#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.

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, by Deborah Riley Draper. BERLIN, 1936. Describes the inspiring story of 18 African Americans who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics despite the racism at home and abroad.

The Witch Hunter, by Max Seeck. HELSINKI, 1952 (1940). Investigating the grisly murder of a best-selling horror author’s wife, Jessica Niemi uncovers clues implicating a circle of dark witchcraft fanatics.

Adua, by Igiaba Scego. ROME, 1960. Adua, an immigrant from Somalia to Italy, has lived in Rome for nearly forty years, but now she must decide whether to make the journey home, and how to take charge of her own story and build a future.

The Master Key, by Masaka Togawa. TOKYO, 1964. The theft of the master key terrifies the elderly ladies living in an old apartment building in Tokyo and leads to the discovery of a child’s body buried in the basement.

Horizontal Vertigo, by Juan Villoro. MEXICO CITY, 1968. A history and tour of Mexico City from the Aztec period to today, and how fear of earthquakes led Mexicans to build their capital city outward rather than upward.

The Rat Catcher’s Olympics, by Colin Cotteril. MOSCOW, 1980. When the boycotting of the 1980 Olympic games gives the Democratic People’s Republic of Laos its first chance to compete, Dr. Siri Paiboun finagles the job of medical overseer only to uncover signs that one of the athletes may be an assassin.

The Girl Who Wasn’t There, by Vincent Zandri. LAKE PLACID, 1980. Sidney O’Keefe just wants to spend a peaceful weekend alone with his wife and daughter in the vacation paradise of Lake Placid, New York. Then his daughter goes missing.

But that’s just the beginning: check out this full chronological list of books set in Olympic Host Cities in our catalog – or share your own ideas in the comments!

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.

      ~ Posted by David W

#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 he 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 his debut novel Red, White & Royal Blue. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Made You Laugh”

#BookBingoNW2021 is ON!

Bluer skies, longer days, fewer masks – it can only mean one thing. Once again, it’s time for Summer Book Bingo! This is our 7th year – YES, the 7th! Such a lucky number! – partnering with Seattle Arts & Lectures to bring you a free adult summer reading program with reading challenges and drawing entries for fantastic prizes.


Like last year, which was, shall we say, different than any of our previous years, we have launched Summer Book Bingo a bit earlier. This year you have from May 17th to September 7th at 6pm to read either a line of Bingo (4-5 books, depending on which horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line you choose), or to go for Blackout (24 books)! When you are ready to submit your card for the drawing, you can post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #BookBingoNW2021 hashtag, or email us at bookbingo@spl.org. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 is ON!”

PNW Asian American and Pacific Islander Authors

Image of Tweet from Nicole Chung: work by Asian American writers is always timely

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage month, but as author Nicole Chung noted, “work by Asian American writers is always timely.” The library has created some fantastic lists celebrating Asian American writers and artists for all ages to explore, but I wanted to call attention to some Pacific Northwest Asian American and Pacific Islander authors and books to explore this May and beyond.

Book cover image for My Forgotten Seattle

Current Library Board member Ron Chew served as the editor for the International Examiner, the Asian American community paper, for more than a decade, but as Carey Quan Gelernter says in the introduction to Chew’s memoir, My Unforgotten Seattle, when asked 25-years-prior whether Gelernter could write a profile on him Chew was reticent: “He protested that he wasn’t interesting, or important, enough.” Thank goodness Chew later consented to be interviewed, mainly out of his commitment to sharing the good work of the Wing Luke Museum. We are all the more fortunate that years later Chew decided to pen a memoir imparting the depth of knowledge he had to share on his years as an activist and storyteller in Seattle. My Unforgotten Seattle is steeped in history and a deep connection with the Asian American community whose lives and stories Chew reveals with appreciation and care. Continue reading “PNW Asian American and Pacific Islander Authors”

Are you ready for Seattle Independent Bookstore Day – X 10!?

A good little bookstore…is a laboratory for our coming together
       – Ross Gay

Seattle loves its bookstores, and right near the top of that long, sad list of things we really missed in 2020 was Seattle Independent Bookstore Day. Well, it’s back – and bigger than ever! Starting this Saturday, April 24, you’ll have ten days to visit ten (or more) stores, making ten or more purchases, which will qualifying you for this year’s champion tote bag, certain to be the tote to be seen with in 2021. This spread out schedule will help discourage the festive crowds that Indie Bookstore Day has become known for, while opening the experience to participants both buying books in person, or at several locations online. You can pick up a passport at a participating store, or print your own. Continue reading “Are you ready for Seattle Independent Bookstore Day – X 10!?”