Oh, doggone it!

Dogs can completely change the way we feel—for the better. They are funny, loving, and intelligent. Canine companions live in an estimated 63 million U.S. homes, so it’s no wonder stories, movies, and videos featuring dogs have always been big hits. Let’s not forget our own local legend, the public-transit-riding dog, Eclipse, who rides the bus throughout Seattle (except during quarantine, of course). Today, we are going to look at three dog-related titles that highlight the amazing lives of dogs and those who live with, rely on, and love them.

The Art of Racing in the Rain book cover imageThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This is one of those stories, told through the eyes (and voice) of a dog, that simply works. Enzo is a dog who sees the world for what it is and would love to speak his mind directly to those around him, but cannot. However, we are lucky enough to get an inside look at his joys and frustrations surrounding the life of his human family. Publisher’s Weekly notes: “Stein’s tale of family, loss, redemption, and fast cars—recounted entirely from the perspective of a retriever-terrier mix named Enzo—ups the ante on the recent trend of high-concept anthropomorphism in popular fictions.” Continue reading “Oh, doggone it!”

Science fiction and fantasy books about change

During these times of uncertainty, many of us are looking to our favorite writers for comfort and guidance. For decades, speculative-fiction writers have shown themselves to be especially well-versed in the subject of uncertainty, using their magical worlds to explore social problems and existential questions that complicate our daily lives. Here are three science fiction and fantasy novels that offer empowering perspectives on change and adjusting to a new normal.

The Left Hand of Darkness book cover imageThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

This novel is perhaps best known for its commentary on the social effects of gender roles, thanks to Le Guin’s detailed, almost anthropological portrayal of an alien society where gender does not exist. These are the Gethenians, who live out their days on the planet Winter, named so because it is covered eternally in snow, wind, and ice. As narrator Genly Ai learns about the Gethenians’ culture and lifestyle on their frozen planet, the patient reader slowly learns along with him and ultimately is rewarded with profound meditations on change, ephemerality, and living under harsh conditions in a world full of great unknowns. Continue reading “Science fiction and fantasy books about change”

Judge a Book by its Spine

They say to never judge a book by its cover (though we all do), but what about its spine? While in libraries, bookstores, and private homes we all try our best to face our beautiful collections out for all of the world to behold, most collections are smooshed together citing space considerations, presenting only the slender spine of the work.

Why should anyone care about the spine of a book? The spine is, especially in the library, a very valuable piece of real-estate on each book. Apart from the covers of display books, this is the first part of the book that people see. The spine conveys both utilitarian information about a book’s place in a series, its author, and publisher; and also presents a chance for the book to sell itself. This space can provides a reader’s first clue as to what the book is about, its characters, its appeal, and so on… You might not get to the cover, if you don’t get past the spine. Continue reading “Judge a Book by its Spine”

Our Top 10 Children’s Picture Books of 2017

Children’s Services Librarians from The Seattle Public Library have selected our ten favorite picture books of the year.  Though it’s a challenge to limit ourselves to ten titles (check out our longer list of favorite 2017 picture books), we all responded to the joy in these ten books – each is a celebration: of home and family; of being yourself; of caring for others; and of a fresh haircut!  Enjoy!

Quiet! by Kate Alizadeh
Keep your ears open for the wonderful array of delightful sounds in life as you journey through the day with this kiddo. Continue reading “Our Top 10 Children’s Picture Books of 2017”

Our Top 10 Teen Books of 2017

Every year, we look for the best books written for young adults. We all have our personal favorites, of course, but there are inevitably a handful of books that rise to the top. This year, our collective favorite titles cover an impressively wide range of timely and important topics, from immigration and criminal justice to racial equity and activism. We also found this year’s books are drawn from just about every genre, including romance, magical realism, survival, science-fiction, and realistic fiction.  Note: MS denotes books appropriate for middle grade readers.

Continue reading “Our Top 10 Teen Books of 2017”