#BookBingoNW2020: Afrofuturism

#BookBingoNW2020 is upon us!

One of the new categories this summer is Afrofuturism. If you saw Black Panther or watched Janelle Monaé’s emotion picture for their album “Dirty Computer,” then chances are you have already been exposed to Afrofuturism. But have you read any Afrofuturist books?

Dictionary.com defines Afrofuturism as (noun)
“a cultural movement that uses the frame of science fiction and fantasy to reimagine the history of the African diaspora and to invoke a vision of a technically advanced and generally hopeful future in which black people thrive: this movement is expressed through art, cinema, literature, music, fashion, etc.” Here is a sample from the list to get you started!

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#BookBingoNW2020: Set At or By the Sea

It seems as long as people have told stories, they have told sea stories. Gilgamesh crosses the sea and even dives to the bottom in the quest for eternal life. The nautical adventures of Homer’s Odysseus are literally legendary, as are those of Jason and the Argonauts. More recently, both Edgar Allan Poe’s Narrative of the Life of Arthur Gordon Pym and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick set sail from Nantucket on voyages that sounded some strange depths indeed. Environmental writer Rachel Carson had her first big success writing about The Sea Around Us, while Iris Murdoch’s masterpiece sends her obsessive hero on a misguided journey to escape himself by the side of The Sea! The Sea! Here are some other sea stories to get you started on this oceanic bingo square:

The Rathbones by Janice Clark
Young Mercy Rathbone and her cousin Mordecai set off across the briny deep in search of her whaler father in this offbeat gothic adventure inspired by Homer’s Odyssey and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2020: Set At or By the Sea”

#BookBingoNW2020: Epistolary

And then there’s that square marked “epistolary.” You’d be forgiven for Googling that one, where you’ll find it means a story told in the form of documents, such as diaries, emails, texts, and – most traditionally – letters – aka, epistles. To which you might respond “they write novels in the form of letters?” Oh yes, Wikipedia replies, in fact they pretty much always have. Chances are you’ve read some yourself! Not just old-timey classics such as Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Sorrows of Young Werther, but many more recent favorites like The Color Purple, CarrieThe Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, and The Martian are epistolary in form. Still unsure? Here are some great recent examples to get you started:

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#BookBingoNW2019: One Word Titles

Stop by your library and see what one-word titles are on display — and in the stacks.

A few readers have asked if the one-word title reading challenge for Book Bingo can include a book with a subtitle. There are no hard and fast rules for Book Bingo (for any of the squares), but I’m going to weigh in with an enthusiastic and reassuring “YES! Read that book with a long subtitle!” because that opens the door for so many wonderful nonfiction books.

However, I draw the line at an article preceding the one-word title. If there’s an “a” or “the” ahead of the word, it doesn’t count — at least not by my rules. But you should play by your own rules.

Back to the challenge at hand. This is one of the easiest categories for rediscovering the joy of browsing in the stacks. Those one-word titles are easy to spot, and serendipity can lead you to a new author or perspective. You can also start at the Peak Picks collection at your favorite branch, where you’ll find these nonfiction titles: Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2019: One Word Titles”

#BookBingoNW2018: First in a Series

2018 Summer Book Bingo is upon us, so let the booklists begin! This list will focus on that pesky category First In A Series. There are many, many beloved series out there, many of them in genre fiction. Hopefully there will be a little something for every reader here.

The Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn are a delightfully savage take on modern British aristocracy. Never Mind starts the series and is included in the omnibus edition of all 5 novels (Showtime is releasing a miniseries based on the novels starring Benedict Cumberbatch). For a lighter, shopaholic take on modern aristocracies, try Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (also soon to be in film), a voyeuristic look into the lives of China’s uber rich from the perspective of Rachel Chu, the American Born Chinese protagonist and girlfriend to the heir of one of China’s richest families, the Youngs. If snarking about the fabulously rich isn’t your jam, Rachael Cusk stretches the novel to new shapes with Outline, Transit, and Kudos (forthcoming). The novels merge oral history with fiction as a recently divorced woman encounters and listens to the stories of strangers and friends while her apartment is being renovated. Finally, if you haven’t read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, starting with My Brilliant Friend, maybe this is the summer to check that off your list. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2018: First in a Series”