Holiday Hours

It’s the last long weekend of the summer! As such, we will be CLOSED on Monday, September 4 for Labour Day. Regular store hours will resume on Tuesday, September 5.

Don’t forget to stock up on books to get you through the holiday!
Happy long weekend!

“The Great Gould” by Peter Goddard

There have been many books written on Glenn Gould but this one, by the music critic of The Toronto Star and author of a number of musical biographies, brings new light to this complicated genius.

Born in the northern edge of the Beaches neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, Gould happened to live next door to the leading print journalist, Robert Fulford. Fulford watched Gould’s talent bursting forth but also noted the relentless pressure from his mother. Fulford and Gould formed the New Music Associates, a concert series that didn’t last long, unlike Gould’s piano-playing career which took off and had Gould playing in Russia in 1957, all over Europe in 1958 and in a U.S. TV debut in 1960 with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein.

In 1955 Gould made his first recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and this has become one of the greatest recordings in music history. While Gould’s musical career was flourishing, his personal life was not. He lived at home into his thirties, had few friends and one short-lived love affair with a married woman. Goddard notes his loneliness, and difficulty in making and keeping friends. He had many eccentricities in playing, and insisted on using a particular chair with cut-off legs. By 1964 he gave his last public performance in Los Angeles and from then on made recordings only.

They are famous recordings, however. A recent BBC documentary on Gould suggests he may have suffered from Asperger syndrome, or autistic spectrum disorder. This would explain his need to have control of things as well as his intense concentration on what he was doing. Gould died aged 50. He has left the rest of us a wonderful musical legacy.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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“Birdcage Walk” by Helen Dunmore

This is another novel by Helen Dunmore, the American writer who has become famous for some fifteen books in which she uses huge canvases of actual history as backdrops to up-close human tragedies. Birdcage Walk is not only her latest book, it is also her last. Dunmore died in the spring of 2017.

Birdcage Walk takes place as the French Revolution is boiling up. It is set, however, in the UK, in the town of Bristol. Here, as elsewhere, England is at the height of the Romantic era and British radicalism. A young bride, Lizzie Fawkes, has grown up in radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. She is married to John Diner Tredevant, however, who is a property developer and heavily invested in Bristol’s property boom. He is looking for money to finance a particularly fine terrace overlooking the city’s two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge. As the Revolution in France sharpens, the investors are dropping away. John is angry that his wife continues to express her radical views and does not put his business interests first.

This is the story of a marriage and how it struggles to survive against forces far away that it can’t control. Dunmore is highly praised for writing that is both elegant and revealing.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

This is a passionate love letter to the city of New York inspired by the life of an American woman who lived there in the 30’s and became the highest-paid female advertising copywriter in the world

The woman was called Margaret Fishback, and the author of this book bases Lillian Boxfish on her life, but apart from that writes an entirely new novel. Lilian was born in 1926 to a comfortable family living in Washington. She found she could write, and was determined to get to New York and earn her own living that way. Her family helped her initially, and insisted she live in the Christian Women’s Hotel in Midtown, until she could afford her own apartment. It didn’t take very long before Lilian landed a job at R.H. Macy’s writing advertising copy. She was original and witty and very soon earning a top salary. She also wrote poems, funny and charming. Her first book Oh, Do not ask for Promises was a smash hit and sold out, as did all her others up to the last Nobody’s Darling.

Lilian lived in six apartments altogether. She also fell deeply in love with a manager of a department at Macy’s, married and had one son whom she adored always. What distinguished her from other successful New Yorkers was her passion for the city, the actual streets. She walked every day, usually about five miles, on the way to work, at lunch time and in the evening to parties. She felt the street was the source of the latest things humans have invented and she looked for these all the time. She never ran into danger in her walking.

It’s a very original book and a new look at a city many have tried to describe before.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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August 2017 Newsletter

July Bestsellers

1. The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
2. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Nutshell by Ian McEwan
Exploring the Capital by Andrew Waldron
5. The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide by Chris Colfer
6. No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein
7. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
8. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
House of Spies by Daniel Silva

Greetings Book Lovers!

Just as summer seems to have finally arrived, we find ourselves in the home stretch. With only a month to go before the dreaded “back to school” time hits, it’s more important than ever to show your bookcase some love and squeeze in just a bit more reading-in-the-sun time before we get drawn back into our regular routines.

While we’re all trying to slow things down and really relish those last few hazy days spent by the lake or on the coast, the publishing industry keeps the home fires burning in order to further enrich our sunshine time with great summer reads! Whether your summer days are marked by digging your toes into a wet sandy beach, walking through a city park, or riding a merry-go-round at an amusement park, the one thing guaranteed to make each of those activities even more special is a cup or cone full of ice cream! Always a favourite summer treat, now there’s a way for you to enjoy this delectably creamy confection in book form too! The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest van der Kwastis a lovely read set in Northern Italy, the fabled birthplace of ice cream. Reminiscent of Fredrik Backman‘s A Man Called Ove, this story is about the struggle that bubbles up within a family when the black sheep announces that he wants to abandon their proud Italian ice cream dynasty to pursue a literary career. Set against a stunning backdrop and full of charming characters and delicious culinary delights, this novel is a treat to read! For the ultimate sensory experience, try reading the book while partaking of your favourite flavour…whether it be butterscotch ripple, strawberry cheesecake, or tiger tail! This novel would also be a great pick for anyone who liked The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

Still riding the wave of bestsellers like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, we have a whole new crop of great thrillers and suspenseful novels to tell you about. Debut author Danya Kukafka has joined the ranks of edge-of-your-seat writers with her riveting novel Girl in Snow. Revolving around the death of a beloved high school girl, readers get an inside look at how one tragedy can affect so many different people as the story is told from three unique perspectives – the boyfriend, the jealous classmate, and the investigating officer. If you liked The Party by Robyn Harding, you will definitely enjoy this thriller! While most long-term friendships can weather the storms of life quite nicely, there are times when even the strongest of bonds reach their breaking point. In both The River at Night by Erica Ferencik and The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (the beloved author of last year’s The Woman in Cabin 10), a group of best friends find themselves in impossible and terrifying situations when the people they thought they could depend on most surprise each other by revealing long-held secrets, admitting to old deceptions, and, in some cases, switching life-long allegiances.

As we make our way through life, we spend a lot of time second guessing ourselves and wondering how things might have turned out if other things had or hadn’t happened in a certain way. What if I had made a different choice? What if I had just told the truth? These are just some of the questions woven through the fabric of The Marriage Pact and Truly Madly Guilty, two new novels by Michelle Richmond and Liane Moriarty, respectively. Moriarty introduces us to Sam and Clementine, a lovely young couple who know they can always lean on each other, no matter what. However, when they accept a last-minute invitation to a casual summer barbecue, events are set in motion that neither could have foreseen and that can’t be stopped. Full of glamourous parties, exclusive societies, and a scintillating sense of excitement, Michelle Richmond‘s novel is a fast-paced story about love, promises, and what happens when you join a strict, rule-abiding group called The Pact and then transgress against the powers that be.

Summer holidays often mean long trips in the car or seemingly endless hours spent sitting around the airport. Instead of spending this time typing, tapping, and texting on our cell phones, why not play a word game, learn to read your own palm, or reorganize your purse? These are just a few of the suggested activities in 101 Things To Do Instead Of Playing On Your Phone by Ilka Heinemann. Small and compact itself, this cheeky yet useful book is the perfect thing to turn to when you want a distraction that doesn’t depend on WiFi or battery power – no recharge required! As lovers of the written word, one thing that we can never get enough of are books about sayings, languages, and jargon. Luckily, we very seldom have to endure a whole publishing season without a new book like this landing on our shelves. Vulgar Tongues by Max Decharne is a sharp and witty trip through the history of slang. From the prostitutes of Elizabethan England, to World War II flying aces, to the centuries-long history of Masonic lodges around the world, this book explores the changing meaning of words like punk, geek, fly, and square. If you’ve always wanted to know what flap dragons and ale passion mean, this is the book for you!

In our cherished children’s section, we are so excited to finally have Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli on our shelves! Inspiring children of all ages to dream big and never give up, this wonderful book features 100 mini biographies of great women throughout history. In what other book could you find Elizabeth I, Amelia Earhart, Serena Williams, Cleopatra, Jane Goodall, and Malala Yousafzai sitting shoulder to shoulder? In a similar vein, but slightly more focused, is the newest book by Rachel Ignotofsky. Women in Sports is a beautiful illustrated collection of stories about 50 women from sports history who persevered against the odds to achieve their dreams. Like Ignotofsky‘s previous publication, Women in Science, this book is ideal for older children and adults alike.

Whether it’s for bedtime or an evening around the campfire, there are some adorable children’s picture books trickling into the store that are sure to become instant classics! Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex is a hilarious book of fruit-based rhymes where every fruit gets their moment in the sun except Orange. While grapes in capes and bananas in cabanas frolic throughout the book as the rhymes get more and more ludicrous, Orange wanders around wondering if there will ever be a rhyme for him. Linda Ravin Lodding‘s new book, Little Red Riding Sheep, has a similar feel when the narrator, later revealed to be a water buffalo named Eugene, keeps getting interrupted by a sheep who wants to be the star of the story. Children will love how Arnold the sheep keeps making suggestions and changes to the story until it doesn’t resemble the well known fairy tale at all. Charming and ridiculous, You Must Bring a Hat by Simon Philip, has become an immediate staff favourite! Full of bizarre creatures, colourful illustrations, and the most preposterous list of birthday party rules we’ve ever heard, once you reach the last page, the only thing you’ll want to do is go back to the beginning and read it all over again. For the knitters, sewing masters, and crafters among us, Julie Kraulis has written a lovely book all about fabric and patterns. A Pattern for Pepper is a sweet story about a little girl going out to get a new dress made for a special occasion. As she browses in the dress shop, Pepper learns all about the history of different prints and fabrics, who traditionally wore them, and why they were designed the way they were. In the end, she manages to find her perfect pattern – one that’s just as unique and beautiful as she is.

As always, there are lots of new releases to look forward to over the coming weeks. Here are just a few that we’re eager to get our hands on: The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory (August 8), The Only Cafe by Linden MacIntyre(August 8), A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena (August 15), Glass Houses by Louise Penny (August 29), Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey (August 29), and The Winnowing by Vikki Vansickle (September 1).

There are few things we love more than curling up with a good book regardless of the season, but there’s something special about the books we read over the summer. They take trips with us, shade our faces when we read in the sun, don’t get fussed if they’re accidentally left out in the rain, and let us drift off when the hammock we’re reading in starts to feel just a little too comfortable. They thrill us, distract us, and give us pleasant dreams during a season when we traditionally like to sit back, relax, and let everything slide just a little bit. So, whatever your tastes or leanings, be sure you have the perfect kind of paper companion to see you through the home stretch of the sunniest season of the year!

Happy Reading!

— The Staff at Books on Beechwood

Fall Lineup for Titles@Table40

That’s right! Our ever-popular dinner series is back! With a few slight changes and a brand new crop of great Canadian authors for you to wine and dine with, we hope to make your dining experience with us even better than before. We are so looking forward to once again joining forces with our wonderful neighbours at The Fraser Cafe to bring you enjoyable evenings of great food, good drink, and fascinating authors!

Here’s how it works:
The evening starts at 5:30pm with dinner, followed by the author presentation and book signing. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the bookstore. The non-refundable cost is $60.00 which includes the cost of the meal (a set menu of three courses with a vegetarian option), tax and tip. All beverages are extra and will be charged at the end of the evening. The Fraser Cafe can accommodate all special dietary needs if informed in advance.

Call or visit us to purchase your tickets today!
Books on Beechwood
35 Beechwood Avenue

Ottawa author France Itani is helping us kick off event season with her new novel That’s My Baby. Picking up on the story threads which began in Deafening and continued in Tell, this new book follows eighteen year old Hanora, a young woman who, having just discovered that she was adopted as a baby, sets off to discover the mystery of her roots on the eve of the Second World War.

Date: Sunday, September 10
Time: 5:30pm
Place: Table 40, 7 Springfield Road (next to The Fraser Cafe)

For a taste of Newfoundland culture and storytelling, Wayne Johnston will be paying us a visit to talk about First Light, Last Snow which is being touted as “an epic family mystery with a powerful, surprise ending.”  When Ned Vatcher returns home from school one day to find his parents gone without a trace, his life becomes defined by his need to uncover the mystery behind the Vanished Vatchers.

Date: Wednesday, October 11
Time: 5:30pm
Place: Table 40, 7 Springfield Road (next to The Fraser Cafe)

Get a dose of funny when Terry Mosher comes by to talk about his new book From Trudeau to Trudeau. This compilation of fifty years worth of cartoons from The Montreal Gazette is full of celebrated victories, elusive dreams, and skewered politicians, all in classic Aislin style!

Date: Sunday, October 22
Time: 5:30pm
Place: Table 40, 7 Springfield Road (next to The Fraser Cafe)

Tickets for all of these dinner events are available now through the bookstore.

Be sure to buy yours early as they tend to go quite quickly!

Fall 2017 Book Club List

September The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

Session 1: Wednesday, September 13 at 7:30pm

Session 2: Wednesday, September 27 at 7:30pm

October: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Session 1: Wednesday, October 11 at 7:30pm

Session 2: Wednesday, October 25 at 7:30pm

November: Crying for the Moon by Mary Walsh

Session 1: Wednesday, November 8 at 7:30pm

Session 2: Wednesday, November 29 at 7:30pm

Attendees only need to attend one session per month and can select whichever date is most convenient for them. New members are always welcome.

For more information or to join the Book Club, give us a call at 613-742-5030 or send us an e-mail at

The Book Club will be taking a break after May for the summer. Keep an eye on our website for the club’s return in September for the fall session.

Happy Reading!