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50 Years of Island Books: Roger Page, Part 1

Victor and Laurie Raisys, Cindy Corujo, Nancy and Roger Page, Miriam Landis and Marnie Gittinger in 2015Roger Page says even though his wife Nancy’s successful wedding floral business was more profitable than Island Books in the early days, they committed to Island Books because the scheduling and lifestyle were a better fit for having a family. Nancy Page would tell you that her final and most enjoyable career was the 15 years she spent working at Island Books. These days both Pages are enjoying their retirement, still reading plenty of books and traveling to visit those not-so-small children, Emma and Lewis, who were the deciding factor in ownership of Island Books all those years ago. 

Miriam: Roger, tell me what it was like during the first month you owned Island Books. Did you have a moment that made you realize what you could bring to the community?

Roger: Remembering the first month of owning Island Books is hard. It's a bit like the frog in the boiling water story. You sit in the pot for a long time enjoying the warmth, and suddenly, you realize you're the one being cooked. In 1984 I called every bookstore in Seattle looking for a "Christmas season" job, and Island Books was the only one that called back. I did realize in the first month that I was very lucky to have landed in a much-loved bookstore on an affluent island. I was the only male and only full-time employee among 19 well-educated part-time women. Everyone was recognized, everyone was appreciative, and everyone really read. The bookstore felt big, full of surprises, and full of energy.

Picture: New owners Victor and Laurie Raisys; Cindy Corujo; old owners Nancy and Roger Page; Miriam Landis and Marnie Gittinger in 2015

50 Years of Island Books: Lola Deane

Mercer Island Reporter clipping from 1973 with Lissa Wells, Sally Kennedy, Phyllis, Andrea Lorig, Stcia, Julia Olsen, Fam Bayliss and Lola Dean

Island Books 1973 staff with Lissa Wells, Sally Kennedy, Phyllis, Andrea Lorig, Stacie, Julia Olsen, Fam Bayliss and owner Lola Deane

This week, I have the pleasure of talking with the woman who started it all, the founder of Island Books. It's hard to imagine our Island without the bookstore, so I wanted to go back to the beginning and find out how it all began. I started by asking Lola for a short biography, and with her typical wit, here's how she came back to me and described herself:

Past - Farm girl, UW Graduate as Family Nurse Practitioner, Wife, Mother, Mercer Island resident 1957-1985 and founder of Island Books, Shaw Island resident 1985-2019. Community Volunteer/Activist.

Present - Mercer Island resident again, still a Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, resident of Covenant Shores, Volunteer at MIYS Thrift Shop in books, and still a Community/Activist with even more issues on my plate.

Future -  "Who Knows what the Future Holds?" Lola Deane with Laurie Raisys at Island Books      Right: Owner Laurie Raisys with founder Lola Deane under the original sign at Island Books in 2015

A Conversation with Erica Bauermeister

I’ve been a fan of local author Erica Bauermeister for years, from The School of Essential Ingredients, to The Scent Keeper, to House Lessons. But when I first sank into the pages of an early copy of No Two Persons, I knew I was in for a singular reading experience. Releasing on May 2nd, No Two Persons is the story of a novel and the people it impacts. Topping my personal “Best Books of 2023″(and a perfect Mother's Day gift!), I’m so happy to give you all a sneak preview of this amazing book in a conversation with Erica Bauermeister herself:

Lori: Welcome Erica! It’s such a pleasure to speak with you about your fabulous new book. But before we start chatting about No Two Persons, I wondered if you have fun memories of Island Books to share, in this, our 50th anniversary year?

Erica:  I remember the first time I went to Island Books. I was on a tight schedule, there to sign books, but I found myself instinctively slowing down, looking around. You know that feeling when you enter a bookstore and you just know this is the kind of place where you’ll find a book you’ll love but hadn’t known existed? It’s such a rare feeling. Is it how carefully the inventory is curated? How well the staff knows the books? The way the customers seem to have taken the place into their hearts? All I know is that Island Books is one of those rare stores.


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