Seattle Reads author … in Seattle!

Photo of Dinaw MengestuDinaw Mengestu, author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, is in town (see the schedule for his five Library visits and two other appearances) — and that in itself is a beautiful thing. Lots of cities now have community reads or “One Book” projects to bring people together for  discussions and events centered around a book. But we are extra lucky here in Seattle because the Washington Center for the Book has, for 10 years now, also managed to bring large crowds of readers together to see the author.  I’m going to see Mengestu on Friday night (Central Library at 7 p.m.) and the word on the street (and around the Library) is that his parents will be there, too. Super cool!

Although Library-sponsored book discussions are wrapping up this week, dozens of book groups around Seattle will be reading and discussing The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears for months to come. Members of my book group are seeing the author this week Continue reading “Seattle Reads author … in Seattle!”

Read a Movie, See a Book

Image of DVD A Love Song for Bobby Long“See what it is invisible and you will see what to write. That’s how Bobby used to put it. It was the invisible people he wanted to live with. The ones that we walk past everyday, the ones we sometimes become. The ones in books who live only in someones mind’s eye.”

A Love Song for Bobby Long was originally released in 2004, and is to me one of the most overlooked films in our collection. Its screenplay is based on the novel Off Magazine Street by Ronald Everett Capps. Also featured throughout the movie are quotes from some of our most famous writers, and it is filled with themes from the book The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. It’s a movie inundated with the love of literature.

The movie takes place in the heart of New Orleans where both beauty Continue reading “Read a Movie, See a Book”

Book critics pick their favorites for Spring 2008

I’m number 134 on the Library hold list for Beginner’s Greek by James Collins — but I’m not worried. Not only does the Library have 52 copies, I know I’m in good company with 174 other Seattle readers (of which I am confident the 133 ahead of me are all super fast readers), as well as the 800-some reviewers in the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC), who just included Beginner’s Greek in a list of their favorite 10 novels for spring. In fact, the NBCC’s list looks remarkably similar to my current reading stack and hold list. Here are their top three:
1. Lush Life by Richard Price
2. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
3. Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser

Beginner’s Greek, which my co-workers Susan and Hannah deemed “a male Jane Austen novel,” is tied for fourth place by the critics. Check out the list of recommended novels, nonfiction and Continue reading “Book critics pick their favorites for Spring 2008”

Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

Cover of Expecting AdamIs it possible that the true account of two Harvard academicians parenting a Downs Syndrome child could be funny? How about hysterically funny? Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic by Martha Beck is a charming mixture of sophisticated humor, satire (mostly targeted at Harvard), self deprecation and spirituality including visions and out of body experiences. Martha Beck is a magical writer.   ~ Susan

Unleash your inner librarian!

image-of-library-stamp-courtesy-of-exlibrisWhat are the odds? The brand spanking new Library of Congress subject heading for “Public Libraries – California – anecdotes’” is getting quite a workout. In the past six months we have seen the publication of two humorous memoirs by librarians in the Los Angeles area: Don Borchert’s Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library and Scott Douglass’s Quiet Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian. They’re both entertaining slices of the library life (or as I like to call it, “The Game”), and I recommend them both. You may have to get in line, as they are both proving to be very popular, and not just with library staff either! It seems a lot of you are interested in exploring your inner librarian. While you’re waiting to get a behind-the-scenes look at the glamorous, high-stakes world of public librarianship, let me introduce some of my favorite fictional librarians.

Meet Cassandra Mitchell, librarian of the small town of Sechelt, British Columbia. While perhaps less well-known than the prim and plucky Miss Helma Zukas just down the coast in Bellehaven, Miss Mitchell is smart, compassionate, resourceful, sexy, Continue reading “Unleash your inner librarian!”