#BookBingoNW2018: A SAL author


There is no shortage of ideas for the Book Bingo challenge to read a Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL) author. SAL has been bringing writers to Seattle for three decades (here is the complete list), so there are literally hundreds of options. In the spirit of being current with this year’s literary happenings around town, let’s take a look at some of the authors coming for the 2018/2019 season. You’ll find many ideas for book bingo squares other than “SAL author” with this list:

Jericho Brown: “To read Jericho Brown’s poems is to encounter devastating genius,” said Claudia Rankine, and we agree. Try Brown’s The New Testament and Please. You can also find Brown’s work in The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South and The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race.

Doris Kearns Goodwin: The historian and author’s newest book is Leadership in Turbulent Times (forthcoming). While you wait, try Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream or The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, or for something completely different, Wait Till Next Year, her memoir about growing up and loving the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Kimiko Hahn:  You’re in for a treat if you haven’t yet read Hahn’s poetry, which Bloomsbury Review called “a welcome voice of experimentation and passion.” Try . Select from Brain Fever, Toxic Flora, and The Narrow Road to the Interior.

Tayari Jones: Look for Jones’s most recent novel, An American Marriage, at the Peak Picks display at your neighborhood branch. But don’t miss out on her earlier work, such as Silver Sparrow which begins with the line, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.” You need to know the rest of the story.

Ilya Kaminsky: Starting with Dancing in Odessa, the debut poetry collection by this Russian immigrant (who wrote these poems in English).

Barbara Kingsolver: If you’re a Kingsolver fan, you’ll want to get on the hold list for her new novel, Unsheltered. If you’re a lover of her fiction, try her nonfiction for a change of pace, going back to her 1995 essay collection High Tide in Tucson.

Jill Lepore: Lots to choose with this American historian and author. While you wait for her newest, These Truths: A History of the United States, spend some time with The Secret History of Wonder Woman.

Valeria Luiselli: Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions is structured around the 40 questions she translates and asks undocumented Latin American children facing deportation. Also not to miss: The Story of My Teeth, a novel translated from Spanish.

Imbolo Mbue: A lovely portrait of a Cameroonian immigrant family in New York City on the eve of the Great Recession. The New York Times called it a “big-hearted novel.”

Danez Smith: Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead was a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry. The New Yorker says that Smith’s “poems are enriched to the point of volatility, but they pay out, often, in sudden joy.”

Zadie Smith: Choose essays or fiction from Smith. Her most recent book is Feel Free, with essays that explore politics, libraries (!), and global warming. If you’re feeling like reading fiction, try On Beauty.

Alice Walker: There are so many ways to explore Walker’s work. If you know her best for The Color Purple, perhaps try her nonfiction (The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way or In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens: Womanist Prose) or short stories (In Love & Trouble).

For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2018 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2018 on social media. Need a Book Bingo card? Print one out here or pick one up at your Library. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.

~ Posted by Linda J.

#BookBingoNW2018: Memoir or biography — deep thoughts from funny people

If you’re looking for a lighter summer read but still want some substance,
check out these memoirs by comedians.

Lately I’ve been feeling a little too world-weary for anything heavy but a little too… existentially keyed up? for pure escapism. Luckily, the library has a great collection of memoirs that weave in issues of family dynamics, race, and gender along with the funny. Here’s a selection of thoughtful, clever, emotional, and yes, occasionally funny memoirs that have been giving me life. Add one of these recommendations to your bingo card, or add your own memoir recommendation in the comments.

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman
Nick Offerman is more than just his Ron character from Parks and Recreation, and he proves it in this delightful look back at a pretty decent childhood. Come for the nuanced discussion of manliness and stay for the compassionate analysis of the aspects of his childhood church experience that he appreciated (mainly the people) and the aspects that he has rejected (mainly treating the Bible as literal fact). Offerman even credits his signature deadpan style to the church, honed while attempting to make his cousins laugh without getting caught “monkeying around”. Most importantly, the audio book is read by the author himself, so you can experience the delight of his dry delivery first hand. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2018: Memoir or biography — deep thoughts from funny people”

#BookBingoNW2018: Written by an author from another country

Sitting in the top right corner, the category Written by an author from another country could be vital to making bingo vertically, horizontally, or the elusive diagonal bingo. We’re here to help you get it filled. For inspiration, you could consult previous posts about intriguing African fictionEast Asian fiction, European fiction, Latin American fiction, or Australian mysteries from the past few years.

Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2018: Written by an author from another country”

#BookBingoNW2018: History

Looking for something to fill in that “history” box on your Summer Book Bingo card?  Fortunately, the days of dry history tomes are, well, history.  There are currently lots of great authors who are writing fascinating nonfiction history books that have the page-turning quality of a good story.

Book cover for Ivory VikingsHere are some of my favorites:

Nancy Marie Brown – Brown has written several intriguing books about medieval Viking history, with an emphasis on the overlooked stories of women.

Vine Deloria Jr. ­– Deloria was a noted Native American historian whose writing and activism helped the American Indian Movement gain momentum in the 1960s and 1970s.  His book Indians of the Pacific Northwest, originally published in 1977 and recently reissued, is still considered a definitive account of Native history in the Northwest.  Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2018: History”

#BookBingoNW2018: LGBTQIA Author or Character

Throughout history the personal stories of LGBTQIA+ people have been either ignored or told secondhand, but as readers we can address this by seeking out memoirs, biographies, Book Cover of Surpassing Certainty by Janet Mockand historical works that center LGBTQIA+ voices. Writer and activist Hida Viloria’s trailblazing memoir Born Both: an Intersex Life explores the author’s intersex identity and activism. Janet Mock’s Surpassing Certainty is a solid follow-up to her previous memoir Redefining Realness, further cementing Mock as an essential modern transgender voice. Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars, by transgender author Kai Cheng Thom, is an unforgettable fictionalized memoir that speaks vital truths. Inspired by his identity as a gay Chinese American man, When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen is an honest and witty poetry collection that received the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2018: LGBTQIA Author or Character”