It’s no surprise that La Conner ranked Number One on the list of the 15 Most Charming Small Towns in Washington recently announced in Touropia. Whether you’re a local or a traveler from back East, you’re in for a treat when you visit our town. From unique cultural museums to delish seafood, you’ll find plenty to delight the senses. A broad range of options keeps shoppers happy, too. Everything from thrift store bargains to boutique brands are ready and waiting. And then there’s that unique bookstore. That’s US! We love it here and are happy as clams to be THE bookstore for our historic waterfront community. Summer is always a happy time at Seaport Books as customers get to also enjoy the delights of Gilkey Square while browsing our shelves. Wherever you hail from, we hope you’ll stop in to see us soon and soak up the smiles. Keep safe and keep reading!
This month marks the beginning of our 5th year! Opening new doors is a gamble at best. SO much goes into just getting a business up and running. Finding the best location, getting the space and layout ready, choosing a name, deciding on the theme, ordering the inventory, creating a logo and signage, bringing the team on board, etc., etc. And then holding your breath to see if customers show up and can you make enough to pay the rent. Month after month, you ride the waves of being an indie bookstore. Ups, downs, squalls and lulls. And then, let’s throw in a pandemic to see if we really can keep it afloat! Happy to report that so far so good. We love our location on Gilkey Square and we love being an integral part of the community. Even in tough times, people are finding us on foot and Facebook. Whether it’s an order via phone line or on line, we’re staying connected. And in our book, that says it all! Thank you and here’s to another 5 years for Seaport Books!
If ever there was a time to remind ourselves of the comfort to be found in books – this certainly seems like one. Books can and do help build a bridge towards understanding, acceptance and compassion. Books can raise awareness and point direction. They can provide reassurance in tumultuous times and inspire us to seek answers. We have in our hands the opportunity to learn from the masters and walk alongside explorers. To see through the eyes of someone in pain and grasp the fragments of daylight that bring them hope. Biographies are a perfect genre to start on your journey. Whether you are looking to discover new dimensions or just make it through the night, reading about the path traveled by another human offers a way to meet your needs. We have selected a stellar collection of biographies and autobiographies and are always happy to recommend new ones. Take a look at just a few of our current titles. Here’s to making 2021 a year of learning, healing and new beginnings!
“You’re NOT too old!” If you have something you want to try – start now. That was the one message author Kay Jennings wanted to share loud and clear with our readers. And she should know. After 45 years in corporate communications, Kay decided it was time to stop writing for other people. So, in 2018 at the age of 70, she published her first book, Shallow Waters. It was SO well received that at the age of 71, she published a second one, Midnight Beach. The response was even better this time and the author shows no signs of slowing down.
Speaking with us from her home in Estacada, OR, Kay shared her ordeal of having to evacuate her home for six days during the recent wildfires. “The single most terrifying experience of my life!” When asked if that horrendous scare would have an effect on her writing, the answer was a resounding yes. In the throes of her third book, Kay has been inspired to weave a natural disaster into the story line. Current working title: Code Tsunami. Seems perfect given that her mystery-suspense Port Stirling series is set alongside the Oregon Coast.
What has the author been reading during these pandemic months? “I have 22 books on my nightstand.” A huge fan of British mysteries, the she is obsessed with UK author Elly Griffiths and the Ruth Gallaway series. Also high on her list is the goddess herself, Louise Penny (she’s on Book 14) along with Anne Cleeves whose Shetland Island series inspired Kay’s Port Stirling series. She has just started reading Agent Running in the Field by 94 year old John Le Carre and recently finished and enjoyed Becoming by Michelle Obama.
A member of Sisters in Crime, Willamette Writers and Oregon Writers Colony; Kay is also a master gardener. She enjoys life on her rural property which is complete with ponds, veggie garden and, most especially, her corner office where she writes with a view of it all.
Kay shared that the main thing she misses from the personal bookstore appearances are all the great questions from the audience. SO – we welcome any questions you may have for her. Feel free to email us and we’ll happily compile questions and post the answers for other readers to enjoy as well.
With fond memories of boating on the Swinomish, Kay looks forward to returning to Skagit Valley some day. And we look forward to welcoming her when she does!
In the meantime, we currently have both of Kay’s books in the store (reviews posting here later this week). Stop by to pick up or contact us for free shipping. Note: Always a good idea to call ahead to make sure the books are ready.
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.
Talk 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!
Who 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!
“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.
As 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!
It’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.
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.