You are here

January 2020 eNewsletter

"In January it's so nice while slipping on the sliding ice to sip hot chicken soup with rice.
Sipping once.
Sipping twice."

—Maurice Sendak

2020 is here! I remember when Liuci, my third child, started school and realized with awe and delight that she would graduate high school in the year 2020. Feels like yesterday, the way the time has passed so quickly. Even the latest holiday season flew by with the joy of wrapping and recommending gifts. We had such a great time helping you find the perfect stories to share with your loved ones.

We have a handful of interesting and engaging events this month, including Mikaela Kiner, Julie Blacklow, and our Open Mic night at Barrels Wine Bar. We will end the month with Bookstore Yoga sponsored by our friends at the Mercer Island Athletic Club and taught by Marni Seneker. All are welcome.

It's also time to return to our regularly scheduled Storybook Corners, PJ Story Times, various book club meetings, and local author events. Come by and see us soon!

As tradition has it, we compiled our Top 40 "hits" of the year -- the books you have purchased the most from us in 2019. Two local authors are featured: Melinda Gates and her book, The Moment of Lift gets the top spot with Garth Stein's movie tie-in cover of The Art of Racing in the Rain a close second. The rest of the list is linked below. Stop by to see our Top 40 display!

We hope 2020 brings you a year of great reading, much happiness, and the opportunity to surprise yourself. As we look towards the new year, we invoke Neil Gaiman's new year blessing:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

Laurie Raisys
Featured Event: Mikaela Kiner, Author of Female Firebrand

On January 16 at 7pm, Island Books welcomes Mikaela Kiner, author of Female Firebrands, to chat about her work and read some inspiring pieces from this new book. If readers are not sure what a firebrand is, they are certain to find out. Women of all generations will nod in recognition at the stories of 13 successful women from diverse backgrounds and industries as they recount the challenges they've faced in their careers. Mikaela herself is a native Seattlite who spent 15 years in HR leadership roles at companies including Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, and Redfin. In 2015, she founded Reverb, which provides innovative HR services for startups and growing companies. Learn more about this empowering evening.
Island Books Annual Top 40

As tradition, here are the Top 40 best-selling books this past year. Our customers are frequently the inspiration for our hand-selling, and this list shows it like none other.


Yearly Top 40: Kids and Teens

Take a look at our bestsellers from the children's department from the year 2019.

Daytime Open Book Club

In January, our Daytime Open Book Club will be reading The Girl with the Leica by Helena Janeczek, translated by Ann Goldstein. When you purchase the book in the store, you'll get a 10% discount.

Gerda Taro was a German-Jewish war photographer was one half of the alias Robert Capa, widely considered to be the twentieth century's greatest war and political photographer. Gerda and a cast of her friends, lovers, and enemies, fill this novel with the power of the struggles of the 1930s, all through the art of photography.

Counter Intelligence: Nancy's January Pick

This month, Nancy recommends Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson.

Nancy says: Wilson has achieved a wonderful balance of humor and empathy in this fast-paced, quirky story of a weird friendship and even weirder kids. Yes, the young twins spontaneously combust whey get upset (and fireproofing is a large part of their care), but that is only part of the main character Lillian's touching journey in figuring out how to love and be loved. Recommended for book clubs and anyone who needs a smart break from serious books.

See More Staff Picks
Reading-Related Rambles
In December, Lori meditated on the joys of re-reading. We took a little break for the rest of the month... look out for new blogs in January!

To keep up with our newest posts,
sign up to get our Store Journal by email.


Upcoming Events

Wed, Jan 8, 10:30am:
Storybook Corner

Thurs, Jan 9, 4:00pm:
Knitting Book Club: The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden

Mon, Jan 13, 10:45am:
Daytime Open Book Club: The Girl with the Leica by Helena Janeczek

Wed, Jan 15, 10:30am: 
Storybook Corner

Thurs, Jan 16, 7:00pm:
Mikaela Kiner, Author of Female Firebrand

Sat, Jan 18, 3:00pm:
Julie Blacklow, Author of Fearless: Diary of a Badass Reporter

Sat, Jan 18: 6:00pm:
West Mercer Read-a-thon

Tues, Jan 21, 7:00pm:
Silent Book Club

Wed, Jan 22, 10:30am:
Storybook Corner

Sun, Jan 26, 5:00pm:
"Candlight" Yoga in the Bookstore

Tues, Jan 28, 5:00pm:
Poetry + Wine Open Mic Night

Wed, Jan 29, 10:30am:
Storybook Corner

Thurs, Jan 30, 7:30pm:
Open Book Club: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Sun, Feb 2, 2:00pm:
Local Author Festival

Knitting Book Club


In January, our Knitting Book Club is reading The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden. Rachel will be joining us for a great conversation about her newest novel about twenty-six year old apprentice Mia West, her crumbling life plan, and her impromptu humanitarian trip around the world.


Open Book Club


For our January Open Book Club, we'll be reading Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, a brilliant novel tracing the lives, loves, and aspirations of two couples who move between Vermont and Wisconsin. It is a work of quiet majesty, deep compassion, and powerful insight into the alchemy of friendship and marriage.

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.