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December 2019

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Extended Holiday Hours & Downtown Parking 12/01/2019 - 1:00pm to 12/23/2019 - 8:00pm

The Otto Bookstore has extended holiday hours for the month of December.  We will be open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 8pm and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm, starting on Sunday December 1st.  We'd also like to remind customers that the Williamsport Parking Authority has expanded free parking hours at downtown meters - including the lot directly across from the bookstore.  Parking will be free at the meters after 3pm from now until Christmas.  Happy holidays, and looking forward to serving you!

December First Friday - John Moore, PJ Piccirillo & Williamsport Civic Chorus 12/06/2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

This Friday, December 6th, from 6pm to 8pm, The Otto Bookstore welcomes two authors from Pennsylvania's own Sunbury Press: John Moore and his newest book, 1780: Year of Revenge and PJ Piccirillo and his new historical novel, The Indigo Scarf.  The Williamsport Civic Chorus will also be lending their voices from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

Based on the true story of two slaves who fled their owners with white women into the wilderness of north-central Pennsylvania, The Indigo Scarf interprets the little known legacy of slavery persisting in the north during the nineteenth century.  Meticulously researched, the author's work is informed by scholars in early American slave laws and northern black codes, by experts in post-colonial folkways, and by descendants who live to this day in the fugitive settlement their forebears established.  While The Indigo Scarf relates the covert workings of sympathetic Quakers, the ruthlessness of a slave catcher, and the irony of a Revolutionary War veteran forced to face his daughter's love for the slave Jedediah James, it treats the deeper theme of the spirit-breaking impact slavery has had across generations since abolition.

Though shadowed in the whiskey-making and timber-pirating, The Indigo Scarf is a paean to devotion, testing the lengths a woman will go to save her man from a burning vengeance as he confronts the privations of a wild frontier while his former owner schemes his return.  On a broader scale, the story is a testament to the perseverance and vision of pioneer women who devoted themselves to planting in their offspring the seeds of hope for liberty which may only be realized by descendants they would never know.

Woven between scenes spanning a forbidden, historically based slave marriage on a plantation in Virginia’s tidewater region to a tragic liquor operation on the Susquehanna’s un-peopled and feral West Branch during the frontier decades after Pennsylvania’s last Indian purchase, the narrator’s own sub-tale culminates in her realization of how a pioneer-woman ancestor had destined her to break the generational chain of bondage.

PJ Piccirillo’s stories and articles have appeared widely. He is the author of the novel Heartwood and has twice won the Appalachian Writers Association Award for Short Fiction. He lives with his wife and three sons in north-central Pennsylvania, which has always been home.
1779 was the fifth year of the American Revolution, and many Iroquois Indians living in western New York sided with the British. Their war parties repeatedly raided frontier settlements in Pennsylvania and New York. To punish them, General George Washington sent an army led by General John Sullivan to invade the Iroquois homeland. Sullivan burned their villages and destroyed their farms, and Washington believed the Iroquois had been forced out of the war. But Washington had miscalculated: Sullivan had only kicked a hornet’s nest.

For the Iroquois, 1780 became a year for revenge. As winter ended, their warriors didn’t wait for the snow to melt before they sharpened their tomahawks, donned their snowshoes and headed for Pennsylvania. The first attacks caught settlers making sugar in their maple groves and rebuilding farms damaged by previous raids. The warriors terrorized the entire frontier. Across Pennsylvania, militia officers scrambled to protect their settlements. As William Maclay of Sunbury, Pa., implored Governor Joseph Reed, “… Help us if you can.”

Author John L. Moore draws on first-person accounts, letters and depositions to bring these events to life. In researching the topic, he visited many of the sites of forts and skirmishes described in the book.
John Moore has participated in several archaeological excavations of Native American sites. These include the Village of Nain in Bethlehem, Pa.; the City Island project in Harrisburg, Pa., conducted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; a Bloomsburg University dig in 1999 at a Native American site near Nescopeck, Pa.; and a 1963 excavation of the New Jersey State Museum along the Delaware River north of Worthington State Forest.
Mr. Moore’s 46-year newspaper career (1966-2012) included stints as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal; managing editor of The Sentinel at Lewistown, Pa.; editorial page editor, city editor and managing editor of The Daily Item in Sunbury, and editor of the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal in Bethlehem, Pa. He was also a Harrisburg correspondent for Ottaway Newspapers in the early 1970s.

A professional storyteller, Moore specializes in historically accurate stories about Pennsylvanians. Wearing 18th century-style clothing, he often appears in the persona of Susquehanna Jack.  John makes his home in Northumberland, Pa with his lovely wife, Jane.  We will also have his earlier volumes including those in his Frontier Pennsylvania Series.