Book Shopping in Seattle

A couple weekends ago, I went down to Seattle to see Depeche Mode (look how much restraint I’m exercising in not gushing about the show…….). I took time to check out a couple of neat bookstores.

Elliot Bay Book Company

Elliot Bay Bookstore Co.
Photo from Elliot Bay website

Website | 1521 Tenth Avenue

Why you should visit:

  • Stunning architecture
  • Extensive selection
  • Cozy cafe
  • Great hours
  • Lots of events

My experience:

Elliot Bay Bookstore Co. from second level
View from the second level (my photo)

As I only had about 48 hours in Seattle, Elliot Bay Book Company ended up being my number one bookstore to visit. It ranked high on recommendation lists; it was relatively close to where I was staying; it was open late on Friday when I had no other plans. Thirst was plaguing me, so for literally the second time in my life, I bought (and enjoyed :O) a tea from the cafe in the back to drink while browsing. As for books, I bought an autographed hardcover copy of Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne (which my sister and I previously discussed for Family Reads). The hardcover has a design element that the paperback doesn’t have. See the rabbit?

Borne hardcover

Mortlake & Company

Mortlake and Company bookstore
Photo from Mortlake & Company’s Facebook

Website | 117 Prefontaine Place

Why you should visit:

  • Elegant shop
  • Well-curated
  • Rare books and curiosities
  • Good prices on used books
  • Gallery with monthly exhibits

My experience:

Mortlake & Company cardI stumbled across this wonderful little shop during my many walks from my accommodation to downtown. I kept forgetting I had seen it, but I made an effort to stop in just before I caught the bus back home. I imagine I could return to this shop many times and find something new and intriguing on each trip. Too bad it isn’t in Vancouver! The selection ranges from folklore and mythology to alchemy and magic. I picked up Celtic Fairy Tales and The Mabinogi.

Celtic Fairy Tales and the Mabinogi

What are some of your favourite reasons to visit a bookstore? Do you have any bookstore recommendations for Seattle?

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Library Book Haul: ‘Professional Development’

Recent trips to the library have seen me checking out books related to librarianship and ESL education. I aspire to become a children’s librarian. I want to learn more about the actualities of the profession. Happily, my library has a well-stocked section of up-to-date books about librarianship. I think I will find lots to read there. I limited myself to four books on this round because I was on my bike 😛

  • So You Want to Be a Librarian by Lauren Pressley –  This is a slim volume that I’ve already finished and returned. It purposes to answer all your questions about becoming and working as a librarian, but a lot of it is basic common sense and repetitive information if you’ve already attended university or given some thought to the profession. I did learn a bit about the various types of librarians and what their jobs might entail. I think this book would be a more helpful read perhaps for someone who’s just had the fleeting thought ‘Maybe I could be a librarian…’ or for people who have no idea what it is that their friends who are librarians do.
  • Book Bridges for ESL Students: Using Young Adult and Children’s Literature to Teach ESL by Suzanne Reid – Currently reading. This is a topic I hope I can explore further in my studies and integrate into my future work as a librarian. 
  • The Portable MLIS: Insights from the Experts edited by Ken Haycock and Brooke E. Sheldon – I plan to be studying for an MLIS next fall (2017)! In the meanwhile, I hope I can learn some things from this book 😛 The articles look interesting and relevant, with titles such as “Professional Ethics and Values in a Changing World” and “Readers Advisory Services: How to Help Users Find a ‘Good Book'”. I think I have a solid understanding of the basic tasks and responsibilities librarians may have, so I hope this book will fill in some details.
  • Managing Children’s Services in Libraries by Adele M. Fasick and Leslie Edmonds Holt – This book caught my eye because of its detailed table of contents, covering the practicalities of the job that I would like to learn more about. This book is the most textbook-y of the four, but it’s tone, formatting, and size lead me to think it’ll be a good read.

Librarians and fellow enthusiasts, do you have any recommended reads about the field? 

In Absentia Book Haul

The book publishing world does not (alas) go on hold while I roam. My favourite authors publish books that aren’t yet licensed where I’m travelling, or I find exciting new-to-me stories on foreign bookshelves. At those times my sister, who works at a bookstore and therefore gets an employee’s discount, receives a text message: “Lovely sister, can you please purchase this book for me?” After a few months of this, I return home to a stack of lovely shiny new books on my nightstand! I also have suspended library holds and this time, I’ve brought home a few books that were gifts as well.

  • 438 Days by Jonathan Franklin (suspended hold) – I discovered this book over the holidays. I put it on hold in December but since it didn’t arrive before I left, I suspended it until I got back. It became available the day after I returned. Convenient!
  • The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donoghue (suspended hold) – See above.
  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (purchased) – Eee, of course a new book by my favourite author would be released while I’m away!
  • George by Alex Gino (purchased) – When I heard about this book in one of my peeks into Twitter, I knew I had to read it.
  • The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente (purchased) – I can’t believe we’re already at the last Fairyland book! I’m really excited to read about September’s parents.
  • Unbound by Neal Shusterman (purchased) – This book was released before I went travelling, but my sister bought it for me as a gift while I was away. I’m looking forward to the stories set after the Unwind dystology.
  • Best Ever Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook by Jenny White and Joanna Farrow (gift) – This was in a giveaway pile at one of my host’s home. I flipped through it, thinking it was going to be a lot of condensed soup and bags of frozen mixed veggies, but it’s actually more about focusing on good ingredients and whole foods. When my hosts saw I found it interesting, they wrote a birthday message in it and gave it to be for a birthday gift~
  • Japanese Pilgrimage by Olive Statler (gift) – I was happily rambling on about the Shikoku pilgrimage and some books about it that I want to read, when one of my hosts went to her bookshelf and asked, “Is this one of the books?” She gave it to me because she didn’t have any plans to reread it, though she remembered in being an interesting read when she first read it years ago.

Are there any spring releases I’ve missed out on? Have you picked up any new reads lately?

Jumping Into January (Library Book Haul)

I visited the library on December 28. I snuggled into an armchair and pulled out my iPad I opened the Goodreads and library apps. I was cross-referencing my 2016-maybes shelf with the library’s available books and ebooks (if I can borrow a book as an ebook, I save it for when I’m travelling). I drew up a list, then headed out into the stacks. I enjoy browsing books on GoodReads, but holding a book in my hands and reading a few pages remains the only way I can truly evaluate a book’s potential. I had great success with this final visit of 2015. I picked up 15 books, including middle grade, young adult, fiction and non-fiction. One book I began to read while waiting for my ride and I finished it in one sitting! Here are my remaining books:

I hope to fit a lot of good reading into this month, as I’ll be travelling from February to May with no guaranteed access to books I want to read. This library stack should give me a solid start! What do you think of my picks? Do you have any reading plans for the first weeks of 2016

December Book Haul

A few weeks ago I started working seasonally at a bookstore. I’ve been having a great time helping people find the books they’re looking for. This weekend was staff appreciation, which meant an extra discount on top of the regular staff discount. Of course I couldn’t resist buying books even this close to Christmas! (Though I was careful not to buy any of the ones on my Christmas wishlist). I ended up with seven books (two were planned and four were from bargain sooooo it wasn’t too extreme ;P).

  • The Art of the Lord of the Rings edited by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull – Really excited to dig into this one, as it contains many never before published pieces.
  • The Hobbit illustrated by Jemima Catlin – I kind of, sort of collect The Hobbit…at least I’ve decided so now that I have six copies. If I ever win the lottery, you know I’ll be adding a first edition to this budding collection!
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski – I’d been reading a library copy, then my sister’s copy, but I’m enjoying it so much I want to add it to my library.
  • The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang – Found this in the bargain books section and thought of Andi’s review. With my staff discount, it came to $3.50 so I added it to my basket.
  • The Lexicographer’s Dilemma by Jack Lynch – I love it when I find bargain books that are already on my TBR list.
  • The Mushroom Hunters by Langdon Cook – Totally an impulse buy. Looks intriguing!
  • I My Slow Cooker by Beverly LeBlanc – I have to be careful not to become the sort of person who buys cookbooks but doesn’t use them… I liked the look of a lot of the recipes in this one, though, and I think I could make better use of my slow cooker.

I did buy a few gifts for others. I bought The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson and pencil crayons to go with the colouring books I got for my mom. I also bought to two gifts to donate to a toy drive – a set of 12 Thomas the Tank Engine board books and a Doc McStuffins ‘Busy Book’ (a picture book that comes with little figures and a play mat).

How is your holiday shopping going? Have you treated yourself to any books lately?