Adults, Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, History, Children, Memoirs, Photography, Stories, more

The Reviews:

Callused Hands, Hungry Heart, by Jim Lawrence

Given the deluge of books on local foods and organic farming one might expect Lawrence to write about food and farm politics. He tosses off a few polemical remarks about corporate food, and the book devotes many pages to foibles of his farm. But this is a personal story, about Jim Lawrence as a man, not a book about local food systems. He demonstrates courage in publishing it.

JOY: Living in a Nursing Home, by Jean Hendrickson

Jean Hendrickson has published another book from her room in the nursing home at on Spring Street. She writes with honesty and directness about her decision to give up her independence and move into a skilled nursing facility. Her message might be surprising to many readers, because she proclaims that the decision was not difficult and the outcome is entirely rewarding.

Truth Be Told, Agnes Vadas and Richard Nields

This is the correspondence between Amnesty International activist and retired violinist Vadas and death row inmate Nields. Nields’ sentence was commuted on June 4, 2010.

Hanta Yo, Ruth Beebe Hill
In this 812 page saga, San Juan Island author Ruth Beebe Hill, attempts to depict the life of the Sioux people over three generations from 1794 to 1835. In the novel, we travel with the Mahto (Grizzly bear) band of through their annual migrations from the hills to the plains.

That Frog! , Secret at Chipping Green Sam Connery
In That Frog, a beginning reader, a boy brings home a frog and asks his dad if he can keep it. The amphibian gets loose. The illustrations are alive with the emotions of the characters, the movement of the animals, and the hilarity of the devastation caused by the chase. In Uncle Willie and the Cheadle Cup, Connery is much more the writer and much less the illustrator, writing a chapter book for a slightly older audience. In Secret at Chipping Green, another chapter book, Connery finds the perfect balance between illustration and text, and most of the action takes place in conversation.

Pig War Islands, David Richardson’s history of the islands, originally written in the early 70s, can be read like a history of the problems with alcohol in the San Juans. Of course, it covers more, and has a number of engaging vignettes, addressing seafaring, some the churches histories, most of the murders over the years, as well economic issues  like the lime, fruit, and pea industries.

Precious Cargo, Clyde Ford
An investigator delays his cruising his wooden boat to look into the death of a Mexican girl off Cypress Island. He finds a world illegal immigration and indentured labor.

The Inpenetrable Forest, Thor Hansen
A Peace Corps park ranger recounts with humor and compassion his work in Uganda to make gorillas safe for tourism

The Land of Smaerd, Andrea von Botefuhr, Angela Russell, illustrated by Bryn Barnard
Dreams spelled backward

Folly: A Novel, Laurie R. King
Rebuilding a burned house to rebuild her life, an island new-comer meets some true-to-life island characters

Orca Encounters, Monica Wieland
Images capture the emotional experience of encountering orca whales up close

Why We Garden: Cultivating a Sense of Place, Jim Nollman
Highly literate—even poetic, calling for a new ethics for how we treat the land as gardeners

In Season: Culinary Adventures of a San Juan Island Chef, Greg Atkinson
Recipes and reflections on San Juan life, families, loving, eating, and cooking

Natural Areas of the San Juan Islands, Terry Domico
Get outside: this book tells you where to go and how to get there

Andrew Henry’s Meadow, Doris Burn
If they want to keep them living in the village, adults must learn to respect the talents of their children

Wherever I Wander, Judith Azrael
Magic in the mood woven by piecing together images and self reflection from journals and poetry

Alaska’s Search for a Killer, Susan Meredith
A bracing ocean voyage serving Alaska’s Native peoples in the fight against TB, a memoir set at after the end of WW II.

Island Ebb & Flow, Frances K. Lovering
Life on Waldron in the 1930s and 40s comes to life and you remember the meaning of words like “remote” and “self-reliant”

Underpinning: a Vivid Recollection of Life in Washington State in the Early Part of This Century, Caroline Reed
Spend a decade before the first world war in Friday Harbor

James Francis Tulloch Diary, compiled and edited by Gordon Keith
A cantankerous voice delivering a disjointed memoir is surprisingly contemporary

The Pig War: Standoff in Griffin Bay, Michael Vouri AND Blakely: Island in Time, JoAnn Roe
The Pig War is not a cute story but the triumph of diplomacy over warcraft

Island Bush Pilot, Roy Franklin
A great storyteller recounts adventures in aviation, including founding San Juan Airlines and developing Friday Harbor airport

The Burma Road, Donavan Webster
In the middle of the steaming Burmese jungle you’ll meet an islander who served heroically with Merrill’s n the middle of the steaming Burmese jungle you’ll meet an islander who served heroically with Merrill’s marauder rangers.

My Champion, S.K. Carnes
Original oil paintings illustrate the girl’s transformation as she learns to accept herself and her horse the way are–good enough

Phoenix Island, Charlotte Paul
Not exactly a 70s back to the land fantasy, this novel imagines life after the tsunami. Was a bestseller in its day!

You May Now Kill the Bride, Deborah Donnelly
The bride wears purple and lavender, but the wedding planner stumbles into bad things on the way to weddings…

Educating Waverley, Laura Kalpakian
World War I in France, Isadora Island (think Orcas) in the present and WW II–alternating times and values for women and a girls’ school</p></td>

Last Clear Chance, Bob Tripp
Take off on a spiritual quest with the pilot who crashed the plane and killed most of the passengers, including his wife

Rainbow’s End, Irene Hannon
Grace for scarred lives–two broken hearts meet and heal on Orcas Island, in the midst of archetypal island figures

Of The Law, Susan Wingate
Murder, madness and the sheriff has to find out. I liked this rendition of the sheriff of San Juan County, dark and lurking

Shredding the Social Contract: The Privatization of Medicare, John Geyman, M.D.
Debunks arguments that free markets deliver health care with less cost than government

Real World Intelligence, Herbert E. Meyer
A look at intelligence gathering for business based on the spy world, by a former Reagan administration spook

We All Have a Purpose for Being Here, Jean Hendrickson
A memoir documenting her new age journey; weird, challenging, uplifting; well crafted

MS and Your Feelings, Allison Shadday, LCSW
Success stories for chronically ill patients plus strategies for living better while ill. Not just for people with MS

Getting Around in China, Fred Richardson
Reminisce over two decades of journal entries about travel in China, or make detailed plans for your trip with this practical guide

Naturally Attracted: Connecting with Michael J. Cohen, Charley Scull
A documentary DVD about an island original–Dr. Mike Cohen is a musician, an environmental educator, and one of a kind