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W&B Merchandise

Looking for a perfect birthday, holiday, anniversary, or “just because” gift for a friend, family member, or special someone? Or in the mood to treat yourself? Support the literary community in Rochester by purchasing some Writers & Books swag!

Writers & Books Vinyl Bags – $35.00 plus tax

Even Odd Vinyl Bags

How about a Writers & Books vinyl tote bag? Even Odd creative fabrics has taken our past event banners and made them into one of a kind bags. Hang a Big Read or Fall Festival of Reading bag from your mantle. COMING SOON: Previous ‘If All of Rochester Read the Same Book’ bags

Turning Pages Readers Circle Membership – $250.00

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Turning Pages Readers Circle is an excellent gift for your favorite reader. TPRC is a new membership level this year.  Those enrolled receive a “mystery” book 4 times a year. Specially wrapped by our staff, the package comes with a note from an author affiliated with Writers & Books (previous contributors include Ann Patchett, Anne Panning) as to why they picked this book to share, and an invite to a special readers event surrounding the text.

Writers & Books Gift Certificates – Any Amount!

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Our Gift Certificates are available for purchase in any amount. You can give the gift of a membership, a particular class for someone, or a set amount that can be applied to any registration. We will personally send the certificate anywhere you’d like or print up a copy for you to give.

Classic Writers & Books reusable tote bags – $3.00 

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Created four our 30th Anniversary these green recycled bags are perfect for groceries and library books. Keep one in the car. You’ll never know when you’ll need one!

Books!

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We’ve got lots of used books in our bookstore, in addition to consignment stories from local authors. Books are the gift that keep giving!

Limited Edition Writers & Books Pens – $2.00

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Something extra? Might we suggest a Writers & books pen?

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This Week’s “If All of Rochester…” Events

Check out the great “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book…” Events that are happening this week, all around the community. There are book discussions, presentations, art exhibitions and more!

Thurs. Feb. 20 7:00-8:30pm Alaskan Odyssey: Cruising the Inside
Passage and Beyond*
Henrietta Public Library
455 Calkins Rd. HENRIETTA
Free but registration
required. To register or for more information call (585) 359-7092 or visit hpl.org.
Thurs. Feb. 20 7:00-8:45pm Book discussion of The Snow Child Seymour Library 161 East
Ave. BROCKPORT
Free. No registration
required. For more information call (585) 637-1050 or email cgouveia@libraryweb.org.
Mon. Feb. 24 7:00pm Book discussion of The Snow Child Fairport Public Library 1
Fairport Village Landing FAIRPORT
Free. No registration
required. For more information call (585) 223-9091.
Wed. Feb. 26 12:00-1:00pm Brownbag book discussion of
The Snow Child
Rundel Auditorium Central
Library of Rochester & Monroe County 115 South Ave. ROCHESTER
Free. No registration
required. Refreshments served; participants welcome to bring a lunch. For
more information call (585) 428-8375 or email Carol Moldt at
carol.moldt@libraryweb.org.
Wed. Feb. 26 7:00pm Book discussion of The Snow Child with the Titles Over
Tea Book Group
Barnes & Noble Greece
330 Greece Ridge Center Dr. GREECE
Free. No registration
required. For more information call (585) 227-4020.
Thurs. Feb. 27 7:00-8:00pm Book discussion of The Snow Child for parents and
community members
Palmyra Macedon Primary
School 120 Canandaigua St. PALMYRA
Free but registration
required. For
information or to register, email jolene.cretekos@palmaccsd.org or julianne.ballard@palmaccsd.org.
Thurs. Feb. 27 1:00pm Book discussion of The Snow Child Ogden Farmer’s Library 269
Ogden Center Rd. SPENCERPORT
Free. No registration
required. For more information call (585) 617-6181.
Thurs. Feb. 27 4:00-5:45pm Book discussion of The Snow Child Highland Branch Library 971
South Ave. ROCHESTER
Free. No registration
required. For more information call (585) 428-8206.
Thurs. Feb. 27 7:00-9:00pm Book discussion of The Snow Child Rush Public Library 5977 E.
Henrietta Rd. RUSH
Free but registration
required. To register or for more information call (585) 533-1370.
Thurs. Feb. 27 7:00pm Book discussion of The Snow Child with Words on Women Barnes & Noble 1070
Ridge Rd. WEBSTER
Free but registration
required. To register or for more information call (585) 872-9710.
Fri. Feb. 28 6:00-10:00pm Opening of the exhibition “Peter’s Picks 2011
Featuring Winter Images” (on view through March 23)
Image City Photography Gallery 722 University Ave. ROCHESTER Free. No registration required. Gallery open Wed.-Sat. 11:00am-7:00pm and Sun.
12:00-4:00pm. For more information see www.imagecityphotographygallery.com.

*Alaskan Odyssey: Cruising the Inside Passage and Beyond. Join Lisa Wemett and Terry Mulee as they revisit their exploration of our 49th state via a round-trip cruise from Seattle, Washington. The forested islands along the Inside Passage give way to the raw beauty of the Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm. Discover the Native Tlingit culture at remote Icy Strait Point, the Gold Rush days of Ketchikan and Juneau, and the Russian influences on Kodiak and Sitka. From the cosmopolitan port of Anchorage to the wildlife centers in Homer and Kodiak, find out why Alaska is truly the Great Land. To register or for more information call (585) 359-7092 or visit hpl.org.

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An Interview with Russell Banks

Check out this fantastic interview with author Russell Banks. Banks’ novel The Sweet Hereafter was 2002’s “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book.” Journalist and W&B instructor Saby Reyes-Kulkarni talks to Banks about his latest collection of short stories, A Permanent Member of the Family, and asks the author about various aspects of the writing process, as well as his own experiences with family, geography, and politics.

Writers & Books presents: An interview with Russell Banks by Sabyrk on Mixcloud

This interview is presented in association with Rochester Community Television. To find out more about RCTV, click here.

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Advice on Love: An Interview with William Shakespeare

The following blog post was written by Rylie Day.

Well, it’s over. Valentine’s Day is officially done and we all survived. (That is, I can only assume that if you’re reading this, you didn’t drown in champagne or go comatose from over-indulging in chocolate.) In my experience, Valentine’s day is typically met with mixed emotions. Some people hate it, others go half broke with dinner reservations, 20 ft. tall teddy bears, and $600 bouquets of roses. No matter what the reaction, whenever February 14 rolls in, everyone becomes an expert on love; and so, Writers & Books decided to interview the real expert on romance,  William Shakespeare, to tell us what it’s really all about. It was certainly quite enlightening.

W&B: Hi Bill, thanks so much for taking the time to come in. We know you’re pretty busy.
W.S.: I wasted time and now doth time waste me.
W&B: Okay…that’s too bad, I guess…Well, we’d love for you to tell us a little about love.
W.S.: I shall speak low when I speak of love.
W&B: Um, alright.
W.S.: Love is the greatest of dreams, yet the worst of nightmares… The course of true love never did run smooth.
W&B: Very interesting, very interesting. Well that seems to be a bit depressing. Do you have anything positive to say about love?
W.S.: The sight of lovers feedeth those in love.
W&B: Well I guess that explains why everyone seems to catch the love bug around Valentine’s Day.
W.S.: Cupid is a knavish lad, thus to make the females mad.
W&B: I’d be careful, we have a lot of female readers out there. So a lot of people have a hard time knowing when to express their feelings. What do you think about it? Should a person say “I love you” right away or wait?
W.S.: Love sought is good, but given unsought is better…I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say “I love you.”
W&B: Okay… Well, that seems to be a little bit incongruous, but…You seem to be a pretty firm believer in love at first sight. What do you have to say to those skeptics out there?
W.S.: Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?
W&B: Ah, yes. Was that how it was for you and Anne? You married at 18. That’s pretty young! What advice can you give to young lovers?
W.S.: Young men’s love lies not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.
W&B: Oh dear. That’s pretty pessimistic. Well…what advice can you give to all the guys out there trying hard to win a girl over?
W.S.: They do not love that do not show their love. Compare her to a summer’s day.
W&B: Hmmm…yes, yes that seems about right. Let’s dedicate some time to all those lonely hearts. Heartbreak is tough this time of year. Any coping mechanisms?
W.S.: Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break.
W&B: Sound advice. Well what should we do if our love is unrequited? Or if our lover, I don’t know, loses his mind after being beckoned by the ghost of his dead father and completely ignores us in an effort to seek revenge?
W.S.: Go mad and drown thyself.
W&B: I guess we set ourselves up for that one. One last question for you, Bill. What do you think is the best gift to give to that special someone?
W.S.: Thy second best bed….and furniture.
W&B: Sounds foolproof. Well, Bill thanks a lot again for coming in and speaking with us. We won’t take up anymore of your time. Parting is such sweet sorrow and all that.
W.S.: Farewell! God knows when we shall meet again.

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The Romance of Reading

For many people, February is a month all about love. It seems as though the Christmas decorations aren’t even properly packed away before store shelves are spilling with candy and cards so vibrant that we are nearly blinded by the pink and red hues. If you’re anything like me, by the time we reach February I feel that if I hear another jewelry jingle I’ll lose my mind. So, to give ourselves (and you) a bit of a break from the constant commercialism that is so common right now, the staff of Writers & Books has decided to reflect on a romance that we all share – our relationship with books.

How did you fall in love with reading? And what is it that keeps that flame alive?

For me, I first found out how much I loved to read from both my parents. My mother always read several bed time stories to my sisters and me, allowing us to each select a couple of stories and curl up with her before we went to sleep. (Robert Munch and Shel Silverstein were some of my favorites.) By age three, I was convinced I could read. As I got older, my father read C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia every night in the living room. They are still some of my most cherished memories and favorite stories. It’s strange to think that when I hit middle school I went on a reading hiatus.

For a few years I hardly read at all, and what was required of me in school I frequently spark-noted. (I’m still trying to forgive myself.) It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I once again discovered my love of reading. My English teacher, Mrs. Bielat, to whom I am forever indebted for fostering my talent for creative writing and encouraging me to pursue it for my future, told me that if I wanted to be a good writer, I had to be a good reader. I wasn’t convinced. She told me I should become a college English professor. I laughed. All of that began to change, though, when she allowed me to borrow her collection of Ann Patchett’s books. I read her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars in a day.

It had been years since I had been so enthralled with anything. It was like finding an old friend, but meeting someone entirely new and exciting (and having instant chemistry) all at the same time. When I dusted off the shelf of my memory, I could recall how much reading meant to me as a child, but so much had changed since then. I had changed. Reading had so much more to offer me. It had the power to change me. And it did. I revised my plans and decided to earn my undergraduate degree in English Literature. Now, several years later, with my diploma hanging on my wall, I can’t imagine myself without books. Reading is such a part of who I am that I wouldn’t recognize myself without it. And, I have a feeling that most of the people who know me wouldn’t recognize me without a book and pen in hand (or lugging around a huge purse which carries several reads). Hemingway, Faulkner, Milton, Shakespeare. I will take them all and more. Reading has granted me the opportunity to meet new people (both fictitious and otherwise), share experiences both real and imagined, and expand my understanding of myself and others. It has caused me to alter my hopes and expectations for myself (a PhD in Literature never sounded so tempting). It swept me off my feet, it had me at hello (or page one), and it’s companionship is certainly enough to make the commercials for flowers, jewelry, and chocolates a bit more tolerable.

— Rylie Day

I love making new friends in the pages of a good book. Taking journeys with the characters, feeling their emotions with them, getting lost in their stories, and finding a truer part of myself in the process. My favorite books—fiction or nonfiction—are the ones in which I don’t want to stop spending time with the characters once I get to the last page.

— Sally Bittner Bonn

Lately, I’ve be rereading a lot of the books I loved as a teen. It’s been an interesting exercise, remembering who I was, how I became the reader that I am now. It’s been a lovely, slow reminiscence and I’ve been delighted to fall back in love with so many of the characters and adventures that nourished my imagination as a teen.

— Kristen Zory King

There is nothing more deeply satisfying than a really good book that takes you with it for a ride. Your heart open, your mind transported you get the chance to live other lives and see everything on the way… This sort of empathy can change the individual mind and, eventually, the world.

— Alexa Scott-Flaherty

I’m not quite sure how they teach reading today. I imagine there are some parents who are deeply involved with the teaching of reading long before their child even reaches school, and that some teaching probably takes place in school settings as early as pre-K.

In my case there was absolutely no attempt to teach me, or anyone else my age that I’m aware of, to read before first grade. When that time arrived, though, I have very distinct visual memories of what that first book looked like and the excitement of that learning experience.

The book was Dick and Jane, a giant version of which sat on an easel in the front of the room, so that our teacher could have two pages open at the same time and all of us gathered on the floor around her could see the words and pictures. “See Dick.” “See Dick run.” “See Jane.” “See Jane run.” Ah, I can still feel the sheer thrill of of it! Now I was becoming able, just like the grown-ups and the older kids, to look at a page in a book and be able to understand, finally, what all those squiggles meant, and how to turn them into words that could be read, out loud or just in my head.

In addition to Dick and Jane, we were introduced to Spot and Puff, Sally the younger sister, and, of course, Mother and Father. Far less important to me than the dynamics of the family, though, were the mechanics of reading itself. Yes, the pictures were important and tied the names and characters together, but I had looked at and grasped pictures for years at this point, (well, three to four years, at least). Now, though, at long last I could turn letters into words, and what an enormous step forward this was for me, I absolutely knew it was only the very first step in my future of reading many books.

— Joe Flaherty

“ I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

I couldn’t imagine not reading or being surrounded by books, at home and at work! I enjoy becoming immersed in the plot and the character development, plus trying to figure out the ending half way through a novel. It’s being more knowledgeable and well versed, and also leads to interesting discussions. These are all the reasons why my friend Lynda and I started our book-club – “The Lit Chicks” over five years ago. In that time frame we’ve read fiction, non-fiction, memoirs and classics. We’ve made new friendships, all stemming from the love of literature!

Reading in bed before going to sleep is comforting and relaxing, one of the other reasons I love reading!

Being part of the Writers & Books team is a natural fit being surrounded daily by fellow Lit Lovers. It’s great fun getting geared up annually for the “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book” program, sharing the love of reading with the Rochester community, encouraging it to become one huge book club.
Another joy for my love of reading is listening to authors share their writing process with the audience, and when they read various sections from their book, explaining what prompted them to write about it. That makes the story come alive!

— Kathy Pottetti

Happy Reading!

Warmly,
The W&B Staff