#BookBingoNW2020: A SAL Author (past or upcoming)

You may be pleasantly surprised by just how many options there are to read a Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL) author. SAL has been bringing writers to Seattle for over thirty years (here is the complete list), so there are literally hundreds of options. Or check out this amazing list of SAL Speaker titles available for immediate download from your library.

Here are some past SAL speakers who not only have books available for in our catalog, but – for all of you who miss attending literary events – whose podcast appearances at the Library can also be enjoyed right away:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2020: A SAL Author (past or upcoming)”

Pandemic Post-Apocalyptic Podcast

It was amazing, astounding, this loss of communication with the world. It was exactly as if the world had ceased, been blotted out. …With the coming of the Scarlet Death the world fell apart, absolutely, irretrievably.
The Scarlet Plague, by Jack London

Just a handful of years after the novella quoted above came out, the world was plunged into a global pandemic that claimed over 50 million lives. Jack London didn’t live to see it, but he had recently witnessed the ominous return of the Black Death, a startling outbreak of bubonic plague in turn-of-the-century San Francisco that is recounted in David Randall’s Black Death at the Golden Gate. What’s more, he had the foresight to know that worse – much worse – was to come:

Now this is the strange thing about these germs. There were always new ones coming to live in men’s bodies. …the more men there were, the more thickly were they packed together on the earth, the more new kinds of germs became diseases. There were warnings. Soldervetzsky, as early as 1929, told the bacteriologists that they had no guaranty against some new disease, a thousand times more deadly than any they knew, arising and killing by the hundreds of millions and even by the billion.  

While not all of the predictions in London’s vision of America circa 2013 ring true – personal dirigibles, anyone? – his pandemic prophecies have only gained force. In H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, humankind is saved by micro-organisms; in London’s The Scarlet Plague, these same germs turn on us, and almost win. Looking back from the year 2073 on the devastation, an old man attempts to teach his grandsons how to relight the torch of civilization, with the aid of that most precious tool: books! Continue reading “Pandemic Post-Apocalyptic Podcast”

Panic on the Rails in our Thrilling Tales podcast

Two trains speed toward each other in a blizzard, as a killer wanders the night! Melodrama on the rails, in this week’s Thrilling Tales: Storytime for Grownups, available now! On May 20, 1920 the readers opening the new issue of Metropolitan magazine were captivated by a heart-stopping tale entitled The Signal Tower, by Wadsworth Camp. Never heard of him? Neither had I! Most of the details we know about the man come from biographies of his daughter Madeleine L’Engle, the beloved author of A Wrinkle in Time. Camp was known in his day as the author of several excellent mystery novels, many of which were adapted to the stage or screen. Continue reading “Panic on the Rails in our Thrilling Tales podcast”

#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:

Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2020: Epistolary”