent local photographers such as Asahel Curtis, Webster & Stevens and Frank Jacobs. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite photos below.

Antlers Hotel at Lake Cushman
The collection includes 14 photos showing the Lake Cushman’s Antlers Hotel and its various tourist excursions to the Olympic Mountains from ca. 1898 to 1910. The hotel, once a popular tourist destination, ceased operation in 1922. In 1926, the Lake Cushman Dam was created, flooding the remains of the hotel. This photo shows two women and their guide in the snow fields of the Olympics.

Continue reading “Explore Pacific Northwest History with Newly Digitized Photographs”

#BookBingoNW2021 Olympic Host City

We love a good, challenging BookBingoNW2021  category! Case in point? Read a book – fiction or non-fiction – set in an Olympic Host City! Since the revival of the Modern Olympics in1896, the Games have been held in over forty different cities and towns around the world. Here are books featuring some of these far-flung locales.

The Rise of Athens, by Anthony Everitt. ATHENS, 1896. Presents a magisterial account of how Athens became the world’s most influential civilization, and how it helped establish the foundations of today’s world.

Vanessa and her Sister, by Priya Parmar. LONDON, 1908. This historical novel examines the adult lives of sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell circa 1900, focusing on the controversial and popular circle of the Bloomsbury Group.

Jazz Moon, by Joe Okonwo. PARIS, 1924. Ben Charles and his wife Angeline take part of the Harlem Renaissance scene in the 1920s. Ben finds himself drawn to Paris due to the influence of trumpeter Baby Back Johnston. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Olympic Host City”

#BookBingoNW2021 Made You Laugh

Summer Book Bingo has officially launched, so let’s get reading! With so many great categories to work with, The Seattle Public Library staff would love to help you find your perfect match.

You are in no short supply of hilarious books for the Made You Laugh category. Safe bets include the various works of David Sedaris, the essays Sloane Crosley and even the scientific oddities Mary Roach explores, but here are some more newly released titles that may be of interest to you.

You’ll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism, written by siblings Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar, does something few books can: it makes you laugh and think while bringing up cringe-worthy events. The genius of these sisters is that they talk about their experiences with racism through their anecdotes and conversational writing, differentiated with fonts. If a book can be both hilarious and horrifying, then this is it. You may know Amber Ruffin from her work on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Casey McQuiston’s hilarious romantic comedy One Last Stop picks right up where they left off in terms of pop-cultural references, crazy mix-ups, first loves and laugh-out-loud narration. We find August, a cynical twenty-three year old working at an all-night diner. August really isn’t impressed by much and she definitely isn’t a believer. Then she meets Jane on a subway and something is different; very different – like time-displaced different. What ensues will make you laugh and hopefully end up believing in the impossible. It is great follow up to their debut novel Red, White & Royal Blue.

For the audiophiles out there, finding a great narrator can be a challenge sometimes, but the Made You Laugh category gives you an opportunity to hear hilarious stories told in the author’s own voice. Ali Wong’s Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life is a perfect example of this. In a series of letters (chapters), Ali gives life advice to her daughters, candidly and honestly. If you are familiar with her stand up, this books is right up there, so beware the potty humor.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby was a finalist for the 2021 Audies award for Humor. (Not familiar with the Audies? They are pretty much the Oscars but for audiobooks.) Samantha’s newest collection of short stories includes stories that are often very self-deprecating and often relatable. She tells it like it is, whether it is about her slowly aging or about settling down, while using brutally honest humor to tell her hilarious stories. She does not hold back, which is the best thing about her.

Finally, be sure to check out Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson. While this book describes her struggle with depression and anxiety (something already known to her fans), Jenny takes us on a journey through her experiences with heartbreaking and often devastatingly funny anecdotes, like the time she was attacked by bears or the reason why she can no longer go to the Post Office. She is not afraid to laugh at herself, and we are helpless not to laugh along.

If you haven’t yet, you can download your Bingo card and find some of our curated lists and related articles at our Book Bingo page, and find our Spanish-language Bingo card and lists here! Still looking for ideas? Don’t forget you can ask for a personalized reading list from Your Next 5 Books! Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.