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Three Rounds with Three Irish Lassie Writers
Jan16

Three Rounds with Three Irish Lassie Writers

DATE: Thursday, March 17th TIME: 7 pm to 9 pm LOCATION: Open Book Bookstore, 7900 High School Rd. Elkins Park PA What could be a better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s day in literary style? Join us as three local writers, all of whom have a bit o’ the Irish in them, sit around talking blarney about literature, their new books, and whatever else comes up! We’re pleased to present: Kelly Simmons’ novels have been hailed as electrifying, complex and poignant, and aren’t those nice words? Her third novel, ONE MORE DAY, just came out and everyone calls it riveting, so don’t buy it unless you want to stay up all night reading it.  She’s a member of The Liars Club, a group of published novelists dedicated to helping fledgling writers.   Liz Moore is the author of the novels The Words of Every Song and Heft. Her novel The Unseen World is forthcoming in July 2016 from W.W. Norton. A winner of the 2014 Rome Prize in Literature, she lives in Philadelphia and teaches at Holy Family University.     Kate Moretti lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. She’s worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years as a scientist and is the author of New York Times bestselling THOUGHT I KNEW YOU. She enjoys traveling and cooking, although with two kids, a day job, and writing, she doesn’t get to do those things as much as she’d like. Her lifelong dream is to buy an old house with a secret passageway. BYO favorite Irish beverage to share, and we’ll provide a few as well, along with snacks. Oh hey, anybody make a great Irish soda bread? If you’d care to prove it, bring it along. You might just win a...

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I Am a Bookstore
Jan12

I Am a Bookstore

This past Sunday I attended the kickoff event for this year’s Philadelphia area One Book One Jewish Community program. I am a volunteer member of the implementation committee for this group, and I help review selections and choose a book. This year we selected a memoir called A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka by Lev Golinkin. It tells tells the story of Lev and his family. Soviet Jews, leaving the USSR and settling in America. The kickoff event took place at Gratz College and about 400 people attended. I had the honor of interviewing Lev on stage after his talk, which was fun. Open Book Bookstore, our store, was also the official bookseller for the event. After the event, a woman came up to the book table and asked me where I got the books, i.e. from whom I purchased them. I replied to her: “I am a bookstore.” It turned out she too worked at a bookstore, and she was hoping no doubt that her store might provide the books. A good thought on her part, but I’ve got it covered. But what really struck me the next day as I was recalling this interaction was the way I replied to her, how, without really stopping to think, I simply said: “I am a bookstore.” It’s what, in high school English, we learn to call personification. Actually, now that I think of it, it’s the opposite of that. In personification, human qualities are given to inanimate objects. Here I made myself into an inanimate object. Except our bookstore is not inanimate. It’s a very vital, living place, full of activity and conversation, and filled with a stream of thoughtful, interesting people. I spend a lot of time there, and it has begun to feel like part of me. Most of my conversations these days, anywhere and with anyone, are in some way about books, and I spend huge chunks, if not most, of my time reading books or ordering books, managing inventory, and selling books. Indeed, I have become, and I am, a bookstore. Come visit me and my bookstore at 7900 High School Road in Elkins Park, PA. And if you’d like to read Lev’s memoir, which I recommend, we have it in stock or you can get it...

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Hot Off the Press: Fall/Winter 2015-2016
Jan05

Hot Off the Press: Fall/Winter 2015-2016

A new session of Hot Off the Press will begin in April 2016. Save the dates: Tuesday evening, April 5th, May 3rd, May 31st, and June 28th. Book selections to be announced soon! In this lively monthly book discussion class led by Lynn Rosen, participants read and discuss new literary fiction. Class conversations include analysis of the book as well as background information provided by Lynn about the author and the book’s path to publication. We talk serious book talk, but have a lot of laughs too! Class will take place monthly on Tuesday evenings from 7pm to 8:30pm Dates: October 13, November 10, December 8, January 12, February 9 Location: The Open Book Bookstore at 7900 High School Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027 Cost: $135 To sign up click HERE. Class members also  receive discounts if they purchase their class books from the Open Book Bookstore. Here are the book selections: October 13 Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash The author of Serena (one of my favorite novels published in the last few years) is back with another book set in Appalachia, a country the author knows well and in which he explores, in poetic language, characters’ strong connection to the land. Books are available now! Call 267-627-4888 to reserve your copy! November 10 Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg This new novel by Clegg, a former literary agent and author of the acclaimed memoir Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, has been nominated for a Man Booker Award. This fiction debut explores the after-effects of tragedy. December 8 Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff Another favorite author returns with a new novel that explores marital dynamics in her trademark insightful (and mythological) way. A look behind closed doors that is both comic and tragic. Note: Join me to hear Lauren Groff speak at the Free Library of Philadelphia on December 14th. January 12 The Mare by Mary Gaitskill Eleven year-old Velvet, living in tough conditions with her mother and brother in Brooklyn, is sent, via the Fresh Air Fund, for two weeks in upstate New York to live with Ginger and Paul, starting a relationship that continues for several years and affects both families. February 9 Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa Life in Seattle during the 1999 WTO riots as seen from the point of view of six different characters. Called a “raw and breathtaking” novel and published by the editor who also published The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. To sign up click...

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How to Love a Poem: A Poetry Party!
Jan01

How to Love a Poem: A Poetry Party!

Come join us as we party with poetry! WHEN: Thursday, February 11th TIME:    7pm to 9pm WHERE: Open Book Bookstore, 7900 High School Rd. Elkins Park, PA Poetry lovers, we invite you to join us as we celebrate the season of love and the coming of Valentine’s Day with an evening of sharing poetry aloud. Local poets Margaret Sayers and Annie Boagni will lead an evening of poetry readings and recitations in which all are welcome. Some of you may wish to read a poem aloud to the group, and others might like to just listen. Either way, we’ll join together to appreciate the beauty of poetry. *Note: Please BYO adult beverage! About our Co-Hosts Margaret Sayers is a lover of poetry with a long list of favorite poets including Tony Hoagland and Kay Ryan. When she is not busy with her family, her multiple psychology jobs, or volunteer work, she writes poetry as well as flash fiction and short stories. Margaret is especially drawn to poems that capture the beauty of everyday and unexpected moments. Annie Boagni is a high school teacher who has always been enamoured with words. When her 2nd  grade teacher wrote on the chalkboard: “Do you have the audacity to doubt my veracity or even insinuate that I would prevaricate?” she swooned. Since then, word work and word play have been a part of her everyday life. In addition to her pithy, and sometimes witty commentary on high school student essays, Annie writes poetry and fiction. AGENDA: 7 – 7:30pm: Meet and mingle, enjoy refreshments. (We’ll provide some, but please feel free to bring!) 7:30pm: The readings begin. Guests are invited to read a poem. If you’d like to read, please email lynn@openbookphilly.com to sign up ahead of time. Your name will be placed in the hat and on the night of the event we’ll pull out names in random order and you will be invited up to share your poem of choice. If you are a poet, you are welcome to bring a piece of your own to share. We’ll also have copies of poems at the event to choose from. Keep in mind that the theme of the evening is love!  [Note: one poem per reader; time limit 5 minutes per reading.] Recitation: Did your high school English teacher make you memorize Chaucer or Frost or another well-known poem? Throughout the evening, we’ll invite guests to trot out that old poem and recite it for us. You may win a prize! The program will run until about 8:45pm. Open Book Bookstore will also have a selection of poetry books available for purchase. Call...

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Reading Children’s Picture Books: an Event for Adults
Dec30

Reading Children’s Picture Books: an Event for Adults

So many children’s picture books contain strong affirmative messages and beautiful art — all at a level that can be very meaningful to adult readers.  Join us for a gathering of adults reading children’s books! You’ll hear from our expert speakers some of what goes into creating a children’s book and what makes it great (or not!). DATE:   Thursday, March 3rd TIME:    7pm to 8:30pm PLACE: Open Book Bookstore, 7900 High School Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027 What’s on the agenda for this evening: Heather Devlin Knopf, artist and children’s book author and illustrator, will talk about her illustration process, from thumbnails and clay sculptures to photo reference and final artwork. She’ll also address a frequently asked question, “Which comes first…images or words?” Julia Rix, a watercolor artist, will talk about the beginning stages of developing a children’s book illustration project as well as review some books that inspire her. Lynn Rosen of Open Book Bookstore will talk about the characteristics of a good children’s book, what has changed lately in children’s book publishing, and what makes a classic a classic, all based on interviews with current children’s book editors. During the event, we will look at and read a selection of children’s picture books, including classics and new publications, and discuss what we like about them. This evening is also great opportunity to select some new books for your children and grandchildren, or for gifts. Feel free to bring along a favorite children’s book or two of your own to share! Also, we will be providing you with a list of the books we discuss, and they will be available for purchase as well. Heather Devlin Knopf will sign copies of her illustrated book, The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, written by Diana Prichard. Refreshments are included! ABOUT THE PRESENTERS Heather Devlin Knopf is an artist/designer, educator, and children’s book writer and illustrator. In 2013, Heather illustrated The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, written by Diana Prichard and published by Little Pickle Press. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in Graphic Communications Management, Heather later completed an MFA in Illustration at the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford. She is represented by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and also teaches at Moore College of Art and Design and Philadelphia University. Originally from Boston, Heather now calls Philadelphia her home. Her two, highly imaginative boys continue to be a source of inspiration. Julia Rix earned an M.Ed. in Art Education from Tyler School of Art and taught Art, English, and ESL for Abington School District for 11 years.  She is a member of the local artists’ cooperative MamaCITA and her...

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