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December 2016 eNewsletter

"Wherever I go, bookstores are still the
closest thing to a town square."
—Gloria Steinem

December is all about lists. Not just for presents, cards, parties, and food, but BOOKS. Our December newsletter is filled with Top Ten Book lists for adults and kids to help you with your holiday shopping. In the spirit of lists I decided to create one myself.

My Top 10 Moments at Island Books in 2016

1) Joel McHale entering the store with the MIHS Marching Band for his welcome home visit.

2) Maria Semple's anticipated visit for Today Will Be Different.

3) Hiding books around the Mercer Island community for people to find.

4) James' blog being mentioned in the New York Times Review Books online page.

5) Wednesday morning Storybook Corners with Nancy Stewart and other local friends.

6) The Mercer Island jute bags supporting the Bangladesh Project.

7) Finally adding casters to the large bookshelves in the front of the store for maximum event space.

8) Bringing in Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty!

9) My husband Victor creating our Cookbook Book Club.

10) Seeing each of your faces in the store every day, week or month. It's always a treat!

Remember we are here to help you with all your shopping needs this holiday season. You can bring your list in, or send it via email or call us at (206) 232-6920. You can even fill out our old school gift/book registry, an actual box where you can keep a wish list so we can tell your friends and relatives what to give you when they come in. Also note, we will be open from 9am to 8pm the week of Christmas and open until 4pm on Christmas Eve. We will be closed on Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.

Whatever brings you into the store this month, all your energy and questions bring a special joy to our store during the holidays. Thank you for shopping and being a part of our lives.

Happy holidays from all of us!


Laurie Raisys

Our Best of the Year: Fiction

Every year we create a list of the best fiction of the last twelve months, and every year we learn again that there's no such thing as a definitive list. There are so many good books to choose from, and so many of us with different tastes, that the task is an impossible one. Nonetheless, we persevere. For your amusement and enjoyment, we present the Top Ten Works of Fiction for 2016, as seen through our eyes.


Our Best of the Year: Cookbooks

Our Cookbook Book Clubs have raised passionate discussions over the merits of new cookbooks. These are the new titles we've savored this past year.


Destination of the Month: Iceland

The ultimate holiday trip would probably be a jaunt to the North Pole to visit with Kris Kringle himself, but since that's not really feasible, we've got the next best destination: Iceland. It hugs the Arctic Circle, it's a magical place unlike any other, and best of all for book-lovers, it's one of the most readerly spots on the globe. Enjoy the following list of Icelandic stories, sagas, and more.

To browse previous destinations of the month, go here.


Counter Intelligence:
James's and Lori's December Pick

James and Lori both picked Swing Time by Zadie Smith as their December staff pick (Miriam picked it in November). This cinematic story of a lifelong rivalry between two dancers growing up in shabby northwest London has much to say about race, class, and gender. Smith gracefully examines how our roots determine who we become. 

See More Staff Picks

Reading-Related Rambles

In November, we spread some early holiday cheerrevved upfor our Maria Semple event, and suggested a book pairing of Everfair by Nisi Shawl and King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild.

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Upcoming Events

Sat, Dec 3, 5:00pm: 
Maria Semple, author of Today Will Be Different

Tues, Dec 6, 9:00am: 
Island Middle School Book Fair at Island Books

Thurs, Dec 8, 7:00pm: 
Meet the Senior Nomads

Sun, Dec 25: 
Closed for Christmas Day

Sat, Dec 31 and Sun, Jan 1: 
Closed for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day

Our Best of the Year: Children's and Teens

Here is our general favorite fiction and nonfiction published in 2016 for the younger set. This list includes our top two favorites for each age group.


Our Best of the Year: Nonfiction

We've read the reviews, listened to our customers, and racked our brains to come up with a list of the Top Ten Works of Nonfiction for 2016. It was hard work, what with all the excellent choices, but the process was rewarding and so are the results. True story.


Open Book Club

Due to the holidays, there is no Open Book Club in December. We hope to see you next month, when we'll be reading In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien.

Don't forget if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.


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.