Valerie Buko Signing

Local children’s author Valerie Buko will be in the store on Saturday, February 24 from 10:00am to 1:00pm to sign copies of her new children’s book, Winter Olympic Athletes.

If watching the PyeongChang Games has sown Olympic dreams in the young ones in your life, be sure to come visit us on Saturday to meet Valerie!

February 2018 Newsletter

January Bestsellers

1. From Walk-Up to High-Rise by Heritage Ottawa
2. Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff
3. A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys
4. Lost Ottawa by David McGee
5. Trumpocracy by David Frum
6. The Pyramid of Mud by Andrea Camilleri
7. Munich by Robert Harris
8. 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver
9. Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill
10. Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey

Greetings Book Lovers!

Welcome to the second month of 2018! It might feel like we’re in the depths of winter still and that this cold, dark season will go on forever (despite what certain groundhogs may have said), but February is also a month full of hope, love, and joy. With upcoming Chinese New Year (the Year of the Dog) means there’s still time to fulfill (or make) your New Year’s Resolutions, celebrating Valentine’s Day mid-month reminds us that there is still love in the world no matter what the newscasters report, and here in Ottawa, the snow sculptures, ice slides, and Beavertails of Winterlude let us feel like children again! And, of course, there are always lots of new books just waiting to whisk you away to more temperate and enticing climes! So, cold and dreary it may be, but light, love, and warmth are not hard to find if you know where to look.

Though not technically taking place until March, readers and radio listeners were treated to the announcement of this year’s Canada Reads titles last week. Featuring a mixture of adult, teen, fiction, and non-fiction, anyone determined to read all five books before the debates start is in for a real treat. On the fiction front are American War by Omar El Akkad and The Boat People by Sharon Bala. Both novels touch on the subject of war – one on the act itself through a futuristic America in which a second Civil War has broken out, and the other on the after-effects as we share the experience of Sri Lankan refugees arriving in Canada after fleeing their own war-ravaged country only to be faced with suspicion and accusation. The lone young adult novel on this year’s list is The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline. Winner of the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature Text, this dark fantasy set in a future North America finds this country’s indigenous people being hunted down for their bone marrow – the only thing that will restore the ability to dream to the rest of the population.

Holding up the flag for non-fiction this year are Craig Davidson‘s funny and heartfelt Precious Cargo, and Mark Sakamoto‘s heart-wrenching memoir, Forgiveness. In his timely and tender book, Davidson recounts his year spent driving a school bus for special needs children and how his precious cargo helped him overcome a dark and desperate time of his life. Centered around the Second World War, Sakamoto puts to paper what could be described as his own origin story as readers are guided through the lives of two of his grandparents, individuals once situated on opposite sides of a devastating conflict but brought together decades later by their children’s love for one another. Whether you want to read all the books before the debates start, or you’re more of a “wait and see” kind of person, we have all the Canada Readsbooks in stock right now for your browsing and buying pleasure!

If Canada Reads doesn’t float your boat, don’t panic! There are still countless other books populating the store right now that are just itching to go home with you. While it’s quite possible that you’ve already had your fill of ice this winter, if by chance you haven’t, why not pick up a copy of Out of the Ice by Australian author Ann Turner? This psychological thriller set in Antarctica is sure to chill you to the bone with its glacial setting, suspense-filled scenes, and unexpected twists. We’re getting cold just thinking about it! Following close on the heels of her great success with The Bookseller, Cynthia Swanson has gifted us with yet another mind-bending novel that will have you second-guessing yourself constantly. The Glass Forest is set in 1960 and tells the story of Angie Glass, a young newlywed who soon finds out that her in-laws are not quite as idyllic as she had always thought. Full of secrets, betrayals, and surprises, calling this new novel a page-turner might just be the understatement of the month! After rising to dizzying heights of success with her uncle, Julian Fellowes, on their great Downton Abbey adventure, Jessica Fellowes has settled into novel writing with The Mitford Murders. Revolving around a real unsolved murder from the 1920s, this murder mystery is perfect for fans of the classic whodunit by the likes of Agatha Christie, Jacqueline Winspear, and Christopher Fowler. Our in-house mystery expert has already read it and gives it five bloody daggers out of five!

For some of us, February is the month of love, and what better way to express the way you feel than through books? Matt Haig, the critically acclaimed author of a number of humourous novels including The Radleys and The Humans, has done it again! How to Stop Time is a sweet, funny, time travel novel in which centuries old Tom (he only looks 41) is forced to constantly reinvent himself due to a rare condition that causes him to live forever. When a faithful trip to the dog park one day threatens to break the one rule of extended life – never fall in love – Tom’s world begins to unravel and his life-long secret comes dangerously close to being revealed. Could this revelation mean the end of Tom’s ageless existence, or the beginning of the normal life he’s always dreamed of having? Like The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North meets The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, How to Stop Time is a lovely story that will leave you with a wonderful sense of satisfaction as you finish reading the last page. It’s a well known fact that showing up to your ex’s wedding without a date is a recipe for disaster! This is the exact prospect that faces Drew Nichols when he turns to virtual stranger Alexa Monroe for help in Jasmine Guillory‘s debut novel, The Wedding Date. Finding a plus one in an elevator during a power outage may not be the most conventional way to secure a date, but even the most unlikely of beginnings can turn into something more. Now Drew and Alexa must decide, is what they’re feeling big enough to bridge all the gaps between them?

Sometimes, a true story can be so compelling that it reads just like a captivating novel. Such is the case with Brad Ricca‘s new book, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes. This fascinating tale of true crime introduces readers to Grace Hamuston, the first female District Attorney in the United States. Sitting at a time when women were still denied the right to vote, Hamuston turned her back on New York society life to become one of the nation’s greatest crime-solvers! What is time and how did we become so enslaved to it? This is one of the questions that Simon Garfield attempts to answer in his new book Timekeepers. From ancient times when we tracked the passing days and nights solely by the movement of the celestial bodies, to the present day where we just can’t seem to find enough time for anything, this in-depth look at the way humans’ relationship to time has changed over the centuries makes for a truly intriguing social history. On the subject of time, after a seemingly interminable wait, we finally have copies of Stephen Fry‘s Mythos in stock! Though the stories themselves are ancient in origin, at their core are moral lessons and timeless truths that can be applied to countless situations in this day and age. Don’t miss the chance to join this famous British comedian, actor, and writer on a mystical journey back through time, to the hallowed halls of Mount Olympus and the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean.

With so many new books arriving in the store every day, it’s virtually impossible to keep ahead of them, and definitely impossible to talk about all of them within the parameters of our monthly newsletter. So, here are a few more recent releases (and upcoming ones) that we look forward to telling you more about when you’re next in the store: S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. BennettThe Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan BradleyOrdinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah HopkinsonThe Bright Hour by Nina RiggsA Time of Love and Tartan by Alexander McCall Smith (February 6), Tempests and Slaughterby Tamora Pierce (February 6), The Bookworm by Mitch Silver(February 13), Songs of Love and War by Santa Montefiore (February 13), How Not to Disappear by Claire Furniss (February 20), Kill the Angelby Sandrone Dazieri (February 20), Rooted in Evil by Ann Granger(February 27).

Traditionally, the first couple months of the new year are on the quiet side for retailers, so we don’t have any events to tell you about quite yet. But, rest assured, there are lots of things in the works. On the Titles@Table40 front, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for our March Newsletter in which we will be making an exciting announcement about our first dinner event of the season!

In the meantime, books are always the answer to any and all questions and quandaries in life, so throw off that shroud of new year uncertainty and beat the winter blues away with a trip to your favourite independent bookstore! We look forward to seeing you!

Happy Reading!

— The Staff of Books on Beechwood

“The Ghost Orchard” by Helen Humphreys

Helen Humphreys is a prize-winning writer, living in Kingston, Ontario who loves to write about nature, agriculture, and how people relate to them.
This book was inspired when she found a White Winter Pearmain – considered the best-tasting apple in the world – growing beside an abandoned cabin near her home. The book has superb colour photographs of this apple as well as a number of others. It has an imaginary chapter on how Pearmain might have been discovered, in England, AD 1200. But there are lots of actual facts about the history of apples, including how bountiful orchards run by the indigenous people of North America were stolen or wiped out by the white settlers and their armies. It was reckoned that there were some 17,000 varieties of apple available in the 1800s, and the U.S. Department of Pomology made a record of these.
There is a fascinating chapter on Robert Frost, the poet, who had an orchard on his farm in Derry, New Hampshire and puts apples in many of his poems. When he moved to the UK, he became friends with Ezra Pound, as well as the English poet Edward Thomas, who loved to walk in the country, look for apples, and put them in their poems. It all makes this a charming book.
Reviewed by Anne McDougall

“The Chosen Maiden” by Eva Stachniak

This is a stunning book on the history of ballet as it played out in the tumultuous years of early 20th century Europe.
The Chosen Maiden was in fact the real-life sister of the famous dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Bronislava Nijinskaya was dancing at the same time as her brother. She was also writing many of the ballets, including one of the most spectacular, The Rite of Spring with its role of Chosen Maiden. The Nijinsky family did not let jealousy ruin their careers and on the whole they helped each other along in every way.
Eva Stachniak has already written five historical novels which hold prizes around the world. They include The Winter Palace, which tells the intimate story of Catherine the Great. In this one, she works with the Memoirs of Bronia, which run up to the end of August 1914. After that she explored the Bronislava Nijinskaya Collection at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and from a vast collection of diaries, correspondence, photographs and scrapbooks she has built what she calls an archival fantasy, or fictional blend of facts and imagination. It makes for a wonderful read.
Reviewed by Anne McDougall

“An Irish Country Practice” by Patrick Taylor

Dr. Patrick Taylor has written more than a dozen novels on every aspect of his beloved village of Ballybucklebo in Northern Ireland. They introduce us to a family doctor, whose practice has grown by leaps and bounds to include a trusted partner and, in this book, a new trainee.
Dr. Taylor was born and raised in Bangor, County Down, in Northern Ireland and is a distinguished medical researcher himself. He is quite familiar with all the medical problems he describes in his mythical Ballybucklebo. The doctors see their patients through difficult challenges, including a housewife whose frequent “accidents” may have a disturbing cause in her own household.
There is also plenty of fun and merriment, from a visiting circus to racing and sailing. Critics consider Taylor probably the most popular Irish-Canadian writer of all time. He is the father of two grown children, and presently living on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.
Reviewed by Anne McDougall