You know how it feels when you read a book that comes out of nowhere and you’re totally blown away? And then that author comes out with their second book and you both really, really want to read it and you’re also afraid it won’t live up to the experience of the first? That was me with Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley. I’d listened to Boulley’s first novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, and I loved that it was so different from anything I’d read before. The audio book gave me an aural experience of the Anishinaabemowin language that I certainly wouldn’t have had just by reading the book. It was so many things at once — a crime novel, a bittersweet romance, a coming of age story of a young woman with a foot in two very different cultures, trying to reconcile what she can, let go of what she can’t. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and informative without being preachy. So when Warrior Girl Unearthed came out this month, I felt an internal hesitation before opening it up. One night I decided to just read a chapter or two, see what I thought. The next thing I knew I was half way through the book.
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In the previous installment of my interview with former Island Books owner Roger Page, we talked about how he came to own the store, and how Island Books navigated the arrival of online and big box retailers (hint: it was you who kept it going, the community and customers). In part 2, we dig into staff memories, and Roger's wife Nancy chimes in with what it was like having their kids participate in the store effort.
Miriam: Roger, can you talk about the team you had around you at Island Books during those years as an owner? What was the cast of characters like, and do you have any particular good team memories? I know I do.
Roger: It was always a good mix of booksellers...and I'm not sure how that came about. A lot of the credit should go to Lola Deane, with an assist by Phil Deane. Her vision from the beginning was for something more than a little community bookshop. She dreamed up a mid-sized, sophisticated, warm and welcoming bookstore that could serve much of the Eastside. She hired well-educated readers from amongst her friends and worked with the wider bookselling community to stay up to date with inventory and publishing trends.
It is time for our next Cookbook Book Club! Please join us on May 25 at 6:30 PM here at Island Books for pasta, pasta, and more pasta. Michela Tartaglia of local Pike Place establishment Pasta Casalinga will be joining us as we share a variety of the pasta recipes from her debut cookbook, Pasta for All Seasons. This book is a nod to her Italian upbringing while simultaneously celebrating the local bounty of the Pacific Northwest.
Now, those of you who have had the good fortune of stumbling upon Pasta Casalinga tucked away in a corner of Pike Place Market know what a good time we're in for (if you haven't been so fortunate yet, it's just a 15 minute drive from Mercer Island; the trick is going before they sell out for the day). I found Pasta Casalinga when a friend from out of town and I had just returned from Bainbridge and bookstore hopping. We were starving and I had heard about a handmade pasta place hidden in the warren of shops. We found it after some wandering, chose from the seasonal offerings, and devoured some of the best pasta I've ever had. Since then, whenever I get the craving for seasonal, authentic, delicious pasta, I head to Pasta Casalinga. It is a place that embodies some of the best qualities of the Pacific Northwest. It is small, local, and fresh, with the pasta handmade daily in small batches and a seasonal rotating menu.