Meet the Author – Volume 1

There’s nothing quite like the energy in a bookstore. Whether you are looking for a specific title, reconnecting with a beloved series or just browsing the shelves – there’s always something special in the air. That’s especially true during a ‘Meet the Author’ event. Boy, do we miss our monthly gatherings. So, until we are able to host those once again, we’ll be introducing you to some wonderful Northwest authors via this page. Yay! First up: Meet biologist and award-winning author, Marcy Cottrell Houle. As well as being featured on NPR and national television programs, her work has been published in the New York Times, Reader’s Digest and Nature Conservancy Magazine

Houle-Author-photoTalk about a breath of fresh air! Even over the phone Marcy exudes an inviting, cheerful and positive demeanor. Speaking from her farm on Sauvie Island (just outside of Portland), we chatted about her passion for writing in a style that is both informative and inspiring. From her debut in 1991 with Wings For My Flight: The Peregrine Falcons of Chimney Rock to A Generous Nature: Lives Transformed by Oregon published in 2019; Marcy’s books incorporate a message of hope that overrides all else regardless of how dire or challenging the situation. Whether the subject is the falcons she studied at Chimney Rock or the welfare of her parents so movingly shared in The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents from the Perils of Modern Healthcare; the reader can sense the presence of an intelligent, caring individual who’s known heartache and setbacks and yet remains an advocate for a more natural, kinder world. Her newest book, The Gift of Aging: View from the Mountaintop (currently in the final editing stage and due to be published in 2021) promises to be a continuation of the author’s expertise at depicting the human experience with a positive and encouraging lens. When asked what message she’d like to share with our readers, Marcy quoted from Generous Nature: “The power to change the future lies in your heart … what matters is to try.” And what is the author reading during this pandemic time? Frederick Douglass, Brian Doyle’s latest and for “escape and courage” Harry Potter. Gotta love that.

We look forward to welcoming Marcy to La Conner sometime in the future. Meanwhile, connect with her by starting with her first book which is now on our shelves. Thank you, Marcy. Here’s to winged flights of wonder for us all!

Celebrating Community Spirit

SEAPORT BDWho would have thought that we’d be starting our 4th year in the midst of a pandemic?! But here we are. Along with thousands of independent bookstores across the globe, we have had to shake off the nerves and focus on a solution to staying in business. We had to figure out the answer to: when the doors are ordered closed, how does a walk-in operation survive? It is very much a two-part answer. First – we had to shift into full time phone and online orders. Second – we had to have customers continue to virtually come our way. The good news? Both seem to be working. And the even better news? The interaction with customers has been personal, heartwarming and encouraging.  From the doctor who bought each staff member a gift certificate for the book of their choice; to the mom wanting to know the best books for her children; to the son ordering a cookbook for his mom – so many people connecting with love across the wires. They’ve expressed thanks for our selection help, sadness at not being able to visit in person, and thumbs up for hanging in there. The healing power of books is something Seaport Books has always known to be true. During times of crisis, that power is doubled by the community spirit that holds each and every page. Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to being here for you today, tomorrow and beyond!

Pages for Pandemic Times

334b016565aeccd7551b1c497e309f8b“Authors are just like the rest of us – they like to soothe their anxiety by losing themselves in the pages of a beloved book.”  That’s the opening line to an article that ran on March 23 in The New York Times.  It followed with a selection of modern day authors and what their ‘go to’ book is right now … interesting to see their choices. Here are a few of those authors and their picks:

Erik Larson – ‘News of the World’ by Paulette Jiles; Ann Patchett – ‘Writers & Lovers’ by Lily King; Amy Bloom – ‘Ledger’ by Jane Hirshfield; Bryan Stevenson – ‘The Warmth of Other Suns’ by Isabel Wilkerson; Elizabeth Gilbert – ‘The Summer Book’ by Tove Jansson.

Read more from the NYT. NOTE: We are happy to order any of these books for you. Shipping by mail is FREE. Call or email us anytime. Stay safe and stay reading!

Eight That Are Great

imagesAs the experts assemble their lists of the best in literature from 2019, we prepared our own little list of favorites. Here are our top eight title picks for 2019:

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth, Rachel Maddow, non-fiction

Testaments, (sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale), Margaret Atwood, fiction

Deep River, Karl Marlantes, local historical fiction

Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid, historical fiction

Me: Elton John, autobiography

The Tortoise from Anacortes, Claudia and Bob Hogan, children’s books

Sins of the Fathers, J. A. Jance, local fiction

A Pilgrimage to Eternity, Timothy Egan, history/memoir

Agree? Any misses? We always love hearing from our customers so let us know what you would or wouldn’t include. Call our store or send us a note. Here’s to great new titles to share and explore!

Treasuring the Freedom to Read

Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark_thumbnailIt’s hard to imagine not being able to read any book of your choice. Harder still to realize that a huge number of favorites were once banned from the shelves. The Color Purple by Alice Walker; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – the list goes on and on. And banning books is not just a part of history. Every year, thousands of titles are challenged by individuals and groups. Most often occurring at the library level, common concerns tend to center around racial themes, profanity, sex, violence, witchcraft and religious views. We at Seaport Books celebrate the freedom to read and recognize that along with all the other freedoms we enjoy, this one shines a bit brighter in our hearts. Here’s to keeping the light on! Explore more information about banned books including an annual list of top ten banned titles as far back as 1990:  ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Great Summer Reads

Every season is the right season for good books. There’s something about Summer, however, that invites readers to relish and savor and explore even more. Perhaps it’s the delicious feel of laying a blanket out on the grass and reading away to your heart’s content. Or the fun of finding the perfect romance to read at the beach. And who doesn’t love exploring a cozy bookstore discovered on a summer road trip? Hey wait. We’re a cozy bookstore! That means we’ll be welcoming lots of folks in the next few months and we couldn’t be happier. Our shelves are brimming with books lovingly selected to offer the best in local authors, local lore and local highlights. So, whether you are already familiar with our store and want the perfect books for your stay-cation or you’re on the road and visiting us for the first time; we look forward to helping you find just the right books to satisfy a luscious Summer season of great reads. Safe travels, happy reading and see you soon!

PS: Want a head start? Visit our Choice Reads and Staff Picks page.

Art photo courtesy of The New Yorker Magazine, 2019.

Celebrating A Love Story

PhotoGrid_1554834738477.jpgAs we head into our THIRD year at Seaport Books, we’re celebrating all the love that brought us here. The love of good books. The love of discovering new titles. The love of meeting and encouraging local authors. The love of book clubs and discussions about great reads. The love of introducing young adults to amazing stories. The love of working as a team to provide great customer service. The love of children smiling at picture books. The love of seniors reconnecting with a favorite title. And the love of being a vibrant part of the community.  Thanks to all of you who appreciate and support our efforts. From the feedback we keep getting, it seems the love story is a mutual one. Here’s to happily ever after!

Uncommon Tom Hanks

hanksWhen Tom Hanks spoke at the Portland Book Fest last November he was exactly the guy you expected and hoped to see. A regular Joe without pretense who still seems surprised by his popularity and appeal. What a rarity in the high profile Hollywood machine and in the literary world as well. Especially enjoyable were his down to earth, humble responses to the high brow NYT interviewer who was no doubt trying to impress with her vocabulary. It didn’t fly with Tom. In discussing his bestseller, Uncommon Type, he credited Nora Ephron for being the first to tell him he was a story teller and encouraging him to take up the pen. Or in this case, the typewriter. Ah, yes, the typewriter. An avid collector of antique and vintage typewriters, Hanks shared how he came up with the idea to weave them into his tales. So, each of the 17 fiction stories includes a typewriter. Some play a very integral part of the plot while others may get no more than a spot on the closet shelf. The fun part is to see where and how each will show up. Readers love the gentleness and intelligence that comes through in the writing. Romance, intrigue, nostalgia, futuristic experiments … something for everyone and at just the right dose. It’s a perfect book to pack in your suitcase and it’s easy to pick up for a quick escape read at home.  It doesn’t pretend to be a great piece of literature. Uncommon Type succeeds at being a dependable, entertaining treat on all levels. Much like its author. Thanks, Tom!

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

book-clipart-ribbon-3Despite the line from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the fruit of the month club is not what we’d pick as the gift that keeps on giving. That distinction goes to (drum roll):  BOOKS! Is there any other vehicle that offers discovery, adventure, romance, humor, intrigue and mind boggling fact finding all at your fingertips? In addition, books are portable, affordable, have a long shelf life and definitely able to weather generations of readers. And talk about easy to gift wrap! Our store has the best titles to choose from for every age and interest on your list. In fact, we love what one gentleman said a few weeks ago: “I see you have a book entitled 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die. I think you have them all here! Nice collection.”

When in doubt, give a book. You and your giftee will be happy you did.

Doing the Books

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Given the choice, here at Seaport Books we would much rather spend time reading the books than doing the books. If we didn’t pay attention to the numbers, however, we wouldn’t be in business for very long. And we intend to stay around for quite a while. SO, we do the numbers. We watch the numbers. And we even find ways to enjoy being a part of larger numbers. Did you know, for example, that there are more than 45k authors in the US? (That’s up 5k from 2011.) There are over 1M printed books published annually in the US alone – 700k of those self-published. Add to that, an estimated 13M previously published books still available and you have a LOT of books on the market vying for shelf attention. Let’s reel it in a bit. There are 20 publishing houses in the Pacific Northwest. Those publishers represent over 180 authors from the Northwest and approximately 1k new titles each year. Then there are hundreds of Northwest authors who are self-published. All of this leads to the fact that as an indie operation with a small budget, we are diligent about finding the best books for our store and our customers. Specializing in NW topics and writers has proven to be the right choice. As we eyeball our weekly sales records, we can see the proof. Our NW category continually takes the lead in book sales and we couldn’t be happier. Hosting monthly Meet the Author evenings and book clubs, talking with indie publishers, working with local distributors … lots of time and energy spent on doing the best we can to put the best books in your hands. And that adds up to a win-win in anyone’s book!