Summer Book Bingo (Blackout!) Book Reviews

Last week I finished the last square on the Seattle Public Library’s Summer Book Bingo card and turned it in with one whole reading day to spare! A delightful summer of both more and different reading than I’d have done without that impetus.




Plus! apparently I have a 1 in 197 chance at winning that prize the SPL and Seattle Arts & Lectures folks will be drawing for this Tuesday— season tickets to SAL + a library of books by the speakers. (And 218 bingos are in for the drawing for a gift certificate to a local bookstore.) It is such a delight to be living in such a book-centric city.

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Here’s a quick rundown on the books I read, rated ◊ to ◊◊◊◊◊ (more, of course, is better): Continue reading

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New poem “Leaf Blower” in The Human Journal

I am delighted to see my brand-new poem “Leaf Blower” published in The Human Journal’s Crime Issue (Issue 5), hot off the press.

The poem begins:

I watch the manager next door
where older, poorer people have to live,
just stand and blow the dust around, and hate him some.

Head over to The Human to read the whole thing


p.s. A Summer Book Bingo update: “No I can’t hang out with you today, I have to finish my bingo card” is something I am saying nowadays — 7 more books to finish before Labor Day!



Poetry Suggestions for Summer Book Bingo

As promised, a list of a few suggestions for poetry collections that satisfy the Seattle Public Library & Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Summer Book Bingo squares:

You Finish Reading in a Day

Geography III, Elizabeth Bishop — only 10 poems, and some of her best. (Also works for Published Year You Were Born if you were born in 1976.) “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.”

Woodnote, Christine Deavel —an utterly lovely book. It brings you right in and doesn’t let you go, in ways you possibly don’t expect. Also works for Local Author; she is co-owner of Open Books in Wallingford. “caraway     caraway”.

From Your Childhood

Shel Silverstein — “listen to the mustn’ts, child”. Continue reading

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Book Bingo NW

The theme for my 2015 is totally clear: Reading.

Books, bookstores, book contests, books books books. Hot on the heels of the Independent Bookstore Day challenge came Summer Book Bingo, the Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures’ totally awesome summer reading program for adults.

Get a Bingo, get entered for a gift certificate from a bookstore. Do a Blackout, get entered for a chance at season tickets to Seattle Arts & Lectures’ next season and books by all the speakers. Deadline: Labor Day.



Continue reading

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Father Time and Mother Earth / A Marriage on the Rocks

For this month’s look at a poem about a famous person, James Merrill’s “The Broken Home

I love this sonnet sequence, James Merrill’s elegant, rueful, beautiful take on his childhood and his parents. This is a different angle on a famous person poem than the others I’ve pointed to so far this year, since Merrill is talking about himself and his family rather than a far-off celebrity, but since his father was the Merrill of Merrill Lynch and since the poet himself is one of the 20th century biggies, it counts.

I first heard “The Broken Home”, rather than read it, Continue reading

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Bookstore Day Addendum

Just back from the Seattle Independent Bookstore Day Grand Champions fete at Elliott Bay. They gave us crowns! And cake. And our stamped passports back, which delighted everyone. It was great fun to meet other Bookstore Day adventurers and compare routes and bookstore notes. Grand Champs total was 42, and an additional 117 made it to three or more stores. Clearly, Seattle readers rock.

Grand Champs

Most of the 42 (photo credit University Bookstore)

2015 -05-16 Grand Champs party at Elliott Bay

Already looking forward to next year’s fun. (And all the books  in between…)

Not Knowing vs Knowing

I picked up the novel The Martian by Andy Weir at our first Independent Bookstore Day stop, and the sum total of what I knew about it before buying it was:

  • The cover is orange.
  • I’ve seen people really engrossed in it on the bus.
  • I’ve seen it on several bookstores’ Staff Recommends shelves.
  • It has something to do with an astronaut left behind on Mars.
  • The first chapter begins:


I’m pretty much fucked.

That’s my considered opinion.


And then I spent a whole Saturday (that I hadn’t intended to spend reading) not being able to put it down. Could NOT put it down. Had other things to do. Should have been doing them. Didn’t. Couldn’t put it down.

Continue reading

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Independent Bookstore Day Adventures

Oh what a glorious day we had yesterday! My mother and I met the Seattle Independent Bookstore Day Challenge and went to all 17 participating stores, got a fabulous haul of books, and had a blast all day long.


Proof! (with a funny note from Phinney Books who momentarily caused PANIC when I thought we’d forgotten to get a stamp from them and that they were already closed. But no, they had extended hours yesterday, and we had only gone one store on so we rushed back – turns out they had stamped it, just in the wrong place. Phew! And hey what’s a Challenge without a little adrenaline rush somewhere. I did have a receipt so probably could have proved our visit with that, but I wanted a complete passport and no chance of a technicality problem!

Continue reading


Seattle Independent Bookstore Day! Saturday 5/2

Independent Bookstore Day 2015 vertical logo_0

This Saturday, support your local bookstore!

Which, in Seattle, means you’ve got a LOT of choices.

Of those tons of choices, 17 are participating in Independent Bookstore Day—at the different stores you’ll find various events, discounts, exclusive art, free food, cool readings, kids storytimes, literary madlibs, in-store scavenger hunts, group Exquisite Corpses, wheels of fun and fortune, board game battles, a famous first lines quiz—I mean all that plus BOOKS, can it get any better!

I’m VERY excited! Continue reading

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In Which One Things Leads to Another

Part One, In Which One Thing Leads Clearly To Another

I got Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work from the library because someone on Facebook or somewhere posted his great “How to Support an Artist You Love” list and then I googled him.

[Go look at it then come back.]

[Welcome back. It’s great, right?] 

I liked Show Your Work, which is to say I agree, it seems pretty smart about trying to be an artist in that which is our now, how to get out there, how to connect, how to show your work. (Also, he quotes Dan Chaon, Alison Bechdel, Cyndi Lauper, and John Le Carre, so what’s not to like.) Continue reading

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