Thrilling Tales, All Summer Long.

For over a decade, every other Monday at noon listeners have flocked to Thrilling Tales, the Library’s story time for grownups, spending their lunch hour rapt in suspenseful narratives. Janice Leadingham, a local bookseller said in a recent article in City Arts: “Especially for impatient people, it’s good because it slows things down a bit. For one hour, you can just be.” In a recent front page article in The Seattle Times, audience member Zachary Valenter said of Thrilling Tales emcee David Wright, “He’s one of the best storytellers I’ve ever listened to. We come every week that he does the show.”

Find out what the fuss is all about: drop by the Central Library at five minutes past noon on any of the following days, and remember just how fun it can be to sit back, relax and let someone else do the reading.

Monday, June 19: When it Changed, by Joanna Russ. After centuries isolated from Earth and a deadly plague, the lost interstellar settlement of Whileaway had survived and flourished. Then came its biggest challenge: visitors from home. From a master of feminist Science Fiction.

Monday, July 3: Dog on a Cow, by Gina Paoli. After picking up the wrong pair of hitchhikers, Dan finds himself at their mercy. But hey – everyone likes to hear a good story, don’t they? Wild, unpredictable thrills.

Monday, July 17: Little Girl Lost, by Richard Matheson. They woke at midnight to the sound of their daughter crying, despite the fact that their daughter wasn’t there. Twilight Zone terror from a master.

Monday, July 31: A Death, by Stephen King. A little girl is killed, and frontier justice fastens onto moronic Jim Trusdale as the killer, but Sheriff Barclay isn’t so sure they’ve got their man. The king of horror tries his hand at gritty western noir.

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Book Bingo: Published the Year One of Your Parents Was Born

Listen: when I saw the Book Bingo category “published the year one of your parents was born” the first thing I did was Google “books published in 1950.” I was prepared to tell you of more labyrinthine research processes to help you find a book for this category, but it turns out Google is a pretty effective strategy on this one.

My search led to the GoodReads page Most Popular Books Published in 1950, which is the year my mom was born. This GoodReads list was among the most robust lists I found, largely because it was one of the few to include genre fiction – it had I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, the Miss Marple mystery A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie, and The Grand Sophya historical romance by Georgette Heyer, alongside general fiction and children’s books. On the right hand of the page is a drop down menu where you can select other years – my colleague was fretting over finding a book from 1925, the year her father was born, but there’s a good selection of ideas she can mine. These are crowd-sourced lists based on data entered by GoodReads users, so I like to verify the publication date, but it’s a great place to start.

If you want to know the bestsellers of any given year, Daniel Immerwahr, now a professor at Northwestern University, has compiled The Books of the Century, a year-by-year journey through the 20th century that lists fiction and nonfiction bestsellers, other titles he has deemed critically acclaimed and historically significant, and Book-of-the Month Club selections. Continue reading

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All’s Fair in Festival Air

Summertime and the living is breezy. Warmed by a wondrous sun, the everywhere air urges us to partake of the season. Don’t you wish it would last! There are eye-catching, ear lapping sights and sounds the whole city round. Fairs, festivals and fests abound!

Take to the streets! Come to the Fairs!  The city sports a festive mood.  There are street fairs, film festivals, fine art and craft fairs, theater, dance and book festivals, NPR Road Trips, Joseph Rosendi’s Travelscape, Biennials, Triennials and Documenta in which to bask.

In or out of town, there’s lots of help to plan an artful adventure. Check out the Seattle Events Calendar, FestivalNet Washington, Seattle Center’s Festál, EverFest Washington and the Office of Arts and Culture Art Walks page.

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#BookBingoNW2017: Washington State Authors

Not to brag too much about the Evergreen state (clearly bragging here), but it’s not actually much of a challenge to ask someone to read a local author. If you’re playing Summer Book Bingo with us, you have hundreds — seriously hundreds — of excellent choices for books to read to fill your “Washington state author” square.

Let’s start with recent (published in 2016 or 2017) nonfiction recommendations:

  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West: A series of often hilarious essays dealing with issues of body image, pop culture, feminism and social justice. Bonus: This book is excellent on audio, too.
  • While the City Slept by Eli Sanders: Sanders won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his reporting in The Stranger of the murder of Teresa Butz in South Park. His nonfiction book on the subject is riveting.
  • Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I by Paula Becker: The first biography of bestselling mid-20th century author MacDonald, who wrote The Egg and I — and it’s a charmer. Bonus: You’ll be inspired to read Betty MacDonald’s work, and she was, of course, a Washington state author.
  • Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning by Claire Dederer: A ferocious, sexy, hilarious memoir about going off the rails at midlife and trying to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become.
  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie: This memoir is one of the most anticipated books of 2017, especially here in Seattle.

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Fiction new book roundup – June 2017

Whether you’re on the bus or on the beach, here are some new fiction titles to get your summer reading under way.

6/13: The Changeling by Victor LaValle – Antiquarian book dealer Apollo Kagwa has built a happy family life with his wife and new baby son. When his family is torn apart by a violent act, Apollo begins a journey through fantastical corners of New York he didn’t know existed – with old magic and monsters – to bring his family back together. Continue reading

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Nonfiction new book roundup – June 2017

Looking for new nonfiction or memoir to read? Perhaps something to help fill a square on your Summer Book Bingo grid. Here, for your consideration, is a selection of nonfiction being published in June 2017.

6/1: Discovering Seattle Parks: A Local’s Guide by Linnea Westerlind. Did you know there are 426 parks in the city of Seattle? Discover them all with this indispensable guide. Continue reading

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Beyond The Handmaid’s Tale: Feminist Dystopia & Utopia

We always love it when worthwhile, interesting books are adapted to film or TV, as it invariably means that a multitude of readers will be drawn to the source. As sales figures and waiting lists and libraries attest, this has been quite a year for Margaret Atwood’s landmark 1985 dystopia The Handmaid’s Tale, owing largely to the recent Hulu series, as well as the current political climate. If you’re waiting for a copy – or if you’ve already read it – why not tap into the diverse tradition of feminist science fiction that explores gender and society in provocative and visionary ways.

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