Hello. Am I a person writing this? Are you a person reading this? How can we tell what lies on the other side of this screen between us? Maybe I am Mark Zuckerberg inside the metaverse wearing the virtual costume of a bookseller. Or I’m a TikTok creator sharing book titles in the format of the latest viral booktok trend. Perhaps I’m an artificial intelligence program designed to identify what books fit a certain theme so that I can share them with the world. Just kidding—I’m Joe, a real life flesh-and-blood bookseller at Third Place Books Lake Forest Park. We’ve recently revamped our Internet and Technology section, but there are books about the Internet in every corner of the store!
Welcome to this post, which as you know lives on the internet. More and more our lives, the way we express ourselves, the nature of our connections to others, and how we engage with the world around us is tied up in the world wide web. We listen to podcasts online, write and read fan fiction. Since the beginning of the pandemic our shift towards living with one foot on solid ground and the other in digital reality has only accelerated with virtual events and remote work leaving us all in a digital limbo. Literature has got to keep up! Here’s a round up of some of my favorite books that are either explicitly about the internet or engage our shifting relationships with each other and the technology that connects us. If something catches your eye, order it online or even venture to one of our stores in person.
I recently had the pleasure of watching the tv show Only Murders in the Building (shout out to Rosa, Claire, and Allie for recommending it!) and I was delightfully charmed from start to finish. I quickly fell into this cozy mystery set in New York City following the unexpected trio of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez as they try to solve a murder that took place in their fancy apartment building while starting a true crime podcast along the way. I was pulled in by the eclectic cast of characters, funny moments, and the twists and turns as the plot thickened.
As someone who tends to veer away from things with murder in the title, this show reminded me how fun a mystery can be and that there is in fact an entire genre of cozy mysteries out there to explore. So, if you too have just finished binging this show and are searching for some fun and not-too-scary cozy mysteries to read, check out the list below! And if you haven't watched the show yet, please go and remedy that right away. Happy sleuthing!
The holidays are in full swing folks! To help with your gift shopping needs, we've got some great recommendations for books related to beloved fandoms - such as The Office, Bridgerton, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, and lots more. So if you need a gift for someone and all you know about them is that they are a dedicated fan of a certain TV Show/Movie/Game, we've got all sorts of media tie-in books that will make the perfect present. Check out the books below and we hope this makes your holiday shopping a little easier.
When I didn't have a dog, I dreamed about the days when I finally would. I pictured long walks to far flung parks where I would spend an afternoon reading and dozing in the sun with my beloved pal resting against my legs. Or maybe a chilly fall evening, fully content with a steaming mug of tea in one hand, a book in the other, and my dog curled up on the rug at my feet. Hours of bliss while chipping away at my TBR pile with my loyal companion by my side. So cozy, so peaceful, so naive.
I think that's what many of us book folk imagine when we think about inviting a pet into our lives. The coziness, the peace. What we don't imagine is pushing the cat off our open book for the 23rd time, or removing books from the bottom shelves of the bookcase to save them from sharp and unforgiving puppy teeth. And we definitely don't imagine a hungry cat pulling books off a shelf at 5 AM trying to wake us up, or having to trudge out into a cold, rainy December night to walk the dog. Decidedly not cozy on the couch, decidedly not reading a book, and don't even ask about what dog vomit does to the pages of the brand new hardcover you just splurged on.
Whether you’re new to the romance genre or an old hat, chances are you’ve read and enjoyed a good love story at some point in your life. I love this genre for its timeless element of human connection and the happy escapism of a satisfying ending. While the Romance genre has always been well read, it’s currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity, with publishers recognizing the genre as more than a guilty pleasure. There are so many authors of diverse backgrounds to choose from it can almost be overwhelming. Good thing our staff has many romance readers who can help show you the way!
There are so many podcasts that now have books associated with them!! Quite literally, these are two of my favorite things overlapping and it makes me so happy. I think it’s incredibly exciting that these stories and shows are not bound to just one medium but can exist in all sorts of formats.
The explosion of creativity and unique storytelling in the podcasting space continuously inspires me and always helps to refill my “creative well”. One of the best comfort remedies I have is to pop my headphones in, press play on one of my go-to chatty podcasts and color in one of my adult coloring books (or play Animal Crossing & Stardew Valley - shout out to Bookseller Allie for blowing my mind when she recommended listening to audiobooks/podcasts while playing video games, a total game changer). The combination of letting the casual conversation of friends wash over me while my hands and basic brain functions are kept busy with small, simple tasks that I can complete is very relaxing and an almost meditative process that I highly recommend.
While novels generally take center stage and (let’s be real) steal all the limelight, it behooves me to share my love for the often overlooked and misjudged genre of short stories and essays.
You might be a diehard reader of grand tales and thick tomes. Preferably with lots of characters and plot that grows for pages and pages. The bigger, the better; the longer, the more exciting. And perhaps you believe that short stories and essays tend to end abruptly and without very good resolutions. But I am going to let you in on a secret. The shortness and brevity of these stories can actually work in your favor!
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!!! To celebrate, I've put together a list of incredible kids and young adult books by AAPI authors to fill your life with wonderfully diverse stories :) As there are quite a few books on this list (I couldn't help myself, truly), I recommend bookmarking this tab so you can refer back to it throughout the year whenever you are in need of some inspiration for what kids books to read next. Stay tuned for adult book recommendations for AAPI heritage month coming next week!
Also, if you have the means, please consider donating to local organizations that support AAPI communities such as API Chaya here in Seattle (a local non-profit organization that seeks to end systemic violence in our communities). Every bit helps <3 <3
*** On this particular patch of Earth, I'm in the traditional territory of the Duwamish people. This month especially, I want to express immense gratitude for the Tribe's stewardship of and respect for the land.***
I won't take up too much of your time (because hopefully you're outside or headed in that direction), but I'm just here to say...Happy Earth Day 2021!!!!!!! If that statement brings you joy, then YAY! I hope you find interesting and informative suggestions below to keep you engaged with nature all year long. If it fills you with trepidation or only reminds you of those photocopy coloring pages of recycling bins, that's understandable too. Natural landscapes and environmental education can be ridiculously unaccessible, but hopefully you'll find something in this post (there's books, podcasts, Instagram accounts, local organizations, and places to visit) that helps to (re)ignite your connection with this beautifully wild world.
With February and thus Black History Month coming to an end, we wanted to compile this list of recommendations to encourage everyone to read books by Black authors all year long. There are titles from all different genres and even a couple pre-orders to look forward to. We hope you will read some of these incredible stories and continue to support and celebrate Black authors post-February and beyond.