Girls With Bright Futures: A Conversation

You’ll be seeing a book on the Island Books new paperback fiction table February 2nd, if you haven’t already spied it on several most anticipated releases of 2021 lists, including NewsweekRefinery29 and Popsugar. With an eye catching cover, a local setting and an instantly intriguing premise, Girls With Bright Futures is the book everyone is going to be talking about. Taking place in Seattle at the fictional Elliott Bay Academy, and told from three alternating points of view, we get an inside look into the cutthroat world of college admissions and the unrelenting pressure on both the kids applying for college and the parents trying to ensure their success.

I was hooked from the very first page, plunged into the high stakes of vying for the last early admission spot at Stanford, and thankful that my college application days are now in the distant past! Seattle residents and co-authors, Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman, were kind enough to answer a few of my questions about their book and the writing process. And be sure to check out the details for their book launch at Island Books at the end of the blog!

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Goodbye to 2020!

As we close the book on 2020, we want to thank our community and our customers for their steadfast support, patience and understanding throughout this challenging year. In addition, we want to thank our amazing staff who have been unwavering in their commitment to Island Books, our community, and our customers throughout this trying year. THANK YOU! We will be closing the store from Friday, January 1st – Wednesday, January 6th to give ourselves and the Island Books staff a chance to renew and refresh after a long and difficult year. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!

As with many households, our television watching has increased during the pandemic. We’ve really enjoyed binge watching The Queen's GambitThe Last Dance and all six seasons of  Schitt's Creek among others. Last weekend, we really enjoyeThe Queen's Gambitd the HBO documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart thanks to the recommendation of our very close friend T.J.M. It was a great trip down memory lane. It’s easy to think of the Bee Gees as that disco band from the mid-late 1970’s from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. However, that thinking ignores the fact that the Bee Gees had a career that spanned four decades from the 1960’s with a sound that was similar to the Beatles, to their ballads of the late 1960’s and early 1970s, followed by disco sound in the mid to late 1970s and then becoming award winning songwriters in the 1980s and 1990s in response to the disco backlash. Watching the documentary, we were reminded that the Bee Gees were constantly reinventing themselves to adapt to the ever-changing environment of the music business. And so it has been with Island Books as well. Our relationship with the year 2020, is complicated. The year 2020 has forced us to reinvent ourselves and find new and different ways to serve our community and customers. It is not the first time that Island Books has had to adapt to a changing environment, nor will it be the last. At times, it has been difficult, frustrating, challenging, and messy because change always is. However, we believe that we have come out of this year stronger and better equipped to face the challenges in the years ahead. As we bid farewell to 2020, we mourn the pain, suffering and loss that it has brought to everyone in our family, in our community and in our country. At the same time, we are thankful for the lessons and the opportunities that 2020 has brought to us.

A Taste of the Best of 2020

Readers, it’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? It’s hard to believe we’re even ready to talk about our favorite fiction and nonfiction books of the year. Many of us, and many of you, have found books to be a welcome escape, reading our way through all this year has thrown at us. Traditionally the staff compiles a list of the ten fiction and ten nonfiction titles from the year - the books that reminded us why we love to read so much and show us the power of the written word. Here I offer you a little appetizer to whet your appetite:

I’ll start by briefly mentioning my own personal favorite of 2020, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. I wrote about this back in June, and haven’t read or listened to anything since that I’ve found to be so surprising, immersive and thought-provoking. I’m not alone, it’s also a best of the year pick from Nancy and Laurie, as well as a New York Times Bestseller, a Good Morning America Book Club pick, and long listed for the National Book Award.

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