The Island Books blog started back in the fall of 2011. James Crossley and I were the original contributors, and over the last 7 years we’ve written enough of these entries to fill a book. We’ve bounced ideas off each other, edited each others’ work, discussed countless books, competed over our reading lists, covered for each other during vacations (his) and pregnancies (mine–his kids are older so he has more fun), moderated author events (here we are hanging with Nancy Pearl), and drank a fair amount of coffee, soda, and liquor to keep this thing going. Along the way I’ve learned a good deal from James, including many ways to be a better writer and how the proper use of “good grief” in an email is enough to make me laugh loud enough to make the children come running. I’ve enjoyed reading and editing his work more than I can say. His First Line Friday columns, our conversations about the books we could actually manage to read simultaneously, like Chocolate for Breakfast, H is for Hawk, or When Breath Becomes Air, and yakking about our annual reading resolutions were some of my favorites.