Romantic Reads for Fall

imageIt is not February, but love is in the air. I’m blaming it on myself. I have been walking around with my head in the clouds, narrowly avoiding car accidents, and staring off into space when I should be writing. Reader, I’m going to marry him, I repeat to myself because my longtime boyfriend and I have, in fact, decided to get married.

Although of little consequence to anyone other than us and our family, it sparked the idea for this blog post. All summer I devoured contemporary romance novels, preparing myself for what I knew and hoped was to come (a proposal) and getting into a festively romantic mindset. Once properly proposed to, I decided to do a scholarly investigation into the history of the romance novel that would deepen the appreciation I already have today... continued.

November 2019 eNewsletter

"November is usually such a disagreeable month...as if the year had suddenly found out that she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it. This year is growing old gracefully...just like a stately old lady who knows she can be charming even with gray hair and wrinkles. We've had lovely days and delicious twilights."
— L. M. Montgomery



Hooray for fall! November is my favorite month; we focus on gratefulness, thankfulness, and the way the leaves turn beautiful colors. This year, as always, I am thankful for my staff and bookstore community. Throughout the month I send out bards to friends and customers with a note of thanks for their continued support of the store. It's fun for me to do because I absolutely love cards!!

In addition to Thanksgiving, November is also our birthday month! On November 2nd, we will be celebrating our 46th birthday with cookies and champagne. Please stop by to say hello and grab a cookie. Each staff member has chosen a book to be part of our birthday sale. Come by to see their picks!

Other events happening this month are the Cookbook Book Club, a signing with Susanna Ryan of Seattle Walk Report, a conversation with Kim Brown Seely, who wrote Uncharted, and our seasonal Local Author Festival. We are especially excited for the Cookbook Book Club this month! We are cooking from Cannelle et Vanille and welcoming the author Aran Goyoaga to our potluck feast.

Our evening with Kim Brown Seely is another event I am personally invested in. As my third child is off to college next year, I am getting to that empty nest stage where Victor and I have to think about what our future looks like. What are we going to do with the rest of our time? Uncharted offers unique answers to this question and probes at who parents are without their children.

This month also is the beginning of book fair season. And how special is it that we get to kick it off with Judy Witmer who helped us start our first book fair all those years ago! There are tons of book fairs over the next two months, so make sure to look at our calendar to see when your school is scheduled.

Be on the look out for the Book Fairy. She will be running around to all of the Little Free Libraries on the island.

Also look for us at the Harvest Market on November 24. We will be there giving away ARCs and sponsoring one of our favorite events of the whole year.

As much as I love Thanksgiving, I know that November is also the time for holiday cards. All of our festive cards will be out November 1st.

With thanks,
Laurie Raisys
Owner

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Halloween Horrors

imageI hate horror movies, but I’ve always read scary stories. It began while reading Terrifying Tales to Tell at Night in my parent’s chiropractor’s waiting room and spread to the repertoire of scary stories I told my friends late into sleepovers. Scary stories always attracted me. Never movies. Let me repeat: I will not watch a scary movie.

Last week my boyfriend and I both had a day off of work and decided to watch something irreverent but festive. We chose Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, but the gore and body horror repelled me. I stuck it out for about an hour before my head was permanently tucked behind a pillow. Thankfully, Max turned it off. Horror books are different. I don’t know why, but I think it’s because I don’t have nightmares when I don’t physically see the images. I’m sure it doesn’t make sense to horror movie enthusiasts. In the same way a cinephile loves horror movies for the narrative structure, the plays on the genre, and the everlasting anticipation... continued.

Hidden History

In the last few weeks I’ve noticed a definite change in the air. Leaves are starting to crunch under my feet, I’m pulling out my knitted shawls and cozy sweaters, and I’m settling down with a hot cup of tea and fat historical novels. 

I’ve always loved books set in other times, from L.M. Montgomery’s Prince Edward Island at the turn of the century, to Sharon Kay Penman’s novels of thirteenth century Wales. I devoted a whole blog to my love of Dorothy Dunnett and her excellent Lymond Chronicles, as well as my serendipitous finding of Amy Snow by Tracey Rees. Across the counter I’ve confessed to customers that most historical knowledge I possess, patchy and uneven as it is, comes from reading historical fiction and not from what I learned in school days. I’ve always found it easier to remember the broad strokes of historical facts when I’ve invested in the personal lives of historical figures through a good story. Anglophile that I am, my knowledge base is concentrated heavily in England, to the detriment of most other places.

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How To: An Official Guide to Purchasing Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks

Many customers have come into the store and been surprised when we talk about online orders through our website. We, in fact, do have a website that does online orders where you can peruse and choose books from the comfort of your home.

As the holiday season looms over us, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some of the lesser-known aspects of our website and how to use them. Did you know that you can make a wish list for books with us online? Or that you can buy eBooks? Well, you will be an expert by the time this post is over ...continued.

 

Featured Events: Conversations with the Candidates

As you know, we consider Island Books to be more than just a bookstore; we consider it a community gathering place and hub for thoughtful discussions on a wide variety of topics. To that end, we'll be hosting all of the the City Council Candidates in a series of Meet and Greet the Candidate events at Island Books on consecutive Sundays in October (beginning this weekend).

Our vision is to offer voters and candidates in our community the opportunity to discuss visions for Mercer Island and views on the key issues for the city in an informal setting (on a series of Sundays). These events will be similar to the author events we frequently host and each candidate will be available for a one hour session. Each candidate will have the opportunity to present, take questions and casually mingle with the attendees. There will be no debate time or moderator - the time will belong to the individual candidates to use as they wish to communicate their vision, positions and thoughts on key issues.

This series will begin this Sunday at 3:45pm and will continue for the following two Sundays. The full schedule is below. We look forward to seeing you and our city council candidates engaging on issues that are important to our community

October 2019 eNewsletter

"October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!"
—Rainbow Rowell


Happy October! This month our word is pluviophile: a lover of rain, of the sound of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days -- and we are loving the sporadic showers and full-blown gusts that come with this season. As summer disappears and the holidays ramp up, we want to take this opportunity to re-introduce our bookselling team to you, highlighting preferences and expertise.

Laurie:
- Owner, gift and card buyer
- Lover of beach reads, scintillating historical fiction, and anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- This month's picks include Right After the Weather by Carol Anshaw; The Possible World by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz; The Bucket List by Georgia Clark


Caitlin:
- Adult book buyer, bookseller
- Passionate about works in translation, literary mind trips, and internationally set stories
- This month's picks include The Corner that Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner, translated by Claire Harman; From the Shadows by Juan Jose Millas, translated by Thomas Bunstead and Daniel Hahn; Reinhardt's Garden by Mark Haber; Homesick by Jennifer Croft

 

Cindy:
- Out of print specialist, bookseller
- Rapid consumer of mysteries, thrillers, and thought-provoking sci-fi
- This month's picks include The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen; The Testaments by Margaret Atwood; Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason



Lillian:
- Children's book and gift buyer, bookseller
- Exuberant about quirky picture books, smart romances, and engaging novels
- This month's picks include The Bookwanderers by Anna James; Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds; Cog by Greg van Eckhout; I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day


Lori:
- Gift and card buyer, bookseller
- Keen interest in historical fiction, high fantasy, and books with strong heroines
- This month's picks include Fountains of Silence by Rupta Sepetys; The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes


Nancy:
- Games buyer, bookseller
- Expert in a variety of nonfiction, thought-provoking contemporary fiction, and sardonic narratives
- This month's picks include The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout; The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson


Kelleen:
- Events and marketing coordinator, bookseller
- Enthusiastic about magical realism, adorable YA romances, and substantive middle grade novels
- This month's picks includeThe Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake; Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry; Blood Sisters by Kim Yideum, translated Jiyoon Lee


Miriam:
- Open Book Club host
- Ardent for culturally relevant literature and beautifully written prose
- This month's pick is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein


 

 

We cannot wait to see you over the coming weeks!

Laurie Raisys
Owner

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Dedication, Perseverance, and the Craft of Writing: An Interview with Clare Meeker

Clare Meeker is a passionate researcher with a love for telling stories to children. She is the perfect local candidate to be the special guest at The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators meeting this last Sunday of September for their nonfiction craft talk.

I realized that throughout my various interviews with authors, I have never interviewed a children’s writer! With Clare Meeker’s upcoming appearance at our store, I thought this a great opportunity to check this off my Blog Bucket List. What’s most interesting about Clare is that she is also a researcher, not to mention a longtime friend of the store. The stories that she tells take a great amount of work and knowledge that has to be distilled and translated to an elementary school-aged kid. Most of her books focus on Pacific Northwest Animals, and her newest release, Growing Up Gorilla is about a gorilla family from the Woodland Park Zoo. I thought I would ask her how she decided to bring these two ideas together… continued.

Reading and Knitting: Introducing the New Knitting Bookclub

Those Island Books patrons who are knitters have probably had a conversation with me at some point about the craft of knitting. Either you’ve asked about a book or magazine, or we’ve mutually admired a hand knitted item that one of us is wearing. Once identified as fellow knitters, we will always ask after each other’s current project. We trade our favorite patterns and yarn stores, and commiserate over dropped stitches and tricky instructions. For me, getting to talk knitting is always a fun bonus to any interaction, and it’s hard to remember there was a time when it was all a mystery to me. 

My journey with knitting began my first year in college. A girl on my floor organized a trip to the yarn store in town, then taught us all how to cast on, knit and purl. I labored away at a scarf all autumn long, forcing myself to keep going despite the increasing and decreasing stitch count (not in the pattern), and how hard I found it to work the needles into the yarn. Come Christmas, I wrapped up a scarf that could stop bullets for my mom. She never complained, but once I learned that it was important to match the needle size to the type of yarn you were using, and that I had been using a much smaller needle than I should have been, I took it out and redid it for her in a more forgiving rib.

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Summer Book Bingo Reflection

imageSummer is officially at an end, which means our Seattle Arts & Lectures Book Bingo has wrapped up. Lori and I have enjoyed sharing our adventures in reading with you all summer, so we would have a conversation about what we read and we found challenging.

Lori and I both attempted to complete a black out on our cards. She was successful; I was not… I may have been a little too distracted by other books sometimes. This happens! What was wonderful is that I still read outside of my usual genres and was introduced to many new authors.

Together, we enjoyed taking pictures of books when we finished them and nudging each other to keep reading books we weren’t so fond of. Read below for more insight into how we fared… continued.

 

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