Mar 182017

Don’t believe everything you hear about “print is dead” or that “we are moving to a paperless society so nobody reads books anymore.” Americans check out more than 2 billion items each year from their public libraries; the average user takes out more than seven books a year (Libraries Are For Real Life website). So it is not surprising that one of SalemRecycles most popular projects is the Book Swap. Next one is set for Saturday, March 18 from 10am to 1pm in the Salem Senior Center at 5 Broad Street.

In addition to finding new books and media treasures, as well as recycling items for others to enjoy, participants will be able to ask questions about recycling, and reuse.

“We are excited to again host the semi-annual free book swap,” said SalemRecycles chair Beth Melillo. “We prevent tons of books from ending up in the trash, and everyone really enjoys the event.”

All ‘unswapped’ items will be reused or recycled. SalemRecycles will also once again have a reusable bag swap. Please bring any unwanted reusable cloth bags to donate to others.

About SalemRecycles

SalemRecycles is the City’s volunteer recycling committee which works to increase recycling and encourage positive recycling practices through educational outreach and special events.  Through the last thirteen Book Swaps, SalemRecycles has hosted over 6,500 participants, recycled an estimated 100,000 books, and avoided over 50 tons of incineration.

For more information about SalemRecycles or the Book Swap, please call (978)-619-5679 or visit or

Nov 122015

You don’t write because you want to say something… you write because you have something to say —F. Scott Fitzgerald

Salem LitSo many, many people have had such a great deal to “say” over the years that a regular gathering of writers and readers was inevitable to share and discuss those thoughts put to words. These gatherings are called Literary Festivals and Salem has its own taking place right now, Nov. 12-18.

Among the highlights of this year’s Salem Literary Festival will be guest lecturers Frank Bidart, Stacy Schiff and Brunonia Barry, plus a full day of activities for writers that features an open mic session, a scavenger hunt and playwriting advice from the creators of the critically acclaimed local mainstay Cry Innocent.Salem Lit Fest

11/12/15 – Frank Bidart
Kick off the festival at the Salem State Writer’s Series with a reading from poet Frank Bidart whose first books, Golden State and The Book of the Body, gained critical attention and praise. His reputation as a poet of uncompromising originality was made with The Sacrifice, published in 1983. The 2007 recipient of the Bollingen Prize for Poetry, he teaches English at Wellesley College.

(Time: 7:30pm at Salem State University, Martin Luther King Room, Ellison Campus Center. Admission is free of charge.)

11/13/15 – Stacy Schiff
Join Pulitzer Prize winning author Stacy Schiff for the keynote address and presentation of her new historical work, The Witches, Salem 1692 which she researched at Peabody Essex Museum’s Phillips Library. Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, Pulitzer Prize finalist; A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize. Named a 2011 Library Lion by the New York Public Library, she lives in New York City.

(Time: 7pm at Peabody Essex Museum, East India Marine Hall. Admission: PEM Members $7; nonmembers $10. Reservations must be made by November 12. For more info go to or call 978-542-1511.)

11/14/15 – A Day For Writers
Nestle into the beautiful Salem Athenaeum for the day. It will begin by bringing you prompt sessions to wake up your writer’s brain. Choose your guide from among fantastic local writers, such as Jaffa award-winning poet Danielle Jones-Pruett or Audrey Mardavich. Keep the creativity flowing with panels on writing adolescent characters for adults, YA, sci fi / fantasy, and poetry.

Learn how to start and run a literary magazine with The Critical Flame and Buck Off Magazine, and gain insights to the page-to-stage process of playwriting with Mark and Kristina Stevick, creators of the Salem theatrical institution, Cry Innocent.

Share your own work at the afternoon open mic, investigate Salem’s literary history and hidden gems as part of an ongoing scavenger hunt, and stay for a Movietelling Reading where fresh young poets will read their own versions of the script over such favorites as Disney’s Cinderella and Return to Oz.

(Time: 10am – 1pm and 2:30pm – 6pm at Salem Athenaeum. Admission is free of charge.)

Brunonia-Barry-RGB-273x30011/18/15, Brunonia Barry
End the Salem Literary Festival by attending the last of the “Seven Lectures at Seven Gables” series with New York Times bestselling author (The Lace Reader) Brunonia Barry who will lecture on her book, The Map of True Places. Set in Boston and Salem, this well-crafted novel has been described as immersive and beautifully written as it explores finding one’s true place in the world.

Barry was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Strnad Invitational Fellowship as well as the winner of New England Book Festival’s award for Best Fiction.

(Time: 6pm at House of Seven Gables. Admission: House of the Seven Gables members are free; Non-Members pay $7. For more info email, or call 978-744-0991 ext. 104.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed – Ernest Hemingway

Come to the Salem Literary Festival where you will meet those who have achieved success as writers and mingle with those (such as yourself?) thirsting for that success.

Sep 262014

Book Swap crowdSimple question. Complex answer. Do they come for the witches and magic and monsters and such? Or is it “much, much more” as has been put forth by others (like in these star-studded video shorts)?

One strong possibility (at least from the looks of our blog entries) is the literary aspect. Everybody knows about Salem’s Nathaniel Hawthorne and House of Seven Gables  connection. But in the last week or so, we’ve written blogs about Salem’s relationship with:

1- Edgar Allan Poe. It appears that “A Tell-Tale Heart” might have been based on the grisly murder of Capt. Joseph White in 1830 Salem. And in the midst of our Haunted Halloween Happenings next month there will be interactive events fostered by The Scarlet Letter Press & Gallery to honor Mr. Poe.

2- Charles Dickens. Dickens scholars from around the world, as well as local & international performers, historians and artists have been invited to attend Pickwickian Endeavors, a weekend long conference Sept. 26-28 to held at the Salem Athenaeum and other city spots. This conference is scheduled to feature over 20 presenters and performers. All topics Dickens will be up for discussion.

3- Banned Books. Banned Books Week, has been taking place all week at Wicked Good Books, ending Sept. 27th. According to the American Library Association (ALA) “Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

4- Book Swap. What can you do with a book? Read it, of course. And then? Use it as a paperweight. Or use two as bookends. The city of Salem offered a more community-minded suggestion recently with a Free Book & Media Swap

And also worthy of note is November’s upcoming Salem Literary Festival.

Proof enough that you can’t judge the Salem book just by its cover.

Sep 212014

Banned Books WeekSome people might compare a book ban to a witch hunt. That said it comes as no surprise Salem’s Wicked Good Books  is participating in educating residents and visitors during Banned Books Week, taking place now through Sept. 27th.

Taylor Carozzi, Wicked Good Books manager comments “We are supporting this effort because it is important to society to guard and celebrate our freedom to read and have open access to information.”

Displays and materials about banned books will be available.

According to the American Library Association (ALA) “Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

Wicked Good BooksThe ALA puts forth that sometimes “books are challenged with the best of intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information.” Other times it is censorship.

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the actual removal of those materials.

You are invited to visit Wicked Good Books located at 215 Essex St. to see if you agree or disagree with the books listed.

Sep 192014

Book swapWhat can you do with a book? Read it, of course. And then? Use it as a paperweight. Or use two as bookends. The city of Salem offers a more community-minded suggestion this Saturday from 10 am -1 pm with a Free Book & Media Swap at the Senior center, 5 Broad St.

But this is no ordinary book swap. Not in magical Salem. No “swap” is necessary. You can just “drop off, take away, or do both” reports Salem Recycles, our city recycling committee.

All types of books will be accepted for the swap. Plus CDs, DVDs, and VCR tapes may be thrown into the mix. And what doesn’t get swapped out will either be donated or recycled.

All in all it’s an inexpensive (read that as “free”) way for community members to share books with others who might not be able to afford them and for anyone to be able to “check out a new or unknown author” without first purchasing.

Materials for swapping should be brought with you either the day of the swap (9:45 am – noon), or if you have a lot of items (thank you), then you are welcome to drive over to the Senior Center today between 5:30 – 7 pm where volunteers will take them off your hands.

For more details, call 978-619-5679.

(Image courtesy of adamr at; border added)