“Sunshine on Scotland Street” by Alexander McCall Smith

sunshinescotlandstreetAlexander McCall Smith’s Sunshine on Scotland Street has come out in Vintage Canada paperback edition, and once again the Scottish author is fun to read.

McCall Smith is a retired professor of medical law from the University of Edinburgh. He is also an endless watcher of the people around him, as well as those he makes up. They are a motley crew – often droll, mischievous but believable, and in the end appealing.

As well as the 44 Scotland Street Series, McCall Smith has written The Isabel Dalhousie Novels, The Corduroy Mansions Series, The Portuguese Irregular Verbs Series, The No. l Ladies Detective Agency Series and several books for Young Readers. This one makes you feel you are living in Edinburgh, with its old stone houses, elegant Princes Street, view of the castle and beckoning pubs. In spite of its reputation for rain, McCall Smith shows a very sunny side of the city he loves as well as the affection between the various families and inmates of 44 Scotland Street. It’s a very upbeat book.

Review by Anne McDougall

“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

alllightcannotseeThis is a touching story of two young people raised on opposite sides of the Second World War, who eventually meet and fall in love.

As the war rages, the author Anthony Doerr introduces us to the blind daughter of an employee of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, who escapes the Nazi invasion with her father to live in the walled citadel of Saint-Malo. He also brings in the German orphan, Werner, living in an orphanage with his sister in a mining town, when he is chosen by the Nazis to join the academy of Hitler Youth.

The war widens and a series of coincidences brings these two characters together. Doerr writes intimately about the beauties of nature, the love and loyalty of human beings, as they shine through the horrors of war.

He is the author of a number of story collections and novels, many of which have won prizes in the U.S. and overseas. He lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and two sons.

Review by Anne McDougall

August Newsletter

The Man Booker Prize Long-list was just released.

Joshua Ferris “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour” In Store;R. Flanagan “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” Release Aug 12; K.J. Fowler “We are all Completely Beside Ourselves” In Store; Siri Hustvedt “The Blazing World” In Store ;Howard Jacobson “J” Releases Sept 30; Paul Kingsnorth “The Wake” ?Crowd Published; David Mitchell “The Bone Clocks” Releases Sept 2; Neel Mukherjee “The Lives of Others” To Order ;David Nicholls “Us” Releases Oct 28; Joseph O’Neill “The Dog” Releases Sept 9; Richard Powers “Orfeo” To Order; Ali Smith “How to be Both” Releases Sept 9; Niall Williams “History of the Rain” In Store.


Thank you to those customers who re-affirmed their interest in receiving our monthly newsletters by e-mail. For those that would like to add their name to our e-mail list, the website has an opt-in link on the right-hand side.

August is a quiet time for booksellers except for the inflow of new books for the fall and holiday seasons. You can see some of the new books to be published soon by going to our webstore and using the search feature. Forthcoming titles can be seen by scrolling down the boxes at each side of the page. There is also a list feature where you can create your own list of books for later reference. Of course you can advance order the new books -or existing stock -on line. We also accept telephone orders -just phone the bookstore. You might also want to look up details of the Man Booker long list nominees given above. This year American novels were eligible for the first time. There are four on the long list. My favorite entry so far is “History of the Rain”. It is witty and profound and uses the English language in a way that it seems only the Irish can master.

Our two book clubs resume in September on the second and last Wednesdays of the month. Click on Book Club for full details. The theme for the fall sessions is the commemoration of authors recently lost to us featuring “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Gracia Marquez, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou and “The Snow Walker” by Farley Mowat. We sell the books at a discount each month.

One future event to take note of is our celebration of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the bookstore on Beechwood which will occur on September 13th. Yes. 20 years ago, two intrepid women started the bookstore; Jean Barton and Mary Mahoney. Quite an adventure! Their legacy lives on in the spirit of the neighbourhood bookstore that continues today. We’ll have some details of the celebration to announce later but please plan to drop by and help us celebrate. Another September event is the renewal of the “Titles at Table Forty” series- the opportunity to meet an author over dinner and hear about the creation of their latest book. We’ll announce the full details shortly.


Our Best Sellers in July

  1. No Relation                                 Terry Fallis                                       Fiction
  2. The Rosie Project                        Graeme Simsion                           Fiction
  3. Capital in the 21st Century        Thomas Piketty                            Economy
  4. 100 year old man who…             Jonas Jonasson                            Fiction
  5. The Awakening of Miss Prim         N. Sanmartin Fenollera              Fiction
  6. Reclaiming the Commons..        Heather Menzies                         Biography
  7. Based on a True Story ..              Elizabeth Renzetti                       Fiction
  8. Wicked Autumn                            G.M. Malliet                                  Mystery
  9. Art of Racing in the Rain           Garth Stein                                   Fiction
  10. The Lost Sisterhood                     Anne Fortier                                 Fiction
  11. Girl who saved the King..        Jonas Jonasson                             Fiction
  12. The Gravity of the Birds            Tracy Guzeman                             Fiction
  13. Silver Totem of Shame                R.J. Harling                                     Mystery
  14. Palawan Story                                 Caroline Vu                                    Fiction