For Writers: Getting The Historical Details Right

writeby Andrea
There is no one season for writing, but often the fall feels like a time of rededication – students back to school, weather which encourages staying indoors, even National Novel Writing Month in November if sprint writing is your thing. To help you refocus, through November the Library is offering a variety of free workshops and panel discussions on the craft of writing and the process of self- publishing.

But you know what? We also have a ton of cool books and other items to help inspire you, verify details, and tell your story. Check out these companion lists:

novel_librarian/312050657_for_writers_getting_the_historical_details_right Continue reading “For Writers: Getting The Historical Details Right”

Beautiful in the Mouth: On the Reading and Writing of Poetry

 What is a poem on a page but a Field of Light and Shadow where

For Love of Common of Words, A Radiant Curve catches 19 Varieties of Gazelle

gazing into Darkening Water becoming Human Dark with Sugar going

Heart First into the Forest Meaning a Cloud, Torn Awake is coming to be

torch song tango choir Dismantling the Hills of The City, Our City is a Cloud of Ink

Becoming Weather just One Hundred Steps from Shore the Flood Song of a Floating City

floats in on The Heaven-Sent Leaf to rest among The Red Leaves of Night

where Bird Eating Bird in Green Squall leave us A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood

that lie down too Beautiful in the Mouth

Now that National Poetry Month, with its reign of readings, has abated, why not plant new seeds in time for next year’s poetic harvest? Whether you are new to poetry or a seasoned reader, a particular poem or poet can inspire a desire to try your hand and pen your own musings. Reading poems can serve to whet one’s appetite for delving into the verdant realm of verse. You’ll find a range of poetic styles and subject matter hidden in the lines of the “found poem” above which is composed from titles of books in the library’s collection.

Read aloud, a poem sharpens the listener’s ear to nuance and meaning. A bounty of voices can be heard on the following audiobooks:

She Walks in Beauty Cover

If you’re ready to get in touch with your poetic voice, the following offerings will provide insight and inspiration to anyone venturing forth into the lush world of language:

The Ode Less Travelled Cover

Nightstand Reading: Kerry Colburn and Jen Worick

We asked local authors Kerry Colburn and Jen Worick to share their nightstand reads with us!

Being asked about our nightstand reads is like being asked to choose between children … but we will for the sake of SPL.

Jen’s nightstand: After reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I loved, I went on a hunt for other academic thrillers (having already devoured books like The Historian and Ghostwalk). I plowed through The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason, and am now reading The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez. Then I plan on getting back to The Passage by Justin Cronin. I am sort of over both vampires and zombies (which may be literary sacrilege, I realize) but Cronin’s writing is so compelling that I’m willing to put my zombie disdain on the shelf.

Kerry’s nightstand: Having just finished Maile Meloy’s lovely novel  A Family Daughter, I found my nightstand empty last week (the horror!). So, I stole a book from my husband’s side: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. An interesting insider look at the New York art scene (with a killer endorsement by Joyce Carol Oates on the back), this book nonetheless doesn’t move me as much as Martin’s Shopgirl or my personal favorite, The Pleasure of My Company, a quirky and sweet gem of a book that I may just have to reread.

Editors’ note: Why not get your own book published and on nightstands across the country? Join Kerry and Jen at the Central Library on Saturday, April 2, at noon to learn how to “Publish Your Passion,” or check out their other publishing workshops at

(Also, you can listen to Jen talk more about some of these books on the Seattle Bibliocafe Episode 7 podcast!)

Reading about writing

Who would think that books about grammar would be so inviting? Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: the Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences is delightful because it fully engages the reader in the odd history of diagramming, from its birth in the mid 1800s to Gertrude Stein’s love of diagramming. People schooled in earlier times will love the book because of the school-day memories it evokes.

What other grammar books are in the Seattle Public Library? The most recent grammar book in the catalog is The Glamour of Grammar, a Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English. And here’s a look at a few pages from one of the oldest grammar books, published in 1895, which has this lovely and long title: A one-book course in English, in which the pupil is led by a series of observation lessons to discover and apply the principles that underlie the construction of the sentence, and that control the use of grammatical forms. A complete text-book on grammar and composition. For schools whose curriculum will not allow time for the authors’ two-book course. Phew!

Here’s some more fun reading about grammar: Continue reading “Reading about writing”

The Novel: Live! 36 authors to create a novel in six days

Here’s your chance to read it as they write it: Tomorrow morning at 10 sharp, novelist Jennie Shortridge will write the opening lines of a new novel, something she’s certainly done before, but never in so public of a space. This time, Shortridge and 35 other local authors are writing on stage in The Novel: Live!  — and you can follow along online or in person to see this collaborative novel take shape. 

This novel project was launched by the Seattle7Writers, a group of novelists who have been kicking butt raising money for various nonprofits (The Novel: Live! project benefits 826 Seattle and Writers in the Schools) and creating pocket libraries.  As the countdown to the live novel writing project nears, we asked The Seattle7 to share their favorite writing books:

Tune in tomorrow to The Novel: Live! website to watch the creative process unfold in Seattle!