Catch Up on Your Reading This Weekend

Just a friendly reminder that all locations of The Seattle Public Library and the Central Library book drops will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.  If you are looking for books to read over the weekend, consider the book recommendations below from the Friends’ Board meeting in May. You can just click on the links below to get to the SPL site to reserve a copy of these books. Quoted book review excerpts are reprinted with permission from Booklist.

 The World Before Her, by Deborah Weisgall.    This novel “explores the parallel worlds of two marriages a century apart yet forever interwoven through the beauty of Venice. We first encounter Marian Evans Cross honeymooning in Venice. Marian led an unconventional life for the late Victorian era through her lengthy extramarital relationship with George Henry Lewes and publication of Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, and Middlemarch under the pseudonym George Eliot. . . . A century later, sculptor Caroline Edgar Spingold returns reluctantly to Venice on a surprise tenth-anniversary trip planned by her husband, Malcolm.  .  .  .  Marian’s life will end unexpectedly without having attained great happiness or contentment . . . . , while Caroline will emerge from the fog of complacency to achieve the happiness she sought as an artist and as a woman. A compelling novel of introspection, the story is enhanced by vivid attention to the artistic and literary detail in both the historical and contemporary settings.”  — Laurie Sundborg

Dream When You’re Feeling Blue, by Elizabeth Berg.  This story is set “in Chicago during World War II, featuring three Irish Catholic sisters—Kitty, Louise, and Tish Heaney. The novel opens as Kitty and Louise say good-bye to their boyfriends at Union Station as they head off to war. Over the next three years, the sisters—amid the usual sibling squabbles over borrowed clothes and makeup—learn what it means to sacrifice during wartime. . . . [Berg] deftly mixes up the tone, moving easily between the wry dialogue of the long-married Heaney parents and the sad and affecting letters from the soldiers at the front. Although a final plot twist may not be fully credible, it does little to detract from this affectionate tribute to the patriotic 1940s and the women of the Greatest Generation.” — Joanne Wilkinson


Bloggers and the library budget

When local media reported The Seattle Public Library’s budget woes, bloggers responded.  In a short note, the American Library Association blog reported the losses in Seattle and gave readers the history of local library closures.

Neighborhood blogs across the city posted the news about potential local library impact and let neighbors know how to help.

Friends members who were actively involved in response to the budget blogged about their involvement.  Check out  The Writers Daily Grind and Libraries, Comics, and Me to get a sense of their experience.

In the entry, libraries and librarians in today’s world, bloggers at note that Comments by readers of a Seattle Times article reporting on the mayor’s announcement came out strongly in support of the library.

But other bloggers simply talked about the value of the library. told readers: ” …we should all make an effort to read – for the brain as much as for the soul… [if you’re] feeling the crunch of the Great Recession, visit your local library. Better yet, since most Seattle neighborhoods have their own, you can walk! This is sustainable living at it’s best.”

Meanwhile, rave reviews of Central library continued to pour in on Yelp. A vistor from Oakland writes:  “Any student/citizen of Seattle is very lucky to have this in their city. It is beautiful and I’m sure it makes people LOVE to read and visit often. This is brains and beauty all in one!”

Please stay tuned to local blogs for current library news and views. The decision to close our libraries for one week in August may be irreversible in 2009, but deliberations on the troublesome anticipated budget shortfalls for 2010 are already beginning and your library support will  be needed throughout the process.