Book bingo 2021

While I’m taking a break from reviewing – the pandemic finally caught up to me on this particular front – I’m still reading away. I’ve now scored my third consecutive Seattle Public Library book bingo blackout!

Bingo squares transcribed below the cut, with my particular favorites marked with a *.

Romance: Simmer Down, Sarah Smith. Traditional genre: romance. In <5 words: food-truck war leads to romance. Rating: 2/3

*On your shelf: A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, T Kingfisher. Traditional genre: YA/fantasy. In <5 words: court intrigue and gingerbread infantry. Rating: 3/3.

Small press: The Midnight Bargain, CL Polk (Erewhon Press). Traditional genre: fantasy. In <5 words: magic use as feminist allegory. Rating: 3/3

*Beach read: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John Le Carré. Traditional genre: spy thriller. In <5 words: cold war intrigue and commentary. Rating: 3/3

Black joy: Act Your Age, Eve Brown, Talia Hibbert. Traditional genre: romance. In <5 words: love from breaking old habits. Rating: 3/3

Activism or social justice: Franchise, Marcia Chatelain. Subject: history of McDonald’s in Black America. Rating: 3/3

Made you laugh: Lords and Ladies, Terry Pratchett. Traditional genre: fantasy/humor. In <5 words: Pratchett’s witches in Shakespeare’s Midsummer. Rating: 3/3

Coming of age: The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher. Subject: Fisher’s relationship to playing Princess Leia and affair with Harrison Ford. Rating: 2/3

Recommended by library staff/Peak Picks: Accidentally Engaged, Farah Heron (Peak Picks). Traditional genre: romance. In <5 words: fake relationship for cooking competition. Rating: 3/3

Graphic novel or comic: Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (graphic novel). Subject: Bechdel’s relationship with her father and her coming out. Rating: 3/3

Recommended by a friend: The Guest List, Lucy Foley. Traditional genre: thriller. In <5 words: murder at swanky remote wedding. Rating: 2/3

*QTBIPOC: Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee. Traditional genre: scifi and fantasy. In <5 words: siege, with calendar-based magic. Rating: 3/3

Mystery or crime: Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, trans. Constance Garnett. Traditional genre: literary fiction. In <5 words: murder and psychological deterioration thereafter. Rating: 3/3

*Cli-fi or environmental nonfiction: Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler (climate fiction). Traditional genre: scifi. In <5 words: quest to escape prescient dystopia. Rating: 3/3

Poetry or essays: Worried? Lise Johnson and Eric Chudler (essays). Subject: everyday hazards. Rating: 3/3

AAPI author: The Bombay Prince, Sujata Massey. Traditional genre: mystery. In <5 words: murder with a political backdrop. Rating: 3/3

SAL speaker: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundathi Roy. Traditional genre: literary fiction. In <5 words: intertwined lives of modern India. Rating: 2/3

*Speculative fiction: The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue, VE Schwab. Traditional genre: fantasy. In <5 words: Faust with a twist. Rating: 3/3

BIPOC food writing: The Flavor Equation, Nik Sharma. Subject: food chemistry and cookbook. Rating: 2/3

*Sports: The Singles Game, Lauren Weisberger. Traditional genre: literary fiction? In <5 words: tennis pro makes bad choices. Rating: 3/3

Olympic host city: From Little Tokyo, With Love, Sarah Kuhn (Los Angeles). Traditional genre: YA/romance. In <5 words: Cinderella story with lovely stepfamily. Rating: 3/3.

Book from a series (2): The Extraordinaries and Flash Fire, TJ Klune. Traditional genre: YA/fantasy. In <5 words each: teen writes fanfiction about local superhero, gets entangled in superhero action. Rating: 3/3

*Recommended by a local bookseller: Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell. Traditional genre: literary/historical fiction. In <5 words: coping with many kinds of loss. Rating: 3/3, perhaps my favorite book of the year so far

And other reads from the summer that didn’t make it onto the card…

*Resident Alien, Vol 6, Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. Traditional genre: scifi/comic. In <5 words: Ha-Re settles relationship with Earth. Rating: 3/3

The Ex Talk, Rachel Lynn Solomon. Traditional genre: romance. In <5 words: lying on the radio. Rating: 3/3

*The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, Becky Chambers. Traditional genre: scifi. In <5 words: shelter in place, together. Rating: 3/3

Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo (and Siege and Storm finally in my hot little hands after a lengthy hold list wait!). Traditional genre: YA/fantasy. In <5 words: the chosen one is found. Rating: 3/3

Boyfriend Material, Alexis Hall. Traditional genre: romance. In <5 words: disaster and stick-in-the-mud make it work. Rating: 2/3