RAIN LOCATION: THE SPIRAL BOOKCASE! : The Secret History of Philadelphia

Secret History

The Secret History of Philadelphia :                     rain location: tHE SPIRAL BOOKCASE! 

The Spiral Bookcase and Friends of Pretzel Park present The Secret History of Philadelphia. Join us in Pretzel Park, 4300 Silverwood, Manayunk, on Saturday, October 11th, from 10am-2pm to uncover Philadelphia’s hidden history.  The event will feature Stephanie Hoover, author of Philadelphia Spiritualism, David Traub, author of Searching for Philadelphia, J.P. Webster, author of Vanishing Philadelphia, and The Kelpius Society.  Local tour guide Nicholas Bucci will be presenting a historical exhibit, and The Spiral Bookcase will be selling a selection of local history books. Bring your picnic blankets, lawn chairs, and curiosity and join us for a day of history in the park!  

Schedule of Events

10am-2pm: Local History Book Sale & Pretzel Park Farmers’ Market
1030am-12pm: Presentations
12pm-1pm: Meet and Greet / Lunch provided by Marchiano’s
1pm: Raffle, featuring prizes from The Spiral Bookcase, Lucky’s Last Chance, and Sweet Elizabeth’s Cakes

Hi There! It’s been a while…

Hello everyone!

It’s been quite a busy year at Spiral!  From Art Openings, to Author Soirees, Writers’ Conferences, and Book Signings, we’ve flown through the first part of 2014.   But, we have oh, so much more to share with you.

You may have noticed that Ann has been very busy with little Zelda over the past year.  Now that Zelda is getting bigger (14 months!) and Ann’s maternity leave is coming to a close, she’s able to dive back into the shop full force and start working on many many many wonderful things.  New stock! New blog posts! Special deals! Fancy new celebrations of all things literary!  We cannot wait to share them all with you.

You will also see some changes on the website.  You’ll see – more event postings! more reviews! more books!  All things Spiral.  Aren’t you excited?!  If you are hankering for even more Spiral, follow us on Instagram @spiralbookcase, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Now for the fun part – a handful of pics from the past 6 months.  Enjoy and hope to see you soon!

Zelda loves books!

Zelda loves books!

#readwomen2014

#readwomen2014

Behind the scenes at Asymptote's 3rd Anniversary Party

Behind the scenes at Asymptote’s 3rd Anniversary Party

Barrelhouse Conference

Barrelhouse Conference

Arcadia Salon

Arcadia Salon

Bert Kreischer at Helium

Bert Kreischer at Helium

True Detective Display

True Detective Display

New Recommendations

New Acquisitions

New Acquisitions

...and let's not forget the snow!

…and let’s not forget the snow!

 

Top Ten Books of 2013 – The Brittany Brown Edition

Spiralnauts - 

We enjoy our jobs of putting stupendous, uplifting, challenging, & ridiculously good books into your hands.  When we are not in the shop – we are cracking open numerous tomes for our own enjoyment.  Well, how could we call ourselves booksellers without being voracious readers ourselves?  So, without further adieu – a brief look at each of our Top Ten (or so) Books of 2013.  

Brittany Brown’s Eye-Opening & Mind-Altering Selection

nightNight Flower: The Life and Art of Vali Myers – Vali Myers Art Gallery Trust, Gemma Jones, Julia Inglis, Martin McIntosh and editors

unclean jobsUnclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting

bornA Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel

fairylandFairyland by Alysia Abbott

bellIn The House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell

fireBrain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

benderThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

SafeAsHouses_Cover_600Safe as Houses by Marie-Helene Bertino

trinieWide Eyed by Trinie Dalton

oceanThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Top Ten Books of 2013 – The Jeremy Tenenbaum Edition

Spiralnauts - 

We enjoy our jobs of putting stupendous, uplifting, challenging, & ridiculously good books into your hands.  When we are not in the shop – we are cracking open numerous tomes for our own enjoyment.  Well, how could we call ourselves booksellers without being voracious readers ourselves?  So, without further adieu – a brief look at each of our Top Ten (or so) Books of 2013.  

Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum read, reread, or probably read: 

Morrissey_Autobiography_cover

Autobiography by Morrissey

new

New England Country Fair! by Phil Primack

lucky

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

the-fine-art-of-mixing-drinks

The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury

wcw

Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems by William Carlos Williams

mallare

Fantazius Mallare by Ben Hecht

divine

Good slices from  The Divine Comedy

devil

The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

dec

Detection by Gaslight: 14 Victorian Detective Stories

jimmy_corrigan_the_smartest_kid_on_earth

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware

wich

Witchcraft by Pennethorne Hughes

sermons

Sermons and Soda-Water III: We’re Friends Again by John O’Hara 

endaffair

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

 nausea

Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

Stay tuned for Brittany, Ann, & John’s Top Ten!

The Doctor Recommends – Doctor Who?

You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself! – The Tenth Doctor

A whimsical look at books and their Doctors.*

The First Doctor recommends

where

The Second Doctor recommends

jeeves

The Third Doctor recommends

time

The Fourth Doctor recommends

cat

The Fifth Doctor recommends

great

The Sixth Doctor Recommends

fear

The Seventh Doctor Recommends

journey

The Eighth Doctor Recommends

picture

The Ninth Doctor Recommends

cloud

The Tenth Doctor Recommends

sense

The Eleventh Doctor Recommends

1Q84

Amelia Pond Recommends

taschen 

*Given time-travel I am fairly certain that these recommendations are pretty accurate.

Small & Mighty Bookworms – Recommendations

Special recommendations from our littlest patrons.

FAYE (AGE: 8) RECOMMENDS

twiceTWICE UPON A TIME             BY JAMES RILEY

This is book two in Half Upon a Time series.  I enjoyed this book because it is adventurous fiction.  The characters in this book are the children of classic fairy tale characters.  If you read one page, you’ll want to read this whole book. 

by Faye, Lover of Books, Grade 3, Age 8

 

If you are Small & Mighty and would like to recommend a book – please share a couple of sentences about your favorite book, and include your name & age.  Feel free to drop by the shop or email us at spiralbookcase(at)gmail(dot)com. 

Three Years!

joyceI am so happy to be celebrating the shop’s three year anniversary!  I can’t believe it.  When I started the journey of starting my own bookstore, in a crumbling economy and competing with the burgeoning e-reader scene, many people – including me – wondered if I was crazy.  I can attest to the fact, that yes, I am a bit crazy, but mostly determined and passionate about getting real, beautiful books into people’s hands.

It all started with a simple question “Why Not?”  We had just moved to Manayunk and thought a bookstore was needed in the neighborhood.  Well, why not do it ourselves?  And off we went.  Well, it wasn’t quite that simple.  Over the course of many months we laid the groundwork to make it happen.  (And, as business owners can never rest on their laurels – we strive to improve our business year after year and adapt to your needs.) We fortuitously stumbled into the perfect space in May – and officially opened our doors on July 17th, 2010.

This journey has been the most rewarding and hardest thing I have ever accomplished to date – and continues to be so.  Now, that little Zelda has entered our lives, she’ll probably take over that honor – but this experience won’t be far behind.   To be frank – it is hard to run a small independent shop.  We all know that online competition is very real and deep discounting hurts small business.  But, we also know the benefits of shopping small:  putting money back into the local economy, helping to create and sustain a vibrant community, and enjoying the one-of-a kind experience that only a small business can provide.

Right now I just can’t imagine doing anything else.  I love getting into the quiet shop in the morning, turning on the computer, the lights, and seeing the rows of books waiting for the right person to pick them up and take them home.  I love reading; I love the feel of a book in my hands.  I love old tomes, sweet with lignin.  I love crisp, newly released titles – little gifts waiting to be pulled open and enjoyed.  I love getting to know what drives authors to write, how poets are inspired day after day.  I love recommending books to people, sharing book after book with countless individuals who appreciate and love something as much as I do.  Is it clear enough?  I LOVE what I do, and you are the integral part in making what I do possible.

You, my dear customer/friend/family/supporter, are what keep us going.  You are the reason we are still here after three years.  And your support is necessary for us to remain.  Is that too much pressure?  I hope not.  I hope that we can continue to quench your literary thirsts, and be a space that is a haven from your everyday stresses.  I will continue to provide you with wonderful used and new books, a special and quirky selection that I love hand-picking to grace our shelves.  I will continue to provide you with a space to meet other like-minded folks, or chat with a stranger that will most likely become a friend.  I will keep scheduling events so that you can meet local artists and authors, discuss writing with seasoned pros, share your own work in a supportive space, and meet new up-and-coming authors who want to share their work with you.

Thank you.  Thank you for everything.  When I hear that our shop is a wonderful and special part of your life; that means the world to me.  I hope that all book lovers can find a bit of home in the shop.  We are here to welcome you with books and books, and a smile.   I hope to see you soon.

Come celebrate with us!  We are hosting a celebratory Salon featuring local authors, artists, and musicians on Friday, July 26th, starting at 7pm.  BYOB.

Ann’s December Picks

It’s time I sit down and share a couple of wonderful books with you.  I must admit that it is hard to stay still for a minute during the busy holiday season.  The shop is bustling and I’m trying my best to prepare for our trip to Connecticut and a wonderful family holiday.

Although childhood expectations and awe have given way to adult responsibilities and time constraints, I still hold the holidays as a sacred time.  I enjoy sharing special gifts with loved ones, catching up on conversation and laughter, and having time to breathe – with a permeating snowy and grey quietness surrounding everything.

So, given my own reflections and predilections - here are some quiet and unusual books selections.

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm – Edited by Philip Pullman                              Two hundred years ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now, at a veritable fairy-tale moment—witness the popular television shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time and this year’s two movie adaptations of “Snow White”—Philip Pullman, one of the most popular authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

From much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “Briar-Rose,” “Thousandfurs,” and “The Girl with No Hands,” Pullman retells his fifty favorites, paying homage to the tales that inspired his unique creative vision—and that continue to cast their spell on the Western imagination.

 

Grave of Light:  New and Selected Poems, 1970-2005 by Alice Notley       Considered by many to be among the most outstanding of living American poets, Alice Notley has amassed a body of work that includes intimate lyrics, experimental diaries, traditional genres, the postmodern series, the newly invented epic, political observation and invective, and the poem as novel. This chronological selection of her most notable work offers a delineation of her life and creative development. Formerly associated with the second generation of the New York School, Notley has become a poet with a completely distinctive voice. Grave of Light is a progression of changing forms and styles–an extensive panorama held together explicitly by the shape of the poet’s times. Notley’s poems challenge their subjects head-on, suffusing language with radiant truth.

 

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis  (Have I recommended this one before?  Well, if I have it’s for a good reason & a perfect book for the winter months.)  Lydia Davis is one of our most original and influential writers. She has been called “an American virtuoso of the short story form” (Salon) and “one of the quiet giants . . . of American fiction” (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, for the first time, Davis’s short stories are collected in one volume, from the groundbreaking Break It Down (1986) to the 2007 National Book Award nominee Varieties of Disturbance.

 

Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson                             Lighthousekeeping tells the tale of Silver (“My mother called me Silver. I was born part precious metal, part pirate.”), an orphaned girl who is taken in by blind Mr. Pew, the mysterious and miraculously old keeper of a lighthouse on the Scottish coast. Pew tells Silver stories of Babel Dark, a nineteenth-century clergyman. Dark lived two lives: a public one mired in darkness and deceit and a private one bathed in the light of passionate love. For Silver, Dark’s life becomes a map through her own darkness, into her own story, and, finally, into love.

One of the most original and extraordinary writers of her generation, Jeanette Winterson has created a modern fable about the transformative power of storytelling.

True Norwegian Black Metal photography by Peter Beste            (This one may be a bit controversial to some, but the photography is breath-taking.  I am fascinated by this music and the stories that surround it.)  In the last two decades, a bizarre and violent musical subculture called “Black Metal” has emerged in Norway. Its roots stem from a heady blend of horror movies, heavy metal music, Satanism, Paganism, and adolescent angst. In the early-mid 1990s, members of this extremist underground committed murder, burned down medieval wooden churches, and desecrated graveyards. What started as juvenile frenzy came to symbolize the start of a war against Christianity, a return to the worship of the ancient Norse gods, and the complete rejection of mainstream society.

The Little Book of Calm – Don’t we all need this in our life?

Featured here.

 

 

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this small selection.  Happy New Year & Happy Reading!  Find these books at The Spiral Bookcase -I’ll be restocking these titles through the winter- or your local indie bookshop.

Tis the Season – Perfect Holiday Gifts!

The holidays are upon us, and now is the time to find that special gift for your loved ones.  Besides books, I am happy to carry a gorgeous array of gifts this season.  Here are my seven gift picks from the shop!

1)  The Spiral Bookcase Mugs:  $8.00  - Perfect to ward against the winter chill- fill with tea, coffee, or brandy, repeat.

 

2) Book Ornaments: $10.00 – Hand-made with love by The Spiral Bookcase.  Specifically, inventor and craftsman extraordinaire – Adam.  These gorgeous ornaments will look perfect in your house year-round.  Write a special message inside.

 

3) Book Necklaces:  $42.00 – $54.00 – Made by Philadelphia duo Peg and Awl.  Impossibly adorable books made with impeccable craftsmanship from reclaimed leather.

 

4) Holiday Cards: $4.00 – $8.50 – Made by Portland artist Quill & Fox.  Eye-catching and endearing, these cards are perfect holiday keepsakes.

 

5) 1820 House Candles:  $20.00 – Hand-poured in Ohio.  Fill your house with these glorious seasonal scents.  My favorites (today) – Elemental Winter and Dark Cocoa with Peppermint. (pic courtesy of 1820 House)

6) Moleskine Journals:  $8.95 – $19.95 – The quintessential notebook for drawing, note-taking, or  starting the next great American novel.  (They will be in the shop very soon!)

7) The Spiral Bookcase Gift Certificates:  $1.00 – $100.00 (or more) – A gift certificate is a perfect gift for a book lover.  They can browse our ever-changing stock and pick out the perfect books to enhance their personal library.  A favorite pick for the hard-to-shop-for.

There you have it, seven special gifts for this holiday season.  Up next – my holiday book recommendations.

Happy Reading!

Ann

Peg and Awl Book Necklaces

I’ve had my eye on Peg and Awl book necklaces and beautiful handmade goods for years.  I am so excited to now carry a gorgeous selection of their ever-popular book necklaces and small Chalk Tablets.

I first came across their artistry on the Anthropologie website – selling an incredible multi-strand book necklace.  I was smitten.  However, my budget did not allow for such a sweet treat.  Fortunately, I found, they have perfect little single book necklaces.  Even better – their goods are handmade in Philly.  (Local Love!)

Autumnal Library Book Necklace - Courtesy of Peg and Awl

For this holiday season, I wanted to stock the shop with some of my favorite gift items.  Their necklaces were unquestionably a good match.  The books come in small, medium, and large and are made with recycled materials – from old leather sofas and deer hide to the more secretive “a mysterious arrival.”

I am so pleased to stock these incredible pieces from the well-respected Philadelphia duo – Peg and Awl.  Now in the shop – just in time for the holiday season.  (We ship too!)

Beechwood Writers’ Workshop!

We are so happy to host the Beechwood Writers’ Workshop this fall!   Sign up here, session starts on Weds., Oct. 3rd.

Beechwood Writers’ Workshop welcomes writers of all levels who are interested in developing fiction and/or memoir in a supportive, creative environment within a small group. BWW is led by published novelist and essayist Elise A. Miller.

We meet once a week for six weeks. Each meeting lasts three hours. Writers create on the spot using writing prompts gathered from a variety of sources, then share and discuss these exercises. After a short break, two participants workshop previously written pieces with the group.

The price is $240. That boils down to a little over $13 an hour, in which participants learn the most effective way to critique one another’s work as well as their own. Writers receive editorial and story help, a heavy toolbox of writing skills, and a creative boost within a supportive community.

Additional time is allotted to pow-wow about publishing opportunities, contests and networking strategies, if publishing is your goal.