We’ve been quiet in August. Maybe you’ve forgotten about us. Traveling, swimming, and barbeques swallow the summer, and we know how it is, the great weather is a distraction. But now it’s Labor Day and time to get back down to business. There’s a new energy in the store as everyone heads back to school. We’re ready to embrace everything the fall has to offer.
First, there’s an author event coming up next Friday the 12th at 8pm that we expect will fill the store to capacity. We’ll be welcoming Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat. For those who aren’t familiar with the book and its particular tie to Mercer Island, this is the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Last March, we were lucky enough to host Judy Wilman, daughter of Joe Rantz, for a lively discussion with several Mercer Island book clubs. Obviously this bestseller has great local appeal and has been one of our top sellers since it came out. Word has it that the Mercer Island Preschool Association is meeting up for drinks beforehand to discuss the book and then heading over to the event. Whether you’re a member of that group or just want to gather your friends, it’s a good opportunity to come together for a drink, some community history, and a great time.
Our other author event in September will be Sunday the 14th at 3pm with Mercer Island resident Jennifer Longo, author of Six Feet Over It. We always love to introduce debut authors, and Longo’s coming-of-age novel should have wide appeal for young adult readers. Bring your teen readers to meet the author of this dark and witty story about a girl who sells graves for her family-owned cemetery.
If you haven’t participated in Island Book’s open book club before, we hope you’ll consider joining us this year. Our group meets the last Thursday of every month at 7:30pm and if you purchase the book from us you’ll always receive 10% off. After reading Mink River together in June, it was agreed by the group that that pick was a very language-driven novel. One of the members suggested that we explore books that are distinctly driven by either plot, character, or any other means. We’ll be focusing on these types of books for the next few months, starting with our September pick, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Come ready to discuss why it’s a plot-driven story.
If you’re too busy to participate in our events, don’t feel like you aren’t a part of our community. You can still zip through here on your way home from work to pick up a unique gift, or spend quiet time browsing through our carefully handpicked book selections. While we were sad to see our former neighbor, Stopsky’s, close its doors recently, we’re looking forward to whatever will be taking their place. Here’s hoping their coffee will be just as good.
Speaking of gifts, Roger’s head almost spun off when Nancy recently returned from a 24-hour shopping marathon in San Francisco, loaded with all kinds of new toys, games, and unique gifts to stock our shelves. You can see the care and taste she pours into her selections when you browse beyond the bookshelves. We’re confident you’ll find the best and most unusual selection of gifts right inside our store.
And as for books, well, clear some time on your calendar this fall. Or at least plan to sit up an extra hour after the kids go to bed. There’s a plethora of good reads hitting our tables in the next few months. In September, a few of the titles we’re looking forward to include Tana French’s new thriller, The Secret Place (review coming next week), Ken Follett’s Edge of Eternity, Ian McEwan’s The Children Act, and Garth Stein’s A Sudden Light.
When it starts raining too hard for you to venture over to see us, stay in touch by following us on Facebook, Twitter, this blog, our newsletter, and of course the store website. Roger, Nancy, James, Lori, Marni, Cindy, Kay, Garry, Marilyn, and I look forward to seeing you soon.