Message in a Bottle
Nancy Works Her Magic on Me

Island BooksNancy’s in high demand at the store, and I can see why—she’s the quintessential hand seller. Last Wednesday morning when I was in the store doing my weekly blog research, I asked her what she’s excited about these days, and her eyes lit up as she led me around, pointing out what she’d hand-picked at different trade shows and explaining why she’s so passionate about what Island Books is offering these days.

Of course we’re a bookstore, and I’m a book geek, so I was eager to hear what she’s been reading, especially since she’s fresh off a family trip and had some time to read. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear her talk about some of the new gifts we’re featuring. I had glanced at them many times without stopping to look closer and learn more. I was delighted to hear how much thought had gone into Nancy’s choices, as well as the details that make these products so special.

Well I won’t ramble on too much and will do my best to share what Nancy said so the rest of you can be in the know. Then you can chase her down in the store to tell you more. Consider yourself warned: her enthusiasm is infectious. Here’s what she’s championing:

Killed at the Whim of a HatKilled at the Whim of a Hat by Collin Cotterill: Nancy laughed as she told me about the black humor in this mystery, especially how it offers goofy George W. Bush sayings at the start of the chapters (and he provides the title). If you read it you’ll find out the connection with W., and it’s pretty funny. This is a brand new series by the bestselling author of Coroner’s Lunch about Jimm Juree, a crime reporter for the Chiang Mai Daily Mail with a somewhat eccentric family. When Jimm is forced to follow her family to a rural village on the coast of Southern Thailand, she’s convinced her professional life is over. So when bodies turn up and someone else is murdered, suddenly Jimm’s career path becomes more promising—and a lot more deadly.

Parrot & Olivier in AmericaParrot & Olivier in America by Peter Carey: Nancy read most of this one before Roger explained to her that the author Peter Carey was imagining the experiences of Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French political philosopher and author of Democracy in America. Carey brings de Tocqueville to life through the fictionalized character of Olivier de Garmont, a stuck-up French aristocrat (Nancy just thought Garmont was saying brilliant stuff all on his own). Olivier can only begin to grasp how the other half lives when forced to travel to the New World with John “Parrot” Larrit, a jaded survivor of lifelong hardship who can’t stand his young master. This odd couple’s stark differences in class and background, outlook and attitude provide a good set-up for contemporary readers to understand the unique social experiment that was democracy in the early years of America.

Joli JewelryJoli Jewelry: Nancy hand-picked this limited edition jewelry, made mostly from ’20s-’60s period glass, ’40s-’80s plastics including celluloid and Bakelite, and semi-precious stones like new jade, coral, agates, carnelian, onyx, amethyst, and more. These unique pieces come from Joli Jewelry, started by Jody Lyons in 1984. Drawn to authentic vintage and cultural components (Asian, African & European), Jody still designs everything in the line. The small production runs are then handmade by a group of wonderful women in their studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn. They bring together components from all over the world and from all different eras, including the modern, to create funky, modern-yet vintage, limited edition pieces. Whenever possible, the emphasis continues to be on reusing what already exists and valuing the importance of recycling. We even have this cool “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” piece from them that’s perfect for storing your jewelry. I thought it was really unique and cool. I’d almost rather buy the monkeys than the jewelry, but there’s only one, so whoever gets it first will have a special and unique gift.  And besides the monkeys, the jewelry is just beautiful. (

Joli Jewelry

GLOB™ arts and crafts products: Nancy opened up some of the jars of paint for me and we both started grinning when we realized how good they smelled. The yellow paint was a fragrant lemon and when we opened the red we both said, “Pomegranate!” Yum. Sourced from natural, recyclable and biodegradable materials, GLOB™ specializes in botanically crafted paints made from fruit, vegetables, flowers, and spices with natural food-grade ingredients and organic extracts. GLOB paintsThese non-toxic water-soluble pigments become paint just by adding water. Similar to watercolors, GLOB™ paints can also be used for a variety of arts and crafts activities, both for kids and adults. The vibrant colors in GLOB™ have been used by different cultures throughout the ages in food, artists’ paints and body products. I just loved them. (

And finally, I encourage you to comment and tell Nancy how great she looks in the picture above. I thought it captured her personality, and how she can make you laugh and want to buy everything she talks about!


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