New Arrivals and Old Friends Thursday, Part Two: Astronomy and Physics!

It’s no secret that many members of the staff here at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester are fans of science as well as fans of science fiction.  Here’s a few of the space-time titles that have arrived in the last few weeks or are on their way to us:

  • EINSTEIN’S MONSTERS by Chris Impey
  • HYPERSPACE by Michio Kaku
  • THE STARS: A NEW WAY TO SEE THEM by H.A. Rey [yes, the co-creator of Curious George]
  • BLACK HOLES AND BABY UNIVERSES by Stephen Hawking
  • THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE by Brian Greene

greeneelegantuniversehawkingblackholesbabyuniversesreystarsimpeyeinsteinsmonsterskakuhyperspacepetersonfieldguidestarsplanets

And let’s not forget the book that got Patty Cryan, ABSW’s owner, started on backyard stargazing – THE FRIENDLY STARS by Martha Evans Martin, first published in 1907 but just as accessible today.

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Thank you for making our shelves your destination.

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New Arrivals and Old Friends Thursday, Part One: Hanukkah Books For Kids!

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As we draw closer to the 8 nights of Hanukkah, here’s a few of the titles we have brought in so far for this year.

  • ALL-OF-A-KIND FAMILY HANUKKAH by Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky
  • HANUKKAH DELIGHT! by Leslea Newman
  • THE COUNT’S HANUKKAH COUNTDOWN from Shalom Sesame
  • BEAUTIFUL YETTA’S HANUKKAH KITTEN by Daniel Pinkwater

We are also expecting the following between now and the 30th:

  • MRS. GREENBERG’S MESSY HANUKKAH
  • MEET THE LATKES
  • LATKES LATKES GOOD TO EAT
  • MACCABEE! THE STORY OF HANUKKAH
  • CHANUKAH BUGS!: A POP-UP BOOK
  • CHANUKAH LIGHTS: A POP-UP BOOK
  • JODIE’S HANUKKAH DIG
  • D IS FOR DREIDEL: A HANUKKAH ALPHABET
  • NONNA’S HOLIDAY SURPRISE
  • WAY TOO MANY LATKES: A HANUKKAH IN CHELM

 

 

 

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Speculative Fiction Tuesday – DOCTOR WHO DAY Edition!

On November 17th, please join us for our annual DOCTOR WHO CELEBRATION as we commemorate the fifty-fifth anniversary of the world’s longest-running science fiction serial.

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Our schedule for Saturday the 17th is as follows:

  • Door prizes for attendees in costume awarded at the top of the hour every hour between 12noon and 4pm
  • 1:30pm – Trivia contest for NuWho [2005 to present – medium to challenging level]
  • 4:30pm – Trivia contest for Classic Who [1963 to 2004 – challenging to excruciatingly challenging level]
  • 6pm- Formal costume contest – winners must be present to accept their prizes [beginner to advanced level – costumes from all eras of WHO, as well as costumes from TORCHWOOD, THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES, and CLASS are acceptable]
  • Special sales include additional discounts on our already discounted action figures, accessories, audio dramas, and books, as well as discounts on back issue magazines prior to DWM issue#529.
  • Meet and greet your fellow fans all through the day… tell us about your favourite episodes, Doctors, Companions, monsters, villains, heroes, scary moments, funny moments, sad moments… this is YOUR day as a fan and we are thrilled to share it with you.
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Events Buzz: Thank you Veterans!

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On this Veteran’s Day, everyone here at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester says “Thank you” to all of those who have served in our military, at home and overseas.

Next week also starts our holiday hours. Starting on Monday, November 19, our hours will be:

Mondays and Tuesdays:         9:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Wednesdays and Thursdays:  9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Fridays and Saturdays:           9:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Sundays:                                 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

We will be CLOSED on Thanksgiving Day, November 22.

 

And the Love Your Bookstore Challenge, from our friends at The Book Loft, is still happening untio November 16! Take a selfie at your favorite bookstore with the book your most excited about this holiday season, then post it to your preferred social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) with the hashtag #loveyourbookstore, and be entered to win one of several bookish prizes! Follow the link for complete rules and information.

(And are you keeping an eye on our Facebook Page, our blog, and our website? Have you signed up for our newsletter? I know we keep hinting at it… but there IS news coming you won’t want to miss… Sometimes “news” takes a while to be finalized…)

We had a wonderful time this past weekend with our two events! Many of our friends came in to Meet Curious George, and George was so happy to meet all of you. We also had a lovely early evening event with husband-and-wife author team Mark and Sheri Dursin as we celebrated their novel, Labors of an Epic Punk, the story of Odysseus son, Telemachus, as he tries to get through high school while his father is having adventures on his way back from the Trojan War. If you missed either event, we do still have more Curious George books as well as more copies of Labors of an Epic Punk!

An update on events… our Board Game Night is changing to Tuesday nights and is reflected in the below event listing.

So…here are our upcoming events!

THIS TUESDAY, November 13, starting at 7:00 PM, join us for Board Game Night. Stop in to play some cool games and meet some cool people!

And THIS SATURDAY, November 17, stop in for our ALL DAY Annual Doctor Who Day!

We’ll have trivia, games, costumes, and some VERY SPECIAL sales! Check in on our website events page and our Tuesday blog for the upcoming schedule!

Also, THIS SUNDAY, November 18, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM, come in as Rainbow Readers Discusses Of Echoes Born by Nathan Burgoine. This is a special day and time for our Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts, so don’t miss out!

And coming next week…

Saturday, November 24, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM – Small Business Saturday with Local Children’s Authors and Artists. Watch our Facebook page and the event page as we introduce our featured authors!

As always, keep an eye on our Facebook Events Page and our website for even more great family and children’s programming we’re putting together for you! Or sign up for our newsletter, and get that information right in your inbox!

As a reminder, here are our regular events…

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, every Monday 7:00 PM (except for when the Free People’s Artists Workshop meets the fourth Monday of the month). Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

UPDATED: Game Night, every TUESDAY (unless there is an author event) at 7:00 PM. Bring your favorite game or try a new one. Stop by the store to socialize and play!

Storytime, last Friday of each month at 11:00 AM. Come in for an hour of read aloud time for children ages 3-8. We are NOT having Storytime this November.

The Free People’s Artists Workshop, the fourth Monday of each month from 7:00-9:00 PM. Networking and feedback from other artists and creators of all types. Co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association. Next meeting November 26.

Doctor Who Discussion Nights, the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Join us for a discussion of our favorite science fiction series. There will be no Doctor Who Discussion Night in November.

The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that will meet once a month, usually on the third Saturdays, from 6:00-8:00 PM. Next meeting SPECIAL DATE AND TIME, Sunday, November 18, 3:00-5:00 PM. Our book, Of Echoes Born by Nathan Burgoine, is already in the store if you want to pick it up!

May your world be filled with wonderful words!

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Author Spotlight: Mark and Sheri Dursin

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on husband-and-wife author team Mark and Sheri Dursin, authors of Labors of an Epic Punk. They’ll be at our 65 James Street store TOMORROW, THIS SATURDAY, Novemver 10, from 4:30 – 6:30 PM, speaking about, reading from, and signing their book.

Both Mark and Sheri have long-standing ties to Worcester; both graduated from College of the Holy Cross in 1992, and their twin sons are currently attending WPI and Clark.

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from Labors of an Epic Punk?

Clash of the Titans meets The Breakfast Club— that’s how we’ve been describing our book. Labors of an Epic Punk is a retelling of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, and it takes place in ancient Greece. But it’s also gloriously anachronistic: the main characters are sixteen-year-olds who attend a private high school.  So, the setting is ancient, but the tone and the vernacular is totally modern. (Nary a “thou” to be found in our book!) Yes, we have an adventurous journey with fantastical creatures. But our characters also do “regular” things, like hanging out at the beach or doing homework in the library. In fact, we always felt the mythological elements of our book could serve as a metaphor for the “regular” teen stuff—for example, we tried to show how, for a teenage boy, asking a girl to dance could be just as scary as facing a Minotaur!

 

What was the inspiration for Labors of an Epic Punk?

A trip to the restroom—that’s what inspired this epic journey. Many years ago, Sheri was having lunch at a Rainforest Cafe, and on her way to the restroom, she saw this sort of avant-garde statue of Atlas holding up the world. And that got her thinking about all the cool stories from mythology.  Later that night, we started talking about myths and heroes, and we hit upon this idea: let’s take a collection of these ancient Greek heroes—Jason, Theseus, Heracles—and imagine what they were like as teens in high school.

We started throwing out other names of characters that could go to our ancient high school, and we soon started talking about the character Telemachus, the son of Odysseus.  More than anyone else, this Telemachus guy sparked our imagination, because he had this rich but unexplored backstory: his dad left for the Trojan War when he was only an infant and never returned for nineteen years.  Good start for a “brooding YA hero”! So, eventually, we decided to ditch the whole “mythology high” gimmick and focus just on Telemachus, whom we nicknamed “Mac.”

 

What character did you love the most while writing? And why?

Our favorite is probably Homer, who is Mac’s sidekick and best friend. The real Homer is the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey (the inspiration for our book), so we thought it would be fun to have Homer as a character. Only our Homer is a gay, disabled teenager who has an obsession with gods and heroes. He was just a fun character to write, because he often comes off as this easily exasperated know-it-all, but that’s all bravado to mask his insecurities.  Ultimately. Homer becoming comfortable with himself and learning how to make friends is just as important to the story as Mac’s journey.

 

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

Well, our book takes place in ancient Greece, so you won’t exactly find any familiar New England haunts in there. However, we both grew up in New England, and since neither one of us has ever been to ancient Greece (or even the modern Greece, for that matter), we ended up sort of taking what we know and applying it to this mythological setting. Several scenes, for example, take place on a beach, so we just took our favorite Cape Cod beaches and transported them 3,000 years into the past. The school our characters attend could be any prestigious New England prep school.  And when we were nearing the end of the writing process, we created a writer’s retreat for ourselves at a bed and breakfast in Rhode Island. So, even though our book has absolutely nothing to do with New England, you can definitely hear some New England whispers in there, just because that’s part of who we are.

11102018 - Sheri Mark Dursin author pic 

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?

This. Talking about your finished book—doing promotions like this, sharing our ideas with people we never would have met otherwise—Is a lot more enjoyable than actually writing the darn thing. That’s the old expression, right? “I don’t like writing, but I like having written.”  Writing is very challenging, and we suspect writing as a team—as we did—is even more challenging because there is so much negotiation involved. But having this finished project—something we can hold in our hand—is so gratifying.

 

What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?

Try everything.  As you write, don’t be afraid to explore any and all ideas, even if they seem a little wonky at first. Here’s an example… we had finished our manuscript, and then we had this crazy thought: what if we made Homer the narrator?  In other words, we thought we would change everything from third-person narration to first-person. So, we started re-writing the thing—and realized it wasn’t going to work, mostly because we had to invent these cumbersome reasons why Homer could narrate events that he didn’t witness or experience.  But we had re-written twelve chapters, and some of it was pretty good. And we had really come to love Homer as a character.

So we compromised: we took the best first-person stuff and worked it into the book as Homer’s “scrolls”—first-person letters Homer writes to a friend at another school. We decided to insert these “scrolls” at certain points in the novel. And this was really a game-changer, because these scrolls not only allow us to hear Homer’s voice but they also offer some commentary on the action of the novel.

None of that would have happened if we didn’t try this seemingly unwise re-writing. So, again: try everything. Go down rabbit holes.  And don’t throw anything out. Even if a lot of what you write ends up being unusable, you may have a scrap that could lead to something transformative.

 

Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)

People can find our novel at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com, or they can order a copy at their favorite independent bookstore.

 

How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?

You can go to our website, epicpunk.com. We also did a blog tour this summer, so Google us if you want to read our witticisms.  (In terms of non-creepy stalkers… because this is our first novel, even somewhat-creepy stalkers would not be turned away!)

Thank you so much, Mark and Sheri, for the great interview! We’re looking forward to hosting you, and finding out more about Mac’s and Homer’s adventures in Tales of an Epic Punk, THIS SATURDAY at our 65 James Street bookstore from 4:30-6:30.

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Kids And Teens Wednesday, November 7, 2018

This week’s books for kids and teens include, as always, some new releases and some restocking of old favourites.

Recent entries in the WHO IS? WHAT IS? WHERE IS? series include Aretha Franklin, the Dalai Lama, and the Solar System.

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Virginia Lee Burton has written some of the best-loved picture books in America, and we’re happy to keep her on our “never-out-of-stock” list.

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lifestoryvlbcalicothewonderhorse

We are looking forward to the season of light in December, and have started bringing in Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa titles.

beautifulyettahanukkahkittensabudachristmasalphabetkevinskwanzaa

 

For teens, we’ve received the first two books in Marissa Meyer’s new RENEGADES series, with the release of ARCHENEMIES this month in hardcover and the initial novel in paperback, as well as a restock on her standalone book HEARTLESS.

renegadesarchenemiesheartless

In addition, we have new releases from popular authors Erin Cashman, Cassandra Clare and Maggie Stiefvater.

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We are adding more new frontlist and backlist titles every week, at discounts between 20% and 40% off cover price.  Thank you for making our shelves your destination.

 

 

 

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Speculative Fiction Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

We’re doing something a little different this time around for our weekly science fiction, fantasy and horror spotlight, and turning our focus to adult coloring books based on some of our favorite movies, book series, and television shows.

  • THE DARK CRYSTAL COLORING BOOK
  • TERRY PRATCHETT’S DISCWORLD COLORING BOOK
  • DOCTOR WHO COLORING BOOK
  • THE PRINCESS BRIDE COLORING BOOK

Adult coloring books are a great way to relax, particularly in stressful times like these, and also make wonderful holiday gifts.

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