Lists of Books To Be Read

imageLori and I were recently talking about our struggle to keep track of books and series we are interested in starting. Neither of us keep actual lists of things to read, we just mention things to each other and borrow books from coworkers when they have copies. Most booksellers will say that their To Be Read (TBR) lists are their bookshelves, piled high and deep with advanced copies and passed around paperbacks. Lori and I are no different, but if we don’t have physical or digital copies of the books, it is difficult to keep track of what books we saw and felt like we had to read next – maybe once it comes out in paperback.


Book Journaling into 2020

imageAs we head full-on into 2020, and upon request from our readers, Lori and Kelleen are sharing reflections on their reading journeys in 2019 and intentions for 2020. A few questions posted by Modern Mrs. Darcy got them thinking about how they want to enter the new reading year. Modern Mrs. Darcy is Anne Bogel, author of Reading People, I’d Rather Be Reading and the forthcoming Don’t Overthink It. She is the host of the podcasts What Should I Read Next? and One Great Book and runs a reading challenge every year. In getting ready for 2020 reading, she posed two questions for reflection:

What worked for me this year?

What didn’t work for me this year?


February 2020 eNewsletter

"[Y]ou have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness."

—Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

After a long holiday season, Laurie is taking a well-deserved break and asked me to write the owner's letter this month.

Last month, two members of the Island Books staff, Nancy Shawn and I, attended the American Booksellers Association's 15th annual Winter Institute in Baltimore. This conference is an annual opportunity for booksellers, independent bookstore owners, authors, publishers, distributors, and vendors to come together to meet and network, discuss best practices in the industry, and of course get a sneak peek at the books coming out over the next year. I won't bore you with the details, however, if you've read this far, you should come into the store and ask for a free ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of an unpublished book because we shipped a lot of back from the conference.

For me, the highlight of the conference was the opening morning keynote "Reinventing the Store: Achieving Growth in the Face of New Business Risks" by Dr. Ryan L. Raffaelli, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Dr. Raffaelli spent the last eight years studying independent bookstores. He writes in his paper:

My research examines how industries, organizations, and business leaders reinvent themselves in the face of radical technological change. In the context of retail, seismic shifts are affecting the way consumers engage with online, big box, and local retailers. Independent bookstores provide a story of hope for community-led businesses.

Both his keynote and his paper highlight the "3C's" that have led to the resurgence of independent bookstores: community, curation, and convening. His whitepaper on the topic can be found here.

In the spirit of Dr. Raffaelli's 3C's, there's a lot happening at Island Books this February. First, in the spirit of the first C -- community -- we are hosting three local author events this month. Kelli Estes will join us on February 9th, Jennifer Longo on February 16th, and Lisa Fain and Lois Zachary on February 26th to celebrate each of their respective new releases. Next up, there's Valentine's Day on February 14, and in the spirit of the second C -- curation -- we have a fantastic selection of carefully curated cards, gifts, and of course books for your valentine. (Please note: we can't guarantee a fantastic, carefully curated selection of anything if you arrive late in the day on February 14th, so shop early.) Finally, in the spirit of the third C -- convening -- our Cookbook Book Club will meet on February 23rd at 5:30pm. Laurie and I have been cooking out of Half Baked Harvest Super Simple for the past month, and we love it.

Finally as an extra bonus in the spirit of the first C, Laurie and I will be attending the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) Foundation breakfast on February 12th. In addition, Island Books is joining other businesses in donating 20% of our sales on February 12th to support MIYFS. We will also be hosting Blind Date with a book, asking for a suggested donation of $5 towards MIYFS per Blind Date. MIYFS does important work within our community to provide a broad variety of programs, services, and expertise that support the wellness of families of all Mercer Islanders. We hope you join us in supporting MIYFS in any way that you can.

Have a great February! We'll see you in the store.

Victor Raisys


Strong Women: A Conversation with Kelli Estes

imageI met Kelli Estes in Redmond at a little local coffee shop on a cold and rainy day. I think we both ordered chai tea lattes, our mugs brimming with foam and cinnamon. It was just days before the snowstorm in January set in and kept us all at home.

Her book Today We Go Home came out in late 2019, but I had finished the book the day before. The characters in the book, Larkin and Emily, were vivid in my imagination and haunting me with their struggles and inspiring triumphs. I wanted to understand the inspiration Kelli found to write this unique story ...continued.


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