Island Books Best of 2021: Fiction

Cindy, our beloved and most venerable bookseller, leads off our Best of 2021 with this to say:

“There is much to love about being a bookseller. Where else can you get an employee discount on an entire mega-verse, centuries in the making and ever evolving??? 

Where else can your boss ask you what you’re doing and you can say “I’m looking for Cloud Cuckoo Land” and still get to keep your job???

The rewards are infinite and satisfying except for one thing: 

At the end of every year amid the proliferation of lists of the best books of the year I am asked to contribute my thoughts on choosing “The Best Books of the Year”. 

It’s hard.  

And I don’t like doing it.   

But after 27 years in bookselling I have finally figured out how to answer the inevitable question of my favorite books of the year: 

My favorite book is the one I’m currently reading and my second favorite is the one I’ll be reading next.


The Best Gifts are Closer than You Think

Image of gifts such as the book Wonderland by Annie Liebowitz, a red hat with a sasquatch patch,  Fingears toy, book The Matzah BallMargaret Renkl noted in the New York Times this week "If you’re hoping to find something unexpected and delightful, you’ll need to go to the little local shops that have survived in the age of online shopping by being quirky and brave, and by knowing their customers well enough to say, “I think you would love this.”  She goes on to laud her local bookstore in particular, and independent bookstores in general. We not only know what books to recommend when you say "My dad loved The Splendid and the Vile" but we also have picked out the most fun and delightful gifts that we happily give to our own families and friends. Despite supply chain woes, we just want remind you that Island Books is full of fantastic books and calendars and toys and journals and mugs and bags and hats and scarves, and, and, and ...  Everything has been hand-picked with our customers in mind. If you don't see exactly what you are looking for, just ask - we are happy to offer suggestions, opinions and advice. Let yourself be delighted and surprised!

A Touch of Darkness

The signs of fall are all around. Leaves are swirling, gathering in roads and sidewalks. Darker mornings and evenings. The rain and wind bluster through in violent downpours. Halloween is this weekend, and Island Books has had a spooky reads table set up all month long, as well as a great display back in kids with Halloween reads for all ages. But whenever I’m asked about psychological thrillers or horror recommendations, I don’t have much to offer, big scaredy-cat that I am. 

However, there’s more than one genre that incorporates elements of horror, and I find I’m very comfortable with the dark, spooky, and downright macabre when it comes to fairy tale retellings and fantasy novels. Ghosts, blood, and evil spirits – I don’t bat an eye as long as it’s set in some other place and time, preferably long ago and far away.



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