Welcome to Awards Season

Can you feel it in the air? Have you seen the announcements? Literary awards season* is upon us again!

On September 9th, the shortlist for the Man Booker prize was announced. On September 15th, the National Book Foundation finished announcing the 40 longlisted titles for the National Book Award in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature categories. On September 20th Kirkus Reviews announced the 2016 finalists for the Kirkus Awards in fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature. And on September 21st, the longlists for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence for fiction and nonfiction were announced.


If you look through all the lists, a few titles will stand out. Continue reading “Welcome to Awards Season”

Book Bingo: Books You Can Finish Reading in a Day!

 – Posted by Eric G.

This summer The Seattle Public Library, in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures, is Finished Reading in a Dayexcited to offer a summer reading program for adults called Summer Book Bingo! In order to help you along on your quest to complete your bingo sheet, we have pulled together some book suggestions based on each category. Stay tuned for more throughout the summer!

Today’s Book Bingo category is “You Finish Reading in a Day.” For the sake of consistency, the books I picked are around 200 pages or less, with some having significantly less. Therefore, each of these could theoretically be finished in one day, barring any outside distractions or obligations. Personally I am a very slow reader who has a penchant for dense, emotionally-grueling literary fiction, so if you’re like me your mileage may vary!

Speaking of literary novels, I recently read Justin Torres’ acclaimed We the Animals (144 pp.), a succinct story that packs a punch. You could also try A Mercy by Toni Morrison (224 pp.) or The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (163 pp.). Continue reading “Book Bingo: Books You Can Finish Reading in a Day!”

You Must Read This: A Little Life

little lifeLast year, I attended a workshop with sales representatives from the major publishing houses promoting forthcoming books. One particular rep discussed dozens of titles, but she stopped and reflected on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. She read the manuscript and knew that it was special, and that it would be one of the most outstanding fiction titles of 2015. I couldn’t wait, and the rep shared her manuscript with me, months ahead of publication. It’s an imposing book – its 720 pages contain some extraordinarily depressing material – but it’s also a beautiful meditation on love and friendship, with some passages so elegantly written I read them over and over again. Continue reading “You Must Read This: A Little Life”

Staff favorites: literary fiction

Posted by Jen B.

The 2014 Summer edition of Staff Favorites is now available at our favorite branch! Here, in their own words, Library staff members share some great literary fiction for your summer reading list.

The PlagueThe Plague by Albert Camus
The plague is quiet. Is there misguided hope that there is some civility in suffering? Though scenes of panic and disorder appear in this work, there is no overall anarchy, which is often presented as the norm of behavior in times of strife. Instead, the population, after the initial shock, withdraws. And despite the camaraderie of a shared condition, the only reality is that we are all in the end “alone” in our own mortality. –Diane, West Seattle


The PrivilegesThe Privileges by Jonathan Dee
Dee does a great job with characters that you don’t necessarily like, but care about, and The Privileges is no different. The story is about Adam and Cynthia, a young, attractive, wealthy couple who—literally—have it all, but are still unsatisfied. With any other author I would say, “Who cares!” But with Dee’s novel I wanted to see it through and find out if the characters who “have it all” find happiness as well. –Frank, Central Continue reading “Staff favorites: literary fiction”

Seriously fun fiction

Posted by Jen B.

Literary fiction doesn’t have to be difficult, sad, or highbrow, but finding stellar writing, intriguing characterization and whip-smart wit in popular fiction is a needle-in-a-haystack hunt. Here are four great picks (plus their read-alike cousins) that are thought-provoking, good for discussion and just plain fun to read.

World to Come by Dara Horn in Library CatalogThe World to Come by Dara Horn
There’s a lot going on in this short novel about Benjamin Ziskind, a quiz show question writer turned art thief. Stories-within-stories take readers back to Soviet Russia in the 1920s, the influence of Marc Chagall on a young boy and a Yiddish storyteller’s desperate attempt to save his art. You might also like The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Continue reading “Seriously fun fiction”