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February 2020 eNewsletter

"[Y]ou have such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness."

—Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

After a long holiday season, Laurie is taking a well-deserved break and asked me to write the owner's letter this month.

Last month, two members of the Island Books staff, Nancy Shawn and I, attended the American Booksellers Association's 15th annual Winter Institute in Baltimore. This conference is an annual opportunity for booksellers, independent bookstore owners, authors, publishers, distributors, and vendors to come together to meet and network, discuss best practices in the industry, and of course get a sneak peek at the books coming out over the next year. I won't bore you with the details, however, if you've read this far, you should come into the store and ask for a free ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of an unpublished book because we shipped a lot of back from the conference.

For me, the highlight of the conference was the opening morning keynote "Reinventing the Store: Achieving Growth in the Face of New Business Risks" by Dr. Ryan L. Raffaelli, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Dr. Raffaelli spent the last eight years studying independent bookstores. He writes in his paper:

My research examines how industries, organizations, and business leaders reinvent themselves in the face of radical technological change. In the context of retail, seismic shifts are affecting the way consumers engage with online, big box, and local retailers. Independent bookstores provide a story of hope for community-led businesses.

Both his keynote and his paper highlight the "3C's" that have led to the resurgence of independent bookstores: community, curation, and convening. His whitepaper on the topic can be found here.

In the spirit of Dr. Raffaelli's 3C's, there's a lot happening at Island Books this February. First, in the spirit of the first C -- community -- we are hosting three local author events this month. Kelli Estes will join us on February 9th, Jennifer Longo on February 16th, and Lisa Fain and Lois Zachary on February 26th to celebrate each of their respective new releases. Next up, there's Valentine's Day on February 14, and in the spirit of the second C -- curation -- we have a fantastic selection of carefully curated cards, gifts, and of course books for your valentine. (Please note: we can't guarantee a fantastic, carefully curated selection of anything if you arrive late in the day on February 14th, so shop early.) Finally, in the spirit of the third C -- convening -- our Cookbook Book Club will meet on February 23rd at 5:30pm. Laurie and I have been cooking out of Half Baked Harvest Super Simple for the past month, and we love it.

Finally as an extra bonus in the spirit of the first C, Laurie and I will be attending the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) Foundation breakfast on February 12th. In addition, Island Books is joining other businesses in donating 20% of our sales on February 12th to support MIYFS. We will also be hosting Blind Date with a book, asking for a suggested donation of $5 towards MIYFS per Blind Date. MIYFS does important work within our community to provide a broad variety of programs, services, and expertise that support the wellness of families of all Mercer Islanders. We hope you join us in supporting MIYFS in any way that you can.

Have a great February! We'll see you in the store.

Victor Raisys
Featured Event: Jennifer Longo, Author of What I Carry

On February 16 at 2:00pm, Island Books welcomes Jennifer Longo to celebrate the release of her new book What I Carry. Jen will be reading from  her book, chatting about her writing process, and, of course, signing books. Come by to support this local author with her smash hit!

In What I Carry, Muir has lived in many houses because of growing up in foster care. And if she's learned one thing, it is to pack light. There's no room for additional baggage. Muir has just one year left before she ages our of the system. One year before she's free. Then she meets France. And Kira. And Sean. And everything changes... 

Black History Month in Kids

So much to celebrate in Black History Month! Here are some new picks to celebrate black people throughout history. Find more beloved titles in the store!
Counter Intelligence: Caitlin's February Pick

This month, Caitlin recommends My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland.

Caitlin says: In My Autobiography of Carson McCullers author (and former bookseller!) Jenn Shapland discovers love letters McCullers wrote to a woman named Annemarie. This discovery leads Shapland to look at a part of McCullers's life never fully discussed publicly, and in part examine her own life. I love the way Shapland wove her life in with McCullers. This is an innovative biography/memoir that would make an excellent selection for a book club especially paired with The Member of the Wedding, or another work by Carson McCullers.

See More Staff Picks
Open Book Club

In February, our Open Book Club will be reading She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. When you purchase the book in the store, you'll get a 10% discount.

For many years, reporters had tried to get to the truth about Harvey Weinstein's treatment of women. In the tradition of great investigative journalism, She Said tells a thrilling story about the power of truth, with shocking new information from hidden sources. Kantor and Twohey describe not only the consequences of their reporting for the #MeToo movement, but the inspiring and affecting journeys of the women who spoke up.

Pre-Order at Island Books!

Want to be first in line for the next hot book? Pre-order some of our favorites below. You can reserve your copy online and get a 10% discount when you pick it up and pay for it at the store. Or, you can pre-pay with the discount during your next visit!

Reading-Related Rambles
In January, Lori considered where inspiration comes from and Kelleen interviewed local children's superstar Nancy Stewart and local author Kelli Estes.

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Upcoming Events

Sun, Feb 9, 2:00pm:
Kelli Estes, Author of Today We Go Home

Mon, Feb 10, 10:45am:
Daytime Open Book Club: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Wed, Feb 12
Giving from the Heart & Blind Date with a Book

Wed, Feb 12. 10:30am:
Storybook Corner

Sun, Feb 16, 2:00pm:
Jennifer Longo, Author of What I Carry

Wed, Feb 19, 10:30am:
Storybook Corner

Sun, Feb 23, 5:00pm:
Cookbook Book Club: Half Baked Harvest Super Simple by Tieghan Gerard

Tues, Feb 25, 5:00pm:
OFF SITE: Wine + Poetry

Wed, Feb 26, 10:30am:
Storybook Corner

Wed, Feb 26, 7:00pm:
Release Party for Bridging Differences by Lisa Fain and Lois Zachary

Wed, Feb 26, 7:00pm:
OFF SITE: Elaine Weiss, Author of The Woman's Hour

Thurs, Feb 26, 7:30pm:
Open Book Club: She Said by Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey

Sun, Mar 1, 5:00pm:
Bookstore Yoga

Thurs, Mar 5, 4:30pm:
Knitting Book Club: I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

Knitting Book Club


The next book for Knitting Book Club will be I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos. In this novel, a chance encounter with an older woman empowers main character Clare Hobbes to break off her engagement to her fiance and get a new lease on life to discover who she is.


Cookbook Book Club

Our irregularly scheduled Cookbook Book Club is meeting once again on Feb 23 at 5:30pm. Everyone attending is invited to bring a dish from the cookbook. If you mention you are buying the book for Cookbook Book Club, we will throw in a discount! See you there.

Daytime Open Book Club


For our February Daytime Open Book Club, we'll be reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity and a hopeful story of an interconnected group of Black British women that paints a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and looks back to the legacy of Britain's colonial history.

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 in store on the top ten bestsellers in non-fiction and fiction for the week, as reported by independent booksellers across the country.