Sail in and Saddle up!

If one of your goals this year is to join a book club or simply get out of your comfort zone and try something new, then look no further!

Everett Public Library’s Evergreen Branch Southside Book Club commences its first book discussion of 2018 on Tuesday, February 13th at 6:30. We will be talking about Before the Wind by Jim Lynch and you can expect a welcome atmosphere, light refreshments, and an enjoyable exchange of insights and comments. Consider yourself invited.

If you are participating in the 2018 Reading Challenge at the Everett Public Library, Before the Wind is the perfect match for the month of January. This book is a classic Northwest story by a local author. It is set on the inland waters of Puget Sound where boating in all its forms is a way of life for many. The story follows the Johannssen family. A family that is a portrait of dysfunction bound together by their love of sailing.

Locals will recognize landmarks and your knowledge, or lack thereof, of sailing will not affect your enjoyment of this book. Lynch captures the nuances of Northwest living (for example “rain becomes your roommate”) and he appreciates the mystical love affair men and women have with their craft, be they seaworthy or not. My colleague Leslie blogged on this very same book two years ago, sharing first hand her families own experience.

If book club or sailing isn’t your thing, saddle up and come out for an evening with author Craig Johnson, best known for the award-winning Longmire mystery book and TV series. Johnson will be speaking at the Everett Performing Arts Center on Saturday, February 10th at 7 pm followed by a chance to meet and socialize with the author. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Everett Public Library and, appropriately enough, Rainier Beer: Walt’s favorite drink.

The series is about sheriff Longmire and is set in Wyoming. Local law enforcement and a nearby Native American population are the perfect mix for solving crime and creating the Wild West tension of lawlessness. My husband and I just started watching the TV series and are hooked by the credible characters and adventure. Both the books and DVDs are available at the library.

“Hewitt and Wetmore 1916,” a Poem by Constance Schultz

Hewitt Avenue

In honor of the centennial of a dark chapter in local history that became known as the Everett Massacre, the Everett Public Library called on the community to create art. While most of the submissions that arrived were in visual art forms, some wonderful writing was also sent to us. In preparation for this weekend’s events, A Reading Life would like to share one of those pieces.

“Hewitt and Wetmore 1916,” by Constance Schultz

Beverly Park an area
for shame on
our town

The gauntlet and swirl of
injustice
the blood flowing

An attempt to silence
that which cannot stand calm
The past and future
Calista and Verona
The ships that carried
the backup for the Wobblies

Floated in Everett harbor
waiting to puncture the
pressure

Oh Everett
civil yet sweet
bursting with unions

of one type
or another
balancing power

Hint Fiction Standouts

hint-fiction-contestThe results are in! What results you ask? Why, the results from our Hint Fiction Contest. It wasn’t easy, but we have selected 20 of the most intriguing entries and are publishing them here on A Reading Life. If you aren’t familiar with Hint Fiction, it is basically a story of 25 words or less that suggests a larger, more complex tale. So without further ado, here are the 20 entries selected by Everett Public Library staff from our contest. Enjoy!

Last Tasks by Steve

Saundra stroked the rosewood box.

“Take it.”

Mitchell slid the box from her.

“Are you sure?”

A flickering smile.

“Let the dead bury the dead.”

The Other Way Down  by Sean

The reflection wasn’t his. Perhaps the mirror lying. Or had he changed into something unrecognizable? He looked at his ragged hands. ‘What have I done?’

Woman in Orange by Theresa

“Susan hated orange; she wouldn’t be caught dead in it.”  Hysterical giggles shook me as I realized that is exactly what had just happened.

Sailing to the Unknown by Espen

It laid there in the gathering light, beckoning me to push it to the water, to sail it into the brightening dawn—into the unknown.

Slough by Kyle

A Matryoska, once twisted and pulled apart, will reveal its secret, that within it resides something  different- more fragile, perhaps, that perpetuates its storyline.

Dé·mo·dé by Steve

An old man and dog, palsied, stagger into the shop.

“Company quit making replacement parts,” said the technician.

The dog can’t lick its chrome crotch.

We Began Again by Celeste

Ma turned the radio up and adjusted the rearview mirror, catching sight of the smoldering house again.
“He can’t stop us now.”
She headed west…

Just Listen to My Voice by Celeste

Ten, nine, eight… inhale deeply.
Seven, six, five… exhale slowly.
Four, three, two…

“Don’t panic, don’t panic!”

One… you are calm.

“There’s too much blood!”

The Art People by Joann

There were 35 survivors of the bus crash, we called them the Art People.  Today there are only 3. The others disappeared under suspicious circumstances.

Seduced by Steve

“He stole my heart.”

“How romantic!”

“No.” Taking her friend’s hand, she placed it on her chest. Their eyes met. “I want it back.”

Louise and the Errand by Bryn

After Louise finished her oboe lesson, she strolled delightfully next door to look at the faded historical romance novels at Dunlynn’s used bookstore. Pure bliss!

Zack of All Trades by Ben

The thing who was once the man Zack sniffed the grave. Once repulsive he robbed graves now without remorse. This was the cost of survival.

The Mystical Guardian by Alex

Before disappearing, my dad gave me a weird bowling ball and said,
“If you keep it safe, it’ll keep YOU safe.”
So far, it has.

Fahrenheit 1.5 by Carolyn Agee

Fingers flushed, cold, and numb, she kicked snow onto the road, wondering where he could be as sirens wailed in the distance.

Extinction by Charles

They caught one – a three-year-old female. She cried and banged the bars before tiring and crawling into the desperate solitude of captivity.

NEIGHBORS by Susan

They look different.
I know but you should be nice, anyway.
Why?
Because you look different to them.
I’m nice.  Maybe they are, too?
Yes!

The Day After by David

Dragging out the pool cover he stopped. Too late now. Just drain the damned thing.

Will Power by David

Why did he always fall for guys named Will? And this one turned out to be a Bible thumper.

The Prospect in Peach by Bryn

It was not sales, but seduction. Clarence would ingratiate himself with a 1950’s housewife.  He listened to Mildred coo as she stroked the Buick’s upholstery.

The Same by Roger

As George Simmons awoke one morning from a deep slumber he still found himself to be a gigantic cat. Life is good, he thought. Servants?

Richard Russo in Everett

Exciting news for literature lovers and those who appreciate a good story:

Official%20Russo%20Image%20-¬%20Elena%20SeibertRichard Russo, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls, will be making an appearance for a free lecture and book signing this Friday, February 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Everett Performing Arts Center. A book signing follows the main event and copies of Empire Falls will be available for purchase.

Russo is a Pulitzer Prize-winner for Empire Falls and author of Elsewhere, Nobody’s Fool, Straight Man and more. He is a master of rich characters and pitch-perfect descriptions of small-town America. His humorous lectures cover his approach to shaping narratives and how “home” has defined his work.

But wait, there is more. You have a chance to buy a ticket to an exclusive reception with the author at 6 p.m. on Friday before the free lecture. In addition to a close audience with Russo, the reception will also feature heavy appetizers and a no-host bar. Tickets for the author reception are available through Brown Paper Tickets ($10 for Friends of the Library and $25 for non-members).

So what are you waiting for? See you on Friday!

Resolutions, Library-Style

Resolutions at Your LibraryEveryone makes them, even if we don’t always admit to it. Resolutions are as ingrained in most people’s New Year’s activities as lasagna and movies at home champagne and midnight kisses. If you made some resolutions you’re not sure you can stick with, you should really take another look at your local library. Here’s a handy guide to some of the big ones:

I want to lose weight. Browsing the stacks in the 613.25 (diet), 613.7 (exercise), and 641.5635 (cooking for weight loss) areas will give you a plethora of support and ideas to help you shed the pounds. Unfortunately, just reading the books isn’t enough (wah wah). You actually have to follow through. Luckily we also have workout DVDs to keep you moving through our gloomy winter days. You can also learn about the obesity epidemic in Snohomish County at the Evergreen Branch Library on January 13th and at the downtown library on January 19th.

I want to read more/differently/with others. If you feel like you’re stuck in a reading rut, I think the best thing to do is to talk to other people about what they read, and joining a book club is a great way to branch out right away. You get to meet new people who also love books, and you get an added bonus of having a shared reading experience. Who could ask for more? Thankfully here at EPL more is what you’ll get. Our Main Library discussion group meets monthly. Their January pick, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, will be discussed January 25th. On the other end of town, the Southside Book Club meets every other month at the Evergreen Branch. Their next selection, Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, will be discussed February 9th. And if you want to delve into Northwest history you should check out the NW Room’s quarterly book group. They’ll be meeting March 28th at the Main Library and discussing Skull Wars by David Hurst Thomas. Can’t make a book club commitment but still want to discover great books? If this blog isn’t enough for you, check out Novelist. You can easily slip down this rabbit hole of book recommendations, read-alikes, and more.

I want to start a new hobby. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit or crochet, my girl Linda has got you covered! She hosts regular meetings of the Crochet & Knit Club at the Evergreen Branch Library a couple of times a month. Beginners just need to bring a ball or skein of plain 3 or 4-ply yarn (not the fuzzy stuff) and a J or H crochet hook size 8, 9, or 10 knitting needles. I have no idea what any of that means, but Linda is a pro and has the patience of a saint. You’ll find in her a fabulous instructor as you learn your knits from your perls.

I want to learn to appreciate a wide range of cinema. You’re in luck, my friend! We screen two different films each month, one downtown and one in South Everett. The downtown library has a monthly screening and the focus is usually an indie or foreign film, usually ones I have never heard of but once I see the promotional materials I get really excited to see them. January 24th we’ll screen the 2013 Italian film Salvo. And our Evergreen Branch is still rolling strong with the Evergreen Cinema Society film series the last Wednesday of the month. Each year has a new theme, and there’s always a lively discussion. They’ve shown comedies, Hitchcock films, and more. This year it’s a lot of love for indie films, starting January 27th with The Squid and the Whale.

I want to learn a new language. What do ESL/ELL, Mandarin Chinese, and Pirate have in common? You can learn all of these languages and more than 60 others with Mango. Access is free, navigation is intuitive, and there’s even a mobile app to take your language learning with you on the go. So really what I’m saying is there’s no excuse to start learning, like, right now.

I want to research my roots. You’ve probably heard of Ancestry.com, but did you know that through the library you can access it for free? This always makes me giddy, telling people that this fascinating, yet typically pricey, resource is ours for the taking. When you’re logged in you have access to over 4,000 databases and 1.5 billion names. One caveat: you can only access Ancestry.com while inside the library. But once you’re here you’re going to want to find a cozy seat so you can get lost in the journey of building your family tree. Did you find some new fourth cousins? Then click over to ReferenceUSA and search out those addresses!

I want to start using this new e-reader/tablet. Through services like 3M Cloud Library and OverDrive you have access to literally thousands of eBooks and eAudiobooks, including some of the biggest bestsellers. If the queue for the print book is overly long, chances are the digital holds list is much shorter, and possibly nonexistent. You also have access to free digital magazines, too, through Flipster. Whether you’re stuck in a waiting room or taking a vacation, you can load up reading material 24/7 with just a few clicks.

I want to learn new tech skills. Microsoft Imagine (formerly Microsoft IT Academy) is where it’s at. Once you create an account you’ll have access to all kinds of classes and resources to improve your computing prowess. Courses cover all sorts of skills and levels of tech-savviness on the user’s part. You can learn the ins and outs of the Windows 10 operating system and Microsoft Office 2010, 2013, or 2016. Or for the more advanced, there are courses for learning HTML5 app development and SQL Server database fundamentals. So really what I’m saying is there’s something for everyone, and who knows? Maybe you’ll impress your boss, get a raise, and be a corporate star. It’s the New Year, baby, and when it comes to dreams the sky’s the limit!

EPL staff aren’t immune to change, either. We’ve come up with our own resolutions specifically related to the library. If you click a photo below you’ll be taken to their original resolution posts on Facebook. I’m the scared-looking one sitting next to a couple of giant stacks of books. That I own. And have never actually read…yet.

sarahs library resolutionlisas library resolutionleslies library resolutionmichelles library resolutioncarols library resolutioneileens library resolution

There’s no denying the appeal of a fresh start in the new year. No matter your resolutions, there’s help among the stacks and servers at your local library. As for me, holy cow. I have a lot of reading to do!

Music Swap Wrap Up

swap

Trying something new at work can bring a mix of emotions: excitement and anticipation when people start responding to it, and fear and anxiety that something might go wrong. Over the last couple months I experienced a lot of these things as I worked towards our July music swap. I’m happy to say that the result was mostly positive, though there were some downsides that resulted in a very valuable learning experience.

First the pros, since everyone likes a happy story. As soon as I started planning this event, my excellent co-workers were quick to rally to offer their assistance. Equally invaluable was the friendly willingness of two bands, Fauna Shade and Crater Lakes, who agreed to play my weird little event for free, even providing all their own equipment. As the event approached, our swap items were a little sparse until I received a call from Julie Muhlstein asking for all the details; her wonderful piece was what we needed to open the floodgates, and a variety of music poured in. On the day of the event we were visited by around 60 people who rummaged through the swap bins, enjoyed the bands, and walked out happily toting some new music. We even had some neighbors hanging out their windows and deck doors to watch, which was fun to see.

Now the cons. We were loud and we caught some of our neighbors unaware. Though I had reached out to the residents at Library Place and posted flyers around town, I had failed to find a sure-fire way to give a heads up to our neighbors to the north. This led to a few disrupted afternoons and unhappy phone calls. To those folks who were upset by the noise our concert generated, my sincere apology – I am truly sorry. I learned an invaluable lesson about outdoor acoustics and neighbor-friendly volume which will be applied to any future events I might organize. I also learned about how gracious people can be when you listen to their feedback and take it to heart. Thank you for being understanding.

On the whole, I’m happy I was able to try something new at the library. It was a lot of fun to see how willing friends, colleagues, and neighbors were to come together to make something different happen. Thanks to everyone who participated in a variety of ways.

On a semi-related note, here are my quick picks for July music new arrivals – place your holds now:

Hiatus KaiyoteHiatus Kaiyote – Choose your Weapon (Flying Buddha) – This is hands down my favorite album of the year thus far. From start to finish it’s a joyride of blended styles: RnB, Soul, Drum and Bass, Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz, and much more. It’s really impossible to sum up – you just have to trust me and give it a listen.

BilalBilal – In Another Life (Entertainment One Music) – A solid soul album with a little funk. Though Bilal is an established artist in his own right, you can appreciate the influence artists like Prince and Stevie Wonder have had on his music. This isn’t to say that Bilal is imitating anyone – his style is refreshingly original.

Fuzz Skating Polly – Fuzz Steilacoom (Chap Stereo Records) – Gritty, growling, totally punk rock. This album is loud and fun. A simple description for a pretty straight-forward album. It’s worth a listen.

 

 

 

Stranger Than Fiction: After Dark in the Library

stf-alice_0What does happen at the library when the doors have closed and the people have left? Do all the characters contained in our many volumes come out to talk amongst themselves? Is it o.k. to skate through the stacks? You can answer these questions and many more by attending our after hours gala: Stranger Than Fiction: After Dark in the Library.

On Saturday, March 7, 2015  from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at the Main Library you have the opportunity to be entertained by the Book-It Repertory Theatre performing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and enjoy food provided by some of Everett’s best restaurants.Tickets are $15 and may be purchased online or at the door on the night of the event. 

friendsAttendees are encouraged to wear a costume representing their favorite author, character, or book–but costumes are not required, and we hope you’ll have fun however you choose to dress.

All proceeds will go to the Friends of the Everett Public Library, and will benefit the library’s annual summer reading programs for children and adults.

So what are you waiting for? Purchase a ticket today and find out what really happens in the library after dark.