Book Habit

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"Zenspirations: Letters and Patterning" by Joanne Fink

Let us help you take a break from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Come explore our tiny but mighty world of notecards, glitter pens, illustration pens, journals, and books inspiring one to write and draw. Amidst the books on art, journaling, etiquette and writing I found Zenspirations, a book of Letters and Patterning by Joanne Fink. This is a book of pattern design for frames, shapes, borders, and monograms. It is easy enough that anyone that can doodle (that means everyone!) can master it.

Zenspirations is based on the process known as Zentangles®. The practitioner experiences a feeling of wellbeing that comes from putting simple repetitive pen strokes on paper and results in a pleasing pattern. Simple and clear instructions in Zenspirations lead one to create dangles, circles, flower, wave and block patterns that add interest and texture to any design. Creating a zentangle design is meant to be fun
and relaxing. Patterns don’t need to be perfect, just rhythmic. The names of some of the patterns will give you an idea of what is created: Four Lines and a Circle Pattern, Fan Pattern, Vine Pattern, Arch Pattern and Loop Pattern. You’ll create designs you love for your own cards, drawings, illustrations in a letter, postcards, gift tags and wrapping papers. Much more fun to give and receive than an electronic message!

Check out the world of Zentangle® at (don’t stop at Facebook!) and then immediately come to the book store to purchase your copy of Zenspirations.

Other jewels in the Stationary section:

Creative Doodling and Beyond
Doodles Unleashed
Raw Art Journaling
1000 Artists’ Journal Pages
The Bird King
Wreck This Journal

Pens and Gifts:
Glitter Markers, LePen, and Pigma Micron Pens
Book Plates
Book Lover’s Gift Set
Decorative IPad Cases
Note cards from elegant to humorous including the very cool terrarium shaped note cards and Parisian shaped note cards

Zentangle® was created by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts.

~Judy #2

Filed under Zenspiration Zentangle Doodling Art Craft

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Interview with Jess Walter author of “Beautiful Ruins” - Rebroadcast

Today at 4:00pm on WCHE listen to Sam’s re-broadcast interview with Jess Walter author of “Beautiful Ruins”.

The acclaimed, award-winning author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his funniest, most romantic, and most purely enjoyable novel yet: the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 … and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.


“A literary miracle.”—NPR’s Fresh Air
“A high-wire feat of bravura storytelling.”—NYT Book Review
“A masterpiece … damn near perfect.”—Salon

“A high-wire feat of bravura storytelling … You’re going to love this book … The surprising and witty novel of social criticism that flows away from its lush, romantic opening offers so much more than just entertainment … stirs the heart and amuses as it also rescues us from the all too human pain that is the motor of this complex and ever-evolving novel … Walter is a talented and original writer.” Helen Schulman, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of five novels and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages and his essays, short fiction, criticism and journalism have been widely published, in Harper’s, Esquire, McSweeney’s, Byliner, Playboy, ESPN the Magazine, Details and many others.

Walter lives with his wife Anne and children, Brooklyn, Ava and Alec in his childhood home of Spokane, Washington.

If you miss an interview you can always catch it at Wellington Square Books or on the Avid Reader at iTunes.

Filed under Jess Walter Beautiful Ruins Author Interview Books

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Hip Hot & Happening in the Bookshop - Personal Interview with J.R. Moehringer

One of our fabulous patrons and book club members, Joan, has won a personal interview with J.R. Moehringer author (Sutton, The Tender Bar and the Andre Agassi collaboration Open) and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.

Joan has offered to share this exciting opportunity with our community so Wellington Square Bookshop will be hosting this phone interview.  The interview will be Monday, April 8 at 7:00pm.  Please arrive a little early so that we can be ready when he calls in.

J.R. will be discussing his latest book, Sutton, the story of the famous bank robber Willie Sutton.

Willie Sutton was born in the squalid Irish slums of Brooklyn, in the first year of the twentieth century, and came of age at a time when banks were out of control. If they weren’t failing outright, causing countless Americans to lose their jobs and homes, they were being propped up with emergency bailouts. Trapped in a cycle of panics, depressions and soaring unemployment, Sutton saw only one way out, only one way to win the girl of his dreams.

So began the career of America’s most successful bank robber. Over three decades Sutton became so good at breaking into banks, and such a master at breaking out of prisons, police called him one of the most dangerous men in New York, and the FBI put him on its first-ever Most Wanted List.

But the public rooted for Sutton. He never fired a shot, after all, and his victims were merely those bloodsucking banks. When he was finally caught for good in 1952, crowds surrounded the jail and chanted his name.

Filed under J.R. Moehringer Sutton Interview Pulitzer Prize winner Open

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Kid’s Corner - Easter Books

We have some really great Easter books in the bookshop right now but the one that caught my eye is exceptionally beautiful.  The Easter Egg is another work of art by Jan Brett. 

Every year all of the bunnies in the land decorate one egg to present to the Easter Bunny.  If their egg is chosen that that special bunny gets to ride along with the Easter Bunny when he delivers baskets to the children.  This is quite the honor in the bunny world and they all work very hard to come up with a unique egg.  Some are painted and others are carved.  Some are made of found items and others from molded chocolate.  The possibilities are endless.

Hoppi is the main character of the story.  Hoppi really, really wants to help the Easter Bunny this year.  He tries to think of what he can do for his egg and while thinking he visits the other bunnies to see what they are doing.  As Hoppi makes each visit the bunny gives Hoppi something to help him with his egg like a paint brush, some chocolate, bits of scraps and more.  Hoppi, however, still cannot come up with a good idea.

All of a sudden Hoppi is thrown into a situation that prevents him from decorating an egg.  What will happen?  Does Hoppi get to ride with the Easter Bunny?  You will have to stop in and check out the book to see.

Jan Brett’s beautiful illustrations will make the magic of the Easter Bunny come alive for the young and the old.  From the images of the main scenes to the beautiful border images, there is always something new to discover.  In fact, one of my discoveries made me think that Jan was traveling in Australia while writing the book.  Two of the eggs being decorated depict Australian animals, the platypus and the echidna (a small ant eater).  Come see what you can discover tucked into the images.

Filed under Jan Brett The Easter Egg Easter Easter Bunny Children's Books

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What’s New in the Bookshop - Monday, Monday…

We will be closing on Monday’s off starting in April. 

With the beginning of a new year it is natural to take stock of how things progressed in the previous year and look ahead to the new year.  We have been doing that here at the Bookshop and have decided to make a few (minor) changes.  The first of those changes is that we will be closing on Monday’s.

Most small businesses have one day off a week to restock, refresh and relax.  We feel like that is something we would like to embrace as well. 

We look forward to seeing you all from Tuesday through Sunday so please stop in for a visit.

More changes to come so stay tuned!

Filed under Closing Monday Wellington Square Bookshop Small Business

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From Me to You, Barnes and Noble.

With the official closing of the Chester County Bookstore in West Chester last month, and the Wall Street Journal reporting Barnes and Noble will be closing a third of its stores nationwide, I began to think of why bigger stores aren’t surviving and smaller independent stores like Wellington Square Bookshop manage to cling to life.  Yes, Amazon has eaten up revenue- but I think troubles predate the online retail giant.  It was a bad decision to open superstores in a culture where the average American reads a book a year.  That’s right people- a book a year!  Superstores like Barnes & Noble need to do a complete 180 degree and reevaluate their  identity and mission- this includes bigger independents like Chester County Bookstore (no re-opening in a smaller version)-because they just got too big. 

Start with its identity.  “We’ve got any book you could ever want” – is a flawed strategy.  Most people can handle too much choice in the cereal aisle of the supermarket because the brands are heavily advertised, but isn’t miles of aisles in a bookstore a turnoff?  Instead of the overwhelming selection- they should try picking the best of the best from a varying array of genres. We might not have a huge “historical fiction” section- but I guarantee we have the best new books in that genre- I am saving you time people, weeding out the blahs!  And of course I will order anything- I always am happy to find whatever a customer desires, whether it be ordinary or out-of- the- ordinary- because not only are they not using Amazon, but it produces a dialog between customer and our store for my knowledge of where our customers’ interests lie.   So what would take the place of overstock books? A souk. A bazaar, dense with curated merchandise. 

 Here at our shop, that is what we try to do with our stock of quirky retail merchandise, our locally supplied coffee and pastries, and our cozy furniture where you can stick your feet up.  Barnes & Noble can never be the nation’s largest independent bookstore- but it can imitate what has proven to be successful for us as well- hand-selling. 

Hand-selling requires a staff of passionate readers.  The last time I was in a Barnes and Noble- I was sadly dismissed by clueless staff.  I know English majors are few and far between these days but it isn’t hard to find knowledgeable readers out there- just look at our eclectic staff for instance.  We come from a variety of backgrounds: real estate, marketing, education, counseling and well me- let’s just say the school of “life”.  We all have different tastes, which makes out for a well-rounded staff and produces a great balance- but when it comes down to it- we just really love books.  Real books.  No e-readers here.  So Barnes & Noble please take away the Nook.  You’ll never be able to compete with the Kindle.

Plain and simple it is just easier to use Amazon as a default; a quick search, a scan of reader reviews (which usually aren’t very good people), a One-Click purchase and free shipping.  But take away the Nook front real-estate Barnes & Noble because each Nook purchase tells the customer they need never return to the store.  It eats away at the bricks & mortar business.  That’s why I refuse to sell any version of an e-reader here- believe me, I get the convenience of it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it but it’s not what a real bookstore should strive for.  You can’t be everything.  Just try to be something special to certain people, unique with its own personality, and we can all balance each other out.    I don’t want to be the only bookstore in the county- I want the variety.  So Barnes & Noble- even Chester County Book & Music Company- break away from the mall factory and the color-inside-the-lines retail and you might discover that not every suburban family is permanently addicted to a flat screen. Strive for the good old gathering place and community like us and bring me some competition again.

~ Ryann

Filed under Chester County Books Barnes & Noble Books Nook Kindle Reading

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Interview with Hugh Howey author of “Wool”

Today at 4:00pm on WCHE 1520am, Sam interviews Hugh Howey the author of Wool.

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

Meet Hugh:

Born in 1975, I spent the first eighteen years of my life getting through the gauntlet of primary education. While there, I dabbled in soccer, chess, and tried to write my first novel (several times).

Out of school, I became fascinated with computers, repaired them for a brief stint, then moved to Charleston, SC and attended college. To save money, I purchased a small sailboat to live on, and nearly got myself killed bringing it down from Baltimore with a friend.

After my junior year of college, possibly out of fear of the real world, I left my safe little harbor and sailed South. I hopped around the islands for a while, went through two hurricanes, and spent the last of my cruising funds re-stepping my mast. It was time to head back to the States, where I began a career as a yacht captain.

This began an exciting phase of my life, traveling all over the East coast and Caribbean, from Barbados to Chicago. I worked on boats in New York, the Bahamas, even Canada. One of these adventures brought me together with my wife, who was able to lure me away from my vagabond ways, dropping anchor and buying a house.

Physically settled, my mind continued to roam, concocting adventures and whisking me off to fantastic places. Some of these tales seemed worth sharing, so I tapped into my love of books and decided to write them down. My first stories detail the life of a character that I’ve been mulling over for quite some time. Her name is Molly Fyde, and she draws inspiration from the awesome women in my life.

My Wool series became a sudden success in the Fall of 2011. Originally just a novelette, the demand from Amazon reviewers sent me scurrying to write more tales in this subterranean world. The resulting Omnibus has spent considerable time in the Amazon top 100, has been a #1 Bestseller in Science Fiction on Amazon, and was optioned by Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian for a potential feature film. The story of its success has been mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, Variety, and Deadline Hollywood among many others. 

When I’m not writing, I like to go for hikes with my family, take a stroll on the beach, and keep up with my reading. I currently live in Jupiter, Florida with my wife Amber and our dog Bella.

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

Filed under Wook Hugh Howey Radio Interview Book Review

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Hip Hot & Happening in the Bookshop - “A Little News from your local coffee roaster…”

We like to work with local vendors here at our bookshop, and our coffee supplier is no exception.  Ed Humpal, our coffee roaster, produces Hobo Ed’s Coffee for Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania.  He started out roasting coffee on his truck while traveling through music festivals and he eventually found ground as the House Label for Kimberton Whole Foods, an independently owned pioneer in organic groceries.  Ed works out of Stoudt’s Wonderful Good Market in Adamstown, PA, also home to a bakery, creamery, micro-brewery, and restaurant (where we get many of the bakery goods for our café).

Aside from helping us produce the “best cup of joe” around, Ed involves himself in social non-profit issues and constantly volunteers his time towards the help of a good cause.  Recently he was the exclusive coffee roaster at the MidAtlantic Wine and Food Fest in Wilmington.  His reintroduction of El Amor de Madre, a medium roast coffee, is helping to raise money for Grounds For Health, a non-profit working in prevention and aid to women with Cervical Cancer in developing countries, especially those countries with high producing coffee growers.  Here at the Bookshop we will be using El Amor de Madre as our medium roast to help support the cause.  We like to think our customers would enjoy knowing that the coffee they buy has a strong concrete social component.  So next time you buy a cup off us, feel a little good about yourself- you are helping a great cause!  Just don’t pay with a credit card people- we are a small business too, and it essential goes right back to the the merchant company. (wink wink)

Check out Ed’s blog post and Grounds for Health.



Filed under Grounds for Health Hobo Ed Coffee Cervical Cancer Prevention

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What’s Cooking - The Homemade Pantry

The Homemade Pantry - 101 foods you can stop buying and start making

by Alana Chernila

I love the idea of this!  We have become so used to buying everything already prepared - just take it home and you are good to go (just make sure you don’t look at the incredibly long list of unpronounceable ingredients and it will all be fine).  But who has time?  Why should we bother? Will it really taste good?

Alana starts off the book with the answers to these questions and a few others:  “Food at home is better for you.”  “Food made at home tastes better.”  “Food made at home usually costs less.”  And most importantly “Food made at home will change the way you think about food.”

So let’s give it a try…Alana separates the book into the various categories of food staples like dairy, condiments, frozen foods, sweet treats and everything in between.  She then explains why you should make that item at home before going into the how it is done.  Her recipes are simple and she provides tips and variations along the way.

I have been making my own yogurt for years but never learned how to incorporate fruit on the bottom or how much maple syrup to add to make it taste like my favorite locally made yogurt. 

Some recipes are so simple that you will wonder why they were ever packaged to begin with, like vanilla extract which is basically vodka and vanilla beans.  Other recipes are a bit more ingredient intense, like catchup, but well worth it.

My family’s new favorite?  The homemade pop tarts.  You can even break out the food coloring and experiment until you get the same neon colored sugar drizzled across the top.

Thanks Alana for enriching my kitchen in a whole new way.  Your enthusiasm for food and cooking and the fantastic photos of your family make this cookbook a real delight from cover to cover.

Filed under The Homemade pantry alana chernila food from scratch made at home homemade pop tarts

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What’s Happening in the Bookshop - Spring Fun With House of Marbles

This past fall we discovered a great new brand from Devon, England called House of Marbles.  They make the fantastic glass marbles that you see in the Bookshop and so much more.  We are excited to showcase some of their fun new items for spring.

Check out our “field of flowers” made of their beautiful windmills.  With sturdy wooden bases and hefty plastic they are sure to bring a smile to your face:

Nothing says spring more than a colorful kite.  Their kite in a bag is designed for easy flying so it may be enjoyed by amateurs or experts alike.

The new Bookshop Family favorite has to be the Penny Pig banks!  Stop by and check out these beautiful pottery pigs (with a plastic stopper on the bottom).  They come in a variety of colors and patters in blues and greens, yellows and pinks, and my personal favorite…stripes of all colors.

These are just a few of the highlights for this week.  We also have some great harmonicas, children’s gardening kits, tops and train whistles.  With more stuff still coming in there is something for everyone!

Filed under House of Marbles Piggy Banks Kites windmills spring gifts