Holiday Reads for the Rest of Us

To get into the holiday spirit this year I’ve been cranking up the Christmas tunes, decorating the Christmas tree, and drinking hot cocoa while watching Home Alone, but when it comes to books I need something a little less sparkly and bright. I like to read realistic fiction – nothing against a good cozy mystery or a holiday themed romance, but I enjoy the struggle of real life in my reading. It helps me recognize what I’m thankful for and helps me feel less alone if I’m having a hard time. Here are some fiction reads, for however you spend the season, to bring some empathy, understanding, and maybe a little chaos.

Disgruntled: A Novel by Asali Solomon: “Kenya is teased mercilessly by her Philadelphia grade-school classmates for her Kwanzaa-celebrating family’s odd ways—and they don’t know the half of it.  Her father preaches “black anarchy” as the volatile leader of the Seven Days, a group he and Kenya’s mother, Sheila, who grew up in the projects and who supports her family as a librarian, has pulled together. Preternaturally observant and mordantly funny, Kenya is a hypnotic narrator coping valiantly with an increasingly bewildering life.” (Booklist) Continue reading “Holiday Reads for the Rest of Us”

Bringing Women’s Stories to Life

For Women’s History Month this year, I’d like to highlight the way fiction can take a real person’s life and help fill in the gaps about what we historically know, using imagination in order to bring that person’s story back. In particular, since the historical register generally focuses on men, women’s full lives were often elided or ignored in the historical record, and thus in history class and history books. Here, then, is a small sampling of novels by women writers bringing back to full, bright life women from history.

Jubilee by Margaret Walker
Grounded in decades of research, Walker tells the story of her great-grandmother Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and an enslaved woman on his plantation. Through Vyry’s experiences the reader sees life in pre-Civil War Georgia, wartime deprivation, and the promise and hard reality of Reconstruction. Continue reading “Bringing Women’s Stories to Life”

Epistolary Novels in the 21st Century

If you ever took an English class that covered the history of literature, you very likely spent at least a few minutes on epistolary novels, or novels written as a series of documents, traditionally letters. The examples that spring to my mind are the classics, such as Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson (c. 1740) and Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos (c. 1782). However I’ve been rather surprised and delighted to find the genre is still going strong, evolving alongside our forms of communication, ranging from from historical novels where characters exchange letters to contemporary fiction using emails, text messages, tweets and more.  Continue reading “Epistolary Novels in the 21st Century”

2017 Books You’ll Want to Put on Hold Now

The Seattle Public Library offers a huge selection of materials to the public, and we are constantly adding new titles. How can you stay on top of what’s new at the Library? Shelf Talk is a good place to find recommendations, but there’s a very easy way to see what the Library is getting. When visiting the Library’s catalog search page, click on the “Explore” tab to find “New Titles.” Once there, you can either see what we’ve just gotten in or what we’ve put on order in books, movies and music. Here are a few titles that are sure to be big in the early part of 2017. Get yourselves on the hold list early!

Continue reading “2017 Books You’ll Want to Put on Hold Now”

Bus Reads for April

First off, I moved to Tacoma. I gotta say I never thought I’d move from Seattle, but life happens and between rent increases and a boy I made the plunge to the sassy sister to the south! One of the many highlights of my move has actually been my bus commute. That’s not something you hear every day, but the 90 minutes now has become my quiet time to devour books and devour them I have. The plan is to share my plethora of reading with you, which seems to be about four ebooks a month at this point and I average about 80 pages a trip. I’ll attempt to stay away from books that have already been posted and best sellers because really they get enough attention. Enjoy the ride!

A Trip to the Stars Find A Trip to the Stars in the SPL catalogby Nicholas Christopher was a wonderful read. The connections the author uses to unite characters while they are separated from each other was beautiful and magical. The chapters go back and forth between the nephew that is ‘lost’ yet found and the aunt who struggles to find herself after her nephew goes missing. I was completely enthralled with each page and the secondary characters added another level of interest. It was a bit longer than I usually grab for a bus book, but so very worth it. Continue reading “Bus Reads for April”