As usual, my mom and I wouldn’t miss Bookstore Day for the world (see our previous adventures starting in 2015 here) so we were back at it April 30th for the Seattle Independent Bookstore Day passport challenge, which this year consists of going to 24 (24!!) bookstores in 10 days, for which we will be rewarded with one 25% off discount at each of the 24 (24!!) stores. We’re doing it over 2 Saturdays.

The Spreadsheet

The morning of Day 1 started off with a bump as my mom was late picking me up because she hit Stop on her phone instead of Snooze. But then we were off! With my pupdog in tow in the backseat. (He may or may not have enjoyed riding around in the car with us all day, it was kind of hard to tell, but he’s a very patient traveler. The third time I let him out of the van and we were in a third different strange place entirely, however, he charged back and forth down the sidewalk like What. Is. Happening!)

My phone slid down under the car seat where I couldn’t get at it on the way to our first stop (Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island, as is tradition) so only I could hear Siri, so I filled the role of repeating what the computer said as we made our way up (just like Galaxy Quest). But we were successful in our Day 1 trek to 13 of the 24 (24!!) bookstores.

Day 1 of the Seattle Independent Bookstore Day passport challenge

We did have a little drama getting from Kirkland to Burien by the time Page 2 Books closed at 5 (we made it with 10 minutes to spare, thanks to my mom zigzagging to the freeway lanes of least resistance), but Mom’s excellent parking karma held this year so we were in good shape all day.

And now for the books I got!

The Haul.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (fiction) I bought because it’s written by a friend of a friend and I’ve been assured that a) I will love it b) I will like the dog and c) there’s rowing in it. (I rowed in high school). First line: “Back in 1961, when women wore shirtwaist dresses and joined garden clubs and drove legions of children around in seatbelt-less cars without giving it a second thought; back before anyone knew there’d be a sixties movement, much less one that its participants would spend the next sixty years chronicling; back when the big wares were over and the secret wars had just begun and people were starting to think fresh and believe everything was possible, the thirty-year-old mother of Madeline Zott rose before dawn every morning and felt certain of just one thing: her life was over.”

Catalog of unabashed gratitude by Ross Gay (poetry), because I’ve read (and loved) a lot of the poems in this but hadn’t gotten myself a copy yet. First lines: “Tumbling through the / city in my / mind without once / looking up / the racket in / the lugwork probably / rehearsing some / stupid thing I / said or did”

Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker (biography) because I grew up with the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, and really enjoyed reading The Egg and I when I moved back to the Pacific Northwest after grad school and got into a deep NW reading mode. First line: “Was it the house I fell for first?”

The Art of Syntax by Ellen Bryant Voight (writing about writing) because The Art Of series is always excellent and I don’t have this one yet. First line: “The summer I turned nineteen, I had a job in a restaurant known for its “singing waiters and waitresses.””

Everything is Writable by Kelli Russell Agodon & Annette Spaulding-Covey (poetry prompts) because I get the Two Sylvias Press prompts every year in December and April and they’re excellent, and this is a compendium of same. First line: “The Chinese philosopher Lau Tzu said, “As soon as you have a thought, laugh at it.””

Music by the Numbers by Eli Maor (nonfiction) because the concepts of mathematics (but not doing actual mathematics) can be really interesting (just don’t ask me to work out the tip on a split check) and I’m into music, and this sounded like a really interesting combination of the two. First line: “When, at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1900, the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth, the world was in a state of upheaval.”

I also got 2 blind-date-with-a-book books:

“ghosts, gods and flying saucers” turned out to be…

And the book I started reading first when I got home? My other blind-date-with-a-book book, which turned out to be My Mess is a Bit of a Life: Adventures in Anxiety by Georgia Pritchett and which is, as the wrapper promised, hilarious.

2nd Blind-Date-with-a-book book.
A great blind-date-with-a-book book, as it turns out!
First page of My Mess is a Bit of a Life.

We’ll be back in Seattle next Saturday for the rest of the challenge — can’t wait!

And last but not least, Mom’s books:

Mom’s Haul.