Monthly Theme Challenges & Points

Each month read a book from these nominated themes. Then head on over to our submissions page and send us your name, book title and, if desired, a short summary/review. For extra points read more titles, offer suggestions, comment on other submissions and and write reviews.


Themed title: 1 pt
Additional title: 1 pt
Additional themed title: 2 pts
Review/Summary: 3 pts
Title Suggestions: 1 pt
Comments: 1 pt

Remember: think outside the box. Romance does not just mean Harlequin!

Image result for line of books

February: Romance

February is Romance month. Now, this does not necessarily mean a Harlequin title with Fabio on the cover (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Nor does it have to be Romance in the most literal sense. 
It could be non-fiction, romantic poetry, the love of a family, love of a place or a psychological look at love as an emotion (why not try ‘50 greatest love letters of all time‘ edited by David Lowenherz, or Deepak Chopra’s The path to love : renewing the power of spirit in your life, both available at the Library).
Remember- don’t judge a book by its cover genre!

March: Mystery

So March is Mystery month. 

Why not revisit an old favorite with Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes? Or try a more contemporary psychological mystery with The Girl on the Train?
Like British crime? Try Ann Cleeves, author of the popular Vera series which has been adapted into a brilliant BBC tv show.
How about Scandinavian mysteries? With a Golden Age of Scandinavian crime upon us you have so many to choose from. For example: Karin FossumPeter HoegArnaldur IndridasonCamilla LackbergAsa LarssonHenning Mankell, or Jo Nesbo. To name but a few!
And then there is always time for a childhood favorite: Nancy Drew.

April: Poetry

Welcome to April. Being Poetry month it seems fitting that this is our theme this month. 
Don’t know where to start? 
Again- think outside the box. How about some Northwest Poetry? Or try a mash-up where poetry meets fantasy like A.S Byatt’s Possession. Learn how to read poetry with The Poem is you: 60 Contemporary American Poems and how to read them or even try your hand at hip hop and rap with the Spoken Word Revolution
You can always revisit an old favorite like Shakespeare or Wordsworth. Finally, why not try a novel in verse like Newbery Medal Winner Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse?
To celebrate Poetry month we will also have a poetry display, and we have moved our poetry collection to a new spot on the other side of the Graphic Novels.
Towards the end of the month we will be hosting the Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna for a poetry panel on Friday April 27 at 7 pm and a poetry workshop on Saturday April 28 at 1 pm.

May: Historical

Next up is History Month…
As May is actually History month, there will be plenty of events around town to keep you entertained and possibly give you some great reading ideas.
Here are just a few to whet your whistle:
  • Monday, May 7: History talk by Boyd C. Pratt: But What about the Pig?: 7 p.m., San Juan Island Library.
  • Wednesday, May 9Russell Barsh: The Salish Sea and North America in 14187:30 p.m., San Juan Island Library.
  • Friday, May 11Coast Salish song and dance: 5:30 p.m., San Juan Island Library.
  • Saturday, May 12San Juan Historical Museum open house and bring-your-own picnic11 a.m.-2 p.m., San Juan Historical Museum.
  • Wednesday, May 23Workshop: Genealogy and local history research soulmates7 p.m., San Juan Island Library.

Why not try something a little off the beaten track? The History of the Old English Dictionary with the Professor and the Madman (one of my all time favorites!), or a fictional history like Geraldine Brooks’ Year of Wonders?
Or try a culinary history such as Consider the Fork: a History of How we Cook and Eat.

June: Young Adult

This month’s theme is Young Adult titles. These can be non-fiction, parenting of teens, fiction, biography. Books aimed for teens, written by teens, about teens. 
It may be an angst ridden month!

But to begin, why not try one of the new non-fiction teen titles such as A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riots of 1919 , or Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The influenza Pandemic of 1918?
And if you haven’t already, how about seeing (reading) what all the craze was about with the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer, or the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth?
Or try reading about some amazing teens who are changing their worlds like I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai or Simone Biles biography The Courage to Soar?
YA books are not just for teens- you will be surprised by the breadth and depth of topics to be discovered!


July: Short Stories

It is a busy time for everyone, and as the weather gets warmer, what better way to enjoy the sunny days, than in a hammock with a good book?

July is short story month- those quick, bite-sized bundles of joy.

When thinking of short stories we very often think of children’s books. But you may be surprised by how many popular authors have published collections of short stories. Some of my personal favorites range from the powerful and ground-breaking: Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Other Stories, Edna O’Brien’s The Love Object and Raymond Carver’s What we talk about when we talk about love; to intriguing: Elizabeth George in I, Richard and Andy Weir’s The Adventure of the Sealed Room (available free, online); to creepily unforgettable: Stephen King’s Quitters Inc. in Night Shift, and The Body in Different Seasons (adapted as the classic bildungsroman movie Stand By Me). And who can forget one of the earliest and most controversial short stories, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

So take a chance and grab a collection- a perfect way to pass the time this summer!

August: Autobiography/Biography

August sees us looking at Autobiography/Biography. We have an amazing collection of auto/biographies at the Library including two of our newest additions, one of which has been reviewed on our blog already: Flat broke with two goats: a memoir by Jennifer McGaha and Fire and fury: inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff.
One of my favorites is The professor and the madman: a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English dictionary by Simon Winchester which explores the bizarre and quite tragic life of James Murray, one of the main contributors to the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. It is also a fascinating look at the creation of that seminal work.

Also Agatha Christie : a mysterious life by Laura Thompson which gives a fascinating insight into a prolific writer and quite private woman.

And finally,the story of a genius who entertained millions and whose death is mourned deeply, Robin by Dave itzkoff. I admit to shedding a tear…


September: Banned book
(for more info look at the ALA site)

Greeting Revelers!
The August winners are Alison Longley for her fabulous review of Bring the War Home by Belew,
and Timmy has again blitzed the field with his reviews!
Drop into the Library to grab your prizes folks.
September is Banned Books month. This is an important topic for all readers but specifically for libraries and schools. Who governs what we read? And more importantly why?
The National theme for Banned Books week (September 23-29) this year is ‘Banned Books Silences Stories‘ and reminds us that we all need to speak out against censorship, in all forms.
If you have seen or even been a part of our past banned book displays and activities you will be aware of books that have been challenged or banned for absurd, arbitrary reasons. So this month take the opportunity to check one out and see what all the fuss was about.
Why not look at the top challenged or banned books of 2017 including:
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Or of all time like:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Happy Revelling!

October: Horror

Greetings Revelers!
This past month saw Revelers try some banned titles and we had quite a few reviews to share on our blog. So I thought some of you may like to see your progress through the year- so impressive, each and every one of you.
Reviews posted to blog: 555
Comments: 335
Individuals who have read over 5 books or more (first names only):
Alison- 32
Carrie- 44
Cheryl- 16
Dorothy- 10
Fielding- 43
Heidi- 14
Jenni- 17
Kathy- 21
Lauren- 5
Laurie- 24
Lisa- 48
Louise- 24
Mike- 29
Rebecca– 59
Steve- 39
Tana- 5
Tawnee– 21
Timmy- 114
What a fabulous effort- well done!
We have only one winner for September, Naomi Boydston, for her bumper crop of reviews including of the challenged title The Maze Runner. Congratulations!
So we enter October and what more fitting theme to have than Horror. Now, I can already hear your eye rolls (yes, you can hear that happening) and the thought “But I don’t DO horror” and again, I ask you to think outside the box.
Why not go back to the beginning and read Mary Shelley’s Gothic masterpiece Frankenstein– in novel or graphic novel form?
How about Shirley Jackson’s atmospheric The Haunting of Hill House (recently made into a Netflix series)?
Or our encyclopedia of Horror Literature, which features wonderful short stories? And don’t forget The Monster Movies of Universal Studios!
And lastly- why not try Stephen King’s On writing: a memoir of the craft, a great how-to book for budding writers from the King of Horror himself.
Have fun!

November: Non Fiction

I hope you all had an enjoyable Halloween- It was great to see so many of you try your hand at reading horror, a genre that many people avoid. Hopefully nothing gave you nightmares!
Can you believe it- we have now posted more than 600 reviews on the blog. It is quite astounding to see. Well done to all!
The winner for October is Rebecca for her review of “America’s Fantastic Tales” which made me go dig out Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and read it again, realizing once more what a powerful and disturbing work it is.

And Timmy- check out his list of titles read- a voracious mind indeed.
Congratulations- come by the Library to pick up your prizes.
So now we are in November which is non fiction month and what can I say? We have an absolutely fabulous non fiction collection here at the Library and there are so many titles to choose from.
Following the Friends of the Library’s popular Jane Austen event (pictures on the website at why not try Jane Austen’s England by Roy Adkins or All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane by Amy Elizabeth Smith?


December: Graphic Novels