Miriam Bloom Signing

Local author Miriam Bloom will be here on Saturday, June 17 from 1:00-3:00pm to sign copies of her beautiful new children’s book An ABC of Ottawa. Bright, beautifully illustrated, and featuring some of our Nation’s Capital’s most iconic sites, this ABC book is sure to be enjoyed by all readers, both young and old.

To learn more about Miriam and her lovely book, check out her website: http://www.miriambloomart.ca/#1

“Earthly Remains” by Donna Leon

In this new mystery novel by Donna Leon, Commissario Guido Brunetti is taking a rare leave of absence which is rudely interrupted by the sudden death of his host.

Spending his time off in villa on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna, Brunetti is enjoying days of rowing a boat alongside the caretaker Davide Casati, who was also an excellent navigator. When a sudden and violent storm one day upset Casati’s boat at the landing, drowning its owner, Brunetti finds himself once again on the job, trying to solve a case complicated by other men’s actions at the time of the accident.

Brunetti is the starring detective in 26 stories in this beloved series by Leon. She has lived in Venice for most of her life (now dividing her time between Venice and Switzerland) and gives readers an up-close picture of the ancient city, the charm of the vaporetti rides through the lagunas, and details and rhythms of everyday life. Alongside the charm, however, lie problems from the huge influx of tourists as well as government corruption.

We have gotten to know and love Brunetti as he tracks down some of these crimes. He does it in a low-key manner, always allowing time to be with his own family, wife Paola and two children whom he loves and who become friends as we read the series. 

Earthly Remains is a powerful new addition to this celebrated series.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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“My Italian Bulldozer” by Alexander McCall Smith

This is a new novel by the beloved Scottish author of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency and a number of other series.

In this one, he introduces Paul Stuart, a well-known food writer in London who has written some popular books on food and wine in different parts of Europe. He was starting a new one, when his girlfriend of some time left him for her personal trainer. His editor, Gloria, suggested he travel to the part of Italy he was going to write about, for inspiration and cheer. He has already had success with books such as Paul Stuart’s Provencal Table, and Bordeaux Table, as well as books on Portugal and Spain.

Tuscany turns out to be a beautiful spot, as he settles into a charming village called Montalcano. His adventures start when his car-rental could not produce a car, and he is given a bulldozer which he proceeds to drive gingerly from place to place, getting attention to his own project along the way. The village people prove fun and competitive. A young American woman has particular appeal. In the end he finds happiness close to home in one of McCall Smith’s happy ever after endings. It makes for another of his irresistible loving books.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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June 2017 Newsletter

May Bestsellers

1. Crying for the Moon by Mary Walsh
2. The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halsom
3. Save Your Mind by Antoine Hakim
4. From Trudeau to Trudeau by Terry Mosher
5. Faithful by Glenn J. Lockwood and Janet B. Uren
6. A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
7. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
8. Bad Days in History by Michael Farquhar
9. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
10. The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

Greetings Book Lovers!

Is it March? Is it October? No, it’s June! Well, that’s what the calendar says anyway. It may not feel like summer, but we can’t let that stop us from putting together our summer reading lists. Whether you’re jetting off to warmer climes, making a trek up to the cottage, or planning on spending a quiet summer in the dappled sunshine of your own backyard, there is no better or more constant companion to have by your side than a great book!

Escaping to sunny Spain for a bit of a break sounds like an excellent idea to us. Why not make your trek without the hassle of plane travel by reading Jane Johnson‘s new novel Court of Lions? Fleeing a terrible trauma back home, Kate Fordham suddenly finds herself waiting tables in the ancient Spanish city of Granada. Surrounded by history and the dust of centuries past, the chance discovery of an ancient symbol-laced message turns Kate’s life on its head once again as she’s plunged into a historical adventure unlike any other. Closer to home, The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close is the charming story of newlywed couple, Beth and Matt, who decide to move to the political hotbed of Washington, DC in order to nurture Matt’s political aspirations. Beth immediately hates everything about their new city and doesn’t start to truly settle in until she and Matt meet and befriend another DC couple, Jimmy and Ashleigh. While the four friends begin to do everything together, it doesn’t take long for their lives to become riddled with tension, jealousy, competition, and rumours.

Tracy Chevalier, the beloved author of The Girl with a Pearl Earring, Remarkable Creatures, and The Virgin Blue, has joined the likes of Margaret Atwood, Anne Tyler, Howard Jacobson, and Jeannette Winterson, as the newest author of the ongoing Hogarth Shakespeare series with her new book New Boy. As a retelling of William Shakespeare‘s Othello set in a Washington high school in the 1970s, this new novel tells the story of Osei Kokote who quickly makes friends with Dee, the most popular girl in school. However, the road to love is seldom smooth and pretty soon, in a fit of jealousy, the self-proclaimed ruler of the schoolyard sets out to destroy this beautiful, blooming friendship. Like the original tale, no character in Chevalier’s story will escape these tragic events unscathed. If reading a creepy, crawly thriller is right up your alley this summer, be sure to check out Skitter by Ezekiel Boone. As the follow up to last year’s The Hatching, this new novel continues the story of an ancient species of man-eating spider that has mysteriously awoken and begun terrorizing the human and animal populations around the globe. Not for the faint of heart, this entertaining series has been a staff pick from the moment it hit our shelves!

One of the most highly anticipated non-fiction books of the summer has finally arrived! Did you enjoy Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls? Then be sure to pick up a copy of David Sedaris‘ new book Theft By Finding: Diaries 1977-2002. This world-renowned humourist has spent the last forty years keeping diaries of everything that captures his attention – from overheard comments and passing gossip to soap opera plot twists and secrets confided by total strangers. It’s these diary entries that have formed the basis for all the books of essays that Sedaris readers have so loved over the years. It’s a real treat for diehard David Sedaris fans and anyone who enjoys quick wit and sharp observations. It’s not uncommon for everyone to go through at least one phase of childhood during which they decide they want to be an international spy. Henry Hemming can help you relive these dreams with his new book Agent M, a biography of Maxwell Knight. In addition to being perhaps the greatest spymaster in history, Knight was a devoted jazz aficionado and an eccentric exotic animal collector. Perhaps most fascinating is the fact that he’s rumoured to have been the real life inspiration for Ian Fleming‘s debonair secret agent, James Bond. Consequently, this book is best enjoyed shaken, not stirred!

Before the kids leave for camp or head off on holiday for the summer, be sure to stock up on some great reads for them to pack next to their sunscreen, flip-flops, and extra snacks. Multiple award-winning author Jason Reynolds has just released As Brave As You, a new story about family, the bond between brothers, and the true meaning of bravery. This heart-felt coming of age story is perfect for fans of The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, and The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue. With a touch of steampunk, a dash of mystery, and a lot of puzzle-solving, York by Laura Ruby is a real treat for fans of fantasy and adventure. In 1798, the mysterious Morningstarr twins arrive in New York and proceed to develop the city with a puzzle called the Old York Cypher built right into its streets and buildings. When this puzzle, which is said to lead to a treasure beyond imagining, remains unsolved into modern times, Tess, Theo, and Jaime set out on a quest to save their home and solve the world’s most mysterious puzzle. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon is a funny, romantic story about two Indian-American teens whose parents are conspiring to arrange their marriage. Dimple is looking forward to spending the summer at a web design camp and escaping her mother’s obsessive search for a nice Indian boy for her to marry. Rishi is a hopeless romantic and has no problem with his parents arranging his marriage – he’s actually pretty happy about it. When he finds out that his intended is going to be at the same camp as him, it feels like fate. But despite their initial positive reactions to each other, things don’t move forward quite as planned. Will these two teens manage to find real love despite the planning and scheming of their respective parents?

With so many more books to mention than we have space for in this medium, here are a few more recent and upcoming releases that we’re all excited to get our hands on: The Party by Robyn HardingBe Ready for the Lightning by Grace O’ConnellEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris CleaveNo is Not Enough by Naomi Klein (June 13)The Little French Bistro by Nina George (June 13)A Sackful of Limericks by Michael Palin (June 27), and Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (July 4).

We had a lovely evening at Clarkstown Kitchen & Bar with Mary Walsh back in May and are glad that so many of you were able to join us. We don’t have any new dinner events coming up in the next couple of months, but we look forward to having you all join us once again when our Titles@Table40 series kicks back into high gear in the fall. In the meantime, we still have some great signings and readings coming up in the store over the next month that are worth checking out. On Saturday, June 10, be sure to come by to meet author John Kalbfleisch. He will be here from 12:00pm to 2:00pm to sign and read from his new novel A Stain Upon the Land. Local children’s author Miriam Bloom will be on hand on Saturday, June 17 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm to sign copies of her colourful new picture book An ABC of Ottawa. Full of bright photos of famous National Capital landmarks, this lovely book is more than deserving of a permanent home on your bookshelf.

It’s been hard to get into that relaxing summer feeling so far this year thanks to our very wet, cold weather, but planning your seasonal reading list is an excellent step in the right direction. With tons of new titles appearing on our shelves every day, there are an almost infinite number of book destinations to choose from.

As Neil Gaiman once said, “a book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” With those wise words in mind, we wish you all sunny days ahead and pleasant dreams to come.

Happy Reading!

— The Staff at Books on Beechwood

Bruce McCallum Signing

P.E.I. author Bruce McCallum will be in the store on Thursday, May 18 from 5:00-7:00pm to sign copies of his new mystery novel Death in the Doach Woods.

About the book:

“What happens when ordinary people get swept up in a murder case?

Death in the Doach Woods is a murder-mystery set in south west Scotland, in the wild heart of Dumfries and Galloway. Derek and Kirstie Finlayson, a couple from Prince Edward Island, have recently retired from busy jobs in Canada. They’re spending six months in the region—reconnecting with Kirstie’s family who still live nearby.

They enjoy hiking and biking in the Scottish Forestry Commission’s extensive forests. But one afternoon in January, they make a startling discovery at the lookout, high up on a mountain in the Doach Woods. From that moment on, they find themselves caught up in a whirlwind that takes over their lives, especially for Derek, the nosy Canadian. He can’t stop thinking about the case and looking for clues that might solve it. Why would someone kill a 75 year-old man? Who could benefit from such a crime? The story climaxes when a surprise player draws attention to a possible culprit. In a strange twist, the hunters then become the hunted.

Many of the story’s colourful characters speak in the rich dialect of south west Scotland—a language made famous by the poet, Rabbie Burns, as he is known to the Scots.”

May 2017 Newsletter

April Bestsellers
2. The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson
3. An ABC of Ottawa by Miriam Bloom
4. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
5. Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
6. Goodnight From London by Jennifer Robson
7. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
8. My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith
9. Earthly Remains by Donna Leon
10. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Greetings Book Lovers!
May has arrived – though it may not feel like it – and that means that summer is just around the corner! So, dust off your suitcases and take out your beach bags! It’s time to fill in that summer reading list!
One great way to discover new books to read is to get them right from the hands of the author. Luckily, we’ve got a number of signings coming up over the next month at which you can do just that! On Saturday, May 13, we’ll be having what we call a Super Signing Saturday with two great local authors paying us a visit back to back. First up, Margaret Kell Virany will be here from 11:00am to 1:00pm to sign copies of her two memoirs, A Book of Kells and Kathleen’s Cariole Ride. Rounding out the day, local poet Marilyn Sargeant will be signing copies of her book of poetry, Carbon is Yellow, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. P.E.I. author Bruce McCallum will be on site on Thursday, May 18 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm to sign and read from his new Scottish-set mystery Death in the Doach Woods. In anticipation of the celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial, Zanaib Muse will be in the store from 12:00pm to 2:00pm on Saturday, May 20 to sign copies of her new (and very timely) travel book An Insider’s Guide to Canada’s Capital. Taking a quick peek into June, John Kalbfleisch, a columnist for the Montreal Gazette, will be joining us on Saturday, June 10 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm to sign copies of his brand new historical novel A Stain Upon the Land.
If just spending an afternoon browsing the shelves is still your favourite way to choose a new book, you won’t be disappointed with some of our most recent arrivals. Perennial favourite and Harry Hole creator Jo Nesbo, has just gifted us with a brand new mystery that’s sure to please old and new fans alike. The Thirst finds his newly retired detective drawn back into the Police fold to hunt a monster from his past, despite the promises he made after his last case put those closest to him in danger. With thrills and chills galore, Girl on the Train fans are in for a treat with Paula Hawkins new thriller Into the Water. While we love our lakes, rivers, and oceans for their inherent beauty and powers of relaxation, it’s thrillers like this one that make us think twice about what mysteries might lie beneath the crystalline surface. Sealskin by Su Bristow keeps us on the water theme with a beautiful and mystical story set on the Scottish coast and based on the legend of the selkies – humans who can turn into seals. The 3,500 mile journey across the ocean has never felt so magical! When time traveling, no matter when or where you’re going, there are always some inherent mind-bending and conscience-testing questions involved. In Kathleen A. Flynn‘s debut novel The Jane Austen Project, Liam and Rachel find themselves sent back to 1815 in order to meet, befriend, and steal an unfinished manuscript from literary treasure Jane Austen – a truly unthinkable act, if they were to succeed. If you read and loved A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologizes by Swedish author Fredrik Backman, Beartown should definitely earn a place on your nightstand. Set in a small town and featuring a favourite Canadian pastime, this novel is full of big dreams, bright hopes, and startling secrets.
With so many books arriving everyday, it’s often hard to keep ahead of them, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these other great novels as our shelves continue to fill up: The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn (a witty, tender read about what happens when a couple move to the country and decide to embark on an experiment to spice up their marriage), Mad Richard by Lesley Krueger (a historical novel about artist Richard Dadd and novelist Charlotte Bronte, and the unlikely friendship they form), House of Names by Colm Toibin (an electrifying retelling of a classic Greek tragedy, rediscover the fraught world of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Orestes, and Elektra), and The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer (a beautiful novel full of history, art, mystery, and heart).
After almost four years of waiting, heavy-hiting historian Lynne Olson has given us a new book to enjoy! This celebrated author of the bestselling Troublesome Young Men, Citizens of London, and Those Angry Days has come out with Last Hope Island, the story of how Britain became the wartime base of operations for exiled European leaders as Hitler marched his way across the continent. For a bit of a lighter walk through history, Bad Days in History by Michael Farquhar is the perfect thing to dip into whenever the mood strikes you. Telling one true tale of misery and woe for each of the 365 days in the year, these stories cover everything from lost love to fallen empires, fiendish thefts to devilish murders, and will no doubt help you face even the most intimidating of days. Leo Grasset will educate and entertain you with his new book How the Zebra Got Its Stripes. Not only will you get a fully scientific answer to questions such as “why are zebras striped?” and “why do giraffes have such long necks?”, but you’ll most likely also walk away armed with fascinating and handy facts to dazzle your friends with.
Here are a few more recent non-fiction releases that are worth more than a passing glance: The Otter’s Tale by Simon Cooper (a beautifully written account of one man’s relationship with an otter family in southern England), Footsteps by The New York Times (a lovely literary travel guide to the geographic muses that inspired some of our favourite writers), From Trudeau to Trudeau by Terry Mosher (a hefty anthology celebrating 50 years of cartooning by Asilin), Gutenberg’s Fingerprint by Merilyn Simonds (a fascinating exploration of the value of the physical book in a digital world), and Faithful by Glenn J. Lockwood and Janet Uren (a stunning and thorough history of 150 years of one of our local churches, St. Bartholomew).
Never one to be left out, our children’s section is full to the brim with great new reads that would make the perfect fodder for any holiday or trip to camp. Perfectly timed for the return of Anne of Green Gables to television, Melanie J. Fishbane‘s young adult novel Maud is a charming ode to a Canadian treasure. Inspired by the life of Lucy Maud Montgomery, this story introduces us to a teenage Maud as she tries to adjust to moving from her grandparents’ house in Prince Edward Island to her father’s house out west while trying to hold onto her dreams of going to college and becoming a writer like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. From Julie Murphy, the author who brought us the wonderful book Dumplin’ (now available in paperback), comes Ramona Blue, the story of a strong teenage girl determined to stay true to herself despite all the odds. It’s the perfect read for fans of Morgan Matson, Rainbow Rowell, and Jennifer Niven. We have a very exciting new arrival for those of you who devoured Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Rick Riordan has just released The Dark Prophecy, the second book in his series The Trials of Apollo. In this new book, readers return to Camp Half-Blood where they meet the god Apollo, who has been stripped of his powers and banished to earth as a gawky, acne-prone sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. With his trademark style, Riordan is bound to keep duvet-covered flashlights burning bright well into the night! Two of our favourites picture books right now are Olivia the Spy by Ian Falconer and Hey, Boy by Benjamin Strouse. It’s been a while since we’ve had a new Olivia the Pig book and this one is a real winner. Charming as ever, Olivia will surely steal your heart…spy-style! A newcomer to the picture book scene, Benjamin Strouse‘s story about a boy and his dog takes a classic theme and turns it into an unforgettable, touching story that children will love and adults won’t mind reading over and over again.
We’re only a couple of weeks into the month so there are still lots of book goodies to come. Here are a few that we’re looking forward to getting our hands on: New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (May 16), Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (May 23), Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton (May 23), Churchill & Orwell by Thomas E. Ricks (May 23), and One Brother Shy by Terry Fallis (May 30).
The air outside may be cool, but the sunshine is toasty warm and there’s nothing a book loves more than a nice walk in the sun. So, be sure to pay us a visit to see what hidden gems we have in store. You never know, you might go home with a new friend!
Happy Reading!
–The Staff of Books on Beechwood

Margaret Kell Virany Signing

Margaret Kell Virany of Aylmer, Quebec looks forward to a visit to Books on Beechwood on Saturday, May 13 from 11:00am to 1:00pm to sign copies of the WWI-era story of her parents, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

About the book:

“It is full of love and promise. They were an unlikely pair. She was a city councilor’s daughter from Portsmouth, England and he was a Canadian sailor from a farm 40 miles north of Toronto. They met in 1917 when her father invited some colonial servicemen home for Sunday tea. They did not start writing until nine years later, after war losses had taken their toll. They were lonely, reaching out for love. One reviewer writes, ‘More than just a northern adventure story, this is the hard journey of two souls seeking to create a better world after the trauma of the war.’ The courtship is conducted on onion skin stationery back and forth over 5,000 miles. She asks him to come over again before she decides and he does, twice. In a tremendous leap of faith she comes out to the snowy expanses and frozen lakes of the Oxford House Swampy Cree mission field in Manitoba to be his lifelong helpmeet although she’s seen him for only three weeks out of 27 years.”

About the author:

“Margaret is a graduate in English ‘Lang & Lit’ from the University of Toronto. She worked as a professional YMCA secretary, freelance journalist and was editor and co-owner of the Aylmer Bulletin. With honesty and intimacy, she combines the discipline and breadth of a classical education with the flare, brevity and compulsion of a newspaper.”

Margaret’s earlier book, A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void –  her parents’ story followed by her own story of growing up as a minister’s daughter -will also be available.

Find out more about Margaret and her books at www.margaretvirany.com.

 

 

Elie Nasrallah Signing

Local author, Elie Nasrallah will be here on Saturday, May 6 from 12:00pm to 4:00pm to sign copies of his book Hostage to History.

Check out the following links to find out more about Elie Nasrallah and his work!

Elie’s essay from the Ottawa Citizen:

Nasrallah: Let's stop the myth-making around multiculturalism

This is a great article from Ottawa Life Magazine in which Elie Nasrallah is named one of the top 25 people in the Capital:

http://www.ottawalife.com/2016/09/meet-the-16th-annual-top-25-people-in-the-capital-2/

Amelia Curran Signing

Stop by the store on Friday, April 28 to meet Newfoundland singer/songwriter Amelia Curran. She will be here from 2:00-3:00pm to sign copies of her new book of songs, Relics and Tunes.

Full of songs from all five of Amelia’s albums, including her newest release, Watershed, this book of lyrics comes complete with keys and chords for each song. Whether you’re a musician, a poetry lover, or a fan of Amelia herself, this book is a real treat to read and explore.

Learn more about Amelia on her website: www.ameliacurran.com 

We look forward to seeing you on Friday!