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