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January 2015 eNewsletter

"Booksellers are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the numbers of books that were 
written because authors couldn't find anyone to talk to." 
Alain de Botton

Island Books

Island Books

    People seemed to want know so I'll tell you: the holiday season at Island Books was busy and fruitful. And though the last couple weeks of shopping excess are the ones that make the other fifty possible, they can be, in a word, excessive.

    My new favorite chocolatier, Anne Peterson of Island Treats, ended up in a sling after her dipping arm gave out about Dec 22. My feet and back always bark but this year my hips were harmonizing. There was a moment on the 23rd when I was ringing at the register furiously while behind me four booksellers (with 100 years experience among them) were crammed shoulder-to-shoulder at the wrapping table knotting bows like there was no tomorrow. But there was a tomorrow, the 24th. The 24th is always a bit of a desperate free-for-all with the clock ticking down to 4pm. Everyone is looking for a final book or gift and it can get noisy and joyous.

    It's especially fun to see flocks of grown children return to their Island haunts and home. Little reunions of classmates erupt in the store and I take great pleasure in the annual search for the history book for dad. Old folks show up too, often wearing their holiday best. One lovely lady who must be near ninety was filling out her check ahead of time so as to not hold up the line. When we took note of her forethought, she volunteered that Island Books was her second favorite place to write checks. What's her first, we wondered? "The liquor store," she said with a twinkle. 

    My favorite encounter was with a longtime customer that I see only rarely now. A great reader and intellect, he was leaning on a cane scanning the biography section. I approached with an offer to help, and he asked about three current books of nonfiction that I was pleased to have in stock and produce for him. As he gathered his armload of goods and walked with me to the counter, he quietly confided, "I think of this bookstore not so much as a physical location, but as an occasion of sin."  Those are words to warm a bookseller's heart.

    At 4pm, it is our tradition to firmly shut the door and gather as as staff. We raise a glass to one more season behind us, toasting to each other's health, to the generosity of the community, and to any other worthy topic until it's time to retreat to our own hearths. We feel blessed and thrilled to have another of year of temptation and tomes. No resolutions this year. We are looking for "occasions of sin." Join us.

    Your Booksellers,
    Roger, Nancy, Garry, Marilyn, Kay, Cindy, Lori, Marni, James, and Miriam



Yearly Top 40

The Big Bestseller List!

You can always peruse our archive of annual bestsellers, but here for the first time, we present the top titles of 2014 as chosen by the best judges of all, our customers. 




Store Journal

Reading-Related Rambles

In December, we obsessed over baking desserts, highlighted our runner ups for Best of the Year, and reviewedsome of our memorable reading lists from 2014. We also helped spread some holiday cheer with these videosfor the #GiveABook campaign. By the way, did you know you can get our Store Journal by email?



Counter IntelligenceCounter Intelligence

Miriam's January Pick:The Secret Wisdom of the Earth 

We read a lot, and despite ourselves, we're guilty of playing favorites. Miriam's been anticipating the release of The Secret Wisdom of the Earth since November. Set in a Kentucky mining town deep in the Appalachian mountains, this is 14-year-old Kevin's coming of age story after a terrible accident kills his younger brother. If you liked the television show The Wonder Years or the movie Stand by Me, you’ll find this an easy book to fall in love with.

See More Staff Picks


Island Books

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

Wed Jan 28, 7:00pm: Paul Barach, author of Fighting Monks and Burning Mountains
Thurs Jan 29, 7:30pm: Open Book Club: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown


Top 40

Kids/Teens Top 40

Our top 40 sellers in our kid/teen department for 2014 were a diverse bunch. It's especially gratifying to know that the societies being steadily destroyed by the adult authors of dystopic fiction are being rebuilt just as quickly by budding young Minecraft engineers. 


Open Book Club

Open Book Club

Island Books hosts an open book club that meets the last Thursday of each month at 7:30pm. All are welcome to attend, and if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.                      


Mercer Island Book Clubs

Mercer Island Book Clubs

"It's always fun to see what your neighbors are reading. And if you're in a local book club and haven't shared your picks with us, do it now! We'll make sure to have copies on hand and give your members a 10% discount.


20% Off Indie Bestsellers

20% Off

Catch up on the titles dominating the indie bestseller lists and save 20% when you order online.


Selling Books Since 1973 

Island Books








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