Read Something Gifted

What was your favorite book you received as a gift this year? I’m assuming you got at least a few, but if somehow that didn’t happen then what was your favorite bookish gift; you know what I mean, all those non-book gifts that folks just love to give to readers.

I’ll begin: mine was Read Something, a “premium readers advisory deck” created by the talented team behind Unshelved, the library comic, and other bookish fabulosity. Gifted to me by one of my favorite librarian friends from Kansas City who is, like myself, and avid reader of both books and tarot cards, this wildly inventive reading game/tool includes 101 variously-themed illustrated cards, each one of which could complete the suggestion – or the command  (the plea?) – Read Something _________.

Because I’m a librarian, and librarians are notorious for sharing things, I thought it might be fun to share this deck with you, card by card, here on Shelf Talk, inviting you all to muse on and share your own ideas, as inspired by each card’s theme. (And yes, the cards’ creators thought that sounded fun, too) So join us for this whole series of #ReadSomething posts, as we invite chance and whimsey into our literary lives. Fittingly, the first card I’m sharing is: Gifted. Which leads me to my question: Continue reading “Read Something Gifted”

Dysfunctional Holidays

I don’t know about you, but for me this has been a very, very long year.  Between Covid-19, the election, and the Black Lives Matter Movement there has been a lot of family tension.  With the holidays coming up it makes it even harder to think of those family dynamics coming into play.  While quarantine has given us the opportunity to have that distance this is also a time to come together and reconcile with family, if you so choose.

Whether you decide to continue a relationship with your family or whether it is time to cut it off – only you know what is right for you. Here are a few books that have been gathered to help make those important decisions.

When Difficult Relatives Happen to Good People: Surviving your Family and Keeping Your Sanity by Leonard Felder

This book is about accepting the fact that things are as they are and ways to cope and reframe how you view toxic relatives. Using that family time to create heartfelt connections, while being aware that there are difficult relatives and it Continue reading “Dysfunctional Holidays”

Thrilling Tales for the Holidays

Now that Hallowe’en is past, we approach the holidays with visions of murder dancing in our heads. We’re talking about the next few months of Thrilling Tales – Seattle Public Library’s popular Story time for Grownups, of course!

It all starts this Sunday: November 17, 7 p.m. with a Storytime for Grownups at Third Place Books, Seward Park of the story Plan 19, by Jack Ritchie
Fred and Hector have cooked up eighteen separate plans for their big prison break, but it takes Big Duke to add that one missing ingredient. This time, they can’t fail!

Monday November 18, noon: Dances With Ghosts, by Joseph Bruchac. Harley Bigbear is haunted enough, without the angry ghosts of white men banging on his trailer door. Gritty Indian Country noir by this prize-winning Indigenous author. Continue reading “Thrilling Tales for the Holidays”

Ready, Set, Holidays!

The holidays are nearly upon us. For many of us, it’s time to start thinking about making a Halloween costume, what dish to make for Thanksgiving, or what gifts to make for friends and family. Now is the time to start planning! Here are some books to guide you as the season approaches.

In The Horrible Craft Book, Laura Minter brings kids and adults together to make gross items like cat poo chocolates, or a brain piñata and tasty eyeballs, just in time for Halloween. In Autumn BouquetSharon Keightley shows quilters how to prepare appliques featuring beautiful fall colors and themes. Deck the halls Scandi-style with Norwegian sensations Arne & Carlos’s 55 Christmas Balls to Knit and Jorid Livnik’s Big Book of Christmas Knits. Make Beautiful Wreaths with Melissa Skidmore or step up your decorating game with Cassie Kitzmiller’s Christmas Tree BookPersonalize your own cards, gift wrap and decorations with Holiday Hand Lettering from Lark Books and Vivienne Bolton’s Making Your Own Greeting Cards and Gift WrapAnd Doerthe Eisterlehner keeps things festive and charming with My Little Crocheted Christmas along with ideas for traditional crafts in Taste of Home: Handmade Christmas Continue reading “Ready, Set, Holidays!”

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”