WA Secretary of State Blogs

Celebrate Teen Literature Day!

April 17th, 2014 Kim Smeenk Posted in State Library Collections, Washington Reads No Comments »

From the desk of Kathryn Devine

teen blog happy day
Every year, the Thursday of National Library Week, April 17th  this year, is set aside as Teen Literature Day.

Check out these teen books at the Washington State Library.

 

 

Meet Hannah West—smart, resilient, slightly sarcastic, and sometimes too
nosy for her own good.teen blog belltown towers cover

She’s a young Seattleite whose favorite pastimes include watching the Crime Network, Law & Order, Monk, Columbo, or any mystery show really.
All of which provide a solid education when she tries to untangle her first real mystery in her own (temporary) home in Hannah West in the Belltown Towers.

Not to give too much away—but there are missing paintings, a ubiquitous bike messenger, and a shady artist who may be involved.

This is a fun read peppered with references to Seattle locations and culture.
Linda Johns, author and librarian at the Seattle Public Library, has created a wonderful character to spend some time with.

teen blog deep water coverYou can follow Hannah’s other adventures, all set in the Seattle area:

Hannah West in Deep Water (2006)

Hannah West in the Center of the Universe (2007)

Hannah West on Millionaire’s Row (2007)

 

 

Here are a few other series for teens, also at the Washington State Library.0-545-22418-7

Dear America

1. West to a Land of Plenty 

2. Across the wide and lonesome prairie: the Oregon Trail Diary

3. The Fences Between Us (Kirby Larson) 

 

Carl Deuker Sports fiction for Teens teen blog high heat cover

1. On the Devil’s Court (1988)

2. Painting the black (1997)

3. Night hoops (2000)

4. High Heat (2003)

5. Runner (2005)

6. Gym Candy (2007)

7. Payback Times (2010)

Come and visit us, or browse the catalog, if you’re  looking for teen fiction written in or about the Pacific Northwest.

 

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Have you read a poem lately?

April 11th, 2014 Kim Smeenk Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Washington Reads No Comments »

If you haven’t read poetry in a while, now is the perfect time to start again - April is National Poetry Month.

In his National Poetry Month proclamation, Governor Inslee called on

“…all the people of Washington to observe National Poetry Month in a more meaningful, personal way…as a means to offer comfort and solace to those who are suffering as a result of the Oso mudslide.

One way to do so is to submit a poem yourself to the Art with a Heart – Response to Oso tumblr forum.

The Washington State Arts Commission runs the forum.  Among the poems you can find there is one written by Elizabeth Austen, the Washington State Poet Laureate.

If you would like to read poetry written by other Washington state poets, browse the Washington State Library’s collection for the poetry books listed in our catalog.

Here are just a few excerpts from that collection that might, as the governor said, “offer comfort and solace.

Grace AboundingWillow_Tree_
I’m saved in this big world by unforeseen
friends, or times when only a glance
from a passenger beside me, or just the tired
branch of a willow inclining toward earth,
may teach me how to join earth and sky.
Even in Quiet Places by William Stafford (1996)

Nooksack Valley
At the far end of a trip north
In a berry-pickers cabin
At the edge of a wide muddy field
Stretching to the woods and cloudy mountains,
Feeding the stove all afternoon with cedar,
Watching the dark sky darken, a heron flap by,
Riprap, & Cold Mountain Poems by Gary Snyder (1965)

Round_beech_stones_ Riverbed
We walk on round stones, all flawlessly bedded,
Where water drags the cracked dome of the sky
Riverbed by David Wagoner (1972)

 

His Father’s Whistle
For hours the boy fought sleep,
strained against the whir of cicadas, moths
at the screens bumbling, night’s
blue breezes, to hear out on the country road
his father’s car rumbling in gravel.
Earthly Meditations by Robert Wrigley (2006)

Aurora_Northern Lights
Once more it’s the rainbow leaps
and foldings of the old process,
a whole border of pink roses
growing wild on the horizon.
The Dark Path of Our Names by Joan Swift (1985)


Mount Alaska Stream

In the pines
where the sun never shines
a small, damp fire filled mountains
green lungs of each century
Orcas Island by Don Wilsun (1980)
Waterfall_rockface_

Untitled by Nasira Alma
in cascades
down the blooming rocks
yesterday’s rain
Sunlight through Rain: A Northwest Haiku Year (1996)

Come and visit us, or browse the catalog, if you’re  looking for a poetry book written in or about the Pacific Northwest.

 

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Double Trouble in Walla Walla

April 2nd, 2014 Kim Smeenk Posted in For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections, Uncategorized, Washington Reads No Comments »

Double_Trouble cover

Double Trouble in Walla Walla.

The Adventure on Klickitat Island

What do these titles have in common?

Well, they contain two of Washington State’s very unique place names.  Walla Walla and Klickitat are just fun to say.

They are also part of our collection of children’s books here at the Washington State Library.

We don’t just have history books and microfilm here at the State Library.  We collect any book written about, or set in, Washington State.  That includes picture books.

 

Double Trouble in Walla Walla by Andrew Clements is a wonderful tongue twister of a tale that is great fun to read aloud.Double_trouble 2

In Lulu’s English class one morning, there is an outbreak of “lippity-loppity jibber-jabber.”

Everyone is double talking - the students, the teachers, the nurse and even the principal.

He tries to deny it by saying “Tut-tut, sounds like silly-willy hocus pocus to me”.

It seems he has caught the double talk bug too.


Adventure on Klickitat Island
by Hilary Horder Hippely is a beautifully illustrated nighttime adventure.  A little boy and his bear head out to help animals on the island who are wet and cold in a thunderstorm.

“On Klickitat Island
just think of the rains,klickitat
now soaking the otters
and poor baby cranes”

Once they get to the island, all of the animals work with him to build a shelter.  They triumph over the cold rainy night.

“With deer hauling driftwood
and cranes helping sort,
soon standing up tall
was a Klickitat fort!”

Come and visit us, or browse our catalog, if you’re  looking for a children’s book set in, or written about, Washington State.

 

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Mercy Thompson Series

March 28th, 2014 Kim Smeenk Posted in For the Public, State Library Collections, Washington Reads No Comments »

 

From the desk of Kim Smeenk

Frost Burned

Frost Burned

There is a bestselling fantasy series about werewolves and vampires
in Washington State, and it isn’t the one you’re thinking of.

 

Instead of the rain, mountains and misty forests that most people think of when they picture Washington State, Patricia Briggs has set her Mercy Thompson series where she herself lives.  The dry and sunny Tri Cities region in Eastern Washington.  More desert than forest, more farmland than mountains.

Tri Cities Region

Mercy Thompson is a young Volkswagen mechanic, who also has the ability to shift into a coyote.   This is why she can count amongst her family, friends, acquaintances and enemies, werewolves, witches, vampires, trolls, various other shape-shifters and members of the Fey.

Mercy isn’t a superhero.  Most of the time, she is the weakest supernatural creature in the room.   When we first meet her in Moon Called, she is driving an old VW Rabbit, and lives in an old single wide trailer outside of town with her cat Medea.

You just enjoy spending time with her in these books.  She faces life with humor, loyalty and grit.  There is the actual grit that comes from working on cars all day, but Mercy is also full up on the grit required to face all of those creatures who are stronger than her.  Facing them in her daily life – her neighbors happen to be werewolves – and facing them in battles she often doesn’t expect to win.   She fights those battles because friends are in trouble, or sometimes, it’s her enemies who are in trouble.

Life is complicated, but really, really interesting, in Mercy Thompson’s Tri Cities.

Iron Kissed

Iron Kissed

#1 Moon Called
#2 Blood Bound
#3 Iron Kissed
#4 Bone Crossed
#5 Silver Borne
#6 River Marked
#7 Frost Burned
#8 Night Broken

If your local library doesn’t have these titles, you can borrow them from the Washington State Library through interlibrary loan.
www.sos.wa.gov/library/

 

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Border Songs, by Jim Lynch

March 5th, 2014 WSL NW & Special Collections Posted in Washington Reads No Comments »

U.S. Hardback Knopf - CoverBorder Songs. By Jim Lynch (New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 291 pp.)

Recommendation submitted by:
Will Stuivenga, Cooperative Projects Manager, Washington State Library, Tumwater, WA.

Jim Lynch’s second novel, Border Songs (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), follows his enormously popular debut novel, The Highest Tide. In Border Songs, we follow the adventures of a zany and seemingly dysfunctional cast of characters, of which the foremost is Brandon Vanderkool, a dyslexic, six-foot-eight U.S. Border Control guard who keeps a running daily bird watch count in his head, while intuitively ending up in exactly the right spot at the right time to repeatedly catch people crossing the border illegally.

Another unlikely character is Brandon’s barely competent dairy cow farmer father, Norm, who is building a yacht in his garage, but spends most of his time up to his knees in mud , manure, and mastitis, worrying about his wife’s memory loss (it it Alzheimer’s?) while suffering the daily taunts of his Canadian neighbor across the border.

Brandon harbors a crush on the neighbor’s daughter, Madeline, who herself is becoming increasingly caught up in a major marijuana kingpin’s smuggling and growing operations. This naturally makes us (the haplessly amused readers) wonder if Brandon’s border sensitivity and his wished-for girlfriend’s smuggling activities aren’t headed for a catastrophic confrontation of some sort. Will it be a romantic conclusion, or the seemingly inevitable police action?

This seriocomic novel truly takes us to the ultimate Northwest, both in physical location (the NW corner of the NW region of the U.S. lower 48) and its cultural implications. The book is a highly entertaining must-read for anyone even remotely interested in the contemporary NW literary scene.

ISBN: 9-780-30727117-4

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.6 LYNCH 2009
Available as an eBook, as a Braille edition, and as a talking book.
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Go Huskies! The Boys in the Boat

February 14th, 2014 mschaff Posted in For the Public, Washington Reads No Comments »

boys

The Boys in the Boat.  By Daniel James Brown. (New York : Viking Adult, 2013. 416pp.)

Recommendation by Mary Paynton Schaff, Reference Librarian at the Washington State Library.

Once again the world’s best athletes have gathered to compete in the Olympic games, and television viewers can’t get enough.  Standout personalities shine in the individual competitions like speed skating, skiing, and snowboarding.  American broadcasts indulge in extended biographical features about our favorite competitors and their hometowns.  It’s clear our society loves to celebrate individual accomplishment, and no wonder.  To stand on the gold medal podium in triumph is no small feat.

But despite the celebrity of our individual winners, it’s the Olympic team sports that have the capacity to draw us in and capture the nationalistic pride like nothing else.  For every Michelle Kwan, there’s a “Miracle on Ice.”  For every Jesse Owens, there a University of Washington’s Eight Man Rowing Team.

You might be forgiven if in contemplating the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, your thoughts immediately go to Hitler’s Germany and the accomplishments of Owens.  But after reading Daniel Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat,” your view will be considerably widened.  1936 was more than the dawn of the Third Reich and slide toward world war.  It was the slogging end of the Great Depression, where thousands of young American men struggled to find work, put themselves through school, and hold their desperate families together.  The Olympics were more than the city of Berlin, with its systematic white washing of Germany’s anti-Semitic laws.  The Olympic story included rough and tumble logging towns like Sequim and Montesano, Depression-era boom towns like Grand Coulee, and gritty Northwest cities coming of age like Seattle.  And Olympic athletes were more than solitary figures standing on a podium.  They were teams of boys in boats.

Part of what makes Brown’s book so compelling is the exploration of what it means to be part of a rowing team.  Who creates the team?  Husky coaching icon Al Ulbrickson.  Who makes the team? Joe Rantz, for one.  Who inspires the team? Legendary boat builder George Pocock.  What does it take to make a successful team?  A comingling of found talent, hours of practice on Lake Washington in the pouring rain, healthy competition from your rival school the Cal Bears, and inspired leadership from your coach and brilliant coxswain Bobby Moch.  And what does it feel like to be part of a winning team?  The perfectly described notion of “swing,” which, when once accomplished with your fellow oarsman, allows you to fly across the water in perfect synchronicity.

“The Boys in the Boat” captures more than a moment in time.  It paints the picture of the Northwest on the brink, balancing between the old-fashioned notion of the Wild West and the boom times of the 1940s.  It depicts the ambition of the US Olympic committee members, who were determined to participate in the Olympics whether Jews were being persecuted in Germany or not (an attitude that may seem familiar even today).  But more than anything, Brown’s book emphasizes the importance of teams and teamwork.  For while all the boys felt like only a set of random circumstances landed them in that boat on the Langer See, their efforts not only defined them as adults, but also defined the Northwest as a center for athleticism, culture, and all-American can-do attitude.

Watch the 1936 Gold Medal Rowing race here.

ISBN: 978-0670025817

Available at the Washington State Library NW 979.123 Brown 2013
Audio book available through the publisher.

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The Drifter by Susan Wiggs

January 22nd, 2014 WSL NW & Special Collections Posted in Washington Reads No Comments »

bannerEBLA

The Drifter. By Susan Wiggs (Don Mills, Ont. : Mira, 2003?. 376 pp. Reprint Ed.)

Recommendation by:
Carolyn Petersen, Assistant Program Manager, Library Development, Tumwater, WA.

The town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island in 1894 is the setting for this historical romance.  Coupeville residents have reluctantly accepted female physician Leah Mundy as they don’t have many other options.  Leah guards her reputation and her heart until she wakes up to find a gun barrel in her face.  On the other end of the gun is Jackson Underhill who drags her to his sailboat to heal his female companion.  Both Leah and Jackson have secrets which complicate a budding romance. Susan Wiggs is a capable author who provides a good mix of historical detail, attractive characters and a strong plot to produce a sensual romantic read to enjoy on a cold winter evening.

ISBN-13: 978-0778300038

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.6 WIGGS 2003?
Available as an eReader edition.
Not available as an talking book, or as a Braille edition.
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Hunters Kiss Series

August 20th, 2013 WSL NW & Special Collections Posted in Washington Reads No Comments »

Carl Beu-Demon_large_thumbHunter Kiss (Series). By Marjorie Liu

  1. The Iron Hunt (New York: Ace Books, 2008. 305 p.)
  2. Darkness Calls (New York: Ace Books, 2009. 303 p.)
  3. A Wild Light (New York: Ace Books, 2010. 308 p.)
  4. The Mortal Bone (New York: Ace Books, 2012. 287 p.)
Recommendation by:
Carolyn Petersen, CLRS Project Manager, Tumwater, WA.

If paranormal romance that happens in an action packed setting appeals to you, then you will enjoy the Hunter Kiss series.  Set in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, Maxine Kiss hunts demons with a particular ferocity.  Maxine is greatly aided by the fact the tattoos of demons which cover her skin make her largely invulnerable.  At night the tattoos come off her skin to become her own personal bodyguards.  In each book of the series Maxine discovers a bit more about her family background.  Fast paced fantasy reading

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.6 LIU 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012
Available as an eReader edition.
Not available as an talking book, or as a Braille edition.
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Bonanzas & Borrascas

April 23rd, 2013 WSL NW & Special Collections Posted in Washington Reads No Comments »

AR-28001001-ph000429_coalminetunnelBonanzas & Borrascas. By Richard E. Lingenfelter. (Norman, Okla. : Arthur H. Clark Co., 2012. 2 vols., 1056pp.)

Recommendation submitted by Gordon Russ, Volunteer, Washington State Library, Tumwater, WA

Bonanzas & Borrascas is a well written two-volume set on mining and mineral investing in the West. The first book is “Gold Lust and Silver Sharks, 1848-1884”, the second book is “Copper Kings and Stock Frenzies, 1885-1918”.  Mining is a very expensive operation requiring large amounts of cash with little or no certainly of making money or even getting your investment back.  To raise the cash mine owners sold stocks or shares offset expenses.  In its simplest form, you’re buying a share in the mine you were eligible to share in its profits.  To develop a mine thousands even millions of dollars were and still is required to place it into operation.  Even then there is a high risk the mine would never have any value.  All these factors played into the hands of disreputable people selling stocks and greedy people buying stocks.  Mr. Lingenfelter does an excellent job of weaving the story of these miners and stock manipulators together. Some are humors, some are heart rendering and most are fools having a good time.  He starts with the 49ers moving into California during the 1849 gold rush and the development of gold and silver mines throughout the west.  The second book is about the corporate movement into the mining business developing names like ASARCO, Kennecott, Phillips Dodge and others developing copper mines.

The Author presents an interesting tightly written story of the people and circumstances that developed the mining industry of the west. He is aided along the way with the audacity of mine owners, and stock brokers and willing buyers participating in any schemes or scams that looked to make unbelievable wealth.  In the world of big money and a few successful players the attraction of money and possible wealth is uncontrollable.  As one Idaho mine owner stated when ask how could he lose a newly made $100,000 so quickly.   He replied,

“A man with good sound judgment and reasonable-sized head does not lose it”, but “A man who begins to feel poor when he gets his first $50,000, a man who constantly and willfully…getting in over his head in the confusing water of speculation, who belittles the size of his pile as he associates with millionaires, joins their schemes, and buys their stock…he it is who loses a hundred thousand dollars”.

At first you start think the sharks are the miners and brokers feeding on the unassuming public then as the stories develop I began to feel the sharks are the public on a feeding frenzy of the tidbits of possibilities provide by the stock brokers.  These people are not ignorant of what they are doing, but guided by the greed of desire for wealth.  As one unscrupulous scoundrel said, “Never appeal to the intelligence of fools….., turn your batteries on the thinking ones and convince them…the unthinking ones will follow.”  This was the case time after time.  In some cases, the craze for mining stocks is so high that stock brokers just registered a mines name and printed stock certificates then sold them in hours without buyers questioning its backing.  The old adage “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” the “me” people were in the great majority.

Much legislation was proposed and put into law trying to protect people from themselves not everyone was in agreement it should be done.  Future U.S. President Herbert Hoover, who was a mining engineer, said, “if a mine should fail…” it “is in and of itself not an economic loss.  It simply means …national wealth was transferred from one individual into another…”and “often invested to more reproductive purpose than if it had remained in the hands of the idiots who parted with it.”  In many ways, he is right.  Much wealth that built America in to the country it is today came from these mines and the people who owned or invested in their future wealth.  I would encourage you to give the books a try.  It is very entertaining on many levels from the humors stock broker “Corduroy Bill”  in Baker City, Oregon selling stock on a worthless mine to acquaintances in his home town of Des Moines, Iowa to the  fortunes made by the Guggenheim family and many others.

ISBN: 978-0870629501

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 338.2097 LINGENF 2012
Not available as an eBook, talking book, or Braille edition.
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The Hamlet Trap

April 9th, 2013 WSL NW & Special Collections Posted in Washington Reads No Comments »

HamletThe Hamlet Trap. By Kate Wilhelm. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987.)

Recommendation submitted by:
Will Stuivenga, Cooperative Projects Manager, Washington State Library, Tumwater, WA.

For the mystery fan who is also a theater buff, this is the perfect book! Set in Ashland, Oregon, not in the famous Shakespeare Festival proper, but in another nearby theater that specializes in anything other than the Bard, two people end up dead, and police suspicion falls on Ginnie, the talented set designer, who also just happens to be the theater’s owner/producer/impresario’s niece. A retired New York City detective and his Ph.D. psychologist wife are sent in to find the true culprit, and save the day. Well written, with great character development, as per usual with author Kate Wilhelm, this NW mystery is just the ticket for anyone who might have overlooked it back when it first came out.

ISBN: 0-312-94000-9

Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.6 WILWELM 1987
Available as an eBook, or as a Braille edition.
Not available as a talking book.
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