Archive for May, 2013

Summer Reading 2013 (June 3 – July 27)

June brings with it Summer Reading, and we’re excited to get started. There are programs for all ages – Kids, Teens, and Adults – and we make it so easy to participate. For adults, all you have to do is read a book and write up a short review. That’s all! And, for each book you write up, you will be entered into our weekly drawings (for a Official Summer Reading tee and tote) and for our Grand Prize (an Amazon Kindle!).

Our theme this year is Groundbreaking Reads, and we’ve given the months June and July their own mini-themes. June is “Digging Into the Past” and we’ve planned programs, booklists, and contests to go along (July is “Breaking Ground”, but we’ll get to that one later.)

Check out our Summer Reading page for more information – and the review forms. Meanwhile, grab a few good books and get started.

The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 1989

Radical, dude! We’re looking back to 1989, which is the year ‘yours truly’ graduated from high school (ouch – that ages me). In fact, 1989 was a memorable year for independence, and not just that of the graduation kind. In the spring, we saw the protests at Tiananmen Square in China and, later that fall, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. It was also the year that:

  • The Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska (March).
  • The Menendez Brothers shot and killed their parents in California (August).
  • The Simpsons television series debuted (December).

And what were we reading that year? Interestingly enough, some of the same authors we still read today. Check out one of these titles from the New York Times Best Sellers list from the week of May 21, 1989.



1. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

2. The Negotiator by Frederick Forsyth

3. While My Pretty One Sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark

4. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

5. The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker

6. Star by Danielle Steel

7. Playmates by Robert B. Parker

8. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

9. We Are Still Married by Garrison Keillor

10. Stranger in Savannah by Eugenia Price

11. The Diamond Throne by David Eddings

12. Killshot by Elmore Leonard

13. The Naked Heart by Jacqueline Briskin

14. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

15. Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood



1. A Woman Named Jackie by C. David Heymann

2. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things by Robert Fulghum

3. Love and Marriage by Bill Cosby

4. Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Grandmother by Lois Wyse

5. A Brief History of Time by Stephen W. Hawking

6. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution by Simon Schama

7. The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw by Patrick F. McManus

8. About Face by David H. Hackworth And Julie Sherman

9. Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos

10. Wordstruck by Robert MacNeil

11. Goldwyn by A. Scott Berg

12. Out of the Blue by Orel Hershiser with Jerry B. Jenkins

13. Yogi: It Ain’t Over . . . by Yogi Berra with Tom Horton

14. Not That You Asked . . . by Andrew A. Rooney

15. Blind Faith by Joe McGinniss


Take Ten – Sleepless (or maybe not) in Seattle

If your picture of Seattle revolves around reruns of Frasier or the idea of a Starbucks on every corner (which isn’t all that off-base), then widen it a bit with a good book featuring the Emerald City. Here are ten novels with a great sense of setting for the city – and you won’t even need your umbrella.


The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein

  • Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television and by listening closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. On the night before his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through, hoping, in his next life, to return as a human.


Boneshaker – Cherie Priest

  • Inventor Leviticus Blue creates a machine that accidentally decimates Seattle’s banking district and uncovers a vein of Blight Gas that turns everyone who breathes it into the living dead. Sixteen years later Briar, Blue’s widow, lives in the poor neighborhood outside the wall that’s been built around the uninhabitable city. Life is tough with a ruined reputation, but she and her teenage son Ezekiel are surviving–until Zeke impetuously decides that he must reclaim his father’s name from the clutches of history.


Broken for You – Stephanie Kallos

  • When we meet septuagenarian Margaret Hughes, she is living alone in a mansion in Seattle with only a massive collection of valuable antiques for company. Enter Wanda Schultz, a young woman with a broken heart who has come to Seattle to search for her wayward boyfriend. Both women are guarding dark secrets and have spent many years building up protective armor against the outside world. But as the two begin their tentative dance of friendship, the armor begins to fall away and Margaret opens her house to the younger woman. This launches a series of remarkable and unanticipated events, leading Margaret to discover a way to redeem her cursed past and Wanda to learn the true purpose of her cross-country journey.


The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red – Joyce Reardon

  • The turn-of-the-century journal of young bride Ellen Rimbauer describes her marriage to Seattle industrialist John Rimbauer and the nightmare living in the Rimbauer mansion, Rose Red, a site that would become the scene of many inexplicable tragedies.


Ed King – David Guterson

  • Left on a doorstep after his illegal au pair mother exacts a brutal revenge on his father, Edward is raised by an adoring family and grows up to become a famous billionaire Internet tycoon who hurtles toward a fate that he is powerless to control.


The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford

  • When artifacts from Japanese families sent to internment camps during World War II are uncovered during renovations at a Seattle hotel, Henry Lee embarks on a quest that leads to memories of growing up Chinese in a city rife with anti-Japanese sentiment.


Indian Killer – Sherman Alexie

  • Dubbed the “Indian Killer, a serial killer stalks the streets of Seattle, taking the scalps of white male victims, and thrusts the city’s Native American community into turmoil and John Smith, an Indian raised by a white family, into the investigation.


Truth Like the Sun – Jim Lynch

  • Roger Morgan, the promoter responsible for bringing the World’s Fair to Seattle in 1962, runs for mayor in 2001, right after the tech bubble bursts, while budding reporter Helen Gulanos probes his secretive past.


Undercurrents – Ridley Pearson

  • Police Sergeant Lou Boldt heads a special task force within Seattle’s Homicide bureau. His job: find and stop the Cross Killer, a twisted, perverse serial murderer who has eluded police for six months and paralyzed the city. But when a body washes up on the shore of Puget Sound, Boldt thinks the killer has finally made a mistake. This body shows some of the work of the Cross Killer — but a job badly botched. Did this woman die while trying to escape? Did she knowingly jump in the water to preserve a clue? And is she now desperately trying to tell Boldt something? With the help of the alluring Daphne Matthews, a police psychologist, Boldt pieces together the complex puzzle.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple

  • When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.


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Great Online Resource – General Land Office Records

If you’re doing a little family research – especially out West – you might want to check out the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office website. The site offers searchable databases of Federal land title records going back to the early 1800s. For those of us who have ancestors who utilized the Homestead Act (in any of its manifestations), you may be able to find not only the record/title, but the field notes from the original surveys.

As with most really cool databases, you could spend hours playing around, so it’s a good thing the search function is pretty easy to use. Have fun!