A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Bookshop Superheroes: Magnolia’s Bookstore

In appreciation of our local indies who have reinvented their processes and protocols during the past year in the service of getting the just-right book to the just-right hands, our Bookshop Superheroes blog series features our partner bookstores with special Instagram takeovers that afford a glimpse into a day in their store. (Are you following SAL on Instagram? Check us out!)

This week we’re featuring Magnolia’s Bookstore who is taking over our Instagram on Tuesday, June 22! 

Seattle is a city of neighborhoods, some more sprawling than others. One that proudly acts and feels like a village is the neighborhood of Magnolia, where Magnolia’s Bookstore has sat in the heart of the village for thirty years. Georgiana Blomberg started as a part-time bookseller in 1992 and bought the store in 2001. With its overflowing flower box of brilliant geraniums, the shop’s brick storefront speaks to the romance of living and working in a village. Below, Georgiana shares her appreciation for her community and the books they love.

What is unique about your bookstore?

We have always benefitted—in many ways—from the relative isolation and small size of our community.  We’ve been here a long time and feel very lucky to be nestled in a great give-and-take relationship with our supportive community of neighbors and visitors.

This became even more true as the pandemic crept in last year. Locals became more local as they stopped going to work and stopped leaving the neighborhood to shop downtown or at malls; they went into overdrive in order to keep their community businesses alive. Before things shut down completely, customers rushed to stock up and buy gift certificates—often for their future selves—just to make sure we would survive. We in turn, did our best to get needed books to our customers as they faced weeks and months of no libraries and no schools.

What have been some of the silver linings of this time?

The biggest silver lining of these strange times has been the laser focus on the power of community that the pandemic has energized and reignited. When the social justice movement erupted, people needed books and community even more. We felt the power of that, too, and were thrilled to see the huge demand for the many great books written to help us learn, understand, and act.

Books are magical vehicles for all manner of insight, understanding, escape, information, entertainment, and general mind-widening. We feel very lucky to be their purveyors to our community. The most fun part of bookselling is the books and the people. Making enlivening connections with and between people who love and need books (and want to talk about them!) and between books and the people who seek them—we love being part of this chain.

What are some of the top best sellers this year? 

To reiterate the sense of community, the top best seller for 2020 was Magnolia: Midcentury Memories, a history of Magnolia that the Magnolia Historical Society published. One of the two earlier publications they published also shows up on our top 30 list!

Here are twenty more best sellers that the community of Magnolia read in 2020:

  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  • The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
  • Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle
  • How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • The Gifted School: A Novel by Bruce Holsinger
  • The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: A Hunger Games Novel by Suzanne Collins
  • The Deep End (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 15) by Jeff Kinney
  • Dog Man: Grime and Punishment by Dav Pilkey
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris
  • When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson
  • One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson

Thank you, Georgiana and Magnolia’s Bookstore!

Posted in Summer Book Bingo