Holiday Gift Giving – Non-Fiction Books 1

Happy Holiday Shopping Guide! Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, the “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street, is happy to present our 2019 recommendations of gifts for the winter holidays.

This time, we’d like to introduce you to our vast array of non-fiction books. A book in this category is a great gift to give if you know the person’s interests. We have books on so many subjects it’s not possible to name each and every category, but I’ll try and list some of  our most popular ones. This will be the first of a few blogs on non-fiction.

First of all, we have many new books about Astronomy, from Col. Chris Madfield’s an Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, to MOON: An Illustrated History by David Warmflash.   All of these books are at least 20% off the cover price, as are all our new books, and some cost even less.

New Astronomy

Other new books on Astronomy and hard science topics are also available, like the National bestseller, Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku.

New Physics

We also do have many pre-read  paperback books on the subject, at 50% off the cover price, like starter books Peterson’s First Guides Astronomy; An Instant Guide to Stars and Planets; and 101 Key Ideas Astronomy.

Astronomy

Biographies are very popular, as well.  This year, several new biographies/autobiographies  have come out about well known and beloved performers such as Julie Andrews and Elton John. Several books (and a new movie) have come out about Mister Rogers, too.

New Bios cropped

There are many, many biographies written in the past about historical figures and some more recent ones, and our shelves have a plethora of them.  By the way, did I mention that our used Hardcovers are only $3.99? Unless you find them in our $2.99 Hardcover Alley.

used bios 1

One other type of new Memoirs we are getting in are about Sports figures, like Baseball and Basketball players. In particular,  I’m Keith Hernandez, and Basketball Junkie.

New Sports Bios

Speaking of Sports, with the PawSox coming to Worcester, people in this city are becoming a bit more baseball crazy. Ok, so we always were sports crazy. Well, have we got some books for everyone. As a matter of fact, on Saturday, December 14th, we have an author of a sports book, Hub Heroes, coming in to do a book signing at 2:00 PM.

New Sports

Seriously, we do have quite a few pre-read sport books on many different sports: Golf, Soccer, Football, Baseball (of course),  Fishing, Basketball, Women’s sports, and more.

Used sports

That’s all for this edition. In our next edition we’ll cover History and – No, I think I’ll let you wait and read it for yourself! Have a great day, and stay warm.

 

 

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Editor Spotlight – Deidre Lynch

Deidre Lynch pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Spotlight on Harvard Professor of English Literature, and writer about and editor of Jane Austen’s works. Professor Lynch will be coming to Annie’s on December 15th to celebrate Jane Austen’s Birthday with us, and will give a presentation on ” Regency Social Media: Jane Austen’s Letter-Writing”  at 1:00 PM for our Jane Austen Day.

When asked about herself and her writing/editing, this was her response:

Originally from Canada, I’m now (since 2014) the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of English Literature at Harvard, where I teach courses on the history of the novel, the history of books as physical objects as well as instruments of communication, on the Gothic tradition, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, and others.  I’ve done a lot of writing on Austen’s fiction and (in my guise as a historian of reading and reception) on the changing ways in which generations of readers have manifested their devotion to her fabulousness. I’m an editor, in addition, of one of the most widely assigned textbooks of English literary history, The Norton Anthology of English Literature.  But since we’ll be convening to mark Austen’s birthday, above all, I’m the editor of the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Jane Austen’s Persuasion and, most recently, of a gorgeous, generously illustrated and annotated edition of her Mansfield Park, a volume in Harvard University Press’s series of annotated editions.

Thanks for being here with us, Deidre. Our first question for you is, Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s ;)–though they should totally check here first!)

 Try the Harvard University Press website for Mansfield Park;  see https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674058101

And  for my more scholarly work on the history of the novel and of reading try the University of Chicago Press website.  See, e.g. https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/L/bo19085293.html

What kind of research went into editing this book?  What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

For the notes for my annotated edition of Mansfield Park I did a lot of research (on, for instance, the theatre, the Anglican church, and the navy of Austen’s day, on the Naval Dockyard at Portsmouth, on the Austen family’s relationship with slave-holding families from the West Indies, etc., etc.)—and in the end (as is the norm for this Harvard University Press series) those notes are extensive enough that they could practically form a separate book all on their own. I loved writing those notes. It’s hard to choose but the notes I had the most fun writing were those that are meant to help readers of this book figure out what’s going on in the novel, as all the characters but the heroine rehearse the play Lovers’ Vows for a private performance (because of the untimely return home of Sir Thomas Bertram, they never, of course, get beyond the point of rehearsal).  It was intriguing to discover that Austen had attended very carefully to the stage directions in the published text of the play.  She makes it clear that those stage directions which specify a lot of physical proximity between the actors are for some of her characters an absolute godsend ; they’re a reason why they must hold hands and embrace—and suspend the proprieties normally governing the interaction between unmarried people.

Mansfield Park

What was the biggest challenge in editing and putting out Mansfield Park?  How did you overcome that challenge?

I started as an editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature around 15 years ago, and just around that time I had a number of discouraging conversations with colleagues who were convinced that  readers’ use (even in the classroom) of properly prepared, annotated editions was soon to become a thing of the past;  soon, they predicted, one would just send students links and get them to download all the class readings.  I think they’ve been proven wrong and that there would be reasons to deplore the situation if they had been right.

For all their modern feel, Austen’s texts require annotation. Her English is not ours: it’s useful for a reader to hear for instance that when young lady in an Austen novel takes up her “work”, she’s taking up her sewing or needlework: that is all work can be for a lady in the early nineteenth century.  Austen’s texts also require an editor’s textual emendation.  Mansfield Park was published in two different editions during Austen’s lifetime (neither printed error free): it’s the job of an Austen editor to choose which edition to follow (the manuscript doesn’t survive), but it’s also this editor’s job to revert to the other edition, in cases where that provides the more plausible reading of that now lost manuscript. For instance, near the end of Volume 3, talking of the heroine Fanny Price the 1816 edition has Mary Crawford asking “Why, would not she have him?”  There’s no comma after the “Why” in 1814—an absence which changes the meaning of the passage a good deal and seems a much more plausible piece of dialogue.

All of this is to say that we aren’t in fact intimate with Austen “by instinct” and can’t be. In Mansfield Park, in the midst of a discussion the characters have about Shakespeare’s play Henry VIII, Henry Crawford, the heroine’s suitor and persecutor, characterizes his relationship to the Shakespearean text in just those terms. Henry says he  can’t remember where and how he read the plays or whether he ever saw them acted  but he knows them well, nonetheless “by instinct”: “Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how.” That it’s Henry who says this is, I think, where Austen is concerned a reason to discount such an opinion. And I would like to say that it’s even an indication that she actually endorses and esteems the work of the literary middlemen and middle-women (like me!) who prepare texts from the past for their reading by new generations of readers.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Deidre. We look forward to seeing you on December 15th!

 

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Holiday Gift Giving – Time Travel Romances

Happy Holiday Shopping Guide! Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, the “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street, is happy to present our 2019 recommendations of gifts for the winter holidays.

Well, we now have so many Time Travel Romance books in the store that they now have a section of the store especially devoted to them. With the popularity of Outlander, the Scottish Highlanders have been in great demand.  There are, however, many other locations that authors have found to send their unsuspecting characters to.

What I find interesting, however, is the methods that the authors use to get their characters from their current centuries and/or locations to another. For example, in  A Connecticut Fashionista In King Arthur’s Court by Marianne Mancusi,  our protagonist is sent back to the days of King Arthur, to the city of Camelot , complete with her own knight in shining armour, Lancelot du Lac. The method that the author uses here is that a Gypsy Curse sends her back in time.

Mancusi M

Barbara Michaels, in Patriot’s Dream used dreams to bring her characters together.  Jan Wilde came to Williamsburg, Virginia for a vacation. A stranger from two centuries past reaches out to her during her dreams there, night after night. But were they really dreams, or reality?

Michaels cropped

Lynn Kurland has created her own method of sending her characters back and forth through time. In many of her books, including With Every Breath, she creates physical thresholds that her characters cross over, or step on, which puts them into different times.  The Scottish Highlands play a great part in all her books, and With Every Breath does not fail.

Kurland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An interesting method used by Susan Plunkett in Untamed Time is an explosion, which takes her character, a career soldier, Rafe Stricter, from the Bolivian Jungle in 1998 to Sierra Nevada, Northern California, in 1847.

Plunkett

But how do all of these heroes/heroines get back to the places that they are supposed to be (or not)? You’ll have to read the books to find out. Or give them to someone who will read them and let you know!

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Events Buzz Monday: Putting Away The Leaf Rakes, Taking Out The Snow Shovels!

Otherwise known as the norm for the first week of December, here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside.

We hope those who had to travel or had relatives traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend have arrived at their destinations safely.

winter-road

Our sincere appreciation goes out to all those who made our #SmallBusinessSaturday/#ShopLocal events this past weekend so enjoyable.  Thanks to authors James C. MacIntosh, Leigh Perry, and Rory O’Brien for sharing their mystery and suspense titles with our audience, and thanks to our customers from near and far who support Worcester’s independently owned full service bookstore.

Now that December is here and the gift-shopping season is in full swing, a reminder about our holiday hours.  Barring winter storms that necessitate late openings and early closings, from now through Monday, December 23rd we will be open on Sundays from 9AM to 7PM, and on Mondays through Saturdays from 9AM to 9PM.

Don’t forget that we can mail your gift purchases to friends and loved ones! The last day for guaranteed postal holiday delivery via USPS Media Mail is Thursday, December 12th; the last day for guaranteed postal holiday delivery via USPS Priority Mail for packages and USPS First Class Mail for gift certificates is Monday, December 16th.

Here’s our schedule for upcoming events… As a reminder, the majority of our events here at ABSW are free and open to the public. Check out our page on SocialWeb.net


RECURRING EVENT: TOMORROW! Tuesday, December 3 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, December 8 at 2PMPoetry reading with Curt G. Curtin, author of FOR ART’S SAKE.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, December 9 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, December 10 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, December 14 at 3PMBooksigning with sports journalist Christopher Daly, author of HUB HEROES.

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, December 14 at 6PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses THE REMAKING OF CORBIN WALE by Roan Parrish. The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that meets once a month. All are welcome!

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, December 15 at 1PM – Jane Austen Birthday Celebration!  Our literary time machine awaits you! Join us for a day in Regency England. Period costumes are encouraged. Prizes will be awarded! At 1:00 PM, Deidre Lynch, Harvard Professor of English Literature, will give a presentation on ”Regency Social Media: Jane Austen’s Letter-Writing”. Then join us for an afternoon of card games that might have been played in the parlor of a Regency home.

RECURRING EVENT: Monday, December 16 at 7PM – Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social! Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

RECURRING EVENT: Tuesday, December 17 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

Exciting things are happening at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside… more opportunities to serve the Worcester community… more book talks, more author signings, and more workshops.  Keep an eye on the Events Calendar on our website for more details.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

 

 

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Holiday Gift Giving: Mystery Books

Happy Holiday Shopping Guide! Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, the “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street, is happy to present our 2019 recommendations of gifts for the winter holidays.

The first items we have picked for you are from our Mystery section. After all, who doesn’t love a good murder?

This year we’ve decided to showcase some mystery books that we have in stock that are either  based on Television series or have been made into television series.  That does happen a lot, since there are quite a number of fantastic books out there and also quite a number of television production companies that want to take advantage of the great stories that the books contain. There are also several TV series that have writers as their main characters, so it only makes sense (and makes sense monetarily) that their characters write REAL books that are available to the general public.

First of all, there is Murder, She Wrote, by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain. These books are based on the TV series, not the other way around.  Follow Jessica Fletcher, Mystery writer, as she helps find killers in her hometown of Cabot Cove, Maine, or in Bermuda, or basically anywhere she goes! We have many of these books on our shelves.

Murder, she wrote1

We also have books by Richard Castle,  Mystery writer living in NYC with his mother and daughter.  He writes these books about his partner who is on the police force, only makes up stories and  changes her name to Nikki Heat.  These books are also based on the TV series. Does Castle really write them? Hmm…

Castle

 

MonkThen there’s MONK. The obsessive compulsive detective that everyone loves. He drives everyone crazy, but he always gets his man. Or woman.  Again, these books are based on the Television series, and there are several on the shelves. Lee Goldberg
is the author of these books.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has several books out based on the TV series of that name as well. They are by Max Allan Collins.

CSI

We can’t forget Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series. This is a case where the books came first, then the TV productions came later. We have many Agatha Christie books on our shelves, and any mystery fan would love to have them.

Agatha

There are many other mystery books that have been turned into movies as well, including Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard and Total Recall by Sara Paretsky. If you look at our shelves long enough, you’ll probably find many more that I missed. They make good, fast , fun reading, especially if you already know the characters.  I recommend them.

Shorty and recall

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Author Spotlight – Rory O’Brien

Rory O'Brien Pic

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on Mystery author, Rory O’Brien. Rory grew up in New England, surrounded by books, history, and the long shadows of Poe, Hawthorne, and Lovecraft.  He is one of the three authors who will be with us at Annie’s on Small Business Saturday, November 30th. He will be signing his books at 4:00 PM.

Rory is the author of three novels: Gallows Hill and The Afflicted Girl are mysteries set in modern-day Salem, and Summerland is a thriller set in Gilded Age Newport.  When not writing, he gives tours of Salem and talks on various topics, including the witch trials.  

He currently lives in Salem, but left his heart in Rhode Island … where it was burned on a rock.   

Where can people find your work, Rory? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester –though they should totally check here first!)

Well, Annie’s Book Stop, to begin with!  Also directly from The Merry Blacksmith Press!  A few shops in Salem carry my books.  Being with a very small publisher, it’s hard to get your book on shelves, so while it saddens me to say it, Amazon is a good option.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

www.roryobrienbooks.com.  You’ll find info on the books, and links to interviews and my occasional blog, and you can buy tickets to my walking tours.  I am also on twitter as @salemrory and instagram as rory.raven (my alter ego).

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from The Afflicted Girl?

I write mysteries that are set in present-day Salem, Massachusetts.  My hero is a police detective and I suppose they might be loosely considered “police procedurals,” but I am not sure that quite fits.  Ultimately, I’m writing about Salem and how it does and does not measure up to its reputation as the Witch City; people come here expecting it to be Hogwarts, expecting there to be a witch and a ghost and a Balrog on every corner.  But it’s not always October here, and as much as I love Salem in October, I also wanted to look past that and see the real city tourists sometimes forget is there.  The city that is and isn’t like other places.

My detective is also slightly unusual.  I didn’t want to write about a brilliant eccentric or an unstoppable, hard-boiled terminator (I tend to find those characters a little boring, a little too easy), so I came up with an introverted neurotic.  He’s also someone who feels the weight of being a cop in Salem, in a city which is famous as a place where justice was certainly not served three hundred-plus years ago.

The Afflicted Girl uses Salem tourism as a backdrop.  The behind-the-scenes view is a lot different than most people think.  At least in my opinion.

What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

Most of my research is just observing, just keeping my eyes open and wondering how dots could connect (not necessarily how they necessarily do connect, mind you).  Because I want the books to depict the Salem that I know, I try to stick to a very straightforward just-the-facts-ma’am style, which I think (or I at least hope) suits the story.

The afflicted girl cover

How important has the New England setting been to your writing?

The books are set in a real city, and it’s important to me to get the setting right, to make sure it’s recognizable to me and the reader as the real Salem, not just some made-up city that happens to have that name.  I can’t say that the book takes place in Salem and then have skyscrapers downtown, and mob bosses fighting for control.  That’s not depicting what I see.  And while many know it as The Witch City, and I have heard it said that witches RUN the city (!), that’s not true.  They are part of the fabric of the city, but only part.

New England (and Salem itself) is an area loaded down with its own history, and people who live here or visit here seem to be very aware of that.  And a good mystery novel is automatically about history, big or small – if you have a body in the library on page one, the rest of the book is about what ked up to that, the immediate history.

What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?

I do walking tours here in town, so I am usually reading and trying to find new wrinkles for them.  I will never learn enough about history.  I read a lot, but not fast enough.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?

That the important thing is to write – get the work done, pile up the pages.  You can go back and fix everything later but first, you need to have something to work with.  So just get the writing done. It’s not impossible.  It can be work, but it’s not beyond you.   Don’t build it up in your mind into an impossibility that you can never achieve.  Just get to work on it.  You’ll be okay.

What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?

I tend to go somewhere to write, like a coffee shop or bookstore, probably because that usually helps click my brain into work mode – “I am not hanging around at home, I came here to get this done.”

I try not to have anything that I “need” because I don’t want to get wrapped up in “stuff.”  I don’t want to NEED a special pen or notebook or wear my lucky socks or something.  Because too many times I have seen those props become excuses – “I am a Real Writer because I have a bust of Shakespeare on my desk!  I simply can’t get any writing done today because I forgot my lucky pen!”

 

Thanks so much for being with us today, Rory. We look forward to seeing you here at 4:00 PM on Small Business Saturday, November 30th.

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Events Buzz Monday: Insert Snazzy Title Here!

Customers and staff alike, here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside, are definitely feeling that mix of pre-holiday exhaustion and pre-holiday excitement, and the effects of that mix have left us at a loss for this week’s blog title.  Despite this, we’re looking forward to all the releases from publishers large and small, and getting geared up to put those books into your hands either for yourselves or as gifts for others.

gift-wrapped-presents

A reminder that we will be closed on Thursday, November 28th, for Thanksgiving Day.  Otherwise, our extended hours for the holidays have begun and will run from now through Monday, December 23rd.

MONDAYS THROUGH SATURDAYS 9AM TO 9PM

SUNDAYS 9AM TO 7PM

Thanks to everyone who joined us this past Saturday for our annual DOCTOR WHO celebration, and for everyone who came out in the awful weather this past Sunday to meet our two holiday picture book creators – J. Anthony Garreffi, author of the I CAUGHT SANTA series, and J. William Zoldak, author of GRANDPA’S CHRISTMAS TREE STORY.

Here’s our schedule for upcoming events… As a reminder, the majority of our events here at ABSW are free and open to the public. Check out our page on SocialWeb.net


RECURRING EVENT: TOMORROW! Tuesday, November 26 at 7PM – Game Night! Join us weekly on Tuesday nights starting at 7PM for card games, board games and more. Best score of the night wins a $10.00 gift certificate!

SPECIAL EVENT: Wednesday, November 27, ALL DAY – Flash Sale on vintage Westerns! Mention you saw the flash sale in our social media, and on Wednesday the 27th receive a 40% discount on vintage Westerns.

IMPORTANT! WE WILL BE CLOSED ALL DAY ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH FOR THANKSGIVING DAY. WE REOPEN ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH AT 9AM.

SPECIAL EVENT: Friday, November 29, ALL DAY – Flash Sale on all books in the store!  All NEW books sold on the day of Friday the 29th will be discounted AT LEAST 40% off of retail prices.

RECURRING EVENT: Friday, November 29, 12NOON-8PM – Come Write In! NaNoWriMo 2019 Meetup!  One last burst of creative energy!  Instead of Black Friday doorbuster madness at the big box stores, join us here to put the finishing touches on your NaNoWriMo novel! We have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, light snacks, tables to work on, electrical outlets, and WiFi!

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, November 30 – ALL DAY  – Small Business Saturday!  Shop small, shop local, meet local authors! Special discounts and special books and sidelines for your gift-giving needs at the start of the holiday shopping season! Our guests include suspense and mystery authors James C. MacIntosh, Rory O’Brien, and Leigh Perry . Signing schedule to date [subject to change]:

  • 2PM – James C. MacIntosh signs THE SILENT ONES, as well as his backlist titles.
  • 3PM – Leigh Perry signs THE SKELETON STUFFS A STOCKING, as well as her backlist titles.
  • 4PM – Rory O’Brien signs THE AFFLICTED GIRL, as well as his backlist titles.

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, December 8 at 2PM – Poetry reading with Curt G. Curtin, author of FOR ART’S SAKE.

SPECIAL EVENT: Saturday, December 14 at 3PM – Booksigning with sports journalist Christopher Daly, author of HUB HEROES.

SPECIAL EVENT: Sunday, December 15 at 1PM – Jane Austen Birthday Celebration!  Our literary time machine awaits you! Join us for a day in Regency England. Period costumes are encouraged. Prizes will be awarded! At 1:00 PM, Deidre Lynch, Harvard Professor of English Literature, will give a presentation on ”Regency Social Media: Jane Austen’s Letter-Writing”. Then join us for an afternoon of card games that might have been played in the parlor of a Regency home.

Exciting things are happening at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside… more opportunities to serve the Worcester community… more book talks, more author signings, and more workshops.  Keep an eye on the Events Calendar on our website for more details.

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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