Arts and Entertainment

WHAT'S UP IN BOOKSTORES: A literary columnist(s) debut

With this debut, the West Sound Independent Booksellers, a collective of indy book stores from around the county and beyond will be contributing semi-regular columns, enhancing the literary side of What's Up with favorite books of the moment and all the rage straight from local shelves.

By The West Sound Independent Booksellers

New to What’s Up

By way of introduction: The West Sound Independent booksellers organized in 1996 to promote literacy and the love of reading. Going hand-in-hand with those are the advantages of supporting community independent businesses and an awareness of the variety of locally owned independent bookstores in Kitsap County and the reading materials and services offered.

Perhaps our best known activity has been co-sponsorship of West Sound Reads (formerly Kitsap Reads) for which we’ve presented a wide variety of authors, among them Jane Smiley, Jean Auel, Ivan Doig, Nuala O’Faolain, Lisa See, Sherman Alexie, Rick Bragg, and Lemony Snicket reading from and discussing their books in free programs throughout the county.

Be assured that we are always thinking of recommendations for good reading. Call and ask any of us about these books or for other suggestions anytime. That’s why we’re here.

Here are a few of our current favorite reads and introductions to the bookstores that make up the West Sound Independent Booksellers:

Bethel Avenue Book Company

1037 Bethel Avenue, Port Orchard, WA / (360) 876-7500 / www.bethelavebook.com

Bethel Avenue Book Company is an inviting general bookstore, carrying new and used books, graphic novels, audio rentals, games and local artist’s work on consignment.

If you like to bake crusty loaves of artisan bread but don’t have the leisure to spend the entire day going through a progression of mixing, resting, kneading, rising, punching down, etc., then you should try “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (recommended by Bethel Avenue Books’ Rebecca Guthrie and J.B.Hall).

The authors, an amateur and a professional baker, have devised a method and recipes that will free you from that process and yet still deliver a variety of satisfying artisan loaves. The secret is to mix enough dough for several loaves and store it in the refrigerator.

When you are ready, take enough dough for one loaf, shape it, give it a short rise and bake it.

The book’s title is only a slight exaggeration.

Mixing the dough can take as long as 10 to 15 minutes including the time spent gathering the ingredients and cleaning up. The baking process does take more than five minutes – more like an hour and a half – but only about five minutes or so is active work.

The Dauntless Bookstore

4790 NE State Highway 104, House 20, Port Gamble, WA / (360) 297-4043 / www.dauntlessbooks.com

The Dauntless Bookstore is located in the charming town of Port Gamble.

Not only does this small bookstore offer new and used books, but also a variety of special and seasonal gifts and art in addition to the Children’s Bookhouse — a place filled with new children’s books, castles, wizard hats, and other handmade items, located in the back yard of the Dauntless.

Dauntless favorite reads of the moment:

“I See A Red Door” by new local author Ayna Meppelink.

College teacher Fae Nelson must convince herself and other members of the Dutch-American community that her unasked for paranormal abilities are leading her into the hands of a killer.

In keeping with a used bookstore’s inventory — the book “The Beak Of The Finch,” copyright 1992, by Jonathan Weiner.

Through the eyes, ears, and experiences of scientists Peter and Rosemary Grant, we discover the amazing, beautiful, and sometimes cruel, effect that natural selection, based on Darwin’s theory, has on the life cycle among the finches of Daphne Major.

Eagle Harbor Book Company

157 Winslow Way East, Bainbridge Island, WA / (206) 842-5332 • (360) 692-2375 / www.eagleharborbooks.com

Eagle Harbor Book Company is a full service, locally owned and proudly independent bookstore on Bainbridge Island, home to a large community of authors and discriminating readers. The store hosts weekly author readings, monthly book group discussions and children’s programs.

Our staff boasts almost a century of cumulative bookselling experience.

The staff at Eagle Harbor Books is enthusiastic about Leif Enger’s new novel, “So Young, Brave and Handsome.”

It’s been seven years since Enger’s highly original “Peace Like a River” captivated readers, becoming an Eagle Harbor bestseller as well as the American Bookseller Association’s Book of the Year. Enger has managed to surpass himself with his new book, a tale of outlaw Glendon Hale’s search for the wife he had abandoned years before.

Monte Becket, the narrator, finds himself irresistibly drawn to Glendon and tears himself from his precious home and family life to join Glendon on his quest. The journey, set in 1915 and moving from Minnesota across the fading wild west, casts a warm light on human nature and human foibles. The book’s language is as much fun as the adventure; Enger has honed his unique direct-from-the-heart style. It’s a story that both men and women can find immensely appealing and satisfying.

Liberty Bay Books

18881 D Front St., Poulsbo, WA / (360) 779-5909 / www.libertybaybooks.com

Liberty Bay Books is North Kitsap’s Independent Community Bookstore.

We carry new books and a small selection of used books and we currently have six in-store book clubs. Any bookstore wouldn’t be complete without an espresso bar.

One of Liberty Bay’s favorite reads at the moment is: “Twenty Chickens for a Saddle” by Robyn Scott, the story of an African Childhood (recommended by Liberty Bay owner Suzanne Droppert).

Scott writes of growing up in Botswana with her eclectic family; her father the flying bush doctor, her mother who homeschools her, and her brother and sister.

Scott tells silly tales of the unorthodox methods her holistic mother uses to raise the three children.

The life story of a fervent kiwi family learning acceptance and satisfaction against the backdrop of the African countryside. A truly amazing story.

The Traveler

265 Winslow Way East, Bainbridge Island, WA / (206) 842-4578 / www.thetraveler.com

At The Traveler we take our name seriously.

Whether you are looking for information on Paris or Portland, Mumbai or Memphis, chances are we will have the guides maps and phrasebooks that will help plan for travels worldwide.

Here are a couple of book recommendations to enjoy when planning your own travels:

“The Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner

In his NPR career as a foreign correspondent, Eric Weiner covered plenty of unhappy places. After two decades of downers, he wondered what would happen if he spent a year seeking out the world’s happy places — places that possess an abundance of one or more of the ingredients that we consider essential to the good life: money, pleasure, sprituality, family, chocolate.

The delightful result — “The Geography of Bliss” — is funny, profound, witty and provocative.

For ideas on the best places to go and things to do around the world, consult the “Lonely Planet Blue List 2008,” an annual collection of trends, destinations, journeys and experiences.

Great for the traveler or the dreamer.

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