Not Just All Brawns
5:00 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Ahead Of Sounders-Timbers Match, Seattle Librarians To Take On Portland's Book Nerds

Bragging rights on the soccer pitch aren't the only thing at stake in this weekend's Sounders match against the Portland Timbers; major nerd points are on the line, too.

The staff at Seattle Public Library has challenged their Portland-area "rival," the Multnomah County Library, to a Twitter battle of book recommendations ahead of Saturday's faceoff.

For 90 minutes starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday (there's no stoppage time in this match), book worms in either city can tweet a title of a book they enjoyed to the libraries' Twitter accounts (@splbuzz@multcolib) using each city's hashtag: #SEAreads or #PDXreads.

"Librarian Steve knows we'll chop Seattle in Thursday's #BookMatch & in Saturday's game too"
Credit Multnomah County Library's Twitter Account

Then librarians in each city will answer those tweets with a suggestion of a different book the reader might enjoy based on his or her past choice. Each recommendation will count as a "goal," and the library with the highest score at 6 p.m. Thursday will claim victory.

Ahead of the big match, SPL's Linda Johns and Andrea Gough indulged us with a practice round, offering suggestions for a few book titles we provided:

"Catcher in the Rye" By J.D. Salinger

​"Sometimes the classics are particularly hard," said Gough. But Johns suggests "King Dork" by Frank Portman.

"He's a musician and I think of it as the anti-'Catcher in the Rye,' because there's a character who's reading 'Catcher in the Rye,' and has a lot against it. But if you've already read and loved 'Catcher in the Rye,' it just makes more sense to you, and that could be fun," she said. "There's also a new book coming out called 'My Salinger Year.' It's coming out in, June and I think it's getting a lot of buzz."

"Ender's Game" By Orson Scott Card

The librarians recommend "The Forever War" by Joe Haldeman. The book, explains Gough,"has that similar interstellar, galactic war thing going on — and one person who's designated and meant to make sense of it all. Similar character and world-building."

"Ball Four" By Jim Bouton

After pausing for a moment, Johns pulled up this recommendation: "Faithful: Two Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle The Historic 2004 Season" by Stuart O'Nan and Stephen King.

"Stuart O'Nan is a fantastic writer. He mostly writes fiction, but he loves baseball, and he brings that sense of a novelist's approach to a story when he writes non-fiction," she aid.

"Anna Karenina"​ By Leo Tolstoy​

"Do you want to read another classic? Something more contemporary, but with that feel?" asked Johns, only to be reminded by a pesky reporter that she'll be doing this on Twitter on Thursday, with little time for follow-up queries. She came up with "Little Big" by John Crowley. "It's Twitter, so I don't have to say why!" she adds with a laugh. "Another goal!"

"The Hunger Games Series" By Suzanne Collins 

"There's a good chance that you've already read 'Divergent' by Veronica Roth," said Johns, with not so much as a glance at her computer screen. They get that question a lot at the reader advisory desk.

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" By Jeff Kinney 

"Give the 'Justin Case' series a try," Johns said. "There are a few books in the series at about the same reading level. They're funny; same kind of attitude."

The Seattle Public Library has done this before; they held a similar book recommendations battle with Denver's library ahead of the Seahawks-Broncos matchup in the Super Bowl.