Featured Events: Conversations with the Candidates

As you know, we consider Island Books to be more than just a bookstore; we consider it a community gathering place and hub for thoughtful discussions on a wide variety of topics. To that end, we'll be hosting all of the the City Council Candidates in a series of Meet and Greet the Candidate events at Island Books on consecutive Sundays in October (beginning this weekend).

Our vision is to offer voters and candidates in our community the opportunity to discuss visions for Mercer Island and views on the key issues for the city in an informal setting (on a series of Sundays). These events will be similar to the author events we frequently host and each candidate will be available for a one hour session. Each candidate will have the opportunity to present, take questions and casually mingle with the attendees. There will be no debate time or moderator - the time will belong to the individual candidates to use as they wish to communicate their vision, positions and thoughts on key issues.

This series will begin this Sunday at 3:45pm and will continue for the following two Sundays. The full schedule is below. We look forward to seeing you and our city council candidates engaging on issues that are important to our community

October 2019 eNewsletter

"October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!"
—Rainbow Rowell

Happy October! This month our word is pluviophile: a lover of rain, of the sound of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days -- and we are loving the sporadic showers and full-blown gusts that come with this season. As summer disappears and the holidays ramp up, we want to take this opportunity to re-introduce our bookselling team to you, highlighting preferences and expertise.

- Owner, gift and card buyer
- Lover of beach reads, scintillating historical fiction, and anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- This month's picks include Right After the Weather by Carol Anshaw; The Possible World by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz; The Bucket List by Georgia Clark

- Adult book buyer, bookseller
- Passionate about works in translation, literary mind trips, and internationally set stories
- This month's picks include The Corner that Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner, translated by Claire Harman; From the Shadows by Juan Jose Millas, translated by Thomas Bunstead and Daniel Hahn; Reinhardt's Garden by Mark Haber; Homesick by Jennifer Croft


- Out of print specialist, bookseller
- Rapid consumer of mysteries, thrillers, and thought-provoking sci-fi
- This month's picks include The Liar by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen; The Testaments by Margaret Atwood; Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason

- Children's book and gift buyer, bookseller
- Exuberant about quirky picture books, smart romances, and engaging novels
- This month's picks include The Bookwanderers by Anna James; Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds; Cog by Greg van Eckhout; I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

- Gift and card buyer, bookseller
- Keen interest in historical fiction, high fantasy, and books with strong heroines
- This month's picks include Fountains of Silence by Rupta Sepetys; The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

- Games buyer, bookseller
- Expert in a variety of nonfiction, thought-provoking contemporary fiction, and sardonic narratives
- This month's picks include The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout; The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

- Events and marketing coordinator, bookseller
- Enthusiastic about magical realism, adorable YA romances, and substantive middle grade novels
- This month's picks includeThe Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake; Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry; Blood Sisters by Kim Yideum, translated Jiyoon Lee

- Open Book Club host
- Ardent for culturally relevant literature and beautifully written prose
- This month's pick is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein



We cannot wait to see you over the coming weeks!

Laurie Raisys


Dedication, Perseverance, and the Craft of Writing: An Interview with Clare Meeker

Clare Meeker is a passionate researcher with a love for telling stories to children. She is the perfect local candidate to be the special guest at The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators meeting this last Sunday of September for their nonfiction craft talk.

I realized that throughout my various interviews with authors, I have never interviewed a children’s writer! With Clare Meeker’s upcoming appearance at our store, I thought this a great opportunity to check this off my Blog Bucket List. What’s most interesting about Clare is that she is also a researcher, not to mention a longtime friend of the store. The stories that she tells take a great amount of work and knowledge that has to be distilled and translated to an elementary school-aged kid. Most of her books focus on Pacific Northwest Animals, and her newest release, Growing Up Gorilla is about a gorilla family from the Woodland Park Zoo. I thought I would ask her how she decided to bring these two ideas together… continued.

Reading and Knitting: Introducing the New Knitting Bookclub

Those Island Books patrons who are knitters have probably had a conversation with me at some point about the craft of knitting. Either you’ve asked about a book or magazine, or we’ve mutually admired a hand knitted item that one of us is wearing. Once identified as fellow knitters, we will always ask after each other’s current project. We trade our favorite patterns and yarn stores, and commiserate over dropped stitches and tricky instructions. For me, getting to talk knitting is always a fun bonus to any interaction, and it’s hard to remember there was a time when it was all a mystery to me. 

My journey with knitting began my first year in college. A girl on my floor organized a trip to the yarn store in town, then taught us all how to cast on, knit and purl. I labored away at a scarf all autumn long, forcing myself to keep going despite the increasing and decreasing stitch count (not in the pattern), and how hard I found it to work the needles into the yarn. Come Christmas, I wrapped up a scarf that could stop bullets for my mom. She never complained, but once I learned that it was important to match the needle size to the type of yarn you were using, and that I had been using a much smaller needle than I should have been, I took it out and redid it for her in a more forgiving rib.



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