February 2016 events: Seattle and Anacortes

queen anne books event (1).JPGDastardly Plots, Daring Adventures — with Kristen Kittscher and Kirby LarsonTuesday, February 23, 2016, at 7 .m.
Queen Anne Book Co.
1811 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

Two of my favorite authors will be at Queen Anne Book Co. on 2/23 — and I get to be with them!  Kristen Kittscher (Wig in the Window, Tiara on the Terrace) is in town this week; and the incomparable Kirby Larson has a new historical mystery series out, starting with Audacity Jones). We’ll be talking about sleuths, Continue reading

Book Bingo spices up summer reading for grown-ups

You wouldn’t think adults would be so crazy nostalgic about checking off the books they read, harkening back to their summers spent reading library books. But say the words “adult summer reading program” and you’ve got our attention.

Enter Book Bingo and we’re hooked.

Summer Book Bingo Card

This summer, Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures brought grown-up readers across the city a summer reading program just for us — and we’re absolutely loving it. In Summer Book Bingo, each square on the bingo card is a challenge — read a book by a local author, read a book translated from another language, read a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, and so on. Get five in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally and you’ve got “bingo” (and a chance to win prizes).

But the best part? It’s not the prizes. The absolute best part is that people around the city are talking about what they’re reading. We’re hearing about it in our libraries, seeing people share what they’re reading for each square on Twitter and Instagram (#BookBingoNW), and listening in while readers offer each other suggestions to get to bingo.

adam silveraLast summer, my favorite podcast, “Books on the Nightstand,” did a fabulous job starting conversations — and keeping them going — through its version of Book Bingo. Podcast hosts Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness offered suggestions each week on the podcast, and readers shared its suggestions, too. Its Goodreads group is impressive with 5,000 members; its discussions are topical and there are already more than 50 book bingo categories being discussed. People love to talk about what they’re reading and people love to read about what to read next.

Anyone can play along with “Books on the Nightstand” and players get different cards. You can get a randomized line up of reading challenges by printing from here (refresh before printing). I’m sure the intent is to take whichever card you’re handed, but I’ll admit to hitting refresh three times before printing. Sorry, I just really couldn’t face a book with footnotes, after not finishing David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest two summers in a row; my next card had “read a biography of someone you dislike” AND “read a book you think you’ll dislike.” Too much disliking for my summer reading … but a simple “refresh” and I’ve got a card that challenges, but isn’t a turn off.

Even if you don’t play the “BOTNS” version of Book Bingo, its podcasts, shownotes, and discussion boards are excellent places to get ideas for what to read next.

black holeSeattle’s Book Bingo version (which has also made it to France and Médiathèque Languidic, a library in Languidic, for Biblio Bingo) has just one card. The categories are open-ended enough that it doesn’t seem to matter if you read fiction or nonfiction. And the good thing about one standardized card is that it brings some structure and commonalities to reading discussions around the city. You can walk into any library or independent book store and pick up a bingo card, talk to librarians and booksellers about what to read, maybe even talk with other customers or library patrons. There really is potential for three months of people talking about what they’re reading.

I find this city-wide focus on reading — and talking about books — extremely satisfying. Reading is, of course, solitary, yet so many of us are looking for a community of readers. We can read alone, together. We can talk about what we’re reading when we feel like it, if we feel like it. We can feel the satisfaction of finishing a good book and writing the title in a bingo square.

Right now my Book Bingo card is on my refrigerator. This is one summer reading program piece I plan to keep, long after summer ends.

This post originally appeared on Huffington Post 7/12/2015 here.

Science Friday: An astronaut answers Seattle librarians’ question from the International Space Station

Our video made it all the way to the International Space Station. Here’s a blog post I did for Seattle Public Library:

Shelf Talk

by Linda J.

We made a little video and sent it into outer space, asking astronaut Reid Wiseman, currently living and working on the International Space Station, to talk about a book that changed his view of the world. His thoughtful answer shows the power of imagination and what reading means in his life. Take a look!

I must say that it is pure pleasure to work at a place like Seattle Public Library where, on a Sunday morning, you can say to three of your librarian coworkers: “Hey, do you guys want to make a video with me and send it to the International Space Station?” And then your three coworkers/friends jump up and say “Of course!” before they even ask any questions about it. David Wright is on the left, asking the question; then it’s Josie Watanabe, Linda Johns (me) and Hayden Bass. We took two minutes on…

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Sending an #askAstro question to the International Space Station

There are so many things to love about my job and my coworkers at Seattle Public Library. But right now my gratitude is for these three — David Wright, Josie Watanabe and Hayden Bass — who immediately said “yes!” when I asked, “Will you make a short video with me to send to Astronaut Reid Wiseman on the Space Station?”

Tuesday early (early early! at least in our time zone) is when questions will be answered via a live session from the ISS. If I were in charge, I’d pick some cute kid questions, a super science-y question, and our question. Our question, full of heart and love of books, and completely appreciative for the International Space Station crew up in space and down on Earth.

Hannah West in Turkey: Süper Dedektif Hannah Dünyanın Merkezinde

Hannah West in Turkey. Pretty much love that she is a süper dedektif.

En Ucuz Kitaplar

Süper Dedektif Hannah Dünyanın Merkezinde

Daha önce resim hırsızlarının ve kimyasal atıklarını tertemiz sulara atanların peşine düşen Hannah bu kez Fremont’ta kaybolan köpekleri bulmaya çalışıyor. Arkadaşı Lily’nin de yardımıyla tabii ki…

Fremont’ta oturanların Dünya’nın Merkezi dediği mahallede, bulana büyük ödüllerin vaat edildiği köpekleri kim kaçırıyor sizce?

Hadi beklemeyin, sayfaları çevirip siz de öğrenin!
(Tanıtım Bülteninden)

Türkçe (Orjinal Dili:İngilizce)
140 s. — 2. Hamur– Ciltsiz — 14 x 20 cm

ISBN : 9786055913359

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Music and art instruction linked to student achievement

Students who have art instruction are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and three times more likely to graduate from college as their peers with no art instruction. I’d like to think we see the value of music, art, dance and theater in our lives and in our children’s lives, but not everyone sees it that way. And if it takes showing that student achievement gains are influenced by art, then I’m all for throwing some data around. Here’s an article I wrote for MSN Causes: Music and art instruction linked to student achievement that has some pretty impressive data, as well as covering a growing recognizing that creativity and collaboration are key 21st century learning skills needed in the workplace. And in life.

Meeting up with Mildred Pierce

I was so excited to come across Mildred Pierce on the shelf because I remember reading this Slate article by Laura Lippman. “Mildred Pierce is the unicorn of crime fiction,” she said, “a noir novel with no murder and very little crime.”  Of course I know the movie, but the pulp novel by James Cain is new to me. Lucky for me I’m looking for a C author to read next, but can I read it without seeing/hearing Joan Crawford?

B is for Balzo: Bean There, Done That by Sandra Balzo

A barista and coffee shop owner stars as our amateur sleuth in this cozy series (Bean There, Done That is the third). Maggy Thorsen is a forty-something newly single woman who left a PR job to open Uncommon Grounds in an upscale bedroom community (Brookhills) outside of Milwaukee. In this installment, Rachel Thorsen (the new “Mrs. Thorsen,” married to Maggy’s ex, Ted) asks for Maggy’s help proving that Ted was cheating on Rachel at the same time he was cheating on Maggy. Soon Rachel disappears and a solid puzzle of a plot keeps things moving along Kirkus said, in a starred review: “Balzo gives an old formula new life with crisp dialogue, complex characters and a puzzle that can’t be beat.” I like this character and the series,
Books in the series so far: Uncommon Grounds; Grounds for Murder; Bean There, Done That; Brewed, Crude and Tattooed, From the Grounds Up.
Recommend to fans of Jill Churchill, Mary Daheim, M.C. Beaton and maybe to some who like Evanovitch (but not if they say they like Evanovitch because she’s wacky).
Another cozy author in the B’sMaggie Barbieri (academic setting, English prof)

A is for Andrews: Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews

A couple of months ago I put dozens of award-winning mysteries on display at our library, organizing them by the awards they’d won: The Edgars (general mysteries), the Shamus (best private eye stories) and the Agathas (commonly thought of as the best “cozies”).  I made bookmarks for each category showcasing recent prize winners. I kept coming across Donna Andrews’ name on the list for the Agathas, the awards that honor mysteries most representative of the style of Agatha Christie (amateur detective, closed setting).  I placed a few copies of Six Geese a-Slaying face-out — and they got snatched up. In fact, the Agathas were the books that were picked up –and checked out — most often.  That’s not at all what I would have expected at our downtown library, especially since many have kind of corny covers and our paperbacks are pretty beat up. Perhaps the Agathas had the best spot in the display area? We rearranged the mysteries, giving the Agathas a less prominent placement, not making a judgment but just experimenting. And still they flew, including the Donna Andrews’ bird titles (Cockatiels at Seven, We’ll Always Have Parrots, Murder with Puffins and Murder with Peacocks). What was up?

I have a couple of theories. The Edgar winners are often authors whose names are more familiar and are often bestsellers, such as Ian Rankin, Jess Walter, S.J. Rozan, John Hart. Book browsers know where to look for them on the shelves. Cozies, on the other hand, are rarely on display (see above about corny covers) and the authors’ names are (usually) not well known. Or maybe readers wanted something like a cozy, but didn’t know it because they think that all that’s available are the ones starring cat detectives. In any event, what this experiment showed me is that there are a lot of readers looking for light and/or amusing mysteries. And this brought me to Donna Andrews. Her Meg Langslow series (with the bird titles) are definitely light and/or amusing (although not my favorite kind of amusing). Small town, an amateur detective (Meg is an artist/craftswoman/blacksmith), a little love (but no sex), and the murder always takes place off camera. They’re kind of like watching Murder, She Wrote, which I always found immensely soothing and soporific. Also, I will never admit that I have a soft spot for Murder, She Wrote.
Another cozy author in the A’s: Susan Wittig Albert. I used to read her China Bayles series (high powered Houston attorney quits law and opens an herb shop) and I enjoyed revisiting her this time around.