Category Archives: Past Events

Zine who? Zine what?

Maybe you have noticed some talk about zines in the store and on our social media pages. If you’re not familiar with zines, prepare to have you mind blown because they are awesome.


Zines are independently written and produced pamphlets made by anyone about anything. Zines are most closely associated with the punk rock community, but historically lots of sci-fi fans have made zines about the books, tv shows, and movies they loved. And maybe you’ve heard of an obscure little piece of literature called Common Sense by Thomas Paine.

Zines are most commonly made by cutting and pasting your work (art, fiction, poetry, essays, basically anything) into a master copy and then reproducing them on a photocopier. This is commonly called cut ‘n paste and because of the DIYness and the limitless possibilities, it is as much fun as you can have playing with office and school supplies.

Philadelphia has a huge zine community! There’s Philly Zine Fest once per year, the Secret Admirer, and tons of cool zinesters who make and distribute their work at a local and national level.

Predictably, since we love authors and artists and believe in supporting our community in any way possible, we’re really excited about making our store a hub for zines in Philadelphia. We’ll be having a monthly zine making party on the last Thursday of every month as part of Manayunk’s Stroll the Streets celebration. (We’ll be donating a portion of our sales on Thursdays to support a local literacy organization, and there are tons of cool food trucks, sidewalk sales, and discounts of food and booze. Definitely worth a  trip!)

Additionally, we’ll be hosting our first ever zine reading on Saturday, August 6th from 7-9PM, with readings from local voices and an opportunity to share work from your own zines afterward.

And THEN, if you’re reading to start putting your work out there but don’t know where to start, we’ll have a zine making tutorial for beginners on Sunday August 7th, from noon until 2 PM.

We’ll see you there, right?

A Philadelphia Story! Book Signing

A Philadelphia Story!  

Book Signing with Lori LitchMan

Thurs, Aug 11th 6pm – 730Pm


How well do you know Philadelphia? Find out more about our nation’s first city from Lori Litchman, author of “A Philadelphia Story: Founders and Famous Families from the City of Brotherly Love”. 

Lori Litchman is a lifelong Pennsylvanian. She grew up near coal country in the Pocono Mountains before making Philadelphia her home. She writes about Philadelphia, nature and the environment, law, and social and urban issues. When she’s not writing, she is usually teaching English to non-native speakers.

Lori received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. Her personal essays have been published in Philadelphia Reflections: Stories from the Delaware to the Schuylkill and the online literary magazine, The Fiddleback.

She has worked as a daily newspaper reporter for The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly. While there, she won first place in a statewide writing competition for her article hashing out the details of Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law. She has also published a variety of science and environmental pieces. Her work has appeared in national and local print and online publications.

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.

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.




5 YEARS : The Party All About YOU!


She’s almost here!


Hello everyone!  You may not see me around in May or June.  Well – that’s because we are just about to have a baby!  Her official due date is May 7th, but she could be arriving any day now.  I just wanted to reach out and let you know just in case you were wondering where I’ve disappeared to!  For the next couple of months, I will be getting used to my new role as a mom.  I plan on returning to the store (with our new addition) in July.

Don’t worry, the shop will remain open!!  During the interim, my staff will be keeping the shop in tip-top shape and will be happy to assist you.  So, come on inside, get comfortable, and find the perfect book (or three).  I will miss you, but I will see you soon!


Nightbird by Calamity Rose Jung-Allen, Penn Alexander

Calamity Rose Jung-Allen, Penn Alexander


For two minutes and forty four seconds,

I watch the night, in its luminescence.

Heavy clouds twist, like so many dark ribbons,

Dark velvet punctured only by stars, clouds overridden.


Pudgy cats yowl in alleyways deserted,

Shadows confuse them, their pouncing thus thwarted.

A beer bottle crashes, from nowhere, it seems.

The echo dies out like a soft, faded dream.


I wish it was warmer, or that the wind held better.

The breeze whistled through my threadbare yarn sweater.

Shadows were approaching, completely unencumbered,

Fright started slightly in a pit in my stomach.


The time seems but ripe, almost tangible to pick it.

Ripe for all creatures to emerge from the thicket.

For ravens, wings glossy, and rabbits, fur soft.

For stray cats and dogs, their heads held aloft.


Though I feel alone in this fantasy now,

I see a strange animal along the ground.

Feathers of speckled grey, black and white.

It cocks and bobs its head, into the light.


It take careful steps, it’s orange eyes are wide.

A pigeon steps into the quiet moonlight.

And as I approach it, one finger extended,

It climbs on with pink claws, and upwards we ascended.


Shadows less menacing, moonlight less dim.

As on it clambered, tail fluffed, neck prim,

My cheeks were glowing with happiness.

A pigeon was exactly what I needed, no more or less.

Reflection by Dennis O’Leary, T/E Middle School

Dennis O’Leary, T/E Middle School


Eyes crusted with the dust of restless sleep

Mind still wandering in midnight’s sweet dreams

Body wanting the peace of bed to keep

But alarm demands wake by any noisy means

World comes to be, with the return of sight

Taking in the world and the shock that will follow

The shock of a mirror that will shed some light

A mirror in which your true self will finally show

My pupils rest on the flat and untarnished glass

Conscience waits on judgment the surface will make

Worried it will change my future and hurt my past

Lies we live on, but the truth none of us can take

Images start to form, and pictures take shape

Face of my own, but expression of another

Greed was being disguised by a dark black cape

Not used as a coat, but self it would cover

Clothes of conformity slithered down my chest

Soul being devoured by objects of earthly worth

Decency is loss and even mercy there is less

Eyes focused on the ground and how to gain the earth

This was not me I thought, not who I really was

Knowing myself is a quality I always pride in

Voices wore in my ear and one had the loudest buzz

Thinking I am better than this, and that this was a con

Trying to shatter the surface that broke my soul

Though the seal of other successful usage kept it strong

Shoving the mirror in my closet, cramming it full

Heart had been closed, saying the reflection was wrong

Walking away from this horrible, eye opening day

Moving on with my life trying to erase the image with success

Not knowing that only actions can change what the mirror says

Life going on, and it seemed with succeeding I was obsessed

World was horrible from that point and so forth

Mind was full of successful and hopeless dreams

Only wishing I had gone south instead of north

Wishing that I had listened to the mirror by any means