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March 2015 eNewsletter

                   "The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you." —W. Somerset Maugham


Island Books

Working in a bookstore is a life of unexpected pleasuresevery month, every day, just about every hour. A teen comes in looking for a read-aloud for her ailing grandmother. A hiker has gotten a permit to go to Machu Picchu and wants a guidebook to fulfill his dreams. ​A four-year-old opens the door and rushes to the counter, "Where are the rabbit books?"​ Old friends like Anne Tyler, Eric Larsen, and Kazuo Ishigiuro have new books. Other treasures by unknowns, like The Girl on the Train, A Man Called Ove, Black River, and Etta and Otto and Russell and James pin us to our seats. In my twenties I swapped jobs every couple of years out of boredom, but for 31 years I have been happy entertained behind the counter of ​a​ bookstore. There's never a dull moment. ​


Once in awhile something​ exceptionally weird lands on the shelf. For the past month, the bestselling nonfiction book in our store has been something called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. When it first appeared on the Indie Bestseller list I thought it was a passing fad from Southern California. But it persisted. And eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I read it. And I read it again. And now I think about it all the time. I am consumed. I am converted. It's a little bitty book of practical tips about dealing with piles of books, boxes of photos, and closets of clothes. The author is a young Japanese woman named Marie Kondo who has some novel suggestions about folding ​shirts​ and sorting everything out on the floor.​ Not really "life-changing" stuff. But threaded throughout the book are ​wonderful philosophical​ questions that she suggests we ask of our stuff, our space, and our lives. The central question being, "Does it spark joy?" If it does, hold that thing tight and keep it where you can see it. If it doesn't, let it go and make space in your heart and home for more.


Every year in March Nancy and I take on the challenge of thinning our bookshelves both at home and at the store. Between the two domains we have half a mile of shelves and 20,000 books. Much of it are "books I'd love to read someday" and the rest are "books once-upon-a-time-long-ago-too-wonderful to part with." It's a monster job, and achingly slow because every time you get started with the best of intentions, you slowly grind to a halt with your nose in a book.


This year ​ our​ sorting mantra is "Does it spark joy?" The good news is most of it does. But there is just enough that we weed away to make room for those "unexpected pleasures" that are bound to ​burst​ ​out this spring.


Roger Page

Owner and Bookseller



March Madness Is Back

At Island Books, we celebrate the birthday of our boss by taking money out of his pocket and give it to you. Get $5 off your purchase of $25 or more. Spend $50 and take off $10, spend $100 and take off $20, and so on. While the boss is away, the staff will play!




The Gold Standard

Join us in congratulating the Alfred A. Knopf publishing group on their 100th anniversary. Founded in 1915, they have published some of the  past century's most remarkable and important American literature.



Nancy, Marni, and Miriam's March Pick

We didn't intend to all have the same staff pick this month, but that's what happened.  There's no way around the addictive page-turning achievement that is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. You can read Miriam's review on our blog here. If you're up for a psychological thriller that everyone's talking about, don't miss our latest favorite.

See More Staff Picks


Reading-Related Rambles

 In the last few weeks we looked at Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen's images of people reading on the New York subway, revisited First Line Friday with an author favorites edition, and pondered the discovery and future publication of the To Kill a Mockingbird sequel.

To keep up with our newest posts, 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
Sat, Mar 7, 6:30pm: PJ Story Time with Nancy Stewart
Mon, Mar 9, 11am: Mercer Island Women's Club Community Luncheon: The Story Behind The Boys in the Boat
Fri, Mar 20, 6:30pm: Steven M. Briggs, author of The Hedge Extreme
Sat, Mar 21, 5pm: Jody Bower, author of Jane Eyre's Sisters
Wed, Mar 25, 9:30am: March Madness 4: The Fun Continues 
Thurs, Mar 26, 7:30pm: Open Book Club: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Sat, Mar 28th, 9:30am: First Place Fundraiser
Mon, Mar 30th, 7pm: Parent Edge Presents Katie Davis
Sat, Apr 4, 6:30pm: PJ Story Time with Norm Brecke

The 2015 ALA Awards

The 2015 ALA Awards

Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the American Library Association Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, guide parents, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best materials for youth.


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.