1. Ladies, Upstairs! by Monique Begin
2. Love and Ruin by Paula McLain
3. Becoming by Michelle Obama
4. The Gown by Jennifer Robson
5. Claws of the Panda by Jonathan Manthorpe
6. A Newfoundlander in Canada by Alan Doyle
7. Brother by David Chariandy
8. The Overnight Kidnapper by Andrea Camilleri
9. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
10. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Greetings Book Lovers!
Welcome to spring! Okay, so maybe it’s not quite here yet. Still though, the season of crocuses, roadside puddles, and soft, sprinkling rain is just around the corner! It may not look like it now, but undoubtedly, we’ll all be complaining about the summer heat before we know it! Fresh off a buying stint for forthcoming summer releases, we’re feeling particularly optimistic right now – about the weather and the upcoming publishing season. After all, how can we not be happy now that the heat of the sun is finally permeating the frozen shield of winter and when we know that there are new books from the likes of Ian McEwan, Anthony Horowitz, Jo Nesbo, and Philippa Gregory due to arrive in the coming months?
Thankfully, despite our excitement about the upcoming book season, we won’t have to wait nearly that long to get a great new read! One of the novels that we’re most looking forward to reading this month is the new Andre Alexis book, Days By Moonlight. Written with the same incredible adeptness which gave us Fifteen Dogs and The Hidden Keys, this new story is at once transfixing and mystifying. Centred around a botanist and a professor who set out on an unconventional road trip, it’s left up to the reader to figure out what’s real and what’s not as we travel through town after town, each more bizarre than the last. Reminiscent of Dante‘s Divine Comedy, Alexis‘ novel is a beautiful, thoughtful journey perfect for fans of complex, intellectual narratives. A very different kind of journey awaits us in The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel. When Sophia Barrett leaves her counselling practice for a beautiful town in Cornwall, England in an attempt to work through some of her emotional burdens, she never thought that she would fall into an intriguing mystery and make some new friends in the process. We all know that bookstores are magical places where anything is possible, so when Sophia and her new friend Ginny, a bookstore owner, discover a centuries-old diary, they find themselves on a path of healing and self-discovery that neither could have taken on alone. Sweet and heartwarming, this lovely novel would appeal to fans of Nina George, Jenny Colgan, and Elin Hilderbrand.
There are some moments in life when the only thing that you really want (or need) is to snuggle up with a darkly funny, quirky read that will warm your heart and make you laugh out loud, regardless of your surroundings. Following hot on the heels of her successful debut novel, Pretend I’m Dead, Jen Beagin has gifted us with a sequel just as delightful as its predecessor. Vacuum in the Dark continues the story of Mona, a young woman who cleans houses for a living in New Mexico. After moving to Taos two years earlier because of a bad boyfriend, a junkie known as Mr. Disgusting, Mona’s plans to kick-start her life haven’t really worked out the way she’d like – not only is she still cleaning houses, but she’s somehow replaced her old bad boyfriend with a new one! Charming, unique, and endearing, Mona is a character that readers will have no trouble rooting for as she inexorably stumbles and cartwheels her way forward while attempting to make peace with her past and trying desperately to reshape her future. From darkly funny to darkly twisted, Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce is not only blessed with a jacket we just can’t stop staring at, but it’s the kind of story that keeps you so transfixed that before you know it, you’re on the last page! With a murder case at its heart that’s not quite what it seems, this debut thriller follows a young lawyer as her seemingly perfect life begins to spiral violently out of control. If you liked Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and Jennifer Hillier‘s Jar of Hearts, you will love this novel full of scandals, secrets, and blackmail! We can’t wait to see what this Scottish author will come up with next!
As book lovers, there are few things that give us greater pleasure than reading fascinating books about books, and Edward Wilson-Lee‘s A Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books certainly fits the bill! Steeped in history and one man’s passion for the written word, this multi-faceted book introduces readers to the little-known figure Hernando Colon, the illegitimate son of none other than the famous explorer Christopher Columbus. After the death of his father in 1506, Colon set out to honour his memory by building the world’s greatest library, a collection of every publication every produced – from scholarly texts and literary works to romances and fables. It wasn’t until 1522 when over half his collection was lost in a maritime disaster that this quest became an obsession, and the likelihood of achieving his near-impossible vision began to dwindle. At once riveting and heartbreaking, this incredible account of one book lover’s adventures is a truly unforgettable read! From the high seas to the depths of the earth, Europe: A Natural History by Tim Flannery travels far into the past and treats readers to diverse stories of lost species, meteors, major climate events, and the significant impact humans have had on Europe’s flora and fauna since arriving on the scene. Both enjoyable and educational, this book is perfect for the environmentally curious or anyone who has ever enjoyed an episode or two of the television show Blue Planet!
It’s always a happy day when one of our favourite authors comes out with a new books, so it’s no surprise that the moment we unpacked Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson, we knew it was going to be a good week! She’s won our hearts again and again with her incredibly readable wartime histories – Troublesome Young Men, Citizens of London, Last Hope Island – and this new book about a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman and mother of two who became the leader of a vast intelligence organization during WWII is no different. Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was courageous, strong-willed, and extremely intelligent, and her spy network, Alliance, lasted longer and provided more crucial intelligence to the Allies than any other during the war. It was thanks to Marie-Madeleine and her spies that American and British military commanders had access to the 55-foot long map of beaches and roads on which the Allies landed on D-Day. Written with Olson‘s signature style and expertise, this new book is an incredible and fascinating account of one amazing woman giving her all to her country in dreadful times.
With March Break upon us and summer vacation not too far beyond that, getting the kids stocked up on reading material is something that we can definitely help you with. From the new publishing imprint Rick Riordan Presents, comes a Cuban fantasy full of heart, humour, and the potential to tear a hole in the fabric of space and time! Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez will delight readers just as much as Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard as they follow the unlikely duo of Sal and Gabi on an amazing adventure of magic and fun! And to think, it all starts with a chicken! The Revenge of Magic by James Riley, author of The Story Thieves series, is another winner that’s found its way onto our shelves recently. When magic suddenly re-enters the world through the discovery of powerful magical volumes amidst the bones of ancient dragons, life will never be the same, especially for thirteen-year-old Fort. After losing his father to a giant fantastical creature while on vacation, Fort is invited to join Oppenheimer School in order to learn how to wield this new magic and prevent more attacks from happening. But everything is not as it seems, and it’s up to Fort and his classmates to discover the truth before it’s too late! For all the comic book-loving teens out there, Faith Erin Hicks‘ Comics Will Break Your Heart is a must read! Part Romeo and Juliet story, part ode to comic book super heroes, this charming, funny book about a pair of star-crossed teens from rival families is a perfect read for anyone who loved Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian, or The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson!
Though they don’t take nearly as long to read, some picture books can provide just as much pleasure and delight as a hefty novel! Full of beautiful illustrations by Victoria Tentler-Krylov, Lori Degman‘s Just Read! is a wonderful celebration of imagination, the joy of reading, and the innumerable ways in which we can enjoy books everyday! Written in rhyming couplets and covering every kind of reading from traditional books, to braille, to sheet music, to sign language, this lovely book is sure to entrance even the most reluctant of readers! For a healthy dose of adorable, why not pick up a copy of Tiny T.Rex and the Impossible Hug by Jonathan Stutzman. There is nothing in the world that can brighten your mood faster than a hug from your best friend. So, when Tiny’s friend Pointy the Stegosaurus is having a bad day, all Tiny wants to do is give him a hug. Unfortunately, this is an understandably difficult thing for Tiny to do with his teeny Tyrannosaurus Rex arms. After asking for advice from all his relatives and doing some vigorous hug training, Tiny comes to the realization that while he is small in stature, his heart is big and even the tiniest arms can give big hugs!
With so many books deserving of their moment in the sun, it’s always hard to pick out the ones to highlight here every month. In light of that, here are a few more recent and forthcoming releases that we’re excited about: Death in Provence by Serena Kent; The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon; The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson; Unto Us a Son is Given by Donna Leon; The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie; The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray; The Avro Arrow: For the Record by Palmiro Campagna; Devices and Desires by Kate Hubbard; Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway; The Witch’s Kind by Louisa Morgan (March 19); The Parade by Dave Eggers (March 19); The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear (March 26); The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey (March 26); Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney (April 9).
So, even though we might be jumping the gun a bit by celebrating spring this early in the month, we do know that the snow will eventually go away, the grass will grow, and the birds will come back from their enviable winter holidays. In the meantime, we will take each sunny day we’re given and will even delight in the rainy ones. After all, trips to the bookstore are magical things no matter what the weather is doing!
–The Staff at Books on Beechwood
It’s almost that time of year again. The Canada Reads debates will be airing on CBC Radio One March 25th through the 28th. Whether you follow the show or not, read all the books beforehand, or only read the winner once its announced, this year’s list is definitely worth checking out.
We currently have all five finalists in stock, so be sure to come by and see which one you think the entire country should read.
What I’m Reading: The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt Och Dag
“When I first saw it, absolutely everything about this book screamed at me to read it! It’s a fairly dark and gruesome story (the whole thing begins with the discovery of a ravaged dead body), but the language is so lyrical and descriptive that you can’t help but be drawn right into the action, grimy city and all! I’ve always loved reading books that I can really disappear into and this historical mystery is perfect for that. So if I suddenly go missing, you might want to start the search in Stockholm circa 1793.”