#BookBingoNW2018: First in a Series

2018 Summer Book Bingo is upon us, so let the booklists begin! This list will focus on that pesky category First In A Series. There are many, many beloved series out there, many of them in genre fiction. Hopefully there will be a little something for every reader here.

The Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn are a delightfully savage take on modern British aristocracy. Never Mind starts the series and is included in the omnibus edition of all 5 novels (Showtime is releasing a miniseries based on the novels starring Benedict Cumberbatch). For a lighter, shopaholic take on modern aristocracies, try Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (also soon to be in film), a voyeuristic look into the lives of China’s uber rich from the perspective of Rachel Chu, the American Born Chinese protagonist and girlfriend to the heir of one of China’s richest families, the Youngs. If snarking about the fabulously rich isn’t your jam, Rachael Cusk stretches the novel to new shapes with Outline, Transit, and Kudos (forthcoming). The novels merge oral history with fiction as a recently divorced woman encounters and listens to the stories of strangers and friends while her apartment is being renovated. Finally, if you haven’t read Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, starting with My Brilliant Friend, maybe this is the summer to check that off your list. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2018: First in a Series”

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”

Must-read Contemporary Essays

While perusing The New Yorker website a while ago, I came across a piece on the nature of the American essay by Vinson Cunningham. Cunningham argues that what makes an essay uniquely American is its sermonizing nature – the way there is always an argument being put forth for the reader to consider and be converted to. Cunningham traces this quality back to America’s most famous essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s an interesting assertion, although there are certainly many molds for the contemporary essay. Following is a consideration of several recent essay collections by American authors. You can find these collections as well as others, here as a list in Seattle Public Library’s catalog.

essays 1 Continue reading “Must-read Contemporary Essays”

DIY: Hand-Lettering

The beautiful, hand-lettered chalk-board signs popping up everywhere have helped start a hand-lettering craze, with how-to and inspiration books in abundance. While creating a unique typographic style may seem daunting at first, the following books will help those new to hand-lettering overcome the idea that creating beautiful letters are only for professionals with fancy design programs. While leading design and typography professionals can offer beautiful examples of what we can do with letters and words, these books show that anyone can make typographic art with a little bit of patience and a lot of trial and error. Continue reading “DIY: Hand-Lettering”

Beyond and After Butler

-posted by Veronica H.

Octavia Butler is a giant in science fiction and fantasy and her legacy is far-reaching. Her importance to the genre cannot be overstated. In honor of the recent Door to a Pink Universe Flash Fiction contest, I wanted to highlight some authors who are following in Butler’s footsteps and changing the definitions of science fiction and fantasy.

The Book of Phoenix cover imageNnedi Okorafor, a Nigerian-American author, combines complex political and social issues with African-based science fiction and fantasy for riveting fiction that explores the world we live in and those we might. Her most recent book, The Book of Phoenix, is a prequel to her World Fantasy Award-winning book Who Fears Death, and is set in a future Africa where the effects of technology, colonialism, racism, and war are explored with stunning beauty and intensity. It’s not necessary to read the books in order; both will blow you away. Okorafor has also written several young adult novels that deal with similar themes. She is currently working on a sequel to Akata Witch, a Junior Library Guild Selection book and a YALSA 2011 Best Book of the year. Continue reading “Beyond and After Butler”