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December 2014 eNewsletter

"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. 
And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!" 
Neil Gaiman

Island Books

With all the noise about Black Friday and stores being open on Thanksgiving it occurs to me that we didn't used to shop as much when I was a kid. (Pardon my doddering nostalgia.) I remember just two kinds of shopping with mom. Grocery shopping at the A&P, which I loved ("Trix are for kids!") and clothes shopping for school, which I hated (trying on clothes in those sweaty little rooms and then having to parade for mom and the bored clerk). Trips to Toy Town and Downstreet Books were a once in blue moon affair. I got a Newbery Award book each Christmas and used to go to the toy store only to buy model airplane kits for other children's birthday parties. I remember standing in front of a wall of models, melting with desire and hearing my mother say "Remember, it's better to give than to receive." That was baloney and I knew it. 


Oddly, I now find myself​ in an​ eating, sleeping, and dreaming shopping​ frenzy​ in the months of November and December. I own the bookstore/toy store mecca of the island and all the thousands of goodies contained inside. Yet I really struggle when asked what I "want" for the holidays. I can't think of any "thing" I desire, except maybe the chance to give some swell wrapped books to my kids, my love, and friends. It is better to give than receive. It's easier. It's more fun. It's better. Mom was right. ​


In fact, I now find it so much fun giving stuff that I sometimes take home piles of things before I really have a recipient in mind. I have no choice when I come across something that is just Too Wonderful. Here's my version of the Too Wonderful Not to Give to Somebody List: ​


Earth Is My Witness, an Art Wolfe magnum opus ​ 

Yes, Please, Amy Poehler's book for new wave women

Island Treats Peppermint Mallows, yum

A big polka dot scarf

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande; super smart, bold, and wise

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr; you'll need five copies of this great read

Eat by Nigel Slater, because the great cooks make it look simple 

NYRB Children's Collection of Classics, a fantastic reissues of great read-alouds

Nikki McClure calendar, get 5 copies

Fasttrack Game, simple and lots of fun for all ages

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews, dark and funny about dysfunctional Canadians

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Blackman, a charming, sweet Swedish tale ​

Aimless Love by Billy Collins; tons of great poetry this year

Take Away the a, a delightful picture book for old and young 

In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides, this year's adventure/history/storytelling combo 

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly, a better grade of mystery

How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson, science/history for anyone

and don't forget a hamster calendar, because no one else has one


There are truly a hundred more where these came from. Remember, different strokes for different folks. That's what makes this fun.

Roger Page 

Owner and Bookseller




They Shaped Our Imagination

Here are our favorite works of fiction published in 2014. 




They Expanded Our Horizons

Here are our favorite works of nonfiction published in 2014.




Cindy's December Pick:

Station Eleven

We read a lot, and despite ourselves, we're guilty of playing favorites. 

For example, this month Cindy has been talking up the National Book Award finalist Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. More than a deadly flu pandemic story, this bestseller appeals beyond the dystopian fiction audience, surprising with its brave reflection on the value of everyday existence.

See More Staff Picks


Reading-Related Rambles

In the last few weeks, we took a closer look at the novels The Paying Guests and The Children Actappreciated two intelligent books with a special look at clothing, previewed a promising January debut novel, and most importantly, let James explain his rapidly expanding beard. 

Don't forget, you can also get our Store Journal by email.



3014 78th Ave. SE

MI, WA 98040

(206) 232-6920

Store Hours

Mon-Wed: 9:30 - 7:00

Thurs: 9:30 - 8:00

Fri: 9:30 - 7:00

Sat: 9:30 - 6:00

Sun: 11:00 - 5:00


Island Books

Upcoming Events
Thurs, Dec 4, 7:30pm:Open Book Club, Someone by Alice McDermott
Sat, Dec 6, 6:30pm: PJ Story Time with Ann Rutherford and Nancy Stewart
Sun, Dec 7, 3:30pm: Julie Kramis Hearne, author of World Spice at Home
Sun, Dec 14, 3pm: Allen Johnson, Jr., author of The Blackwater Novels 

Our Best of the Year: Children's

Our Best of the Year: Children's

Here are our favorite books for children this year.


Our Best of the Year: Tweens and Teens

Our Best of the Year: Teens

Kids had plenty to choose from this year; these are the young adult books we liked best. 


Gifts Galore

Gifts Galore

Come by the store and browse for your holiday shopping. Some of our most popular gifts include the Fasttrack game, handcrafted jewelry and scarves, pottery, children's puzzles and toys, and of course the locally made Island Treats.


Open Book Club

Open Book Club

Note special meeting date! We're pushing our club get-together to the first week of December to avoid conflict with Thanksgiving. Don't forget, if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.


20% Off Indie Bestsellers

20% Off Indie Bestsellers

We always offer a 20% discount on the top ten bestsellers in non-fiction and fiction for the week, as reported by independent booksellers across the country.