A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Book Bingo Recommendations from Minh Elan

2023 Summer Book Bingo, our free summer reading program with The Seattle Public Library, is here! Download your board to start playing. Engage with other bingo players and find out their own reading adventures by using the hashtag #BookBingoNW2023 on social media.

Need some great reads to get you started? Minh Elan, Adult Services Manager at our community partner Neill Public Library in Pullman, WA, shares with us her recommendations.

by Minh Elan, Adult Services Manager, Neill Public Library 

What a delight it has been to dive into a reading challenge as an adult with Summer Book Bingo and even more wonderful that Seattle Arts & Lectures, Seattle Public Library, and Washington Center for the Book made it possible for readers across Washington to join in.

At Neill Public Library (hello from the east side!), we’ve been having a blast swapping book recommendations, filling in Bingo squares, and choosing from silly prizes. Here are just a few of those recommendations and the squares you might find for them.


Indigenous Author, Debut EssaysA Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

Indigenous author Alicia Elliott lays out her life in this collection of brilliant, unflinching essays. Her writing is a stream that flows from past to present, recall to analysis, heartbreak to love, and which culminates in a message that is hard to leave behind. Elliott asks what it means to decolonize our minds with meditations on poverty, mental health crises, racism and oppression.


True Crime or Crime FictionThe Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

This is a crime fiction with a meta twist, taking the reader on a journey with fictional author Hannah Tigone writing a murder mystery about… fictional author “Freddie” writing a murder mystery. Between chapters about Freddie’s developing murder investigation are letters from aspiring author Leo to Tigone with feedback on her work in progress. Letters that initially seem charming soon turn out to be anything but that. The Woman in the Library is smart, funny, and a refreshing encapsulation of how life influences work influences life.


Trans or Nonbinary Author, Same Author Different GenreThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

I first encountered Sarah Gailey’s name on a list of authors with tremendous range and particularly enjoyed their novel, The Echo Wife. In this sci-fi/domestic thriller, geneticist (read: cloning expert) Evelyn Caldwell thought she was prepared for everything. Everything, it turns out, did not include her husband replacing her with an illegally-produced clone and that clone asking for help covering up his death. Fans of character studies will enjoy this thought experiment with cloning, gender dynamics, and moral ambiguity. Plus, if you read one of Gailey’s other works, you can finish the “Same Author, Different Genre” squares! Options include Upright Women Wanted (sci-fi pulp Western), Just Like Home (Gothic thriller/horror), Magic for Liars (fantasy, noir fiction), and When We Were Magic (paranormal teen fiction).

Minh Elan is the Adult Services Manager at Neill Public Library in Pullman, Washington. She has worked in libraries, administration, psychology research, and legal aid and brings to her work a focus on issues of mental health, diversity, and equity.