Independent bookstores offer local, personal alternatives

Do you know what an “indie bookstore” is?

This is the descriptive term that means those bookstores that are independently owned and not part of a larger bookstore chain. There are many indie bookstores in our Kitsap area, and two of them are known to most of us. One is Liberty Bay Books that has a store in Poulsbo and in Bremerton. You can look at their web page for details at

The other well-known indie bookstore is Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island. You can see more news about this store and upcoming events at

The reason I bring this to your attention is that you can get on their email list and be notified of special events like author readings, and about books being featured because of their high interest. And sometimes they feature books just because the staff is excited about the story.

This week I got notified by email about some books that interested me and they might be something you’d like to read too.

The first book that caught my attention was “Carnegie’s Maid.” It tells the story of one woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist. The author is Marie Benedict.

Another book in this email was on the subject of “love and marriage.” The blurb that came with this book says, “They may go together like a horse and carriage as the song has it, but when it’s meant to last a lifetime, it can be messy, painful or even deadly dull.”

In her book “Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give,” written by Essayist Ada Calhoun, she says, “Dating is poetry, marriage is a novel. Marriage is foundational and nourishing, but it’s also frustrating and just plain hard.” Her essay collection delves into the facets of marriage that starry-eyed couples don’t always want to acknowledge. These include paying (literally) for a spouse’s mistakes, daydreaming about other partners and other lives, and slogging through what she bluntly calls the “boring parts of wedded bliss.”

In another book, “The State of Affairs” that is about this marriage game — written by a renowned couple’s therapist Ester Perel — she explores a “more dramatic but no less sticky aspect of long-term commitment, infidelity and its fallout.”

Despite the pain affairs cause, she insists that affairs provide “a window, like none other, into the crevices of the human heart.” Her clients’ stories have many different endings, but most encouragingly “are still in progress: an affair can expose the fault lines in a marriage but doesn’t have to mean total destruction.”

Now, something on the lighter side: A children’s book I liked the looks of is “Florette,” written by Anna Walker. It is filled with blooming friendships and flowers. This is the story of Mae, a little French girl “whose family moves to the city of Paris, from the country. Mae wishes she could bring her garden with her but felt there was no room among the crowded buildings for apple trees and daffodils. Or is there?”

This story celebrates friendship, resilience in the face of change and the magic of the natural world. And the illustrations of plants and flowers are lovely.

The last book on this week’s list is “The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border” by Francisco Cantú, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent. This book is a “raw, unfiltered look into the lives of Mexican migrants desperate to cross into the U.S. and improve their circumstances. It is also a portrait of the agents whose job it is to thwart those ambitions and it observes the human cost of migration and the toll it takes on those involved in enforcing what the author refers to as ‘the unnatural divide between two countries.’ ”

This book is timely and relevant to understanding the problems and insights of this endeavor.

Happy reading during these cold winter days.

Quote for today: “Sunsets are proof that endings can be beautiful.” — Beau Taplin

­— Donna Lee Anderson is a columnist for Kitsap News Group. Anderson can be contacted at well

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