August 2019 eNewsletter

"Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper."

-- David Quammen

Before we all rush towards school shopping, sweaters, and the go-go-go of the school year, we have one month left of summer. We are taking August easy for the most part but have the Local Author Festival on August 25 and an event with Kevin O'Brien towards the end of the month. He will be visiting us to talk about his latest book The Betrayed Wife while in conversation with Garth Stein. The two of them separate are entertaining, so you want to make sure you mark your calendar for August 28 to see them together (more details are below).

We had such fun with Garth a couple weeks ago and even get the opportunity to sell books at his Seattle premiere for The Art of Racing in the Rain. We love good stories, and it was clear you did too with the turnout for this event.

Lori Robinson's blog from last month reminded us all to read what we love, which made me smile because that has always been my strategy. Reading is important to me, and always has been, as an escape and adventure into someone else's life in some other place. A journey from your couch! I'm always the beach read gal on our staff -- a good cover paired with a fantastic story gets me every time.

I love a good story so much that when I planned to meet up with a friend this weekend, we decided to read together in her backyard. We were both at the best part of our books, so we poured a glass of wine and read on her deck. It was wonderful and reminded me of all the evenings I sit on my deck at home and do the same, but with a friend it was ever better. The joy of the experience made me reflect on my passion for books, for reading, and for the community of readers at Island Books.

I could not be more thankful to myself for telling Roger on that cold December morning in 2014, "If you're tired, let me know..." As a way to spread the joy, my staff pick shelf will be 20% off on August 29, my 54th birthday. I know I said it last month, but thank you for your support these last four years and for walking into the door to share your love of books, your stories, and your hugs with me. Know I always share your passion.

Happy reading!
Laurie Raisys



Kelleen Tries It: Doing Nothing

imageThis month’s “Kelleen Tries It” was a tiny bit foiled. Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing appealed to me by its cover, title, and back cover summary about “all that we’ve been too distracted to see about ourselves and our world.” I assumed this book was going to be some sort of self-help on mindfulness and disconnecting from social media (it has “How to” in the title), but I was pleasantly surprised. Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing is a theory book, brilliant and well-written one, but not an instruction manual ... continued.

A Disability Book Resource

One square in the Seattle Arts and Lectures Book Bingo has a few of our patrons (and both Lori and myself) asking for suggestions. The “Book about Disability” square is purposefully open ended, giving you the opportunity to read fiction or nonfiction, sci-fi or memoir. When I first saw the square, I was a little daunted because I was concerned about defining disability as an able person. Was this book about a girl with a mental illness a book about disability? If a book has a disabled character, but doesn’t focus on their disabled experience, is it about disability? What constitutes a disabled person? Continued...

Read What You Like

When I worked at Starbucks, one of my favorite conversations with customers in the midst of pulling shots and steaming milk was about what they were reading. While this is pretty indicative that I was meant to work in a bookstore, often the question would be turned to me, what was I reading? I would pause, first trying to remember what was currently stacked on my nightstand, and then pause again, evaluating what I thought the person I was talking to might think about what I was reading. What would they think about the Christian Living book I was making my way through, and not for the first time? (Ann Voskamp, A Thousand Gifts) Or the YA series with werewolves and vampires and angels that I was devouring as e-books from the library? (Cassandra Clare, The Mortal Instruments series) I’d make a guess and then say something I felt comfortable revealing. It would always be something I had read lately, just not totally transparent about what I truly was in the middle of reading.

I would hazard a guess that I’m not the only one who has done this. We all want to look good and be accepted. What we read and like can be a vulnerable thing to share. When you tell someone that you really like something, you’re showing your hand. What if they don’t agree? What if they don’t like it too? Not all of us are emotionally mature enough to separate rejection of what we like from rejection of ourselves.


July 2019 eNewsletter

"One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by."
—Jeanette Walls

Monday was my four year anniversary as owner of Island Books. The years have had their ups and downs, but the job is always satisfying. It's become my life, and as Roger told me when I bought the store, “no two days are ever the same.”

I hear variations of, "you are living my dream!" and "how cool is it to read all day!" from customers every week. If that were only true! In reality, we are always working at the bookstore. We shelve, sort, receive, and re-shelve books, perhaps glance through a new colorful release, but do not sit to read with ease. The perks, though, are many. We sometimes meet our favorite authors and are sent advanced copies of books before they come out to the public. It's thrilling, but we all fear that we won't remember the story line by the time it hits our shelves!

Some of the new releases this month include Rachel Linden's The Enlightenment of Bees. We will be hosting a release party with her on the 9th of July. The following week on July 16th, we are having a reading with local author Elena Louise Richmond for her newest novel Advancing the Retreat. We also have local historian Margaret O'Mara joining us on July 24th in celebration of the release of her new book The Code. Last but certainly not least, we are bringing in Garth Stein on the 30th of July to have a release party for the movie tie-in edition of The Art of Racing in the Rain. Make sure you don't miss the continuation of our Poetry + Wine series with poet Kary Wayson earlier that night.

For the kiddos, we are hosting the Where's Waldo passport again, bringing in even more locations to support our small business community. Come by and see if you can spot him in the store!

To say thank you does not cover my appreciation for the support, encouragement, and hugs this community has shown me . . . you honor all of us at Island Books every time you walk through the doors. For that I am forever grateful. Cheers to many more years at Island Books!

Happy Fourth of July week!

Laurie Raisys

Summer Reading

School is finally out, we’re just past the longest day of the year, and it’s time to get serious about what we’re reading this summer. Island Books wants to help you, so see details for a summer book giveaway below!

In past summers I’ve prepared my SAL Book Bingo card, filled in boxes with books I’d already been reading, and made plans for the other categories. But about halfway through July I would lose steam, or want to read books that wouldn’t fit any category. By the end of August my Bingo card would remain haphazardly filled, no one line complete. No blackout for me.


Book Bingo Blackout

Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL) Summer Book Bingo season is upon us, and this is the first year I am participating! Last year, I helped with recommendations for the kids version. This year I decided to take the challenge very seriously for myself.


I’ve been talking to my coworkers about wanting to read the unread books on my shelf for quite a while. We all get so caught up in the advanced copies sent to the store, sometimes we forget reading older books is just as important. Sure, people like to read the newest releases, but they and their pocketbooks also enjoy recommendations for books in paperback. Ultimately, people want good books, not necessarily the newest ones. So, the next two months I will be trying to get through a pile of books from my personal bookshelf in order to get a full blackout on Summer Book Bingo ... continued

Pride Month Picks

If you don’t already know, June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which means it’s time to celebrate and support our community. Businesses across the Puget Sound area are flying rainbow flags, and Island Books is not missing out! To mark the month, we are going to giveaway two awesome rainbow Lokai bracelets (read to the bottom for more details).


It is also an excuse to call attention to queer books, an overarching category for any book that features a LGBTQ+ main character, focuses on queer issues, or is written by a queer author. This is one of my favorite genres because literature about queer people normalizes their existence, in the same way it does with racial or religious minorities.

... continued

June 2019 eNewsletter

"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance."
—Oscar Wilde

Summer has arrived to the Pacific Northwest in a flurry of beautiful and temperate weather, and this means it’s a time for celebration. Summer reading, Father’s Day, my oldest’s college graduation, and pride: June has so much to give.

Summertime books are my absolute favorite. Since the time I could read, I’ve devoured books while “laying out” or sitting at the beach to pass time. A typical vacation day includes slathering on sunscreen, hitting the beach with at least two books, taking breaks to talk with my kids, and only stopping for meals and cocktails. Then I read until I fall asleep. Sunshine, beach, and books: perfection. Here is a slew of good ones out right now (or very soon):

Within the celebration theme, we have some fun ideas to start out your summer:

Bingo Cards: Make sure you come get your summer Seattle Arts & Lecture Bingo Cards. Our booksellers have great recommendations to fill up your card. There is a spot for some of the summer reads above, and of course the legendary “independent bookseller recommendation” spot is ideal for our input.

Bookmark Contest: Last month we took in entries for our bookmark contest; this month the voting begins! Next week, check out this link for our online poll or come into the store and cast your ballot. There are two categories: kids and teens/adults. The best of each category gets a limited run of printed, color bookmarks. Voting will last until the end of June.

Author Events: We are taking it a little easier with author events this month, but the ones we are hosting are worth your time. The Rummage Mamma Trunk Show is this Saturday, June 8 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Deirdre Timmons is coming by on Thursday June 13 to talk about her memoir Brain Candy. And of course, we will have Poetry + Wine (or Verse + Vino) June 25  at Barrell’s.

Where’s Waldo: Remember Where’s Waldo starts July 1st. You can find him all over Mercer Island stores.

Giveaways: Watch our blog this month for giveaways related to the books we are loving.

Dads we love you and love seeing you in the store with your kids, grandkids, etc.

Congratulations to all the graduates, especially Sofija, class of University of Washington 2019. We are so proud of you.
Laurie Raisys

Kelleen Tries It: Forest Bathing

imageHello, everyone! I am starting a series of posts where I try new fads, trends, and book crazes so that you, dear reader, do not have to. Today we start with shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.

Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, which has been out for a few years. It is a beautiful book full of gorgeous photos and small amounts of text so as not to overwhelm the reader. The beginning gives a background to the Japanese cultural significance of the forest and the practice of shinrin-yoku. Trees have always held a spiritual importance for the Japanese people. A class of samurai in the Edo period specifically protected trees in the Akasawa Forest. If a person cut down a tree, the samurai would cut off their head ... continued



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