Short Take: That Summer

The long sunny days lately had me reaching for Jennifer Weiner’s newest novel, That Summer. This is only the second Jennifer Weiner book that I’ve read, but I can see why she is a beloved author among our customers. Her writing is instantly evocative, whether she’s describing delicious food and the process of making it (I love good food writing), the atmosphere of Cape Cod throughout the year, or the internal workings of her characters. While the cover might give the impression that this is a light and breezy summer beach read, I found it to be a deeply moving examination of the male behavior that sparked the #MeToo movement in recent years. Weiner takes a heavy subject and creates a compelling page-turner of a story. What begins as an assumed mistaken email to Daisy, a stay-at-home mom with a side hustle of private cooking lessons, turns into a new friendship with the mysterious Diana. What is the connection between Diana and Daisy’s husband, Hal? What really happened to Diana the summer she spent on the Cape when she was 15? Weiner deftly weaves the narrative between Daisy, Diana, and Daisy’s daughter, Beatrice, as things that were hidden in the past begin to come to light. I especially loved Beatrice’s voice, a teenager coming into her own as a female, curious and bold and willing to speak up for herself and others. Make sure you have a free hour or two when you pick this up, because once I started I couldn’t put it down. Now I’m ready to dive into her backlist!

– Lori

Indie Bookstore Day 2021!

Saturday April 24th, is Indie Bookstore Day and aren’t we all glad that even though it won’t look like it has in years past, we still get to have some version of this day that celebrates Independent Bookstores and the people who love them? In fact, we get to have ten days. Instead of the mad dash, it will be more of a leisurely saunter, which is just about my speed.

To be honest, my first experience with Indie Bookstore Day was on accident. I was working for Starbucks in QFC, and had a few hours off between my morning shift and going back to help out with Frappuccino Happy Hour. Island Books was always my go-to place to hang out for an hour or two on Mercer Island. Imagine my surprise to walk in and find a prize wheel in action, a scavenger hunt to complete, and my first encounter with the wondrous thing that is Advanced Review Copies, i.e. ARCs, i.e. the things we now wrap up and give away for Blind Date With a Book. I thought the scavenger hunt would be a cinch after all my years (and years and years) of shopping at Island Books. It wasn’t. James put some very hard questions on there, and I discovered things I never noticed before about Island Books. Hints ended up being necessary. Form completed, I spun the prize wheel that Laurie was enthusiastically manning, winning a literary tea towel, plus an advance copy of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris. I went back to work to make a million Frappuccino samples a happy reader.

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