Lake & Island Notes                       September 2015

Apostle Islands Booksellers
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Recent Media Attention

Star Tribune: Midwest Traveler: Your Guide to a Bookstore Roadtrip

Featured Title

The Road Not Taken   

by David Orr

Who knew? Who knew that the twenty lines of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken are the most “popular” bit of writing in all of American literature? Who knew that they would warrant one-hundred and seventy-two pages of cultural investigation and artistic exploration? Most of all, who knew that most of us over the years seem to have got this poem hopelessly wrong? Orr is the poetry columnist for The New York Times and editor of the new Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of Frost’s poems that commemorates the centennial of The Road Not Taken’s publication. He knows of which he speaks and he writes it in a compelling and accessible prose. This is a fun and interesting book.

Featured Title

A Window Opens

by Elizabeth Egan

Alice Pearse, dutiful steward to both suburban motherhood and the NYC literati, possesses that coveted “work/home equilibrium” in Elisabeth Egan’s debut novel, A Window Opens—that is, until her husband loses his job at a powerful New Jersey law office. In order to make ends meet in the meantime, Alice quits her job as books editor at You magazine to work at “Scroll”, a company plotting the germination of “e-book literary salons” across the nation. Alice is enticed at first by Scroll’s clean and efficient work atmosphere and attitude—whoever designed the Scroll office seemed to have read a book on feng-shui inspired by the aesthetic of a Google chrome-book. Corporate jargon and a general disdain for “carbon-based books," however, begin to gnaw away at Alice’s sense of self and belonging within her own family. If you are adverse to books exploring the value of family, then this isn’t the book for you, but make sure not to categorize A Window Opens as mere chick-lit—Egan’s satirical take on corporate absurdity gives this book a worthwhile edge that devotees of the “carbon-based” book will find delectable.

Featured Title

Whose Body?  

by Dorothy L. Sayers

“My detective story begins brightly, with a fat lady found dead in her bath with nothing on but her pince-nez. Now, why did she wear pince-nez in her bath? If you can guess, you will be in a position to lay hands upon the murderer.” So wrote Dorothy Sayers about this book that introduced Lord Peter Wimsey to the murder mystery reading public in 1923. What a character! Sayers produced an incredible oeuvre built around Wimsey. He was a renaissance man’s renaissance man who solved mysteries for his own amusement. That is, when he wasn’t playing cricket for Oxford, playing classical piano, holding forth on fine wine, and collecting incunabula (you could look it up!). This is a tight, droll story written with the charm of early 20th Century British wit as are the remainder of the volumes in this delightful series.
Other Links of Interest
Apostle Islands Booksellers
Bayfield, Wisconsin

Below is a list of books of which we are really quite proud. They are among the titles that we sold over the three days of the recent Labor Day weekend.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Odyssey by Homer
Laughing Boy by Oliver LaFarge
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
A Death in the Family by James Agee
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John LeCarre
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
The Waterworks by E.L. Doctorow
Nature’s Metropolis by William Cronon
On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg
Monsieur Monde Vanishes by Georges Simenon
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Lowrey
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Stoner by John Williams
The Man Who Killed the Deer by Frank Waters
1000 White Women by Jim Fergus
We are proud for two reasons. First, we are proud to have had these titles – by no means current best sellers – available in our cramped six-hundred seventy-five square feet of floor space. Second, we are proud that our customers here in this remote corner of the Great Lakes. We're glad that they opt for titles like these alongside the beach-reads, best-sellers and souvenir books that one might expect to be chosen by locals and visitors alike. It is truly the pleasure of bookselling to join these two acts – the delight in building a worthy collection and the enjoyment in watching those treasures go out the door. We didn't sell Proust this weekend, but hey!
As we write these notes we sit outside in as beautiful a September day as ever there was! Clear, bright, crisp. And last night a cruise on the lake and dinner on Madeline Island. Talk was not principally, as one might expect, about the stunning beauty of the place – Big Bay, starry skies, the lighthouses, the sea caves, the northern lights – but rather of its cultural institutions – Northland College, Madeline Island Music Camp, Big Top Chautauqua, Madeline Island School of the Arts, Bayfield Heritage Association and others. We’re not just another pretty face!

Finally, we'd like to remind everyone that September 27th-October 3rd is Banned Books Week. This week celebrates the freedom to read by encouraging bookstore displays and community activities designed to raise awareness of the ongoing threat of censorship. Some of the books listed above are still being banned or challenged throughout the United States and the world. Check out our window display with many other banned and/or challenged titles.

Remember, if you’ve lost yours,
we are your local bookstore!

All of us at AIB

Upcoming Event...

New Novel set in Bayfield!
Kerstin March Reading & Signing
Sunday, September 27th at 3pm

What: A Reading & Signing with Kerstin March, author of Family Trees
When: Sunday, Sep. 27th at 3pm
Where: Bayfield Carnegie Library
      37 North Broad Street, Bayfield

As the leaves begin to turn, the apples ripen, and the celebrations ensue, we are thrilled to be hosting Kerstin March, author of Family Trees and the upcoming Branching Out (coming November 2015). Refreshments will be provided by the Bayfield Carnegie Library. This will be the perfect event to kick off your Apple Festival celebration!

About Family Trees:

In this moving and insightful debut novel set along the breathtaking shores of Lake Superior, a young woman must decide which dreams are worth fighting for, and which roots to keep firmly in place…

Sensible and self-reliant, Shelby Meyers knows exactly what she wants. She'll never again depend on her errant mother, Jackie, who abandoned Shelby when she was a baby—and is forever searching for an elusive, glittering life. All Shelby needs is her beautiful, windswept Lake Superior, her loving grandparents, and the treasured-but-struggling family apple orchard she helps run—until a new love, Ryan Chambers, opens her heart to chance, and her eyes to a wider world than she ever imagined.

About the Author:
Kerstin March and her family have been visiting Bayfield and Madeline Island all of her life and, in fact, several family members still reside there today. She considers it her “home away from home” and knew it would be the ideal setting for her first two novels. Kerstin lives in Minnesota with her husband and their three children. Visit her on the web at

What we're reading...

Neopolitan Novels
by Elena Ferrante

This series of four novels or, perhaps better described as one novel cut four ways, is built around the intimate friendship of two girls growing up in 1950’s Italy and living out their lives orbiting one another. The first, My Brilliant Friend, begins when the now 66-year-old Elena learns that her childhood friend, Lila, has disappeared. What follows is the chronicle of a fascinating 60-year friendship begun as schoolgirls in a poor and violent Naples neighborhood. The succeeding volumes – The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and finally The Story of the Lost Child – follow Elena and Lila as they grow through childhood, young adulthood, middle age and into old age. The prose is no-holds-barred and brutally honest. Superbly translated by Ann Goldstein, an editor at The New Yorker.
Between the World and Me 
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

We read this book when it was released in mid-July and immediately sent it on to our 17-year-old African-American grandson in central Los Angeles. He’s the best boy, but like many of us he can be brash and cocksure. We worry! Coates has written this book in the form of a letter to his 15-year-old son about what it means to be young and Black in America today. He remembers his life growing up in the mean streets of Baltimore and offers his profound understanding of the risks to the Black male body and not just from rogue police officers. We worry! Black lives do matter! Toni Morrison has said, "I've been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates."

Final Thoughts...

On April 13, 2015 author Sherman Alexie tweeted, "I am the proud author of the most banned/challenged book of 2014!" He was referring to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Some of the reasons for these challenges are: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence, and also bullying. In an interview with The Guardian, Alexie said, "book banners want to control debate and limit the imagination. I encourage debate and celebrate imagination."

We couldn't agree more with Mr. Alexie's sentiments. As booksellers, we believe it is in the best interest of our community and our democratic society for ideas of all kinds to be available to those who are interested. In that spirit, we believe that censorship in any form damages our society. Please take a moment to explore this history of frequently challenged or banned titles.

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 Lake & Island Notes, an e-newsletter for customers and friends of Apostle Islands Booksellers, Bayfield, Wisconsin. Apostle Islands Booksellers makes every effort to honor the privacy of our customers. All emails are permission-based and will include an opt-in and opt-out function. Apostle Islands Booksellers will not share email lists with any other business, person or promotional entity.

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Bayfield, WI 54814
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