Silver Unicorn bookstore holds epic four days of events

June 14, 2024

How does a local business compete with Amazon? Well, the Silver Unicorn Bookstore in West Acton just held an epic four days of events that gave readers the rare opportunity to meet the authors of a variety of new books.

The series kicked off Friday evening, June 7. A crowd gathered at the independent bookstore on 4 Spruce Street to hear Alex Speier, who has covered sports for The Boston Globe since 2015, interview Keith O’Brien, the author of Charlie Hustle: The Rise and Fall of Pete Rose, and the Last Glory Days of Baseball.

Two men wearing dress shirts are sitting in front of book shelves at Silver Unicorn Bookstore. Piles of books, all written by either Alex Speier or Keith O'Brien, are stacked on a table between them.
Alex Speier (left) and Keith O’Brien at the Silver Unicorn Bookstore. Photo: Greg Jarboe

O’Brien provided fascinating insights into both Rose’s career and the broader context of baseball during his era. Here are some key points:

· Rise to Fame: Rose’s work ethic and determination earned him the nickname “Charlie Hustle” and helped a working-class guy from Cincinnati, who was less talented than tough, become one of baseball’s most iconic figures.

· Achievements: O’Brien mentioned Rose’s impressive career achievements. The switch hitter compiled 4,256 hits, a record he set decades ago that still stands today. He also has three World Series rings, won three batting titles, and made 17 All-Star appearances.

· Controversies: A significant part of Speier and O’Brien’s discussion focused on the controversies that marred Rose’s career, especially the gambling scandal that led to his lifetime ban from baseball.

· Era Context: O’Brien discussed Rose’s peak years, often considered the last of baseball’s “golden era.” He also explored how the game has evolved since then and how the business and commercialization of sports have changed the landscape.

· Research Process: O’Brien talked about the challenges of delving into Rose’s personal life. He revealed the sources he used, such as interviews with former teammates, coaches, and other baseball figures, as well as archival materials.

· Narrative Choices: The New York Times bestselling author of Fly Girls and Paradise Falls also explained his approach to telling Rose’s story, including why he chose to focus on both the rise and fall of Rose, as well as the broader implications for baseball.

· Themes and Messages: Finally, O’Brien discussed what he hoped to convey through the book. These included the complexity of Rose’s character, the idea of redemption, and the broader lessons about sportsmanship, integrity, and the cost of personal failings.

On June 8, Saturday Morning Story Time featured Heather Lang and Jamie Harper, co-authors of Superdads! Animal Heroes, illustrated by Harper.

Two woment read a picture book in the Children's section of Silver Unicorn bookstore. One of the women is wearing red sunglasses with a crown on top.
Jamie Harper (left) and Heather Lang (right) at Saturday Morning Story Time. Photo: Greg Jarboe

Lang and Harper emphasized several key points about their new picture book:

· Celebration of Animal Dads: They talked about the often-overlooked and fascinating roles that animal fathers play in the animal kingdom. Their stories highlight the nurturing, protective, and sometimes surprising behaviors of various animal dads.

· Educational Value: They said the book is designed to teach children about different animal species and their unique parenting styles. This includes facts that might not be commonly known, making the learning experience both fun and informative.

· Engaging Illustrations: Harper discussed the vibrant and engaging illustrations that bring their animal stories to life. The artwork is crafted to capture the attention of young readers and complement the narrative, making the book visually appealing.

· Inspiration for Young Readers: Lang and Harper talked about how the book aims to inspire young readers by showing them the diversity of parental roles in the natural world, and even reflect on their own relationships with their fathers or father figures.

· Messages of Love and Responsibility: Finally, they emphasized the underlying messages of love, responsibility, and dedication that the animal dads exhibit, hoping to resonate with both children and parents who read the book together.

On Sunday, June 9, a team from Acton’s independent bookstore headed out to Shirley for The Bull Run Speaker Series, which featured Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who discussed her newest book, An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s.

A handwritten poster announcing Doris Kearns Goodwin as a speaker at Bull Run Restaurant on June 9, and a picture of the cover of Goodwin's newest book, An Unfinished Love Story.
Doris Kearns Goodwin has a new book entitled An Unfinished Love Story. Photo: Greg Jarboe

Goodwin, who is known for her meticulous research, engaging narrative style, and deep analysis of historical events and figures, said the 1960s were a time of profound change, marked by civil rights struggles, political upheaval, cultural revolutions, and personal awakenings. This book weaves together her firsthand experiences with the broader historical context, offering readers a unique lens through which to view this pivotal era.

Finally, on Monday, June 10, the Silver Unicorn Bookstore hosted a special evening with New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Nathan Hale. The event also served as a pre-launch party for his newest kids graphic novel, The Mighty Bite: Walrus Brawl at the Mall.

The book combines thrilling brawls and slapstick comedy with clever storytelling, ensuring that readers of all ages will be entertained. Fans of the first Mighty Bite book can expect more of the signature wit and creative scenarios that make the series a standout in the graphic novel genre.

So, a local business can compete successfully with Amazon by offering something you can’t get online: A chance to meet authors in person and ask them to autograph their books.


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