While Roger has spent the last several summers taking long solo hikes, I
hold down the fort, so to speak. But this year with our 25th wedding
anniversary on the horizon and teenagers too busy to join us we seem to
be coming back full circle to summer trips we took as a couple long ago,
where destinations were remote and days were epic. So while my husband
is in our basement measuring little bags of dried food, I appear to be
the only owner available to write a letter.
When he suggested that I join him this year, I happily immersed
myself in research about all of the possibilities. We could revisit the
Cotswold Way or Tour de Mont Blanc, places so beautifully described in Walking the Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People by the Mannings and The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot
by Robert MacFarlane. But with family weddings to attend in the West
this summer, we’ve set our sights closer to home, so Teton Crest Trail,
Wyoming, here we come. Hadrian’s Wall will have to wait.
I have always needed a good book glowing in the light of my headlamp
to keep me company in camp, and all the better if it uses the same
setting as my travels. I’m not sure who was being put to the test, but
in the early years before getting married, we had some great adventures
together and they are all the more vivid because of the stories that I
was absorbed in at the time, like Emily Carr’s Klee Wyck, read
late at night after long days of kayaking in the remote Queen Charlotte
Islands of British Columbia. Then there was Lillian Beckwith’s The Hills Is Lonely (unfortunately out of print),
read after hours spent walking from standing stone to standing stone
on the Isles of Harris and Lewis off the west coast of Scotland. After
almost 30 years I still associate those places as much with the stories
as with my actual memories.
The West has inspired so many kinds of writers that I feel a little
overwhelmed with reading options as I try to decide what I want to pack
for our trip. Jonathan Evison’s latest, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving,
a humorous road novel, will speak to the many miles that lay ahead
between Seattle and Wyoming. But when we’re out there in the vast
expanses where one feels like the natives should be rolling up over the
high bluffs on horseback at any moment, I just may want to crack open Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, the biography of Edward Curtis by National Book Award-winning Timothy Egan. Though I do love a good strong women's story like Sudden Country by Karen Fisher or Amy Bloom’s Away.
Or perhaps all of those dark nights in the tent with my snoring husband
could be nicely passed with a western mystery. Perhaps the new dark
twists of The Son by Philipp Meyer or any of Craig Johnson's Wyoming mysteries will do.
Come join me at Island Books and we can help each other pair up some
perfect travel stories. It’s one thing to have a book transport you to
far off lands and people, but all the better if you read it while living
Have a great summer!
Owner and Bookseller
We read a lot, and despite ourselves, we're guilty of playing favorites.
For example, this month Miriam is excited about Sisterland
by Curtis Sittenfeld. Packaged as a story about grown twins with ESP,
this is more a story about family, sisterhood, and the peculiar and
distinctive characters of Kate and Vi. Read Miriam's blog post about Sisterland to learn more.
Here, our booksellers share their other June recommendations.
See More Staff Picks
As usual, we're applauding American independence in July. We took
our history classes in school, but beyond the textbooks, how much do we
really know about how America came to be the country it is today? Let's
hit up the history section and find out some good dirt on our endlessly
Movies like Dirty Dancing and Grease
don't have a monopoly on summer romance, especially because they're far
shorter-lived than a good romantic read. You don't have to fall in love
in real life this summer to appreciate the highs and lows of developing
relationships, marriage proposals, and some happily ever after (at
least until the leaves change color).
It's scary enough trying to entertain your kids all summer long.
So take them into the woods, pitch a tent, build a fire, and spin some
scary stories. Then once they go to bed, read some of these
spine-chillers in your sleeping bag with a flashlight.
3014 78th Ave. SE
MI, WA 98040
Mon-Wed: 9:30 - 7:00
Thurs: 9:30 - 8:00
Fri: 9:30 - 7:00
Sat: 9:30 - 6:00
Sun: 11:00 - 5:00
Check back with us in August for upcoming store activities.
From June 1st to Aug 31st, drop by our childrens' desk and pick up a
"Ticket to Read." Each time you purchase a children's or teen title, we
stamp your ticket, and when you've purchased 10 books you earn one free
children's hardcover of your choice.
Summer is when teenagers have the time and freedom to read for fun
instead of for school. If they trudged through their English classes
resenting the assigned reading, these books will hopefully restore their
excitement over picking up a book.
Our book club is on hiatus in July, but generally 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.
Even though our book club is off this month, there are plenty of
others in full swing. Here's what Mercer Island book clubs are reading
in July (and the 10% discount still applies).
Catch up on the titles dominating the indie bestseller lists and save 20% when you order online.
Did you know you can download ebooks from our website and read them
instantly? Or that we sell top-notch ereaders and tablets ourselves?
Read more about it. You'll be glad you did.