1. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
2. The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
3. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
4. Transcription by Kate Atkinson
5. Ladies, Upstairs! by Monique Begin
6. Airborne by Jonathan Rotondo
7. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
8. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
9. The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman
10. Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson
Greetings Book Lovers!
Well, a whole month may have passed since we last spoke via newsletter, but you wouldn’t really know it by looking outside. Thankfully, things in and around the store are looking decidedly springy! We’ve got events going on, summer reading to plan for, and lots of great spring books just begging to be plucked off the shelf! The garden centres may not be ready for you quite yet, but we’re more than happy to step into the void and help you finally kick the winter blues to the curb and swing into spring the right way…with a new book!
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of our newsletter, we wanted to share a little bit of exciting news about a new feature in our online store. As some of you may know, back in the fall we signed up with the Seattle-based audiobook company Libro.fm so we could offer you all the chance to buy downloadable audiobooks while still supporting your local independent bookstore. Now, to make it even easier to use this new service, instead of going straight to our Libro page (libro.fm/beechwood), you can now see what titles are available in downloadable audio form while browsing for regular books in our online store. If you see a book you like, look beneath the image of the cover to see if there’s a turquoise button that says “Buy Audiobook.” If there is, you’re in business! Just click on the button to be transferred to our Libro.fm site to complete your purchase! If you ever run into a problem, just let us know!
With the advent of spring, it’s amazing to see how many events in and around our city crop up like plants reaching towards the sun. From craft sales to concerts, political panel discussions to outdoor festivals, there seems to be a little something out there for everyone. Never happy to be left out of the fun, we have two book talks to tell you about this month which we’re very much looking forward to hearing ourselves. On Wednesday, May 22, local fitness professional and Registered Holistic Nutritionist Hanifa Yip will be in the store to present her talk “Fitness and Nutrition Myths.” In addition to working in our Nation’s Capital in a number of different health and fitness related fields over the years, Hanifa is now a published author, having just released her brand new book Healthy with Hanifa. Her talk will get going at 7:00pm and books will be available to purchase in the store before, during, and after the event. The following evening, Thursday, May 23, we will be hosting a book signing from 7:00-9:00pm with two heavy-hitters of the political scene. David Moscrop, Washington Post contributor, political commentator, and author of Too Dumb for Democracy, and Sid Ryan, former CUPE Ontario President and author of A Grander Vision, will be in the store to discuss their new books and talk a bit about the political situation we find ourselves in today. It’s bound to be a riveting evening, so be sure not to miss it!
It might sound unbelievable, but the hardest part of writing these newsletters every month is trying to decide which books to highlight for you. We know we say this every time, but that’s because it’s true every time – there are just so many good books that we think deserve your attention that it’s hard to limit ourselves to these few. Alas, such is our lot in life! So, without further ado…there’s no doubt in our minds that one of the biggest new releases this month has been The Art of Diplomacy by former US Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman. Written with his wife Vicki Heyman, this new political memoir explores one of the most important relationships our country will ever have – that with our southern neighbours. Recounting their three years spent in Canada, exploring our country and meeting its people, this book champions a vision for the future in which we move forward by working together to protect our shared values instead of playing a game of constant one-upmanship. Written with passion and determination, this book is a must read for those interested in diplomacy, foreign relations, and a future in which Tweets don’t run a country.
For book lovers and history buffs, the more important question to ask than “Who was Shakespeare?” is perhaps “Where are Shakespeare’s books?” For, surely, a man who authored as many incredible works as we credit to William Shakespeare must have had a very impressive and extensive library. Honestly, this question had never really occurred to us before now, but with the arrival of Stuart Kells‘ new book, Shakespeare’s Library, we just can’t stop puzzling over it! Though it would no doubt include copies of the Bard’s manuscripts and letters – irreplaceable pieces of literary history in and of themselves – scholars (and casual readers) would be able to glean new insights into Shakespeare’s work by knowing what books, stories, and poems he surrounded himself with on a daily basis. With a spirit akin to that of National Treasure and Indiana Jones, Kells‘ book gives us a new spin on a centuries-old mystery and will no doubt spark interest and contemplation in any reader’s imagination. Now from the literary ghosts of Stratford-Upon-Avon, to the culinary creativity of our very own St. Laurent Boulevard! Many of us at least know this Indian restaurant by sight from driving up and down St. Laurent Boulevard in Ottawa’s East end, but only those who have entered Coconut Lagoon truly know what a culinary gem it is! Touted as the best Indian food in Ottawa, you can now take some of chef Joe Thottungal‘s recipes home with you with his new cookbook, Coconut Lagoon. From the same publishing house which brought us Anne DesBrisay‘s Ottawa Cooks a few years back, this beautifully packaged book is full of mouth-watering recipes and stunning photographs that will delight any home cook!
As some of your may already be aware, books set in the Scottish Highlands immediately get a thumbs-up from certain members of our staff (just ask them about Finlay Wilson‘s Kilted Yoga…but only if you have some time to spare), but when said books are also charming, delightful, and full of mystery, well, there’s just not much more to say! So it should come as no surprise that Molly MacRae‘s The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series has tickled our fancy! As appealing as its predecessor, Plaid and Plagiarism, book two in this series, Scones and Scoundrels, brings readers right back to Yon Bonnie Books in Inversgail just in time to witness the four bookshop owners turn lady detective once more to solve a mysterious crime. One the eve of a big author event, a young American is found dead outside the local pub and, though they are a far cry from professional sleuths, our daring bookshop owners find themselves being beseeched by none other than their visiting author to help her solve the crime. Reluctant to join in, it’s not until their star author is also found dead (due to dodgy scones from the bookshop’s tearoom) that Janet and her co-owners set out to catch a killer and save the reputation of their beloved bookshop!
Coming-of-age stories are a classic form of storytelling that has been around for generations. It’s not every day though that you come across examples of the genre quite as compelling as Sally Rooney‘s and Todd Babiak‘s newest novels. Sally Rooney, winner of the Sunday Times (UK) Young Writer of the Year Award (tied with Zadie Smith as youngest recipient ever), exploded onto the literary scene two years ago with her critically acclaimed debut novel Conversations With Friends. Her new book, Normal People, which was longlisted for last year’s Man Book Prize, is a sharp, witty, and heartwarming story about unlikely friends, Connor and Marianne. The former spends his high school years among the popular crowd despite his family being the least affluent in their small Irish town. Marianne has had the opposite experience – her family is one of the most well-off yet she has no friends and seems to exist only on the fringes. Despite their differences, these star-crossed lovers embark on a deeply emotional affair in their senior year, only to have their relationship fall victim to the unforgiving social hierarchy of high school a short time later. After many months apart, they find themselves thrown together once more when they attend the same college, though this time, their social situations are reversed. Can either Connor or Marianne bridge the gaps between them to unite once more as we all believe they should? No spoilers here. You’ll have to read the book to find out! On the other side of the Atlantic, The Empress of Idaho by Todd Babiak tells the story of Adam, a fourteen-year-old with a bright future who becomes embroiled in the life of his neighbour’s new wife, Beatrice, at the cost of virtually all his relationships. As his life is slowly eclipsed by his new fascination, Beatrice’s past is beginning to catch up with her. It’s not until she crosses a line with Adam’s mother that Adam himself becomes aware of what he’s risking for a woman he barely knows. At once tender and heart-breaking, this novel perfectly illustrates the vulnerabilities of adolescence and how the transition from child to adult is perhaps the most difficult and confusing time of our lives.
Although there are probably some kids out there who have already started counting down the days till summer break, there are still lots of chances to get lost in a new book before summer schedules take effect. One of our favourite children’s series right now is by a juggernaut of the Canadian publishing scene. Roy MacGregor, along with his daughter Kerry MacGregor waded into the world of children’s literature a little over a year ago with their first novel for 6-8 year olds, The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink. Now their third book in the series has been released, and it’s really an absolute treat to read! Like books one and two, The Ice Chips and the Invisible Puck finds Lucas, Swift, and Edge – all members of the Riverton Ice Chips hockey team – traveling back in time once again to meet one of Canada’s great players as a child! First it was Gordie Howe, then it was Sidney Crosby, and now it’s Hayley Wickenheiser! This charming series is funny, sweet, and universally appealing! Full of challenges to overcome and important lessons to learn, kids will glean more than humour from this wonderful collection of books! Like a David Attenborough special turned into a children’s book, A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry is a great read for fans of Sara Pennypacker‘s Pax and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Inspired by the true story of a young wolf who traveled a thousand miles across the Northwest US, this book introduces readers to Swift, a young wolf who must find his own way in the world when his family is scattered by an attack from a rival pack. Full of danger, adventure, and bravery, Swift’s story is bound to capture the imagination of even the most reluctant readers!
So many books, so little time…and space! Here are some other recent and forthcoming releases that we’re pretty excited about: D-Day Girls by Sara Rose; The Pioneers by David McCullough; The Book of Dreams by Nina George; Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali; Our House by Louise Candlish; Henry, Himself by Stuart O’Nan; Turning Secrets by Brenda Chapman; The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith; Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen; The Summer Bed by Ann Brashare (May 14); Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (May 14); A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gabriel Kay (May 14); Greenfeast by Nigel Slater (May 16); Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown (May 21); Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke (May 21); Cliff’s Edge by Meg Tilly (May 21); The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (May 28); Anthony Bourdain Remembered by CNN (May 28); How To Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum (May 28); Charles I’s Killers in America by Matthew Jenkinson (May 28); The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz (May 28); The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion (May 28); Moss by Ulrica Nordstrom (May 28); Supernavigators by David Barrie (May 28); Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan (May 28); Wildness by Jeremy Charles (May 29); All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride (May 30); A Portrait of Canada’s Parliament by William McElligott (May 30).
While spring hasn’t quite come into full bloom yet, there’s still something to be said for getting outside to enjoy the sunshine, especially if you’re going out to take a book with you! With so many new titles arriving in the store everyday, we’re always ready and willing to help you find that perfect outdoor reading companion. Whether you’re nursing a drink on your favourite restaurant’s patio, watching your kids play in the park from the comfort of a nearby bench, or glorying in the tiny sprouts gracing the flower beds in your own garden, there is a book for you! Our staff of highly-trained book professionals is just waiting to help you find your perfect match! We look forward to seeing you soon!
— The Staff at Books on Beechwood
What I’m Reading: The Binding by Bridget Collins
“The lure of Bridget Collins’ new novel is hard to resist and you really shouldn’t try because the treat that awaits you between the covers is just too wonderful! Set in a world where books are used to lock away people’s memories, Emmett is summoned from his family farm to become apprenticed to a bookbinder – a sacred calling that is at the centre of a world he’s been taught to fear and distrust. Full of magic, mystery, and books, this novel is a wonderful read that I’m going to savour to the very end!”