A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

2020 Summer Book Bingo: Recommended by an Independent Bookstore—Part Two

It’s officially summer, and 2020 Summer Book Bingo, our free summer reading program with The Seattle Public Library, is underway! Download your card here. Get going on your summer reading now and aim for a bingo or blackout for a chance to win fabulous prizes. Engage with others and their own reading adventures by using the hashtag #BookBingoNW2020 on social media.

Want some ideas to fill your “Recommended by a Library or an Independent Bookseller” square for Summer Book Bingo? SAL spoke with several Puget Sound independent bookstore owners and employees about their favorite reads this season. If you’re able, you can support your local indies by purchasing their recommendations below.

Danielle, Employee at Third Place Books—Lake Forest Park

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. A great read for the “Neuro-diverse Protagonist or Author” category, as well. The role of autism plays heavily in this clever and steamy romantic comedy, which is a bit like a gender-swapped Pretty Woman. Hoang is autistic herself; her fictional characters face many barriers when falling in love that are nuanced and real.

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. Meg is a hand-letterer working in Brooklyn, NY, who copes with conflict by writing the occasional secret message into her designs. No one knows, until the day Reid walks in to confront her about his wedding invitation the year prior. Honest, creative, and a tad wicked, Love Lettering is an utter delight.

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Grace Rajendran, Events Producer, University Book Store

After the Blast by Eric Wagner. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, I read—and thoroughly enjoyed—the new book by science writer Eric Wagner. After the Blast focuses on the ecological recovery of the mountain. I won’t give away too much, but let’s just say that only a couple of weeks after the eruption, scientists already started seeing small plants pushing their way through the layers of ash! While this book is filled with interesting scientific facts, photos, maps, and everything else you could hope for in a title such as this, Eric also brings the human element into play, with profiles and stories about the scientists researching the eruption.

Ahab’s Rolling Sea by Richard J. King. Moby Dick was my Great Quarantine Read. It was the perfect escapism and, in the process, I grew hungry for all I could read about Melville. I was lucky—2019 was the 200th anniversary of his birth, and many great books have been published about him since then. Ahab’s Rolling Sea is one such book. It’s a captivating journey through the national history mentioned in Moby Dick. From whales to albatross and everything else in between, King uses interviews with experts, old photos, illustrations, and his own field research to dive deeper into the ocean that Melville made us fall in love with. This book is perfect for fans of Moby Dick but, if you don’t mind a few spoilers to the novel, it’s also a fascinating read for those who love natural history and the ocean.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar. I read this all in one day! A bold and entrancing debut, set in contemporary India and told from the perspective of three different characters, A Burning will stay with you for a long time after you get to the last page. It’s not a light read—be warned that your heart will ache for the people you will meet—but Majumdar’s skillful pacing moves it forward with the speed of a thriller. Addressing themes such as upward mobility, justice, and gender, this is a powerful story that helps to bring us closer as a global community.

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Want more Summer Book Bingo suggestions? Read Recommended by an Independent Bookstore—Part One or check out these category deep-dives from the SAL staff have got us reading and ready: Recommended by a Friend, Afrofuturism, UpliftingNature, and On Your Shelf. You can also find more on The Seattle Public Library’s website.

Posted in Summer Book Bingo