A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Summer Book Bingo: 2021/22 “SAL Speaker” Recommendations

We’re a month into Summer Book Bingo! How is everyone feeling out there?

As the official start to summer nears, we wanted to share book recommendations based on our upcoming 2021/22 Season, as well as SAL speakers from seasons past. Several of this year’s authors have new books coming out later this fall (list below), and some have new books out now that could satisfy several categories.

You might consider any of these suggestions for your ‘Recommended by a Friend’ or ‘SAL Speaker’ squares. For easy reference, we’ve included a special SAL Speaker Edition Book Bingo card with our top picks from each category. 

Follow us on Instagram (@seattleartsandlectures) and Twitter (@SeaArtsLectures) as we share more tips for enjoying Book Bingo throughout the summer, and be sure to tag #BookBingoNW2021 when posting your bingo updates. We’d love to hear which books you’re enjoying, too!

Happy reading!


  • Romance: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff | Also recommended: Circe by Madeline Miller; The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson


  • Small Press: Motherland by 2020/21 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Bitaniya Giday | Also recommended: The Magical Language of Others by E. J. Koh; Not Go Away Is My Name by Alberto Ríos; The Tradition by Jericho Brown; Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz


  • Beach Read: World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil | Also recommended: Circe by Madeline Miller; Into the Woods by Tana French; The Book of Delights by Ross Gay


  • Black Joy: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo | Also recommended: Black Futures by Jenna Wortham and Kimberly Drew; Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual by Luvvie Adjayi Jones; Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson


  • Activism/Social Justice: Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo | Also recommended: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo; One Person, No Vote by Carol Anderson; How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi


  • Made You Laugh: Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu | Also recommended: The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West; Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson; Fun Home by Alison Bechdel


  • Coming of Age: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr | Also recommended: Good Talk by Mira Jacob; Pachinko by Min Jin Lee; The Overstory by Richard Powers; Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides; Caucasia by Danzy Senna


  • Recommended by the Library/Peak Picks: The Second: Race and Guns in A Fatally Unequal America by Carol Anderson | Also recommended: The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, A Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell; The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen


  • Graphic Novel/Comic: Good Talk by Mira Jacob | Also recommended: The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel


  • QTBIPOC: Pilgrim Bell by Kaveh Akbar | Also recommended: Homie by Danez Smith; Difficult Women by Roxane Gay; In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado; Pale Colors in a Tall Field: Poems by Carl Phillips


  • Mystery/Crime: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich | Also recommended: The Searcher by Tana French; as a bonus, listen to Connie Walker’s Stolen podcast


  • Cli-Fi or Environmental Nonfiction: The Overstory by Richard Powers | Also recommended: Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert; The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood


  • Poetry or Essays: Playlist for the Apocalypse by Rita Dove *OR* Dissolve by Sherwin Bitsui | Also recommended: Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar; Nightingale by Paisley Rekdal


  • Asian American or Pacific Islander Authors: Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong *OR* DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi | Also recommended: Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu; On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong; The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen


  • Speculative Fiction: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu | Also recommended: Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich; The Testaments by Margaret Atwood; A Wizard of Earthsea / Ursula K. Le Guin


  • BIPOC Food Writing: We Are Each Others Harvest by Natalie Baszile | Also recommended: Hunger by Roxane Gay


  • Sports: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown | Also recommended: The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel


  • Olympics Host City: Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli (Mexico City) | Also recommended: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (Berlin); White Teeth by Zadie Smith (London); Homage to Barcelona by Colm Tóibín (Barcelona)


  • Books from a Series: The Sympathizer and The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen | Also recommended: The Dublin Murder Squad Series by Tana French; The Hainish Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin; The Testaments and The Handmaid’s Tale *OR* The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood


  • Recommended by Local Bookseller: Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown (recommended by Elliott Bay Book Company) | Also recommended: A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib (recommended by Secret Garden Books)


*Books released this fall by our 2021/22 speakers include: Matrix by Lauren Groff; Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo; On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint by Maggie Nelson; Bewilderment by Richard Powers; The Sentence by Louise Erdrich; and Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

Download the SAL Speakers Edition card (PDF)

Posted in Summer Book Bingo