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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.

Miriam and Nancy Pearl in Conversation

Hello, my beloved Island Books community! Dare I say it? I'm saying it. I'M BACK.

Islanders know me for various reasons--mom of four chasing kids at the local parks and schools, Daniel's wife, ballet teacher, writer, neighbor, and friend. But for those of you that have followed this blog a looooong time, you might remember that former Island Books bookseller James Crossley (now across the bridge managing our dear friend Madison Books) and I started the Island Books' blog back in 2011. Other duties and a pandemic took me away from it for a few years, but the dust is settling, the sun is shining, and OMG, Island Books is heading toward our 50th anniversary at the end of 2023. 

A 50th anniversary is no joke. There's a lot to say to honor my favorite place in town, so I'm lining up next to Laurie and crew to chime in. In the months leading up to the big day, I'll be chatting with current and past Island Books employees to trace the history and memories that make our store so special. I'll also be talking to our authors and literary friends who have a special connection with Island Books. Consider this project my yearbook to honor a local treasure, and if you read along with me, you'll see why Island Books is a pillar of our community. 

I'm kicking off my series with a chat with a woman who needs no introduction. Nancy Pearl is an American librarian, best-selling author, literary critic and the former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at Seattle Public Library. But who she really is, to me, is one of the greatest book lovers of our time. She's someone I admire and wish to be like, she's funny, she's smarter than hell, and she's our dear, dear friend. 


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