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Book Notes: In the Lives of Puppets

Those of you who have had the pleasure of coming to our bookstore in person may have noticed squares of cream-colored cardstock crammed full of scribbled writing, fluttering about on the shelves and attached to books via bright orange strings. These are our recommendation cards. When we love a book so much that we need everyone to know about it, we write a recommendation card. This is what happened when I finished Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, shortly followed by The House in the Cerulean Sea, both of which became two of my favorite reads from 2022. As his new book draws close to its release day (Tuesday, April 25), I knew I had to share what a delight it was with all of you.

In the Lives of Puppets is a futuristic Pinocchio retelling with robots. One of the things I love most about TJ Klune's adult novels is the eclectic mix of characters finding a home and a family in one another, characters who are real and quirky and heartfelt. In the Lives of Puppets is no different.

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


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