Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

The little bookstore that's bigger on the inside

Here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside, we continue to STAY inside to do our part in helping everyone to weather the COVID-19 lockdown. While we cannot open our doors to the public until at least May 4th, according to the guidelines set out by the Governor’s Office, we are still receiving new book stock for purchase from our wholesaling and publishing partners, and are still actively fulfilling mail order requests.

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If you don’t get an immediate answer when calling 508-796-5613, please do leave a phone message!  We are checking our messages remotely, even when we’re not on-site.  Otherwise, if you prefer, please contact us via e-mail at orders@anniesbooksworcester.com.   We’d love to hear from you!

And now… an announcement!

Join us [virtually] on Friday, April 24th PROMPTLY at 10:30AM for Storytime With Selina On Zoom! This is the first of our special online Storytime events, using the Zoom videoconferencing technology. Staffer and former theater person Selina Lovett will read 3 children’s books, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen; Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney; and The Saggy Baggy Elephant by Kathryn and Byron Jackson. RSVP is **MANDATORY** on the event’s Facebook page, as we need to email you the directions on how to join the event. Please be prompt, as you will not be able to join after Storytime starts.  All three of these titles are available for mail order purchase, in a variety of formats; just let us know if you would like to order them when you RSVP, or after the event.

We are making plans for other virtual events, so please keep an eye on our blog, our Facebook page, and our website for further updates.

May your world be full of beautiful words!!

New sequential art book arrivals for this week, as well as restocking some favourites:

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  • THE BOY WHO BECAME A DRAGON: A BRUCE LEE STORY, written and illustrated by Jim DiBartolo
  • THE ESSENTIAL DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR, written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel
  • THE GASHLYCRUMB TINIES, written and illustrated by Edward Gorey [we also have the matching tote bag from our friends at Out Of Print]
  • GLASS TOWN: THE IMAGINARY WORLD OF THE BRONTES, written and illustrated by Isabel Greenberg
  • NIGHTLIGHTS, written and illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
  • THEY CALLED US ENEMY, written by George Takei and illustrated by Harmony Becker
  • TRANSFORMERS/GHOSTBUSTERS: GHOSTS OF CYBERTRON, written by Erik Burnham, illustrated by Dan Schoening

All titles are available for purchase via our mail order service for now, and will be available to you for in-store purchases when we reopen.  Please feel free to contact us by phone at 508-796-5613 or via e-mail at orders [at] anniesbooksworcester [dot] com.

As always, thank you for making our shelves your destination.

 

 

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Historical Romance Author Mary Balogh, the bestselling author of upward of 100 novels and novellas mostly set in Regency Britain. I asked her to tell us a bit about herself and her writing, and this was her response:

I grew up in Wales and have lived in Saskatchewan, Canada, for longer than fifty years. I have been a published author for thirty-five years, with upward of a hundred novels and novellas, more than thirty of which have been New York Times bestsellers. I write historical romance. Most of my books are set in Regency Britain (1811-1820). My newest books are part of a family series, the Westcott family series. They are all love stories. The first of them is SOMEONE TO LOVE. The most recent (number 7) was a novella, SOMEONE TO REMEMBER. The next one, SOMEONE TO ROMANCE, is due to be published at the end of August. There are also frequent republications of my oldest, out-of-print books as Class Ebooks. The next one, TRULY, due out on April 7, is also one of my best books, I believe. It is set in 19th century Wales.

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Mary, Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)    

 Normally my books should be available in any bookstore or in most drugstores or retail stores like Walmart. In times like the present (and in normal times too) you should be able to find them at any book selling outlet online—amazon, for example. At my web site, there are several “Buy” links for each of my books.

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?     

You can check my web site: www.marybalogh.com. You can go to my author Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryBalogh

What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?

Historical fiction takes us to a different time and place. Depending on the particular time and place, this can be a comforting thing or disturbing. In my case, I set stories mainly in Regency Britain—the early 19th century. It was an age that was visually appealing—stately country homes, elegant carriages and horses, Grecian-style dresses for the women, form-fitting pantaloons and Hessian boots for the men with elegant coats and waistcoats and elaborate cravats and neckcloths. It was an age, for the upper classes at least, of balls and routs and masquerade and drives in Hyde Park in London. It was a simpler age with strict rules of behavior and etiquette. Men were gentlemen and women were ladies. There was a strong moral code without society being stuffy or over-pious about it. These are generalizations, of course, and more or less apply only to the upper classes. Even so, love stories in such a setting are very appealing to both writers and readers. They help us relax and disappear at least for a few hours into a world that was both ordered and glamorous and very romantic. I want to spend my life making people happier for having encountered me, and I choose to do this largely through my books.

What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?

My usual advice to new writers is not to listen to advice. Okay, that sounds a bit nonsensical, but I will explain what I mean. I talk to many would-be writers who never really get down to the business of actually writing. They feel they have to learn how first. They read how-to books. They go to conferences and workshops and listen to the “experts,” who quite likely are giving conflicting advice. They feel they have to complete all sorts of writing exercises before they can start on the real thing. And I have spoken with a number of people who, even when they do start writing, feel they have to stop frequently  to show what they have done to a critiquing group and then rewrite it according to the suggestions and advice they are given. The only thing I feel comfortable telling writers to do is write. If you want to do it, if you feel you have a story in you, if you think you are capable of telling it, then go for it. Do it. Write your story. Keep it to yourself until it is done. Let others read it and listen to their suggestions only afterward if you want, but not before you have finished. A writer’s voice and the flow of creativity that come from her imagination and her sub-conscious are precious but fragile. It is wise not to do anything that might interrupt that flow and perhaps corrupt it. To be a writer you must write. If writing is your gift, you must give it—from your heart, from everything that is you. Don’t listen to anyone until you are finished.

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

When I started writing the Westcott family series, I planned for eight books. I am already writing the ninth book—SOMEONE TO CHERISH, Harry’s story. And I will not be finished when it is done. There are two characters—twins, a man and a woman, who are not Westcotts by birth but are crying out for their stories to be told anyway. They are the children of a Marcel, Marquess of Dorchester, who married into the family when he wed Viola, formerly Viola Westcott, Countess of Riverdale. Then there is a young woman, Winifred, adopted daughter of Camille Cunninghman, née Westcott. Her story is also wanting to be told. And then there is Adrian Sawyer, son of Viscount Dirkson, who married Matilda Westcott. And who knows who else? Stay tuned. In the meanwhile, Class Ebooks is busy e-publishing all my oldest, out-of-print books, and there are many of them. During the rest of 2020 watch for TRULY in April,  THE OBEDIENT BRIDE in June, and TANGLED in December.

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While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!

I think the answer must be silence. I love the idea of writing to soft easy-listening or light classical music. I have tried it. I tried putting on a CD (I am dating myself here) and settling down to writing. For a few minutes I enjoyed the combination. And then I came my myself to realize I was working in silence. I looked at the clock to discover that three or four hours had passed. The CD must have ended a couple of hours or so before that and I didn’t even noticed. So…

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?

I think most of all to stay the course. I mean two things by this. Firstly, I have always written historical romance mostly set in Regency-era Britain. It is what I love writing, it’s where I feel comfortable, and it is what best suits my writer voice. I am of British background, and I was an English teacher. Over the years some people have tried to persuade me to try something different. A few times I have been warned that historicals are becoming less popular while some other type of romance is gaining appeal. I have always refused to try jumping on any bandwagon. I have kept to what I feel I do best and what I really want to do. Secondly, I write regularly, seven days a week when I am working on a book. The temptation to skip a day here and there or a week or to claim writers’ block is constant. I never give in to it. I have a regular writing routine and a regular daily goal, and I stick with them.

Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions, Mary!

 

 

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Horror Author Grady Hendrix. Grady, Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing?

I’m just a guy in New York who writes horror novels and movies. Some of my other books include Horrorstor, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and We Sold Our Souls. I also spent way too much time reading horror paperbacks from the Seventies and Eighties and that caused me to write a book called Paperbacks from Hell. The horror movies I’ve written are Mohawk, probably the only War of 1812 horror movie that’ll ever get made, and Satanic Panic, about a pizza delivery girl taking on a Satanic cult.

Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)

You can find out way too much about me at http://www.gradyhendrix.com

How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

All my social horribleness is linked at my site.

What kind of research went into writing this book?  What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is set in the Nineties which is just recent enough not to have a real character in most people’s minds, but far enough in the past where everything still feels strange and different. I re-read all the big books of the era I could find like The Erotic Silence of the American Wife and Listening to Prozac and I read so many magazines from back then that I pretty much singlehandedly cleaned out Ebay of them. And what I learned was that the Nineties were very, very strange. Everything happening to us now has its roots back then, from banks getting deregulated to another president being impeached, but it was also a very weird time for women. At the beginning of the decade you had a huge number of women entering Congress for the first time, inspired by the Anita Hill hearings, and the half-million-strong March for Women’s Lives on Washington, DC. By the end of the decade, most of those women had left Congress, abortion clinics were being bombed, and porn and plastic surgery had gone mainstream. What happened?

Also, can I just say, this is a vampire book and there are a lot more ways to become a vampire than I ever realized. If seven children of the same sex are born into a family then the seventh will have a tail and be a vampire, if pregnant women don’t eat enough salt they give birth to vampire. If a cat walks over a corpse, a shadow from a human falls on a corpse, a bird flies over a corpse, a boy jumps over a corpse — vampire. In Greece, children born between Christmas and Epiphany automatically become vampires, children born on Christmas Day become vampires, werewolves become vampires after death, children born with teeth are obviously vampires, suicides, drowning victims, the first person to die of an epidemic, Christians who convert to Islam, priests who say mass in state of mortal sin, godparents who stumble reading the Lord’s Prayer at baptism, corpses left unattended, anyone who dies alone, babies weaned and suckled too much — all of them become vampires. To be honest, I’m surprised pretty much everyone in the world isn’t a vampire.

Grady Hendrix

 

What was the inspiration for The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires ? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

A while back I wrote a book called My Best Friend’s Exorcism about two teenage girls living in Charleston in 1988 at the height of the Satanic Panic. They become convinced that one of them is possessed by Satan and poor decision-making ensues. A lot of people read it and said, “The parents in that book are horrible.” And they’re right, because I wrote that novel from a teenage point of view, and when you’re a teenager your parents are totally horrible. But there’s another version of that story, told from the parents’ point of view, about how helpless you feel when your kid is in danger. I wanted to write a story about those parents, and so The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was born. It’s not a sequel to My Best Friend’s Exorcism but it takes place in the same neighborhood, a few years later, because that’s where I grew up and I apparently lack the imagination to write about anywhere else.

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires? How did you overcome that challenge?

I’m a deeply inefficient writer, so for every book I write, there are usually two if not three completely finished drafts that are so radically different they might as well be different books. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is a book I wanted to write for a long time, and one I worried about getting right since so much of it is based on where I grew up and people I knew. That means there were even more drafts that are hidden in a box in the bottom of a closet. It’s tough to finish what you think is a perfectly okay book and then stick it someplace no one will ever see it, but you have to remind yourself that if you got into this business to write “perfectly okay” books then you should have kept your day job. People may not like the final product, but it’s not because I didn’t sweat a few gallons of blood over it.

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What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?

I write in an office around the corner from my home, wedged in between a place that gives driving lessons and a medical billing company. It’s full of boxes of paperback horror novels from the Seventies and Eighties, a napping couch covered in boxes of horror paperbacks from the Seventies and Eighties, and right now a desk covered in books about vampires. So many books about vampires.

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to answer our questions, Grady!

 

  • Showrunner Chris Chibnall and former producer Philip Hinchcliffe – together at the Doctor Who studio!
  • Director Michael E Briant describes the making of his 1977 classic The Robots of Death.
  • Sadie Miller remembers her mother, Sarah Jane Smith actress Elisabeth Sladen.
  • The Doctor Who Magazine review of Series 12 – every episode from Spyfall to The Timeless Children!
  • A diary and scrapbook of 1976-77 – the extraordinary months that spanned the broadcast of Season 14.
  • A new presentation of Dr Who and the Hell Planet, a 1976 short story by Terrance Dicks.
  • A review of the new, animated version of The Faceless Ones.
  • How Robert Holmes reimagined the Time Lords for his 1976 story The Deadly Assassin.
  • The Fact of Fiction explores the 2006 story Tooth and Claw.
  • A look at Exploration Earth: The Time Machine, a 1976 schools programme starring Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen.
  • Updates on Doctor Who luminaries, past and present, with Time and Space Visualiser.
  • Public Image analyses the ratings for the final episodes of Series 12.
  • Part Two of The Piggybackers, a new comic-strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends.

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PLUS:

  • 1977-style poster magazine
  • TARDIS control-room diorama
  • Talons of Weng-Chiang music-hall poster
  • Six collectors’ cards

Available via mail order at orders@anniesbooksworcester.com.

In the spring of 2011, less than a year into taking over ownership of our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside, we were alarmed and concerned by the commencement of the construction and closure of the James Street bridge, which would not be completed until September of that year. We worried about the effects it would have on our customers and their daily lives, as well as the effects it would have on the business we were just starting to build up and grow.

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With your support back then, we came through that rough patch, and with your support now, we’re weathering the very necessary quarantine here at ABSW. The response to our mail order service has been quite gratifying, and we continue to work with our publishing and wholesaling partners to get new product, safely handled, in advance of our reopening the doors in [hopefully] just a few weeks.


Each month we feature a “publisher’s special” on handpicked titles, where we discount deeply to put our book joy into your hands.  While our new releases are always discounted at least 20%, our monthly specials are discounted between 42% and 44%, because we are that certain you’ll love them as much as we do.

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Two of our three monthly specials for April are now in stock. The third is en route.

  • THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES by Grady Hendrix
  • REDHEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD by Anne Tyler
  • DOCTOR WHO: AT CHILDHOOD’S END by Sophie Aldred

Have you spotted any bears during the Great Teddy Bear Hunt? Drop us a line in the comments to this post and let us know!

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On the suggestion of several of our partners, such as Hulafrog Worcester, we are exploring the option of hosting virtual events through Zoom, including story times and author talks. Please let us know via e-mail or telephone whether that interests you.

May your world continue to be filled with wonderful words.

This week’s graphic novels in stock, some old favourites, some new arrivals, make for an interesting mix.

FOR MIDDLE READERS: The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels

The first seven volumes of THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB graphic novel adaptations, and the first release in its accompanying series, BABY-SITTER’S LITTLE SISTER include:

  • Kristy’s Great Idea
  • Claudia And Mean Janine
  • Dawn And The Impossible Three
  • Kristy’s Big Day
  • Boy-Crazy Stacey
  • Mary Anne Saves The Day
  • The Truth About Dawn
  • Karen’s Witch

FOR YOUNG ADULTS: The AMULET series, Volumes 1 through 7

Featuring a truly independent heroine, Emily Hayes, her reckless but loyal brother Navin, and a host of magical and fearful characters, this American quest-adventure series is a hit with many manga readers.

Then we have two very different non-fiction titles in graphic novel form.

BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydream

Covering the period in David Bowie’s career where he wrote, arranged and recorded THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS. Written by Steve Horton, with art by Michael Allred.

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ANXIETY IS REALLY STRANGE by Steve Haines

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What is the difference between fear and excitement and how can you tell them apart? How do the mind and body make emotions? When can anxiety be good? This science-based graphic book addresses these questions and more, revealing just how strange anxiety is, but also how to unravel its mysteries and relieve its effects. It’s also rather timely with what is currently going on in the world.

Dip into sequential art storytelling and information dissemination, and as always thank you for making our shelves your destination.

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Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Children’s Author Jake Burnett.  Jake grew up on four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America if you’re counting—seven countries in all) and now lives in North Carolina with his wife, a one-eyed cat, and a very wiggly dog. He’s written a lot of things, but The Chaos Court is his first published novel. 

A Very Special Note:  During this time of uncertainty with the COVID-19 virus, school closures threaten school lunch programs and the students who depend on those lunches. So Burnett decided to act. He and South Window Press released The Chaos Court early, so they could donate 100% of the novel’s proceeds through April 30th to the Food Bank of Eastern & Central North Carolina (https://foodbankcenc.org/).

When we asked Jake where people can find his work (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!) this was his response:

Well, obviously people should go to Annie’s Book Stop. But if Worcester is a bit too far of a hike, they can find my work at their local indie bookstore. My publisher keeps a constantly updating list on their website (https://southwindowpress.com/where-to-get-our-books/). And there are all the usual options as well.

Next Question: How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?

For announcements and whatnot, I have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jakeburnettwrites

During the quarantine, I’m doing daily readings from The Chaos Court on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDehEIAmQSyWoAh_VMo6jSQ

On my personal website, you’ll find more art than writing, but there are a few stories here and there, now and then: http://jakeburnett.com

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write?  What can readers expect from The Chaos Court?

I write brand-new books that feel like they’ve always been around. You know that feeling when you find a dusty old used book from an author you’ve never heard of, all mysterious and curious? You take it home and read it. You start to notice pieces of that story, everywhere around you. You realize the book has been there, hiding in plain sight this whole time. And you know your world will never be the same…

That’s what I hope you’ll find in The Chaos Court. Something brand-new that’s somehow magically always been waiting just for you.

What was the inspiration for The Chaos Court?  What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?

There have been too many inspirations to count. One book I’d like to give a shout-out to is Abbey Lubbers, Banshees, & Boggarts by Katharine Mary Briggs. It’s this great illustrated encyclopedia of fairies that I read when I was 8. It stuck with me, and I hope all the odd little creatures I invented for The Chaos Court could just as easily find a home in Briggs’ wonderful book.

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Cover design by Rocío Martín Osuna, from a concept sketch by Elissa Phillips.

 

What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out  The Chaos Court?   How did you overcome that challenge?

The biggest challenge in putting The Chaos Court out was that the publisher released it much earlier than planned! I’ve never seen that happen, but we both really wanted to donate the first month’s proceeds to meet the urgent school lunch need created by the COVID-19 crisis. Waiting for the original release date wasn’t an option.

The challenge for me was learning all the things about releasing a book that I’d PLANNED on learning over six months in about six days. So far, it’s going great! The writing and bookselling community is truly a wonderful place to have your trial-by-fire. If you have to have one, that’s where I’d recommend doing it.

What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?    

Love the most? Patience Fell. No question. She’s tough and brave and takes no nonsense. She has her flaws sure, but in the end, she’s who I wish I could be.

I don’t hate any of them—not even the villains. Somebody once said ‘every villain thinks they’re the hero of their own story’ and I really took that to heart.

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

So much! There’s the sequel to The Chaos Court and a novel that’s The Wizard of Oz meets Ocean’s Eleven and another one about the last living boy in Manhattan who was raised by robots and… that should cover the next year or two.

What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?

I love painting. It’s a completely different kind of thinking and it feels wonderful on my brain. And running. And cleaning the house. I need lots of non-writing things to do while the tireless gnomes in my unconscious toil away on the writing. That way, when I sit back down at the keyboard, I’m refreshed and ready to work.

Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?

The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) has been a warm and supportive community. I look forward to the Carolinas Chapter events every year—such an encouraging and generous group of writers!

Thank you so much for answering our questions and for what you are doing to help your fellow hometown residents, Jake!

 

It’s April, and we’re not fooling! Even if you can’t stroll our aisles at the little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside for a few more weeks, that’s no reason to give up on reading and other fun activities.  Brace yourself for an extra-long Kids and Teens blog entry, everyone.

So many wonderful books for young children, for middle readers, and for teens have arrived or are on their way to us, just waiting for you to purchase via mail order. You can reach us by telephone at 508-796-5613 or e-mail at orders@anniesbooksworcester.com.

1] Back in February, Patty and Selina attended Boskone 57, where we got to sit in on not one, but two splendid panels about middle grade fiction. At one of these, we met Diego Gonzalez, the co-host of The Half-Blood Report, a podcast which devotes itself to all things Rick Riordan.  We’ve just received the newest release in the Aru Shah series by Roshani Chokshi, as well as its earlier titles, and a restock on the MAGNUS CHASE Asgard trilogy by Riordan.

Pandava-Series

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2] For National Poetry Month, we’ve gotten in some lovely picture books!

  • FOLLOW THE RECIPE! POEMS ABOUT IMAGINATION, CELEBRATION, AND CAKE by Marilyn Singer
  • A PORTRAIT IN POEMS: GERTRUDE STEIN AND ALICE B. TOKLAS by Evie Robillard
  • AFTER DARK: POEMS ABOUT NOCTURNAL ANIMALS by David L. Harrison    picturebookpoetry

3] Before we were ordered to close to the public, we had scheduled a truly fabulous event in March with three very talented middle grade authors. MarcyKate Connolly, Rajani LaRocca and Anna Staniszewski have graciously provided autographed bookplates for their titles HOLLOW DOLLS, MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM, and THE WONDER OF WILDFLOWERS, which we will happily send along to you with a purchase of one of their books!

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4] Some upcoming books for teens…

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  • DON’T CALL THE WOLF by Aleksandra Ross
  • HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY by Ali Standish

5] …and last but not least, activity books and kits for a variety of different ages, for indoor AND outdoor fun.

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Thank you, parents, caretakers, educators, and readers, for letting us fill your world with wonderful words.

 

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As of this afternoon, March 31st, in order to remain compliant with the newest order from the Governor’s Office regarding COVID-19, we will be closed TO THE PUBLIC between now and Monday, May 4th. We expect to reopen our doors no later than noon on Tuesday, May 5th.

We are still available by telephone at 508-796-5613 and via e-mail at orders@anniesbooksworcester.com for mail order shipments of in-stock and special order items.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and thank you for your support.

 

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