"I'm a bookaholic on the road to recovery. Ha, not really. I'm on the road to the bookstore." —Author Unknown
Though I moved here from New England 35 years ago, my wife's family (five generations Walla Walla) still calls me a "fureigner." I protest this label, but know secretly that it might give me a deeper appreciation for the glory of the Northwest. Where I grew up, autumn was the season of color, the season for long walks, reflection, and re-creation. This corner of country wears the pink and white coat of The Long Spring. From the the first cherry in January to the first rose in June, our gardens and neighborhoods are alive and pulsating with growth, bloom, and promise. Work and home demands call out with the usual urgency, but the only thing I need to do is go for a walk in the returning light and life.
Walking has become a favorite subject and pastime as I grow older. The rewards (and the reading!) are deep and broad. You can train for an expedition. Take a pilgrimage. Hike the crest. Wander the neighborhoods. Take a walk in the park. Clear your mind. Learn the news of the world. Relax and recharge. I have two large bookshelves full of pedestrian accounts and ideas. Far too many to list, they range from the Romantic English Poets to Emerson, from Scott of the Antarctic to Burke crossing Australia, from the sublime Patrick Leigh Fermor to the absurd Bill Byrson. I recommend Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People as a world-class guidebook, Seattle Stairway Walks, and many Mountaineer handbooks for days stolen and savored near at hand.
This spring three notable titles were added to my already overflowing shelves. A Philosophy of Walking is a bestseller from France and speaks to how artists, thinkers, and revolutionaries have used walking as a creative act through the ages. It's a great first step and overview. The Last Great Walk is the story of Edward Weston, who walked across the country in 1909. It took him 100 days at age 70. Weston truly stood out in an age of eccentric walkers. The best of the season (with a terrible cover) is Grandma Gatewood's Walk. In some ways paralleling the story Wild (but with a better story), this is about a woman who persevered through a very difficult life, raising 11 children and then deciding at 67 to walk the 2,000 mile Appalachian trail with a gunny sack slung over her shoulder. She was the first woman to complete the trail and then, upon repeating it, became the first person to finish it twice. An amazing woman on many counts and a tale of true grit.
Lastly, it must be mentioned that Lori, our beloved children's bookseller, is leaving this month for a six week walking pilgrimage on the Camino De Santiago in Spain. We envy her, look forward to her tale, and are inspired by her courage. We may not all be able to take on such a challenge as hers, but we can all grab a book and take steps in the right direction.
Time to go outside,
Owner and Bookseller
In honor of National Poetry Month, we asked beloved Mercer Island school teacher and poetry lover Ramona Behnke to compile a list of the poetry books no family should be without.More
This spring brings us an embarrassment of riches, including David McCullough’s history of the Wright Brothers and new fiction by Kazuo Ishiguro, Toni Morrison, Kate Atkinson, Stephen King and Sara Gruen.More
Island Books hosts an open book club that meets the last Thursday of each month at 7:30pm. All are welcome to attend, and if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.
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.