John Wyndham’s Work Remains Scary and Thought-provoking

I love discovering authors that were impactful in their era and whose work still holds up today. Wyndham is the kind of writer I truly enjoy–he writes the kind of unfussy, competent prose that is underrated and more supple than it first appears. His writing reminds me of the work of Walter Tevis, Theodore Sturgeon, and James Tiptree, Jr. where the first lines draw you in, and the characters are drawn swiftly in compelling details without overdoing it.

Wyndham wrote short, chilling novels that he called “logical fantasy” and what were alternately and perhaps dismissively called “cosy catastrophes.” He also knew how to draw you in from the first sentence and paragraph.

Here is the first sentence in The Day of the Triffids (1951): “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like a Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” Continue reading “John Wyndham’s Work Remains Scary and Thought-provoking”

New African American Fiction

February is Black History Month, so the Reader Services department created a list of recently published African American fiction that we are loving — and we think you will, too. Here is a sampling of some of the books on the list which includes general fiction, mystery, fantasy and romance. Definitely something for every reader!

Alyssa Cole’s An Extraordinary Union is a romance set in the Civil War that centers on a young black woman and freewoman, Elle Burns, who goes undercover as a pro-Union Loyalty League spy. Things get complicated for Elle when she falls for another spy of a different race. Library Journal said: “Courageous, passionate protagonists fight for justice, freedom, and the right to love in an exceptional story that both educates and entertains and beautifully launches a unique series.”

Naima Coster’s debut Halsey Street looks at how gentrification impacts one family in Brooklyn, Continue reading “New African American Fiction”

Remembering Ursula K. Le Guin

From l to r: Michael Wallenfells, Ursula K. Le Guin, Misha Stone, Duane Wilkins, May 2013, Central Library

Ursula K. Le Guin died in her home in Portland, Oregon on January 22nd at the age of 88. There have been so many marvelous essays and remembrances of her from Margaret Atwood, Karen Joy Fowler, Nisi Shawl, Nicola Griffith, Margaret Killjoy, John Scalzi and more. I don’t feel as though I can add anything new to the chorus, other than to share what Ursula K. Le Guin meant to me.

I encountered Le Guin on my father’s bookshelves, where Continue reading “Remembering Ursula K. Le Guin”

My Favorite 2017 Science Fiction and Fantasy

Every year I set reading goals for myself. One of those goals is to read as much as possible. I also try to get to a few older books I have been meaning to read. But trying to read the latest releases in literary fiction, nonfiction and science fiction and fantasy is an evergreen reading goal. Here are some of my favorite science fiction and fantasy released in 2017: Continue reading “My Favorite 2017 Science Fiction and Fantasy”

Ideas for Book Giving this Holiday

Librarians give – and get – a lot of books this time of year. Seeing that familiar shape surrounded by festive wrapping is a special thrill. Sure, we know it is a book, but what book? We recently shared some ideas on how to choose good books for your loved ones. Now here are some titles we’re especially excited to be giving – or receiving – this year.

Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. An uncommon look at a seemingly common bird, this is narrative nonfiction at its best. And, yes, Mozart had a pet starling. So did Haupt. From the Seattle author who brought you Crow Planet.  – Linda

Pie & Whiskey edited by Kate Lebo and Sam Ligon. These two Spokane authors have been hosting spirited literary events inspiring northwest authors to write poems, stories, and essays under the influence of butter and booze. The resulting anthology is funny, wise, insightful, irreverent — and handy. Fits in a (large) stocking!  – Linda Continue reading “Ideas for Book Giving this Holiday”