Date of visit: July 1, 2017 (7/1/17, how palindromic)
Have you heard of New Holly? Newholly? I hadn’t, and while looking through the map of Seattle libraries, that is how I chose to go to this one. I decided to take the bus on the way there and take light rail back; the 36 drops you off right there, or so it looked on the map.
It proved slightly harder to find than that. The library is in a compound, except the three buildings that made up the compound were only one or two stories high, and in my mind, compounds comprise tall buildings, with lots of shops / services at the ground floor so that you don’t really have to exit the building clump to live your life.
These buildings were the Newholly Early Childhood Center and Newholly Learning Center, and the library was inside the learning center. I think there may have been only one or two people there besides me and the staff; notably, there was a good selection of English language learning books, as well as books in other languages, with targeted resources for East African immigrants.
And it was very small — a single rectangular room, and I think the low shelves and low ceilings further reminded me of elementary school.
Anyway, the books!
The Shepherd’s Life (James Rebanks, @herdyshepherd1): Consider this the Northern English / Lake District translation of JD Vance (@jdvance)’s Hillbilly Elegy, but with less social commentary on inequality, and more sheep. “I thought school was stupid until my grandfather died and in grief, I read all his books”
A nice read, but I don’t think I learned anything about herding sheep. Namely, I want to know how Old English Sheepdogs were ever useful with all that hair, and how you train a Border Collie to herd. How do you show it what you want to do without running circles around your own sheep?
Watch out for the BIG GIRLS (J.M. Benjamin): This is under the imprint of ‘Urban Books’. It’s about a lesbian motorcycle gang of plus-sized women in Vegas that the Feds are trying to infiltrate. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and will note that I have never seen this publisher in the Queen Anne library.
A Map of Betrayal (Ha Jin): I basically will read anything by Ha Jin. I feel like he understands my parents’ cohort — educated Chinese emigrants from the north. I mean, I think he sent the protagonist (a history professor) to be a visiting scholar at Beijing Normal University, my parents’ alma mater (though he calls it Beijing Teachers University), and then he puts the protagonist on the BU campus. The familiarity is reassuring.
I also like his translations of Chinese phrases — you can see exactly what is being translated, but it doesn’t try to make them sound exotic.
Books returned: Still have them; I’ll do it this weekend.