Author Archives: spiralbookcase

Lucinda Hawksley Book Tour & Pre-order





We are excited to be the bookseller for this special Free Library event! Get your free tickets here & join me in welcoming a direct descendant of Charles Dickens. She will discuss her latest books: Queen Victoria’s Mysterious Daughter & Charles Dickens and his Circle.

Ms. Hawksley will be traveling from London, and due to her rare US appearance, we are selling a selection of signed books here. Pre-orders are suggested due to limited quantities.  We are happy to ship anywhere in the US.  Pick up SIGNED COPIES of her latest books, or get gorgeous special editions of a few Charles Dickens novels signed by his great-great-great-granddaughter.


Bio:  Lucinda Hawksley is an author, art historian and public speaker, with a special interest in literature and art from the 19th and early 20th centuries and in the history of London. She is also an award-winning travel writer with a love of the environment and a volunteer speaker for the Whales & Dolphins Conservation Society.

As a great great great granddaughter of Charles and Catherine Dickens, Lucinda has grown up with an interest in her own family history. For the last decade she has been a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum in London – and also recently been made Patron of the Norwegian Pickwick Club!




The secrets of Queen Victoria’s sixth child, Princess Louise, may be destined to remain hidden forever. What was so dangerous about this artistic, tempestuous royal that her life has been documented more by rumor and gossip than hard facts? When Lucinda Hawksley started to investigate, often thwarted by inexplicable secrecy, she discovered a fascinating woman, modern before her time, whose story has been shielded for years from public view.




In this new volume, historian and award-winning author Lucinda Hawksley explores the life of her great-great-great-grandfather, Charles Dickens (1812–70)?one of the first people to whom the term “celebrity” in its modern sense was applied, and whose extensive circle of friends and associates included many of the most eminent and influential figures of the Victorian age.



great exThe beautiful hardcover edition by Penguin Classics.  Perfect as a gift or for  your library.








ht cdThe beautiful hardcover edition by Penguin Classics.  Perfect as a gift or for your library.








ocsThis lovely Modern Library Edition is a must for any collector.








christmas carolThe gorgeous Penguin Christmas Classic Edition is affordable and ready to be displayed.








ge pbkAnother superb edition by Penguin: The eye-catching and collectible paperback 150th Anniversary Edition.








Must Read Books from 2015 – Grace

If you love to read, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all of the new book releases.  You have your ever-growing stack of classics you should have read, plus a pile of books your friends and family let you borrow, and maybe another pile of books that inspired your favorite binge watches (mine are Game of Thrones, Wolf Hall, Daredevil, The 100….).

Lucky for you, here at The Spiral Bookcase we can tell you what you should put at the top of those To Be Read piles. Here are my favorite books released in 2015! You can special order them here at the shop (just give us a ring at 215-482-0704 or stop in / we are happy to ship too!), and don’t forget: new hardcovers from the last twelve months are 20% off here, so many of these titles would be discounted for you!

modern romanceModern Romance by Aziz Ansari

You may know him from his roles in Parks & Recreation or Master of None, but Aziz Ansari also released his much-anticipated nonfiction book Modern Romance last year! Ansari teamed up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to analyze (mostly millenial) dating patterns and the influence of technology and tradition. The research was conducted through international focus groups, Reddit, and audience participation at live comedy shows.

between the world and meBetween the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This stunning National Book Award winner should be required reading for parents, teens, politicians, teachers…well, this book should be required reading for all US citizens. Between the World and Me is a breathtaking 152 page letter from Coates to his adolescent son about growing up as a black man in America. It is unforgiving, beautiful, and it will be legendary.

dietlandDietland by Sarai Walker

Plum Kettle is saving up for weight-loss surgery when she meets a mysterious young woman who questions her isolation and obsession with being thin. Then, the sudden disappearance of her new friend leads Plum to a network of women who challenge her to to protest gender inequality and beauty standards, and to ask herself, “What if I didn’t need to lose weight to be happy? What if I started living my life now?”

go set a watchmanGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Fans of American classics were shocked when this rumored sequel released more than 50 years after the publication To Kill a Mockingbird. Despite the upset that beloved character Atticus Finch is racist in this sequel, the book presents an important lesson to a new generation of readers: sometimes our heroes fail us, and it is up to us to make the world a better place.


all the bright placesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

This young adult debut tells the story of Violet and Finch, teens divided by socioeconomic background and friend groups, but brought together by grief and mental illness. Hilarious, romantic, and ultimately tragic, I love any book that reminds me I have more in common with strangers than I know.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on these books – read them, comment, stop in the shop and chat with any of us! We are happy to ship out-of-town, so just call 215-482-0704 or email if something catches your eye.



the spiral bookcase, main street music, & johnny’s destructo’s hero complex present:

geek love | #geeklovemnyk

enter to win: february 1st – february 13th 


It’s our time!  THAT’S RIGHT GEEKS, IT’S OUR TIME!  We are celebrating the passion of the geek this Valentine’s Day and have paired up with Main Street Music and Johnny’s Destructo’s Hero Complex to bring you a very sweet, very geek Valentine.  All you have to do is SHOP & WIN!  (Bonus - impress any sweetheart with your wealth of knowledge about books, music, & comics as you browse our delightful selections.)

Check this out:  Make a $25+ purchase at any of our shops between February 1st and February 13th.  Every time you make a qualifying purchase you will be entered to win a deliriously wonderful Geek Basket or Geek Certificate at one of our shops.  EVERY TIME!  We will pick the winners on 2/14.

DON’T STOP THERE!  Share your love of everything geek on Main Street, by using our signature #geeklovemnyk on social media.  Follow this hashtag for more GEEK LOVE heading your way.

Galentine’s Day!

celebrate galentine’s day with us!

saturday, february 13th, 10am


Join us at The Spiral Bookcase on February 13th at 10am for our inaugural Galentine’s Day celebration! 

It’s time to celebrate all the ladies in our life – my dear beautiful, tropical fish! Wear that special outfit that makes you unstoppable and sashay to the shop!

Mingle with other remarkable local ladies, while enjoying coffee and some tasty treats. If you want to show off your sweet baking skills or your favorite local pastry – more treats are always welcome! Bonus points for waffles. 


The “ladies celebrating ladies” holiday on Feb. 13 honors friendships between women and was first introduced by Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope in a 2010 episode of NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

So get down to the shop and TREAT YO SELF!


love story : open mic

friday, february 12th 5pm-8pm


Please join us for a special Valentine’s Day open mic. Bring your deliciously joyous, heart-breaking, and hilarious love stories to share. (If you are filled with angst, decry love in all forms, and can’t bear to write about such matters – well, you can join us too.)

Chris DiCicco is our special Arcadia MFA Alum guest of the evening – he will be reading from his newest collection : So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds, which will be available to purchase. 

Sign up & Meet and Greet : 5pm – 6pm 
Readings Begin : 6pm 
BYOB Welcome 

Cozy up with Amelia the cat and a good book! We can’t wait to fall in love with your stories and poems! ?

PLEASE DONATE – Philly High School needs copies of THE GREAT GATSBY



Do you happen to have your old copy of THE GREAT GATSBY?  Do you want to support a local high school by sharing the gift of literature?

Copies of THE GREAT GATSBY are needed (see details below). Deadline Monday, Jan. 25th. Drop off location – The Spiral Bookcase, 112 Cotton St., Philadelphia, PA 19127.  Mailed copies are also welcome as long as they are here before the deadline.

We are an accelerated high school for over-aged and under-credited students in Philadelphia; essentially a second chance school for students who have dropped out or have been unsuccessful in the traditional school setting. Because we are an alternative school, we don’t have a great deal of funding or resources, and because most of our students are from low income families, we do not require that they purchase any books or textbooks of their own. This often makes it difficult for teachers to provide students with the materials they want and need.

The English Department has been on a hunt for used copies of The Great Gatsby, but has been struggling to find enough copies (looking for around 30) at an affordable price. If anyone is willing to part ways with their copy of Gatsby, it would be going to a great school of students who, despite their obstacles, have made the mature decision to reenter the school system and get their high school diploma!

The Spiral Bookcase, 112 Cotton St. Philadelphia, PA 19127

Our Favorite Things – Brittany

So much has happened this fall!  We not only started bringing in more new books – and ordering more new books for our customers – but we have acquired a delightful selection of gifts and stationery too! Just in time for the Holidays. Take a peak at what is in store – and the new things we adore that you can now find at the shop.

Bookseller Brittany shares 6 of her favorites – right here:

1) Spiced Pomegranate by Zoet Bathlatier – I love how unique and fragrant these candles are! They’re all so good, but I love the warmth and coziness of Spiced Pomegranate- perfect to burn while decorating your tree or baking cookies for the holidays. Added bonus, they’re made locally!


2) The Year of Cozy by Adrianna Adarme – This book is gorgeous (and would make an incredible gift for the creatively-inclined)! The photographs are beautiful and the recipes and crafts are fun and easy-to-do. Also – If you are not following Adrianna’s blog, A Cozy Kitchen, you should do so immediately.

year of cozy

3) Formulary 55 – Formulary 55 makes some of the loveliest smelling things. These are a few of my favorites right now:

  • Sea Salt & Lavender Bath Bomb – So fresh! I am addicted to this scent. Plus, if you are gifting and unsure about what someone may like, this one is very versatile and pleasant.
  • Madame Mysterio Soap – Sensual and delicate. These soaps make great stocking stuffers!
  • Balsam & Fir Candle – This candle makes you feel like you are walking through a forest. Calm and relaxing, this candle goes perfectly with a book and a warm blanket.

formulary 55

4) Modern Bronze Crescent Necklace – One-of-a-kind hand-shaped and hammered pieces made in Tennessee. I adore this entire collection but this necklace in particular resonates with me. Simple and elegant with a dash of witchiness, you need to see these in person!

modern bronze

5) Zulli Designs- Liz Zulli is an incredible local artist and jewelry maker that uses crystals, semi-precious stones, recycled, found and natural objects to create one-of-a-kind pieces.  From torched copper bracelets to pouches featuring her own photography, you are bound to find the perfect gift (or two or three!) from her collection at the shop. My pick: Amethyst Earrings.


6) House of Good Juju – Everything. Just everything. I love all of it. However, I am partial to the Spiral Bookcase customized scents. They are so fresh and inviting, I want to bathe in this stuff! Plus, they are pretty to look at.  

good juju


So many beautiful things to choose from.  Don’t forget that a stack of beautiful secondhand books is always a great gift!  We are happy to ship out-of-town, so just call 215-482-0704 or email if you see anything that strikes your fancy.




The Great Cookie Swap + Cookie Contest

The Great Cookie Swap & Cookie Contest : Sun, Dec 13th, 3-5pm

Baking christmas cookies

*Please note -this event is limited to 12 people. To participate please email or call 215-482-0704* 

What’s tastier and cozier than sharing cookies with friends and neighbors? Join us at the bookshop to participate in a fun, traditional cookie swap. 

We will also be picking our favorite cookie – and that baker will receive a special $25 gift card for their delicious efforts. We will provide coffee and tea for the event. 

2) Bring 2 dozen of your favorite cookie as well as the recipe to share. One dozen to sample, one dozen to swap!
3) Feel free to bring ribbons or boxes to package the goods – We will also supply some cookie bags and plates.

Holiday Portraits with KRAMPUS + PRIZES

Win a chance to be the face of our Holiday Greeting Card, meet the infamous Krampus, and create a unforgettable holiday portrait! 



Using fun props, a comfy chair, and a cat if you’d like, sit and have your photo taken. Bring your neighbors, your family, or pose alone in all your magnificence!

Every portrait we take will be put in our Holiday Portrait Facebook album. There will be prizes for the following two categories:
STAFF FAVORITE will win a $15 gift card and their photo in our holiday email newsletter!
POPULAR VOTE will win a $15 gift card! (Share your photo with your friends, the photo with the most ‘likes’ is the winner!)

Hill + Nester + Ervin + Krampus


Saturday, December 5th, 7pm – 9pm

Hill + Nester + Ervin + Krampus

Join us and come listen to and hang out with three remarkable authors and one anti-Santa Claus. (Okay, Krampus may or may not actually attend our festivities.) 

James Tate Hill is the author of Academy Gothic, winner of the 2014 Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. He serves as Fiction and Reviews Editor for the literary journal Monkeybicycle, an imprint of Dzanc Books. His fiction has appeared in Story Quarterly, Sonora Review, The South Carolina Review, The Laurel Review, The Texas Review, and elsewhere. He holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Hollins University and an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he served as Fiction Editor of The Greensboro Review. A native of Charleston, West Virginia, he is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and West Virginia University. Currently he lives in Greensboro with his wife, Lori.

Daniel Nester is the author most recently of Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Making Out in Church, Grief, and Other Unlearnable Subjects (99: The Press 2015). Previous books include How to Be Inappropriate (Soft Skull, 2010), God Save My Queen I and II (Soft Skull, 2003 and 2004), and The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody, 2014), which he edited. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Morning News, The Rumpus, Best American Poetry, Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll, and Now Write! Nonfiction. He is an associate professor of English at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.

Andrew Ervin grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and has lived in Budapest, Illinois, and Louisiana. He has a degree in philosophy and religion from Goucher College and completed his MFA in fiction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His short fiction has appeared in Conjunctions, The Southern Review, Fiction International, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Philadelphia with his wife, flutist Elivi Varga.