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September 2019 eNewsletter

"Outside the leaves on the trees constricted slightly; they were the deep done green of the beginning of autumn. It was a Sunday in September... The clouds were high and the swallows would be here for another month or so before they left for the south before they returned again next summer."
—Ali Smith
We can't believe it's September again. It's a new school year, and the leaves are changing colors. Fall is officially in the air. We thought this would be a good opportunity to let you know what we've been up to during our summer "vacation." There are exciting new changes on the horizon. See what is happening at Island Books this fall:
  • New Hours! We've extended our hours to better serve you. Now you can spend more time at Island Books after your work day. We will be open until 8:00pm Monday through Friday. Our weekend hours will remain unchanged.
  • Book Clubs: What? Why is Book Clubs plural? Is that typo? Some of you may not be aware that Island Books has multiple book clubs. And we will be adding even more this fall! As a reminder, here are our legacy book clubs...
    • Open Book Club: Led by Miriam, this is our longest running book club. The group usually meets the last Thursday of the month at 7:30pm. This month the book club is discussing The Ensemble by Aja Gabel on September 26.
    • Daytime Open Book Club: Led by our newest member of the Island Books team, Caitlin, this book club meets on the third Monday of each month at 10:30am. This month they are discussing Three Summers by Margarita Liberaki, translated by Karen Van Dyke on September 16.
    • Cookbook Book Club: Led by Victor, this book club has been meeting... er... sporadically. The concept is simple, though. We pick a cookbook for the book club and everyone chooses a recipe, makes the dish, and brings it to the book club meeting. We will be scheduling meetings for you to join us for this fall.
  • This fall we'll also be introducing two new book clubs:
    • The Silent Book Club: Led by Kelleen, this book club is calling all introverts and book worms! There's no assigned book and no group discussion to participate in. All you need to do is bring a book, settle into one of our comfy chairs, and read. The first meeting will be Tuesday, September 17 at 7:00pm. Subsequent meetings will be held on the third Thursday of every month. Check in with the website when we post more information!
    • Knitting Book Club: Led by Lori, this book club invites you to knit and talk about books at the same time. Some things are just way better together. We'll be kicking this off in October, so stay glued to your Facebook and our website for updates!
  • Home Delivery! We've been informally and quietly delivering books to homes on Mercer Island for a number of years. Many longtime customers who are "in the know" have been aware that we will deliver books to homes on Mercer Island if they can't make it to the store. This fall we've decided that we're going to make a bigger deal about this service and let all our Mercer Island customers know that we'll deliver books, gifts, and toys to your doorstep. This service is available free of charge to all Mercer Island residents.
  • Game Nights! We're bringing game nights to Island Books! These evenings will be led by Nancy. These will kick off in October, so make sure you check in with our Facebook and website to find details. These nights will be ideal for the whole family!
We're excited about the changes we have been planning to bring to our community this fall. We hope you are too!

See you in the bookstore,
Laurie Raisys
Our featured event this month is in partnership with King County Library System. Juliet Grames, author of The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna will be joining us at Island Books September 11 at 7pm.

For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Her childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents. Even Stella's own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted. In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity, beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life's harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio. When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a new world... Read More.
Counter Intelligence: Lillian's Pick

This month, Lillian recommends The Girl who Sailed the Stars by Matilda Woods.

Lillian says: "I was already a fan of author Matilda Woods when I picked up this book. Last year, I put her previous book The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker on our Top Ten books of the year for ages 9-12. There's a good chance this new one will make that list for this year. Both books have a whimsical, fairy tale feel to them along with lovely page-edge illustrations. Both follow kids in treacherous situations who persevere and triumph. And both have a thread of darkness that elevate the stories to something richer. The Girl who Sailed the Stars is easier to recommend because the darkness in The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker comes from the title character is in hiding from an abusive father. The darkness in this new novel comes from an unappreciative, dismissive father and clueless, heartless mother and sisters. But there's also a Turnip Prince, a magical Narwhal-type creature, a fiddle-playing cat, a fortune-teller who listens to sea shells, and a dangerous sea voyage (some of it among the stars). Those lighter, humorous elements balance the dark in a way that reminds me of Roald Dahl and make this wonderful, almost magical world feel more real. Life is full of dark and light, after all. I recommend it for smart young (and old) readers who appreciate lovely writing, great world building, laughter, tears, trepidation, suspense, and adventure!

See More Staff Picks

Second Open Mic Night

Are you a writer? Are you interested in sharing your work? Would a glass of wine help get you there?

If you said yes to one or more of these questions and are over the age of 21, we would like to invite you to our second Open Mic Night at Barrels Wine Bart on September 24 at 5:00pm. All unpublished poets and writers are welcome. If you would like to participate, please email us at with the subject line "Open Mic Night." We have a limited amount of time, so we ask that you RSVP and keep your material to about 5-8 minutes.
Reading-Related Rambles
This August, Lori discussed The Guestbook by Sarah Blake and Kelleen interviewed (part one, part two) Hollow Kingdom author Kira Jane Buxton.

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


Upcoming Events


Sun, Sept 8, 4:00pm:
Shepherd Siegel, Author of Disruptive Play

Tues, Sept 10, 6:30pm:
Jane Kirkpatrick, author of One More River to Cross

Wed, Sept 11, 10:30am:
Storybook Corner

Wed, Sept 11, 7:00pm:
Juliet Grames, Author of The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna

Mon, Sept 16, 10:30am:
Daytime Open Book Club: Three Summers by Margarita Liberaki

Wed, Sept 18, 10:30am:
Storybook Corner

Sun, Sept 22, 4:00pm
Alice K. Boatwright & Marsha Karr, Author & Illustrator of Sea, Sky, Islands

Tues, Sept 24, 5:00pm
Poetry +Wine: Open Mic Night

Wed, Sept 25, 10:30am:
Storybook Corner

Thurs, Sept 26, 7:00pm:
Open Book Club: The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

Sun, Sept 29, 3:00pm
SCBWI-WWA Meeting with Author Clare Hodgson Meeker

In September, our Open Book Club will read and discuss The Ensemble by Aja Gabel.

The Ensemble focuses in on the characters Jana, Brit, Daniel, and Henry. Together, they are the Van Ness Quartet. After the group's youthful, rocky start, they experience devastating failure and wild success, heartbreak and marriage, triumph and loss, betrayal and enduring loyalty. They are always tied to each other by choosing each other over and over again.

Don't forget if you purchase your book here in the store you'll always get a 10% discount.

Daytime Open Book Club

On September 16th, 10:30am, we will be meeting to read Three Summers by Margarita Liberaki, translated by Karen Van Dyck.

Three Summers is the story of three sisters growing up in the countryside near Athens before the Second World War. The girls share and keep secrets, fall in and out of love, try to figure out their parents and other members of the tribe of adults, take note of the weird ways of friends and neighbors, worry about and wonder who they are.

Don't forget if you purchase your book in store you'll always get a 10% discount.


Sasquatch & Otter Book Awards


Local librarians have read hundreds of books and chosen the best of the best. Check out the nominees for the 2019-2020 season!


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.