Fall into a Cozy Mystery, 2021

As the weather turns and the rains begin, I love nothing better than to curl up with a good book. Cozy mysteries are a genre I’ve recently discovered, only to lament that I hadn’t started reading them sooner! Don’t let the pun-filled titles deter you from this warm, light, and friendly genre, which is often thematic. There are series set in book stores, series set in coffee shops, series centered on dogs and cats, and even foodie series: whatever hobby you are into, there’s probably a cozy mystery series for you! These are some of the cozies I’ve enjoyed and recommended recently.  

Margaret Loudon’s Open Book series starts with Murder in the Margins and is set in a quintessential small British Hamlet. Our main character is an American woman on a grant-based writing trip, working part time at the Open Book Bookshop. The delightful cast of side characters and the quaint setting will reel you into this cozy, bookish series. Continue reading “Fall into a Cozy Mystery, 2021”

Radical Mycology!

We live in one of the most fungally rich regions in the United States. Oregon has the largest single living organism on Earth in the Malheur National forest. It’s a fungus known by several names: Armillaria, scientifically; Honey Mushroom commonly; or, locally, as the Humongous Fungus. By 2015 it was three square miles large and a few thousand years old. It lives in the soil and spreads its filaments outward so that it grows one to three feet each year. It’s also killing the forest.

Or is it simply performing its natural function of recycling the trees back into the soil, but on a longer time scale than most humans are capable of understanding? Questions like these underpin the field of Mycology, the branch of biology that studies fungi, one of the least understood branches of life on Earth. Several recent books delve into this field from both the highly specialized scientific perspective as well as that of radical DIYers. Entangled Life, by Merlin Sheldrake, is a highly readable account of the author’s love for mushrooms and fungi as well as a tour through current trends in mycology to examine just how little we understand about these organisms. Similarly, Doug Bierend’s In Search of Mycotopia shows us the possibilities of fungal and microbial life. Both authors are trained experts and believe that understanding the fungus among us can radically alter how we experience our own lives as well as the world around us. Continue reading “Radical Mycology!”

Magical Thinking

Sometimes we need a little magic in our lives, whether we create it ourselves or look to others to create it for us. Let these magic-makers offer you inspiration, wonder, and escape.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is a classic of the genre. It introduces us to sisters Gigllian and Sally Owens and their efforts to endure the Owen family curse. The sequel, The Rules of Magic is about the Aunts in the 1950s & 60s. Also look for Hoffman’s forthcoming book, Magic Lessons (out in October) to learn the origin of the Owen family curse. Continue reading “Magical Thinking”

Digital Knitting

While Ravelry.com is arguably THE place to get knitting and crocheting patterns, Seattle Public Library has many pattern books as ebooks that are free to borrow, from beginner learning books like Teach Yourself Visually Knitting, to books on advanced techniques such as Knitting Brioche: The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch by the venerable Nancy Marchant. Here’s some stash-busting suggestions.

 

Knitted Tanks & Tunics: 21 Crisp, Cool Designs for Sleeveless Tops by Angela Hahn is a perfect place to find cool knits as the weather warms in the PNW. Find patterns for linen yarn as well as layering tanks in this gorgeous pattern book. Find more warm weather patterns in Knitting in the Sun: 32 Projects for Warm Weather by Kristi Porter. We sometimes take for granted the material we work with as crafters. Continue reading “Digital Knitting”

Library Podcasts with a Seattle Focus

Last week I highlighted some of the diverse podcasts the library has to offer on it’s website with no library card required. I wanted to discuss some of the other things offered on the Library Podcast page, specifically the variety of discussions on Seattle and Seattle history.

In Fall of 2019, the Library hosted discussions on the hidden history of the Space Needle, including Space Needle Redux: Knute Berger and B.J. Bullert Eye the Needle. Continue reading “Library Podcasts with a Seattle Focus”