Lake & Island Notes                                             April 2013

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Featured Selection


when women were birds cover image
When Women Were Birds

by Terry Tempest Williams

A week before Terry Tempest Williams' mother died, she told Williams that she was leaving her all of her journals, but she also asked that she not read them until after she was gone. A short while after her mother passed away she finally felt the time had come to read her journals. There were three shelves of beautiful journals all lined up. When she opened the first journal, it was empty. They were all empty. These empty journals are the inspiration for Williams' latest work When Women Were Birds. In 54 short chapters, we are challenged to discover what it means to have a voice. While this book is really about growing as a woman, and finding that voice as a woman, this is still a book that will inspire anyone.
It's not often that words can inspire or even change a person. For some, this may be just that memoir. Written with passion, intelligence and beauty, this is a book you will not be able to put down.

Featured Selection


otis and puppy cover image
Otis and the Puppy

by Loren Long

We are always so excited when we see a new Otis book! Loren Long is not only an astounding illustrator, but the stories he has created with our little friendly tractor, Otis, are perfect for kids of all ages!
In the latest installment, Otis has a new friend on the farm, a little puppy who loves to play, run around and lick faces. But, while playing hide-and-seek, this little puppy gets lost in the forest in the dark. Both Otis and his new friend are afraid of the dark. His friend is alone and in need, though, so Otis takes a deep breath, counts to ten, and sets off on a different game of hide-and-seek.

Featured Selection


special topics in calamity physics cover image
Special Topics in Calamity Physics
by Marisha Pessl

We really enjoyed this highly unusual debut novel by Marisha Pessl, a vibrant young voice in literary fiction. Cleverly and playfully structured as a college lit course curriculum, Special Topics is a postmodern murder mystery featuring a handsome, intellectually demanding, and emotionally challenged father and his high school age daughter. She is lured by her mercurial, charismatic Film Studies teacher into a specially chosen off-beat clique of students at her new school. Pessl’s story dips, weaves, spins and races toward its climax textured by rich vocabulary, lush descriptive style, and startlingly fresh insight. The narrative is intricately interwoven with literary and film citations and, if you can wink at some of the gimmicks, Special Topics is an exhilarating read.
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Island Notes Blog

The calendar tells that our busy season is just around the corner. The weather itself tells us something different. April 6th brought us several new inches of snow under a wintery gray sky. The internet tells us that the gray will continue indefinitely. A pox on the calendar!

Our off-season life in the bookstore is a different kind of pleasure. In place of a word or two in quick-moving lines at the cash register, there are lingering conversations with book lovers. It is a time for us to learn about what people like to read. It’s better, really, than the reams of information and promotion that arrive in our post office box day after day. We hear about new stuff, old stuff, quirky stuff, forgotten stuff. Some of it finds its way into our tiny space. But, it’s the conversation
that counts. We learn about the people and their places. Most are away from home. Many are far away from home. Some are very, very far away from home. All are interesting.

In a few weeks we will go back to our 13 hours a day, 7 days a week schedule. We will be busier – searching, selling, ordering, reshelving, reorganizing, and cleaning. Kia (our miniature husky) will be cowering under the counter waiting to do her on-command job of meeting and greeting. But, stop and say “hello." Slow us down. You are the reason for our being. And let us share what we have learned from others just like you.

Happy Reading!
All of us at AIB

What we're reading...

and the mountains echoed cover imageAnd The Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini

This much-awaited follow-up to The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns is
gripping and deeply satisfying. At its center is diaspora – the human diaspora, the
Afghan diaspora, the family diaspora, and the personal diaspora. The book dances
nimbly from setting to setting – Kabul, Paris, Silicon Valley, and the Greek Islands. It ranges from the mid-1940’s until yesterday. Each character grows and morphs with time and place. This is different from Hosseini’s earlier work – more layered and complex – but the writing has the same magic. Available May 21st.

laughing boy cover imageLaughing Boy
by Oliver Lafarge

We are a new bookstore – a store that sells new rather than used books. That does not mean that we are a recent bookstore. In fact most of our inventory is dated and classic. Like most serious readers, we like to look back and often go back. Jim Harrison said, “Most of us read Laughing Boy when we were young…” We read this sweetly tragic Navajo love story fifty years ago – some thirty years after it had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Having read it again now, it is not surprising that it has stayed close to our heart. It is simple, poetic and uncompromising. The description of Navajo life in the early years of the 20th Century, as white “civilization” accelerated its stranglehold on the Southwest, is rich, nuanced and damning. A classic!

alex cross run cover imageAlex Cross, Run
by James Patterson

Sometimes in these pages we note books that we don’t like very much. This latest Alex Cross mystery from the wildly popular James Patterson is a case in point. It reeks of formula, fairly pedestrian writing and rehashes yet again the far-fetched travails of a DC cop (in our humble opinion!). Actually, we liked the early Alex Cross books. Perhaps Patterson is tiring or perhaps he himself is falling victim to his expanded definition of authorship – books by James Patterson with... a myriad of otherwise unknown names. It seems to reduce writing to a cottage industry like that of Thomas Kinkade the painter. But, we carry the books by James Patterson himself and will cheerfully provide them over the counter.

ordinary grace cover imageOrdinary Grace
By William Kent Krueger

It is no secret that we at Apostle Islands Booksellers are very partial to William Kent Krueger. We have highly recommended his Cork O’Connor mystery series to many satisfied readers who keep coming back for more. So, it is a huge bonus for us to be able to say that his newly published stand-alone novel, Ordinary Grace, is also terrific, a must-read for Krueger fans and for all readers who appreciate a deeply moving story with richly developed characters, beautiful narrative and a captivating mystery. It is the summer of 1961 in a small town in Southern Minnesota. A thirteen-year-old boy; his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; his Juilliard-bound older sister; and his wise-beyond-his-years kid brother are about to be changed forever by the events that unfold. We’re looking forward to Kent’s visit to the store later this year!

Closing Thoughts...

National Poetry Month

As you may or may not know, April is National Poetry Month. We consider ourselves very lucky to live in an area with such a talented pool of writers and poets. So, in celebration of this month, we've included the following piece by local poet, Rob Ganson


An eagle soars above hanging clouds and eons of steeples
pressing me into my mother's arms, into ancestral loam.
My people put a god in their mirror, but my roots
drink of yesterday's rain. Eyes lift to sun and ardent moon.
Coyotes sing their hymns, ants build their nations,
and rivers know the rhythms of my church devoid of shame
or the need to kill what we do not eat.

Like the oak, I reach deep to anchor in ancient creatures
that had no need to gods reflected in a still pool or mystery
higher that the sky I reach for as I dance in the garden
that requires no glory as a metaphor, does not judge
or demand tithes from behind silk robes,
but needs only rain and a little

Roots was published inthe anthology, On Viewless WIngs, Volume VI, Realms of Gold, and is also available in the 2nd & 3rd Annual Writers Read Anthology.

Save 20% Off One Book!

Book must be in stock, some restrictions apply. Print this coupon and present it in store for your discount. This coupon may not be combined with any other promotions or discounts. Limited to one use and one coupon per customer.

Offer expires April 30, 2013
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