July 2020 eNewsletter

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently."
— Maya Angelou

July is usually the month that we jump out of our winter hibernation and go into full summer mode. We prep for vacation reads and ramp up our in-store projects. From pulls to refreshing stock, July is

We start with the Women Writers Panel on the 16th, featuring Susan Rebecca White, Jasmine Guillory, Jennifer Longo, and Justina Chen. Elise Hooper will be moderating and participating as well. We are so excited to bring these fantastic collection of local and far flung authors to chat about women and Black Indigenous People Of Color (BIPOC) authors in the publishing industry. Register to virtually attend this event here. 
 
The following week we will be hosting a series with Women Business Writers. This virtual event on the 21st of June will feature Mikaela Kiner, Tiffany Dufu, and Rebekah Bastian, each inspiring entrepreneurs and authors in their own right. They will be chatting about how their businesses have been shifting due the pandemic and the need for women of all backgrounds to support and push each other now more than ever. Register to participate and attend this virtual event here.
 
You will see Elise Hooper again at a date TBD for an outdoor signing. Elise will be by the bookstore to sign books outside. Afterwards, she will join an online call with author Tracy Reeves of Amy Snow to talk about her new book Fast Girls and writing historical fiction. We are excited to host her for this masked and socially distanced event! You can register for the virtual part of this event here.
 
Last but not least, we will be hosting local author Karlos Dillard on the 28th for a talk on the first installment of his three-part memoir, Ward of the State. Karlos will be discussing his childhood in the foster care system, reflecting on writing the book, and address the Black Lives Matter movement in conjunction with his writing. You can register for his virtual event here.

We will also have our usual slew of book clubs: Open Book Club and Knitting Book Club. But we are also adding the All-Island Book Club on Race and Allyship to our repertoire as a series on July 20th and 27th at 6:00pm. We are reading So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo. Register to participate here. There are other organizations on the Island hosting this book club if our dates and times do not work for you.

We are disappointed that we cannot hold our events in the store and physically bear witness to our community, but we encourage you to stay engaged virtually and to come in and browse if you can! We miss you all and hope you keep calling us, emailing us, and interacting with us on social media if you can't come in to say a masked hello!

Be well, stay safe, and wash your hands,
The Island Books Team
 

The Pandemic, Racial Justice Books, and Independent Bookstores

So our doors are open. We can better serve the public. You can buy what is on our shelves directly, instead of through Instagram or our website. That is fantastic! But, your books are still taking weeks if not months to get here. We aren’t able to give you the same two-day service as before. The insecurity of shipping during the pandemic, which is ongoing, remains. Here’s some insight into why books are still taking forever to get to you... continued.

Hooray for Summer Reading!

One of the many things that were hard while the doors at Island Books were closed to customers was missing the chance to chat about what I’ve been reading and loving lately. I did keep reading, often as an escape from everything else. But it saddened me to see piles of certain titles that I couldn’t put in the hands of customers personally. I’ve been collecting recommendations that I am VERY excited to tell all you readers about and I hope one of them is just what you’ve been looking for this summer.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

I didn’t realize I would be getting on a national bestseller train when I read this second novel from Brit Bennett, author of the well known debut, The Mothers. All I knew was that I couldn’t put it down. I loved the writing; I loved the complexity of the characters and the story. I loved how many ways Bennett found to talk about the hidden parts of each of her characters. This is the story of twin sisters from a town so small it isn’t on any map. Beginning in the 1950s, in the Jim Crow south, Desiree and Stella have just disappeared from their community. They run away to New Orleans to make a bigger life for themselves. When Stella discovers she can “pass” as white, she takes her chance, leaving her twin behind. Years later the narrative passes to their respective daughters, and the paths their lives take. I found it fascinating. This has already been a hit with our customers, and we are working on getting more copies in soon (maybe signed ones!) so it is well worth getting your name on the list for when more come in.

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June 2020 eNewsletter

"For all those that have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question."

— N. K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season
 

This month marks two months closed to the public. We are so thankful for our community's support. In order to re-open our doors when it is safe, we need to continue to keep afloat and still need your support.

You can find more information on how you can support us throughout this newsletter. We want to take this space to acknowledge the kind and encouraging notes from our customers. WE APPRECIATE YOU!

"Thank you for your quick and pleasant staff who are ready to assist us customers when we call. Island Books is 'THE BEST'!"
Mercer Island, WA

"I placed an order with you after reading about your store on Slate. I just received my book yesterday and it was gift-wrapped, plus had a sew-on patch. It felt like a birthday present. Thank you for the personal touch." Naperville, IL

"I'm desperate to get back into reading and haven't been able to focus lately. I loved your blog post on the topic and recommendations, and I can't wait to come get even ONE book from you all IN PERSON!!!" Seattle, WA

"My household misses the hours spent in your cozy chairs! We so look forward when we can all get together again." Mercer Island, WA


"I'm sorry you had to close, these are difficult times. I hope we will all get out soon. I hope everyone and all your families are home safe. Thank you for continuing to provide storytime. My baby loves it." Mercer Island, WA

"I grew up on MI and spent an inordinate amount of time in your store as a child. Hoping this little bit helps, and am of course looking forward to reading some great titles!!" Seattle, WA

"I saw your 'Coronavirus Diaries' entry on Slate and wanted to help in a small way. I'm sure our local community (including my own small business) will be feeling the same effects shortly, but wanted to reach out while I can. All our best... hang in there! And keep pulling for one another." Glenview, IL


We want to extend our gratitude to everyone near and far for their support. It is not lost on us that we would not be here without each and every one of you. Your calls, emails, and continuous love of our bookstore is what keeps us going.

We also want to acknowledge the heartbreak we feel for black people around the country. It is difficult not to be able to hold our community close during this time, but we do not want to stay silent in the face of the injustices they have been fighting for centuries. We are a resource to help educate our community, and as such we will continue to lift up the voices of black people through their works.


On a personal note, my third child, Liuci, will graduate from Mercer Island High School next week. While it's not how any of us imagined she, or any of the graduating class of 2020, would celebrate ending their high school years, we are proud of her and know that she will go on to do amazing things in this world. (Go Cougs!)


Be well, stay safe, and wash your hands,
Laurie Raisys
Owner
 

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