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March 2014 eNewsletter

                  "Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you;
                                       life is where things aren’t. I’m not surprised some people prefer books." 
                                                                              —Julian Barnes

Island Books

I am turning 60 this month, which is not really all that momentous to me, but it does mean I get the day off and the staff gets to give special discounts at my expense. "Roger Dollars" will available again at the store on Sat March 22 (or you can print money at home!) and I hope you enjoy what they cook up.

I will be sitting quietly and regally at home with my children and dog gathered at my feet. Have fun, just don't burn the place down.

Some things do, of course change as we age. Reading tastes, for instance. I remember my favorite books in the eighties were a line called "Vintage Contemporaries." These were novels and short stories by the young and up-and-coming. Raymond Carver (pictured), Tobias Wolff, Jay McInerney, Richard Russo, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas McGuane. They had swagger, long nights in the bar, danger, and love lost. Perfect at that moment, but now red wine gives me a headache and I am happiest if I am in bed by 10.

At 60, I tend to gravitate towards biography and memoirs. Looking at the long and winding road of a person's life. How chance plays its part. How we can sometimes morph from one being to another; what a long marriage can cement; how we live in our time and yet are formed by the generations before us. These stories fascinate me now. They seem like treasures that were captured and miraculously preserved: the only photo of your great grandmother, a story of Uncle Mike and his Model T, your father's watch. We have three such treasures to share this month.

The Boys in the Boat is an absolutely terrific, thrilling story of the University of Washington 1936 crew. For many of us, it was the book of the year. Aside from being an epic sports story, it's also a heartbreaking and stunning biography of rower Joe Rantz during the darkest days of the Depression, a story that could have been lost if not for the efforts of Judy Wilman, Joe's daughter, and the craftsmanship of author Daniel Brown. We're very pleased that Judy will be joining us on March 5th to share her insider's knowledge with local book groups and anyone in the public who'd like to attend.

Mercer Islander Claire Gebben also went to great lengths to preserve her family's story. The Last of the Blacksmiths is a classic 19th century immigrant's tale. Claire found her ancestor's letters and she makes the voices and struggles come alive. She will be reading and discussing her research on Sunday March 9th. I highly recommend it to you. It felt like a true gift to see how someone could piece together the forgotten life of their ancestor.

Letters play a part in Robin Oliveira's highly praised historical novel, I Always Loved You. Mary Cassatt rushed to Edgar Degas' room after his death to retrieve and destroy her letters. Robin's story of Mary Cassatt and her love affair with Degas is fiction, but her research into the lives and loves of the artists of Belle Epoque in Paris took years. The story is wonderfully told with historical detail. Robin will be speaking on Thurs March 13th. She's a first class writer we are proud to welcome to the store.

So there you have it: four pretty good reasons to step out of the rain and into the warm cozy quarters of Island Books. But do you really need an excuse?


Roger Page

Owner and Bookseller




March Madness Returns

Sunday March 23rd is the day we at Island Books celebrate the birthday of our boss, Roger Page. Once again we'll be giving him a gift he always appreciates: taking money out of his pocket and giving it to you!



Marni and Miriam's March Pick

When the same book is two staff members' top choice of the month, that's a good sign. Marni and Miriam are both excited about The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh. The plot centers around the disappearance of two young women in the fictional town of Henbane, Missouri. What makes this psychological suspense novel stand apart is McHugh’s vivid and luminous writing. Her ability to evoke a local vernacular and cloak the scenes with the lush Ozark setting creates a world all its own.

See More Staff Picks



Come Play With Us

Nancy says: "One of my goals at the recent gift show was to find more games, and when they finally arrived, I anxiously put them out with their demo packs and proceeded to grab anyone lingering at the game shelves to show them how to play. These new games, all by Thinkfun, are small, fast activities for travel that offer an entertaining challenge for a variety of skill sets."



Reading-Related Rambles

Lately, we've been ignoring our children to discuss what they should be reading, pondering the meaning of a well-read life, and enjoying our open book club. There's more deep thoughts where those came from, so if you're intrigued, sign up to 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
Wed, March 5: Discussion of The Boys in the Boat featuring Judy Wilman
Thurs, March 6, 7pm: The First 100 Years: Women's University Club of Seattle
Sun, March 9, 4pm: Claire Gebben, author of The Last of the Blacksmiths
Thurs, Mar 13, 7:30pm: Robin Oliveira, author of I Always Loved You
Sat, Mar 22: March Madness Sale
Thurs, Mar 27, 7:30pm: Open Book Club: Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Tim Egan

Sing-A-Long Books

Sing-A-Long Books


If your kids can't get enough of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, enhance their favorite song with a beautifully illustrated book. They already know the words, so maybe you can give your voice a break and let the pictures do the singing.


March Mysteries

March Mysteries


Our tables are overflowing with heavy-hitting suspense novels this month. From debut efforts to the anticipated bestsellers, there's a bevy of choices to keep you up late into the night.


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.


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.


Island Books | 3014 78th Ave. SE | Mercer Island | WA | USA | 98040

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