October Calendar

Children’s Storytime 


Join us every week for a picture book read aloud and a fun activity!


Book Talk & Signing with Laurie Halse Anderson

Tuesday, October 11 – 5:00pm

The Newtown Bookshop is honored that Laurie Halse Anderson will be with us on October 11th at 5pm!   Laurie will be featuring her new Young Adult novel “Ashes” which is the conclusion in the Seeds of America Triology.

All are invited to this event at the Newtown Bookshop.  You may pre-order any books for the event at the store, by calling (215) 968-2400, or on our website.

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Discovering New Writers

Last year, my friend Allison came into possession of a Pepper Society Membership at the Philadelphia Free Library. Her mother is a collector of books and decided to donate her entire catalog of children’s books to the library (that’s around 1,000 books—some rare, some first editions) that entitled her to be a Pepper. Allison’s mother lives out of state, so Allison gets to take advantage of all the benefits of membership, which include tickets to author events at the library, and she’s been kind enough to invite me along as her plus one. Some of the events are free and anyone can attend; others require a ticket and, as Peppers, we get preferred seating and the opportunity to hob nob with other Peppers (and authors, sometimes) at pre-event receptions. We attended several events last year and the new season recently started.

The whole experience has been great fun, hearing some of my favorite authors read their work, talk about how they get from point A to point Q, and answer questions from the audience. But I have to say that the best part is the opportunity to hear from authors I know about but have not read and some authors I’ve never heard of.

The first two author events this year were with authors I’ve heard a lot about, and have even heard interviewed, but have never read. The first author this season was on September 6 with Jonathan Safran Foer. He wrote Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which I confess I had not even heard of until the movie came out in 2011 and still have not read. His most recent novel is Hear I Am. And, no, I haven’t read that one yet, either. The second author, on September 27, was Colson Whitehead. The first time I heard about him was when he was interviewed by Terry Gross about his zombie novel Zone One. The novel that came out this year is called Underground Railroad and is on the fiction shortlist for a National Book Award.

Because I haven’t read either book, I recommend you read our staff picks to get more insight into what they’re about and why you should pick them up yourself. All I’ll say is that hearing these two men read from their novels (they are both great readers, by the way), talk about why they write and how they write, and answer audience questions with thoughtfulness and humility was more than enough to move both books to the top of my reading list.
Author events, no matter where they happen, are great ways to meet the authors you love and discover new ones. And you don’t have to go to Philadelphia to do it. The Newtown Bookshop has author events throughout the year, some in the store and others at local schools and libraries. You can learn about upcoming Newtown Bookshop author visits here.

-Julie Cullen

New in September


Commonwealth by Ann Patchett; available September 13

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly, thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows among them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.



Mischling by Affinity Konar; available September 6

Pearl is in charge of: the sad, the good, the past.
Stasha must care for: the funny, the future, the bad.
It’s 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood.

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September Calendar

Children’s Storytime 


Join us every week for a picture book read aloud and a fun activity!

Monthly Poetry Club

Thursday, September 8- 6:30-7:30pm

Welcome Poetry Lovers!   All Are Invited!

We are delighted to have Bernadette McBride joining us on September 8 at the Newtown Bookshop as our featured poet of the month! To learn more about Bernadette’s poetry writing process and creative inspiration, read her upcoming interview at lynnfanok.weebly.com  Bring a poem and a friend!
Bernadette McBride is the author of three full-length poetry collections, the third is due for release at the end of this year. She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, was second-place winner of the international Ray Bradbury Writing Award, and a runner-up for the Robert Fraser Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in the UK, in numerous U.S. journals, and on PRIs The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. She currently teaches writing and literature at Bucks County Community College, has taught at Temple University, The College of New Jersey, and Delaware Valley University, and for the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. In addition, she serves as poetry co-editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal. In 2009 she was selected Poet Laureate for Bucks County PA. You can visit her at bernadettemcbrideblog.wordpress.com.

The first half of the monthly meeting is devoted to a reading by a featured poet from the group or by a published poet. The second half hour allows open mike time for group members to share a few poems they’ve written, or they may choose to read poems written by their favorite poets.  In the future, we may include poetry workshops to the group’s activities.  If you are interested in sharing a collection of poems, please email Lynn at lynn.fanok@gmail.com .

The meeting will be facilitated by Lynn Fanok, who has written a collection of poems about her experiences as a survivor’s daughter examining her family, memory, and history. Her poetry has appeared in Burnt Bridge and other journals. Lynn holds degrees in English from The Pennsylvania State University and Arcadia University. You’ll find some of her poetry at lynnfanok.weebly.com.

All are invited and welcome to join us!


Cookbook Club “Literate Epicures” 

Tuesday, September 13 – 7:00pm

We will be reviewing “The Love and Lemons Cookbook: An Apple-To-Zucchini Celebration of Impromptu Cooking” by Jeanine Donofrio.   Choose a recipe out of this book , please let us know what recipe you will be bringing and to get on our cookbook club contact list.   Email kathy@newtownbookshop.com or call 215-968-2400 to get on our cookbook contact list.


Daytime Book Club

Thursday, September 15 – 11:15am


My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

A charming, warmhearted novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller A Man Called Ove.
Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.
When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman’s bestselling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.


School Visit with Jude Watson

Tuesday, September 20 – 2:00pm


The Newtown Bookshop is so excited that Jude Watson will be with us in the afternoon to visit area schools.  Jude will be featuring her newly released middle grade novel Sting (A Loot Novel).

Jude will not be at the store but visiting schools, if you would like any signed copies of Jude’s books, please email kathy@newtownbookshop.com or call 215-968-2400!

Jude Watson is the author of five 39 Clues books, Beyond the Grave, In Too Deep, Vespers Rising, A King’s Ransom, and Mission Titanic, along with the bestselling Star Wars: Last of the Jedi and Jedi Quest series. As Judy Blundell, she wrote What I Saw and How I Lied, the 2008 winner of The National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She lives in Katonah, New York, with her husband and daughter.


An Evening of Family Fun with Dav Pilkey

Thursday, September 22- 7:00pm

Newtown Elementary School
1 Wrights Road
Newtown, PA 18940

“A DOG-gone Spectacular Superhero Event”

Dav Pilkey is coming to Newtown featuring his new book “Dog Man”

     Appearing at Newtown Elementary

September 22nd  7:00pm

“Reading Gives You Superpowers”

Please join us as we welcome Dav Pilkey, author of the bestselling children’s series “Captain Underpants” on September 22nd at 7:00m at Newtown Elementary.   This event is open to the public.  Dav will be featuring “Dog Man”, a new graphic novel adventure series.   This will be an evening of family fun with a presentation from Dav Pilkey followed by a book signing.  We will have lots of give-aways, in addition to the opportunity to have photos taken with the Dog Man and Captain Underpants inflatable costumed characters.

There is limited seating so please reserve your spot early.

$12.00 per seat, includes one  copy of “Dog Man”.

$14.00 per family with children ages 12 and under attending together including one copy of “Dog Man”.





About Dog Man:

There’s a new breed of justice in town, and he’s ready to sniff out criminals—as soon as he stops chasing his own tail. Meet Dog Man, the crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, and all hero! In this new graphic novel spin-off to the renowned Captain Underpants series, George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. This heroic hound has a real nose for justice, but can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?



About Dav Pilkey:

When Dav Pilkey was a kid, he suffered from ADHD, dyslexia, and behavioral problems. Dav was so disruptive in class that his teachers made him sit out in the hall every day. Luckily, Dav loved to draw and make up stories, so he spent his time in the hallway creating his own original comic books. When he was in second grade, Dav Pilkey created a comic book about a superhero named Captain Underpants. His teacher ripped it up and told him he couldn’t spend the rest of his life making silly books. Fortunately, Dav was not a very good listener. His Captain Underpants series has more than 70 million copies in print worldwide, and has been translated into more than 25 languages. DreamWorks Animation will release the feature film adaptation of Captain Underpants on June 2, 2017. Captain Underpants has previously topped the American Library Association’s “Most Banned Books” list for two consecutive years. In addition to Captain Underpants, Dav is also the creator of The Paperboy which won a Caldecott Honor, the California Young Reader Medal-winning Dog Breath, and the author of the bestselling Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series. Dav continues to create books in the Pacific Northwest where he lives with his wife. For more information about Dav Pilkey and his books, visit at www.planetpilkey.com.



Evening Book Club

Tuesday, July 26- 7:00pm


My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

In the summer of 1989, a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom is rocked by a violent crime when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson free spirit, track star, and belle of the block is attacked late one evening near her home. As the dark side of this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia is revealed, the close-knit neighborhood is irreversibly transformed.
In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.


Marianne’s Staff Pick – “The Vegetarian”


The Vegetarian by Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith)

This book is deeply affecting. The summary and reviews on the back say it all. I enjoy reading books well-translated from their original language. They offer a peek into another culture, albeit through the author’s perspective and style. Han Kang’s style is elegant and artistic and almost cold. Yet, passion bleeds through his words the same way passion rears up in her characters – unbeckoned but undeniable – creating a stark contrast to the status quo of self-containment. Told in three voices of characters close to the main character, we only know the vegetarian, Yeong-hye, through the eyes of others. This multiple perspective simultaneously creates increased knowledge and confusion, exposes intimacy and isolation, and reveals love and self-interest. Ultimately, it is the line between wellness and illness that is most brought into question.

Carol’s Staff Pick – “Lust and Wonder”


Lust and Wonder by Augusten Burroughs

Fans of Running with Scissors and Dry will adore this latest memoir from Burroughs. After a lapse of a few years, he’s back with his sweet, hilarious, and at times heartbreaking story.

This is the story of his love life – love gone bad – and ultimately finding the perfect partner where he least expects its.

Read, relish, and thoroughly enjoy!

Susan’s Staff Pick – “Homegoing”


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This is an amazing book by an exceptional author!

The range and beauty of this book is difficult to fathom and almost impossible to explain in words. On the surface it is the story of two young black girls in 18th century Ghana. They are half-sisters, grew up in different tribes in different villages, each not knowing about the other. One marries the British officer who directs the operations at the “Gold Coast Castle” which is the embarkation point for ships leaving the African coast with their cargo of slaves. The other is one of those slaves, sent to America. Succeeding chapters tell the story of a descendant in each succeeding generation from the African family line and the American family line. Through their beautifully told details we actually learn about 300 years of history through the personal stories of these descendants.

Amazing and well worth reading!

Marianne’s Staff Pick – “Lazaretto”


Lazaretto by Diane McKinney-Whetstone

I hadn’t heard of the quarantine hospital in the port of Philadelphia nor the author Diane McKinney-Whetstone. I am delighted to discover both. Whetstone brings the post-Civil War era alive right in nearby Philadelphia. Her characters are vibrant and strong and she weaves a moving tale centered on the lives of Philadelphia’s black community; their struggles and triumphs in the face of continued oppression from whites and class divisions within their own culture. Beautiful imagery and universal themes of family, friendship, love, independence, courage, and perseverance makes this an enjoyable and meaningful read. I look forward to discovering more books by Whetstone!

New in August


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; available August 2

“The Newest Oprah Book Club 2016 Selection
From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor; engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.”


Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson; available August 9

“For August, running into a long-ago friend sets in motion resonant memories and transports her to a time and a place she thought she had mislaid: 1970s Brooklyn, where friendship was everything.

August, Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi shared confidences as they ambled their neighborhood streets, a place where the girls believed that they were amazingly beautiful, brilliantly talented, with a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful promise there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where mothers disappeared, where fathers found religion, and where madness was a mere sunset away.

Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn heartbreakingly illuminates the formative period when a child meets adulthood when precious innocence meets the all-too-real perils of growing up. In prose exquisite and lyrical, sensuous and tender, Woodson breathes life into memories, portraying an indelible friendship that united young lives.

Another Brooklyn is an enthralling work of literature from one of our most gifted novelists.”



Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“‘Are you happy with your life?’
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, ‘Welcome back, my friend.’
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.”


Riverine: A Memoir From Anywhere But Here by Angela Palm

“Angela Palm grew up in a place not marked on the map, her house set on the banks of a river that had been straightened to make way for farmland. Every year, the Kankakee River in rural Indiana flooded and returned to its old course while the residents sandbagged their homes against the rising water. From her bedroom window, Palm watched the neighbor boy and loved him in secret, imagining a life with him even as she longed for a future that held more than a job at the neighborhood bar. For Palm, caught in this landscape of flood and drought, escape was a continually receding hope.

Though she did escape, as an adult Palm finds herself drawn back, like the river, to her origins. But this means more than just recalling vibrant, complicated memories of the place that shaped her, or trying to understand the family that raised her. It means visiting the prison where the boy that she loved is serving a life sentence for a brutal murder. It means trying to chart, through the mesmerizing, interconnected essays of Riverine, what happens when a single event forces the path of her life off course.”



The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stamback

Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko is a life-long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. Born deformed, yet mentally keen with a frighteningly sharp wit, strong intellect, and a voracious appetite for books, Ivan is forced to interact with the world through the vivid prism of his mind. That is, until a new resident named Polina arrives at the hospital. At first, Ivan resents Polina: she steals his books, she challenges his routine, the nurses like her–she is exquisite. But soon, he cannot help being drawn to her, and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of.




Bill’s Staff Pick – “LaRose”


LaRose by Louise Erdrich

This novel begins with a horrible hunting accident in which Landreaux Iron kills his neighbor’s — and best friend’s — youngest son. Following an old Native American tradition, he and his wife give their son, LaRose, to the grieving parents as retribution. Thus these two already close families are joined in a variety of new ways. The working out of this tragedy and the attempt to set it right is full of consequences no one, including the reader, can and will be able to foresee. This beautifully written, often tense, sometimes funny, always riveting novel explores loss, justice, and the reparation of the human heart and is another in a long line of Erdrich novels that reveals so much of what it means to be human. I loved this book and you will, too!