Last night when I got home from another delightful (and yes, triumphant once again!) Seattle Independent Bookstore Day challenge I put this lovely mini-poster on my fridge where it belongs, with the photos of my other friends and family.
(artist: Third Place Book’s Stephen Crowe)
As usual—I can say as usual now that it’s been three years running—my mom (Marianne Bull) and I met on Bainbridge Island at Eagle Harbor Books at 8:30am for what is our mutually favorite most-looked-forward-to annual mother-daughter tradition. She drove up from Steilacoom on the peninsula side and I walked on the 7:55am ferry from Seattle.
(Huge kudos to all those super-dedicated earlybirds I saw on Twitter who took the 6am ferry and were lined up outside of Eagle Harbor Books before it even opened at 7am! Even though I think you’re all the reason we missed getting on the 10:25 ferry to Kingston and had to take the 11:15 instead. But I totally forgive you and also I’m getting ahead of myself.)
While on the ferry from Seattle, a woman recognized me from last year’s blog post, which was linked to in the Seattle Times write-up of Independent Bookstore Day earlier this week. That was a kick! She was doing the challenge with her whole family and they asked if they could take a picture with me since my post had inspired them to do the Bookstore Day challenge for the first time. Which made my day! before my day even got started. I’m so happy to have inspired someone to get out there and support independent bookstores. She asked if I worked for one of the bookstores or something and I was like nope, just a regular person. Who gets really excited about books, and talking to booksellers who are not algorithms.
Next up: stop #3, Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, who provided entertainment for our ferry line wait:
We also had festive snacks.
The project management skills of my friend Le’a, who helped me with our bookstore routes in years past, have rubbed off on me so I had two spreadsheets just in case—one if we made the 10:25am ferry to Edmonds and one if we had to wait for the 11:15. So either way we had a reasonably logical route planned out and could get to all the stores before they closed. And—and this makes it a much nicer day’s expedition—we knew for sure if we were on time, behind, or ahead of time. It wound up being kind of fun to change things up and do a pretty different order this year than the last two.
We used our iphone map apps of course and learned some new ways around the city while discussing what sort of physical layout and atmosphere and je ne sais quois makes our favorite bookstores our favorites. And we were, as always, thoroughly entertained by Siri’s pronunciation of Aloha Street as “Alloh-HA”.
Although I had two spreadsheets, I had neglected to get around to writing up a wishlist of books, so I relied on Staff Recommends shelves and serendipitous browsing and that worked out beautifully as it always does.
Also at Queen Anne my mom found a beautiful new edition of Olga da Polga, which I read approximately a million times when I was a kid. It’s by the same author who did Paddington Bear but is SO much more wonderful although inexplicably less popular. This new edition has fantastic illustrations that capture guinea pig-ness flawlessly.
While we were in line we ran into bookseller Tegan and we all gushed over this book together. She also told us something we didn’t know, which is that Michael Bond also wrote mysteries for adults featuring a character named Monsieur Pamplemousse.
At Open Books I picked up two poets,Warsan Shire and Safia Elhillo, that I’d been wanting since Open Books tweeted out poems from them right after the immigration ban was signed. Plus a books of prompts, The Daily Poet, that has been praised by pretty much everyone I know. (Well, everyone I know who cares about poetry prompts, which being a poet is a large percentage of the people I know.)
At the Neverending Bookshop in Bothell, another of the new bookstores, I had another lovely encounter with the booksellers, who said, “I know who you are!” again recognizing us from last year’s blog post, and we had a lively conversation about bookstores and the loving of them. And then I discovered that someone had done this beautiful $5 “pay it forward” in honor of the late author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, which I think is just wonderful.
And after that it was Island Books (where they had live music), Fantagraphics, Phinney Books (where my willpower was at its lowest and their Recommended Books at its greatest which is a fabulous combination for everything but the wallet), then Third Place Books Ravenna (where we ran into the Seattle Arts and Lectures crew and also took a timeout for some Greek food to bolster us for the last push to Ada’s and Elliott Bay).
What a wonderful tradition Seattle’s independent bookstores have created, I’m not sure how many more ways I can say that.
I’ll update this when I hear how many people made it to all 19 stores yesterday but I ran into a bookseller who was putting out a guess of over 300 and it wouldn’t surprise me.