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Third annual book festival offers a variety of treats
by Ken Horner

Many have said that books are food for the mind, and if you are a hungry resident of Chestnut Hill, fear not, because there will be plenty of sustenance to go around early next month.

On July 9 and 10, Chestnut Hill will play host to the Third Annual Chestnut Hill Book Festival, sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Business Association, Valley Green Bank and the New York Times.

What started as an idea in the mind of Greg Welsh, owner of the Chestnut Grill, president of the Chestnut Hill Business Association and avid reader, the Book Festival’s success over the past two years has built its reputation as an excellent event for the residents of the area.

For Kate O’Neill, program director of the Chestnut Hill Business Association, the success of the Book Festival has mainly been founded upon one thing.

“It’s all about the authors,” she said.

And if what you’re salivating for is author appearances, don’t worry, because this year’s installment promises more of the same.

The two days will feature readings and appearances by 36 locally and nationally recognized authors from all genres.

The long list of authors includes George Anastasia, veteran Philadelphia Inquirer crime reporter; Dr. James Zogby, Middle East expert and president of the Arab American Institute; Dr. Arthur Caplan, University of Pennsylvania Professor and bio-ethicist; Michael Capuzzo, New York Times bestselling-author, and Lorene Cary, the critically acclaimed author of Black Ice.

In addition, multiple free events will be offered at various locations, including Stagecrafters Theater, 8130 Germantown Ave.; Roller’s Restaurant at the Flying Fish, 8142 Germantown Ave.; the Chestnut Hill Hotel’s Bombay Room, 8229 Germantown Ave.; Buckley Park, 8201 Germantown Ave., and Jenks Playground, 8301 Germantown Ave.

These events will include panel discussions, a singer/songwriter slam and a performance by the Chestnut Hill Improv Group to name a few.

If you’re looking for something for the kids, you’re in luck.

Between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday, July 10, at Jenks Playground, a special Kids Festival will take place featuring music, food, well-known children’s authors and illustrators like Ponder Goembel, Matt Phelan, Jason Deeble and David Lubar, as well as a special appearance by Kathy O’Connell of WXPN’s Kids Corner.

While nearly all of the events will be free of charge, there are a select few that will cost a small fee.  The Venetian Club, 8030 Germantown Ave., will host a special pre-event First Person Story Slam on Friday, July 8 between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.  From 4-6 p.m. on July 10, Chestnut Hill Academy will feature a panel discussion sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Historical Society that will be free for members and will cost $15 for non-members.  Finally, there will be various 90 minute writers’ workshops in association with Philadelphia Stories offered at $10 each to be held at the Chestnut Hill Hotel’s Bombay Room.

Overall, this year’s Chestnut Hill Book Festival is shaping up to be quite an exciting event.

“It’s why you live in Chestnut Hill,” O’Neill said.  “It’s everything you want to happen in your neighborhood.”

“Where else can you walk outside your home and be so near to these nationally-recognized authors?”

Flourtown kids’ book author reaches for the stars
by Lou Mancinelli

Local children’s book author and school counselor John McGranaghan wrote his first book, “Saturn For My Birthday” (Sylvan Dell, 2008), when his then three-year-old son Kyle asked for the planet Saturn for his fourth birthday.

How dispersing a library resembles the Big Bang, Part 1

This is how it goes when a big personal library needs to be broken up because its builder has died and his widow needs to move to smaller quarters.

In the way these things so often happen, I was at my desk and received a phone call. Deb Stanitz from Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, who I’d never met before, was calling to tell me that she had a client trying to sell a house in Villanova. Her client was a widow of a year whose husband had been a distinguished scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He had thousands of books – would I be interested in seeing if I could help? Yes, of course, I said. We agreed to talk again later when the house was sold, or nearly sold.

Dispersing a library: The Big Bang, part 2

Editor’ Note: Part one appeared in the May 5 edition.

About two months ago a local realtor called me in relation to my “old & rare” bookselling business. She represented a widow of a year who was selling a house in Villanova. Her client’s husband had been a prominent scholar who’d owned thousands of books that now had to be sold before she could move. Might I help?

The Big Bang: ‘Dispersing a library,’ part 3

(Ed. note: Part 1 of this 4-part series appeared in the Local on May 4; Part 2 on May 18)

In February, a widow of a year who was selling her house called me in relation to my “old and rare” bookselling business. Her husband had been a prominent scholar who’d owned thousands of books that had to be sold before she could move. Might I help?

I said yes, but as soon as we hung up I started worrying that they might not be the kind of books I buy. I didn’t want to stall the sale of the house, but I also didn’t want to stick myself with a lot of unsaleable clunkers. I wouldn’t know till I saw the books.

Bookie’ will be at Hill Garden Festival Mt. Airy ‘book detective,’ 84, is one of 12 children
by Barbara Sherf

Mt. Airy resident Mildred Coates is known around town as “The Book Lady.” This spry 84-year-old spends her days using public transportation to get to thrift shops, used book stores, flea markets, libraries and ‘wherever books are sold.’ She matches books in a wide variety of genres to dozens of avid readers who are part of an informal group called “For Love of Books” (FLOB).