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January 2018 eNewsletter

"There was only one place I could go to for help. I needed to go to the bookstore."

—Stefani Chaney

Another holiday season is over, filled with bookselling moments great and small. With each present wrapped and customer problem solved, we spent December fully dedicated to the spirit of giving. The excitement, extended hours, and relentless pace pushed us every day. Victor solved a major delivery screw up and even drove to Portland and back to make sure our customers had their books (and he brought Voodoo Doughnuts for the masses, no less).

We had special friends helping us gift wrap, long-time-no-see customers back in town for the holidays, and gifts galore we wanted to take home for ourselves. If we had a dollar for every Happy Hanukkah or Merry Christmas exchanged we could probably have taken the whole island out to dinner. Marni even dressed up as a Christmas tree. 

After picking our favorite books of the year in December, when January rolls around we always take a look at your choices. Thus it's time to round up the most popular titles amongst our customers in 2017. We consider it a testament to Lori R.'s bookselling taste and skills that our top seller was Amy SnowWhile we all cheer for our individual favorites, collectively we always find it good to see authors we've hosted, like Nancy Pearl and Taylor Jenkins Reid, Open Book Club choices like HomegoingThe Last Painting of Sara De Vos, and Just Mercy, as well as local subjects, like Mercer Island History, on this list (read about the test trip James took with Seattle Walks on our blog). 

In the Kids and Teens category, WonderThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and (to an extent) The Hate U Give were all driven to their position by strong appeal to adult readers as well as kids (and Wonder came out in the movie theater and was our pick for Open Book Club last July). It's also worth noting that those were the #WeNeedDiverseBooks titles on the list.

The white Christmas that blanketed Mercer Island last week seems like a good omen for things to come. Besides all the high quality reading we're looking forward to in 2018, it's time to get back to our regular Storybook Corners, PJ Story Times, Open Book Clubs, Cookbook Book Clubs, and a variety of author events. Soon we'll have a new neighborhood bakery next door, a swell of new gifts, and as always, plenty of community to welcome you here. Come by and see us soon. 

Your Booksellers,

Laurie, Victor, Marni, Cindy, Marilyn, Lillian, James, Miriam, Lori, and Nancy

Island Books Annual Top 40

The simple yet meaningful tradition of analyzing our customers' favorites is one we love and look forward to each year. Here we present the top titles of 2017, as chosen by the best judges of all, our customers.

You can also browse our archive of past Top 40 winners here.

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Counter Intelligence:
Miriam's January Pick


Miriam's recommendation this month also happens to be the #1 Indie Next pick for January. This family saga turns on an opening where a fortune teller tells each of the four children their destinies and the precise day they will die. The prophecy informs the ensuing decades, as they make choices and take actions to defy the prediction. Steeped in Jewish and American history, The Immortalists is a moving novel about fate, faith, and family bonds.

See More Staff Picks

Reading-Related Rambles

In December, we shared a power trio of noteworthy paperbacks, listed our top ten anticipated fiction for 2018, and indulged in some other favorites on Boxing Day.


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Upcoming Events


Wed, Jan 3, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Sat, Jan 6, 6:00pm: 
PJ Story Time with Simon Okelo and Nancy Stewart

Sun, Jan 7, 4:00pm: 
Stephen Tobolowsky at the Stroum Jewish Community Center

Wed, Jan 10, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Wed, Jan 17, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Sat, Jan 20, 6:00pm: 

Mark Baumgarten, Contributor to Fly to the Assemblies!

Wed, Jan 24, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Thurs, Jan 25, 7:30pm: 
Open Book Club: Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst

Wed, Jan 31, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Kids and Teens Annual Top Ten

Here are our top-selling kids and teens books from 2017. See the archive of past Top 10 winners here.

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Open Book Club

In January, our Open Book Club will read and discuss Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst, a powerful story about one family's struggle to help their behaviorally-challenged daughter. Read Miriam's blog post about Harmony here.

Don't forget if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.

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20% Off Indie Bestsellers

We always offer a 20% discount on the top ten bestsellers in non-fiction and fiction for the week, as reported by independent booksellers across the country.

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