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50 Years of Island Books: Laurie Frankel

Laurie Frankel is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of four novels. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, People Magazine, Lit Hub, The Sydney Morning Herald, and other publications. She is the recipient of the Washington State Book Award and the Endeavor Award. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and been optioned for film and TV. A former college professor, she now writes full-time in Seattle, Washington where she lives with her family and makes good soup.

Miriam: Let's start with your first visit to Island Books. Where were you in your career then, and what stood out about the store?

Laurie: Which is also the answer to your question, I’m afraid. I can’t remember my first visit to IB which I actually think speaks to what a great bookstore it is: it feels like it’s always been there and always been a part of my world. Island Books is my favorite kind of bookstore which is to say big enough to have a wide selection, small enough that good, smart readers have culled and curated, with booksellers (said good, smart readers) who are warm and welcoming but also give you space to browse and get lost looking for what you want to read next, plus the children’s section of my (and my kid’s) dreams. I also adore a neighborhood bookstore, and IB is the best kind (since your neighborhood is an island). MI is the perfect size — big enough to have everything you need, close enough to get anywhere you need to go, but small enough to be a community — and it seems to me that Island Books mirrors that exactly.

50 Years of Island Books: Ashley Ream and Lee Kravetz

Ashley Ream is a former journalist and the author of two acclaimed novels, The 100 Year Miracle and Losing Clementine. She and her books have appeared in L.A. Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Bust Magazine, the Toronto Star, The Seattle Times and the Kansas City Star, among many others. Born and raised in a working-class town near Kansas City, she has since moved all over the country, doing stints in Florida, Texas, Los Angeles and Wisconsin. She currently lives in a small house in the big woods outside of Seattle.

Lee Kravetz is the author of the novel The Last Confessions of Sylvia P., as well as acclaimed nonfiction, Strange Contagion and Supersurvivors.  He has written for print and television, including The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, Psychology Today, The Daily Beast, The San Francisco Chronicle, and PBS.  He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Miriam: Ashley and Lee, I'm excited to have you two together on the blog. Our readers and even many of our staff don't know this yet, but Island Books is responsible for a special moment in your lives that I was lucky enough to witness. I can't think of a better anecdote about how bookstores bring people together and create community. I'll let you tell the story, but first, let's start with how you came to Island Books and where you were in your lives and careers when you first made the connection.

50 Years of Island Books: Kevin O'Brien

Before his thrillers landed him on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists, Kevin O’Brien was a railroad inspector. The author of 21 internationally-published thrillers, he won the Spotted Owl Award for Best Pacific Northwest Mystery and served on the board of Seattle 7 Writers. Press & Guide said: “If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today and writing novels, his name would be Kevin O’Brien.” Kevin O’Brien’s latest nail-biter, The Enemy at Home, just hit shelves in August 2023.

Miriam: Welcome Kevin! What does it take to get you over the bridge to visit us at Island Books?

Kevin: It’s a bit of a challenge for me to get to Island Books. I live on Capitol Hill and don’t have a car. But when my friend, Garth Stein, had a book signing there, I was up for the task! The light rail and a bus got me to Island Books in just over an hour. The store, at first glance, struck me as “quaint.” Then I stepped inside, and saw it went on and on and on! Laurie and the staff were so warm and friendly—and total pros. And what a wonderful selection of books, cards and fun knickknacks. I became an instant fan of Island Books. The customers and sales people all seemed to know each other. I kept thinking, if “Cheers” was a bookstore, it would be Island Books.


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