All the World's a Stage, and Sometimes There's a Cheese Plate

Since our most recent recommendations for book club reads proved so popular, I thought I’d piggyback on the success of that post with some more advice. Which is: Liven up your next meeting by adding drama. I don’t mean that you should turn your book club into a hair-pulling episode of Real Housewives: 98040, obviously. I’m suggesting that you try reading something written for the theater.

There are plenty of plays out there that contain all the depth of a great novel, brimming over with plot and characterization. One of my favorites in this regard is Arcadia by Tom Stoppard....Read more

(Our store journal keeps you posted on books we're excited about, our literary musings, and other reading-related rambles. Remember, you can sign up to receive our posts by email.)

Book Club Combos



Once a month, Roger, James, and I get together to brainstorm what should go into the store’s monthly eNewsletter. Our banter at these meetings covers a wide range of topics, not limited to but including: books on our minds, our children’s antics, publishing industry gossip, store anecdotes, and our continued wonder over James’s tendency to polish off a large soda before breakfast.

Every so often after one of these pow-wows, I look over my notes and think, “We are good. We are really good.” Then we build the newsletter, off it goes, and some of our creative lists end up passed over in a pile of other emails. It happens.

So selfishly, today I’m revisiting one of my favorite lists from our March newsletter. We were discussing how often two books just naturally go together, and thus produced the following list of perfect pairs for book clubs....Read more

From Clay Tablets to Cell Phones

The chattering classes (a phrase coined by Auberon Waugh, son of novelist Evelyn Waugh) continue to debate the future of print. Literacy itself is on the upswing, as text messaging pushes aside voice mail and crawling chyrons take up increasing acreage on our TV screens, so pundits are less concerned than they once were about images replacing words completely. They’re still worked up about how those words will be delivered to us, though. Will everyone be reading eBooks or …. what to call them? Apparently we’ll soon need a retronym to clarify what we’re talking about, much as we now must specify “acoustic guitar” or “analog clock.” For now I’ll stick to calling them what they are, thanks—books.

The topic has been so much discussed that it’s grown more than a little tiresome. We at Island Books are happy to sell you a story in bits and bytes or on paper, as you prefer, and we try not make a big song and dance about it. More interesting, perhaps, is the question of how writers are creating their stories. That is, how does a tale turn from a mere fizzing in the mind into words that can be read?...Read more


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