Kids’ Corner – “Mossy” by Jan Brett

Children’s author, Jan Brett, has done it again with her beautiful new book  Mossy.

Mossy is an Eastern box turtle who lives at Lilypad Pond.  She spends so much time there that the moss around the pond began growing on her carapace, until her shell was covered with it.  When the weather turned warmer tiny ferns and wildflowers began to bloom on her back until she was walking around underneath an amazing garden.

One day Dr. Carolina came across Mossy and decided that she would be perfect in her museum so she took her back and put her in a beautiful viewing pavilion for everyone to see.  Mossy, however, became sad.  She missed her misty pond and her new friend Scoot.  When Tory, Dr. Carolina’s niece, realized how sad Mossy was they decided to take her home.  But how would they share Mossy with the museum visitors? 

The illustrations in this book are so beautiful.  From Mossy and her garden to the border images you will discover new treasures hidden within each scene.  This is a beautiful story to share with a child and to teach them about preserving and respecting nature and all of its creatures.

What’s New in the Bookshop – Biography Buzz

With all of the great fiction being released we (possibly only “I”) sometimes forget to notice when new biographies hit the scene.  Let me introduce you to a few biographies that entered the Bookshop:

Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man by Walter Stahr

William Henry Seward was one of the most important Americans of the nineteenth century. Progressive governor of New York and outspoken U.S. senator, he was the odds-on favorite to win the 1860 Republican nomination for president. As secretary of state and Lincoln’s closest adviser during the Civil War, Seward not only managed foreign affairs but had a substantial role in military, political, and personnel matters.  Some of Lincoln’s critics even saw Seward, erroneously, as the power behind the throne; this is why John Wilkes Booth and his colleagues attempted to kill Seward as well as Lincoln. Seward survived the assassin’s attack, continued as secretary of state, and emerged as a staunch supporter of President Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s controversial successor. Through his purchase of Alaska (“Seward’s Folly”), and his groundwork for the purchase of the Canal Zone and other territory, Seward set America on course to become a world empire. 
Drawing on hundreds of sources not available to or neglected by previous biographers, Walter Stahr sheds new light on this complex and central figure, as well as on pivotal events of the Civil War and its aftermath.

The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen by Stephen R. Brown
In 1900, the four great geographical mysteries—the Northwest Passage, the Northeast Passage, the South Pole, and the North Pole—remained blank spots on the globe. Within twenty years Roald Amundsen would claim all four prizes. Renowned for his determination and technical skills, both feared and beloved by his men, Amundsen is a legend of the heroic age of exploration, which shortly thereafter would be tamed by technology, commerce, and publicity. Féted in his lifetime as an international celebrity, pursued by women and creditors, he died in the Arctic on a rescue mission for an inept rival explorer.  The Last Viking is both a thrilling literary biography and a cracking good story.

Interventions: A Life in War and Peace by Kofi Annan and Nader Mousavizadeh

This is the story of Annan’s remarkable time at the center of the world stage. After forty years of service at the United Nations, Annan shares here his unique experiences during the terrorist attacks of September 11; the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; the war between Israel, Hizbollah, and Lebanon; the brutal conflicts of Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia; and the geopolitical transformations following the end of the Cold War. With eloquence and unprecedented candor, Interventions finally reveals Annan’s unique role and unparalleled perspective on decades of global politics.
A personal biography of global statecraft, Annan’s Interventions is as much a memoir as a guide to world order—past, present, and future.

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature.  Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave — who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time. 

Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son. 

“The Universe in a Nutshell” by Stephen Hawking (And Other Amazing Used Books at WSB)

Changing our name from Wellington Square Bookshop to “The Best Kept Secret in Chester County” seems logical to me, given that at least once per week I meet a local who strolls in for the first time, having had no idea we have existed for years. Upon meeting “first-timers”, I am excited to point out the used book collection in the back of the store. Where else can you find a thoroughly captivating, often best-selling book in hardback for $4.95?

Our used non-fiction, in particular, fascinates me. This esoteric and eclectic
collection represents topics as varied as World War II missions, parenting advice,
spiritual encouragement, coffee table books of dog photography, a travel guide
of Paris and instructions on the practice of yoga. The biography selection alone
encompasses such a wide variety of characters (Ayn Rand, Nancy Reagan, Mark
Twain, Ted Hughes) a reader could get lost for hours.

Recently, a used copy of Stephen Hawking’s The Universe in a Nutshell found
its way onto our shelves. Though familiar with and in awe of Stephen Hawking, I
did not think his subject matter was accessible for a non-science/non-math brain
like mine (think colors person in a numbers world). After all, Stephen Hawking
is a genius – an intellectual icon. I was unaware of his ability to synthesize
information in a clear and concise manner. In this book, Hawking aims to explain
some high level concepts to a more general audience; a nice way of saying he
tries really hard to “dumb it down”. I would say Hawking is somewhat successful.
Every page includes photographs or colorful illustrations creating a physics
picture book. Most striking is Hawking’s sense of humor. I often found myself
chuckling at his remarks, like a favorite uncle zinging one-liners at family dinners.

In all honesty, there are still large parts of this book that are just not getting
through to me, but I really enjoyed much of it. This is the kind of book I could
see myself going back to over the years and possibly making notes in as
understanding progresses.

The Universe in a Nutshell is just one of many books in our used science
collection. I find our used science books intriguing, but I may be even more
infatuated with the used history section where Stephen Greenblatt’s Pulitzer prize
winner, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, resides alongside Flyboys,
Band of Brothers and other accounts of world history. Fans of Michael Lewis
will find The Big Short in the business section. I have my eye on Seabiscuit and
Betrayal, the story of Aldrich Ames, as well as a few other biographies.

Stop in and browse the used non-fiction. What you find may surprise and delight

~ Donnna

Interview with Sadie Stein author of “Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story”

Today at 5:00pm on WCHE 1520am, Sam interviews Sadie Stein, author of Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story.

What does it take to write a great short story? In Object Lessons, twenty-one contemporary masters of the genre answer that question, sharing favorite stories from the pages of The Paris Review.

A laboratory for new fiction since its founding in 1953, The Paris Review has launched hundreds of careers while publishing some of the most inventive and best-loved stories of the last half century. This anthology – the first of its kind – is more than a treasury: it is an indispensable resource for writers, students and anyone else who wants to understand fiction from a writer’s point of view.

A repository of incredible fiction, Object Lessons includes contributions from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Daniel Alarcon, Donald Antrim, Lydia Davis, Dave Eggers, Mary Gaitskill, Aleksandar Hemon, Jonathan Lethem, Sam Lipsyte, Ben Marcus, Colum McCann, Lorrie Moore, Norman Rush, Mona Simpson and Ali Smith, among others.

Listen to Sam’s interview with Sadie on Podomatic or you can download the podcast on iTunes.

Open Mic Night Tonight!

Join us tonight from 7-10pm for a rocking good time. 

Come down to the Bookshop and sing a song, recite poetry, perform a reading or tell a spooky story.  Our audience loves it all!

This month we will have a panel of judges listening to the performance.  The person or group judged the best will will $50!

We have launched an open mic night page on Facebook.  Be sure to follow us for all the latest news.

What’s Cooking? – THe Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Ok, so I’m a few minutes late getting this out but I have a great excuse, I was cooking up a storm for this awesome cookbook.  Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) has created a book filled with delicious and easy to make recipes. 

So what did I make you ask?  For breakfast I made her homemade granola.  I am a huge fan of yogurt and granola and this one does not disappoint.  Filled with sweet oats, crunchy nuts and tons of dried fruit this granola recipe is easy and delicious.  The only thing I would probably change is to leave the chopped dried fruit in a separate container to add to the granola upon eating so that the oats do not get stale from the moisture in the fruit.  This recipe is so delicious I think I ate 1/3 of it before it cooled.  This makes a ton of granola so you can think of other ways to use it then just for yogurt.  A few suggestions are put some in plastic bags to share with your friends, I love to add a scoop of granola to pancake batter, sprinkle some over baked apples.  So many options!

Next up on the menu was the rosemary white bean soup.  Now that the weather has turned chilly (I’m from Florida so I’m down right freezing about now) it is time to break out the soup recipes.  This one was easy, nourishing and delicious.  The description appealed to me because Ina says “it always reminds me of Tuscany”.  Having been there a few years ago I wanted to relive the memories through the scent and taste of this soup and it did not disappoint.  Served with some rustic bread (see my post 2 weeks ago) and a simple salad this meal makes a great lunch or light dinner.

To round out the day I made Indonesian ginger chicken.  Ina claims that if she doesn’t have this on hand in her store that Lauren Bacall gets cranky.  This is one of the simplest and most delicious baked chicken recipes I have made.  Combine honey, soy sauce, garlic and fresh ginger in a bag along with your chicken and marinate over night (I can never plan that far ahead so it still worked marinating for 4 hours).  When you are ready to cook just pop it into the oven and you are done.  My whole family at it, no complaints!

There are so many other wonderful recipes in this book I cannot recommend it enough.  In addition to the simple recipes to create meals for your family it offers great suggestions for creating party platters if you are hosting an event. 

Stop by the Bookshop and pick up a copy today!

What’s New In the Bookshop – Fun & Games

If you are looking for fun games for the family stop buy and check out some of the great new items we just got in.

A Bookshop favorite is the new game by Melissa & Doug, Suspend.

A family game of tricky hangs and steady hands! Try this hanging balance game and you’ll be hooked! Suspend comes with 24 notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces to hang from a tabletop stand. Sound easy? Try adding another piece! Each time a bar is added, the balance shifts, the difficulty changes and the incredible midair sculpture transforms. Can you add all your game pieces without making it fall? This tricky game for 1-4 players is a test of steady nerves and steady hands.

Voted one of the best games for 2012

Our customer favorite Chat Pack has come out with a new and clever version called Chat Pack Extreme.

Greatest, oldest, weirdest, coldest… covering the gamut of extremes, this little box contains 156 cards, each one featuring a question guaranteed to get people of all ages talking and laughing. So, grab any card and let the extreme fun begin!