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May 2020 eNewsletter

"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming."

— Pablo Neruda

mercer-island-books-independent-bookstore-seattle-newsletter-covid-19April is finally behind us. We hope for better days ahead.

First, I’d like to start this month’s letter by thanking our customers, our supporters, our cheerleaders, and our community for their support during this incredibly difficult and challenging time. We appreciate your patience, confidence, support, and limitless supply of love for Island Books. I also want to thank the Island Books staff. They are experiencing what all of us are experiencing – a time of fear and uncertainty.  In this time of fear and uncertainty, they’ve never worked harder (from home), and they continue to show their commitment and dedication to Island Books and our customers during this unprecedented crisis. Without all of you, keeping Island Books alive would not be possible. THANK YOU!  

April has been a weird month for us at Island Books, as it has for everyone. I was struggling with what to write in the owner’s letter this month. Usually I write about upcoming events at the store, upcoming holidays that I’m looking forward to, and upcoming book releases that I’m excited about. Somehow that didn’t seem appropriate right now. I spoke to a friend, who is also an Island Books customer and supporter, about what to write this month; she encouraged me to speak from the heart about what we’re experiencing. So that’s what I’ll do this month.

This experience has been unreal and scary. We don't know what’s going to happen in the coming weeks and months. We don’t know what the new normal will look like when we begin to emerge from this. When this crisis began and we had to close our doors in late March, Victor woke up one night and found me on the family room couch crying at 2am. I was crying because I was scared and had no idea what the immediate future would hold. I was crying as I read post after post about little bookstores around the country closing their doors. I was crying because local businesses that I loved felt they could no longer stay open. The next morning, he gave me a note that you see in the picture. This past week I taped the note to the window so I could look at it every day and remind myself that Island Books has this community supporting us, and together, we will survive.

We’ve always said that Island Books is in the business of community and experience. Our tagline of “Real Books.  Real People. Real Community” reflects that. As a result of the crisis, Island Books has been forced by necessity to work online and to try to bring “community” and “experience” to an online world. Our staff has struggled to figure out how to work remotely and virtually in a business that is essentially personal. We've made mistakes and we appreciate your kindness and patience when we do. Working online is not our comfort zone, and it’s not what we do best (but we’re quickly working on it). We can make your orders happen, but we love talking to you. We love finding the books or gifts for you or the special people in your life, then wrapping them up with a bow. That’s our thing – that’s what we do. We love giving personal attention to each of you. Not seeing all of you and not being able to personally help each one of you has been incredibly hard. We really miss it.  

We have been fortunate to adjust our business and to be able to work from home and behind the closed doors of Island Books to fulfill your order for books, puzzles, toys, and gifts. Like other businesses in other communities across the country, we are one of many small businesses on Mercer Island trying to survive this crisis. We appreciate all you have done to give us your business, support, and love. It helps us survive this crisis, keep our employees working and paid, and it helps ensure that Island Books will be here to serve our community in better times ahead.    

Also, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the amazing moms out there – especially my mom.

Laurie Raisys

How to Continue to Support Island Books During COVID-19

The Island Books team has been so grateful for the support you have been showing us for the past month, but we need more! Here are some concrete ways you can continue to support us:

  • Purchase gift cards to use at a later time or donate them to sequestered seniors on Mercer Island. We will use donated gift cards to purchase items on our shelves for gift baskets for seniors.
  • Purchase books from our website that are marked "On Our Shelves Now". Selling what is currently in our inventory is the best way to keep us moving.
  • Email us to set up shopping appointments for gifts, or call the store between the hours of 10:00am-4:00pm. This way we can put aside time to help you pick out items in the store that you would normally be able to browse.

Kids: Activity & Workbooks

mercer-island-books-activity-workbooks-localParents and care givers, look no further! Island Books is full of activity and workbooks to keep your kids entertained.



Counter Intelligence: Lori's May Pick

island-books-book-of-longings-sue-monk-kidd-pre-order-independent-bookstore-mercerThis month, Lori recommends The Book of Longings by Sue Mink Kidd.

Lori says: Sue Monk Kidd has been a long time favorite of mine, so I couldn't wait to read her newest novel. A piece of speculative historical fiction, she asks the provocative question: What if Jesus had been married? Deeply immersive into the time period, she tells the story from the point of view of a strong, independent, creative, and intelligent young woman caught up unknowingly in a pictoval point in history. Ana's journey is worth the read!

See More Staff Picks



Post of the Month: April

island-books-mercer-coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-shop-local"Book shipments round 1[check], book shipments round 2[check], and deliveries[check]. We are getting through this day by day and with the support from all of you. We've said this lots of times and we will say it lots more: THANK YOU"

Reading-Related Rambles

In April, Kelleen discussed what it was like to be a bookseller during COVID-19 and what books she is recommending to get back into the reading spirit. Lori meditated on home and how our houses affect us, and Cindy left you all a note about a future book review she will be doing!

To keep up with our newest posts,
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Upcoming Events

This month, we have rescheduled most all events in the store for the safety of the public.

Thurs, May 7, 4:30pm:
Virtual Knitting Book Club: Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Tues, May 26, 5:00pm:
Wine + Poetry: Sarah Jones

Thurs, May 28. 7:30pm:
Virtual Open Book Club: Nutshell by Ian McEwan

We will notify you through our social media and website if new virtual events are scheduled!


Everywhere Book Fest

We are participating in the Everywhere Book Fest happening May 1-2. Purchase J. Anderson Coates' Spindle and the Dagger and Sarah Allen's  What Stars are Made Of through our website!


Knitting Book Club

In June, our Knitting Book Club will be reading The Guest Book by Sarah Blake.
This exquisitely written family saga illuminates the great divides that separates people. Spanning three generations, this novel examines the life and legacy of one family as they navigate evolving social and political landscapes from their retreat off the coast of Maine.

Pre-Order at Island Books!

Want to be first in line for the next hot book? Pre-order some of our favorites at the link below.

Open Book Club

In May, our Open Book Club will be reading Nutshell by Ian McEwan.

Trudy has been unfaithful to her husband, John. What's more, she has kicked him out of their marital home, and in his place is his own brother. The illicit couple has hatched a scheme to rid themselves of her inconvenient husband forever. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb. McEwan's brilliant recasting of Shakesepeare lends new weight to the age-old question of Hamlet's hesitation.

Storybook Corner Online!

Nancy Stewart has been filming and posting her Storybook Corner sessions on to Facebook. Take a look to see them and more content from her!