Our Bookclub: September through November 2019

September: Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Date: Wednesday, September 25 at 7:30pm

Winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize
A dazzling, original novel of slavery and freedom, from the author of the international bestseller Half-Blood Blues

When two English brothers arrive at a Barbados sugar plantation, they bring with them a darkness beyond what the slaves have already known. Washington Black – an eleven year-old field slave – is horrified to find himself chosen to live in the quarters of one of these men. But the man is not as Washington expects him to be. His new master is the eccentric Christopher Wilde – naturalist, explorer, inventor and abolitionist – whose obsession to perfect a winged flying machine disturbs all who know him. Washington is initiated into a world of wonder: a world where the night sea is set alight with fields of jellyfish, where a simple cloth canopy can propel a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning – and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human.

But when a man is killed one fateful night, Washington is left to the mercy of his new masters. Christopher Wilde must choose between family ties and young Washington’s life. What follows is a flight along the eastern coast of America, as the men attempt to elude the bounty that has been placed on Washington’s head. Their journey opens them up to the extraordinary: to a dark encounter with a necropsicist, a scholar of the flesh; to a voyage aboard a vessel captained by a hunter of a different kind; to a glimpse through an unexpected portal into the Underground Railroad. This is a novel of fraught bonds and betrayal. What brings Wilde and Washington together ultimately tears them apart, leaving Washington to seek his true self in a world that denies his very existence.

From the blistering cane fields of Barbados to the icy plains of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-drowned streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black teems with all the strangeness of life. This inventive, electrifying novel asks, What is Freedom? And can a life salvaged from the ashes ever be made whole?


October: Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Date: Wednesday, October 30 at 7:30pm

From the bestselling author of Life After Life, a new novel that explores the repercussions of one young woman’s espionage work during World War II.

In 1940, eighteen-year-old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.

Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.

Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit, and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of the best writers of our time.


November: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Date: Wednesday, November 27 at 7:30pm

In 1936, Bluet is the last of the Kentucky Blues. In the dusty Appalachian hills of Troublesome Creek, nineteen and blue-skinned, Bluet has used up her last chance for “respectability” and a marriage bed. Instead, she joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding up treacherous mountains on a mule to deliver books and other reading material to the poor hill communities of Eastern Kentucky.  

Along her dangerous route, Bluet confronts many who are distrustful of her blue skin. Not everyone is so keen on Bluet’s family or the Library Project, and the impoverished Kentuckians are quick to blame a Blue for any trouble in their small town.

Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek provides an authentic Appalachian voice to a story of hope, heartbreak and raw courage and shows one woman’s strength, despite it all, to push beyond the dark woods of Troublesome Creek.


 

June 2019 Newsletter


May Bestsellers

1. Coconut Lagoon by Joe Thottungal
2. The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
3. The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman
4. The Art of Diplomacy by Bruce and Vicki Heyman
5. Transcription by Kate Atkinson
6. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
7. The Huntress by Kate Quinn
8. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
9. Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan
10. The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America by Matt Kracht


Greetings Book Lovers!

Happy summer! Is it safe to say that? We think so. Especially given the stretch of sunny days we’ve had, the fact that we’ve finally been able to wear sandals, and this sudden undeniable urge we have to read in a hammock! If the seasons really have finally turned, that means that it’s time to seriously consider what to read for the next few months. Whether you’re going on holiday, sending the kids off to camp, or sticking close to home, it’s important that everyone be fully stocked in the book department. Luckily, this year has given us a bumper crop of great books for every mood, genre, and sensibility imaginable, and our staff are always more than happy to help you find that perfect book to add to your reading pile!

It’s at times like this, when the sun is shining and the squirrels are frolicking around your garden (possibly wreaking havoc on your flowers and plants), that we most enjoy reading fun, charming stories about quirky characters and surprising situations. Of course, there’s always room for a little murder and mystery amidst the fun too, and that is exactly what readers are in for when they pick up Jean-Luc Brannalec‘s new mystery, The Fleur de Sel Murders: A Brittany Mystery. Readers were first introduced to Commissaire Georges Dupin, a Parisian-born caffeine-lover, in Death in Brittany and now, in this third book in the series, Dupin is attempting to escape his paperwork by going on holiday. As you might expect, things don’t quite go according to plan, and soon he’s embroiled in a troubling mystery while trying to find his missing friend and cordially work alongside local investigator Sylvaine Rose…none of which are proving to be easy tasks. Perfect for anyone who loves Donna Leon‘s ongoing Commissario Guido Brunetti Series, readers will be charmed by Dupin and his idiosyncrasies. Not unlike the countryside villages of France, murder and mayhem also stalk the streets of 17th Century London, just months after the Great Fire. Following the great success of The Ashes of London and The Fire Court, Andrew Taylor‘s third instalment of the James Marwood & Cat Lovett SeriesThe King’s Evil, finds his unlikely sleuthing duo once again confronted with a dastardly murder to solve. This time though, the crime hits a little too close to home when Cat herself becomes the prime suspect. Desperate to clear his friend’s name, Marwood must navigate the dangerous intrigues of King Charles II’s court in order to catch a killer and see justice done.

There are few things more enjoyable than finding a lovely story that you can just sink down into. The kind of story full of characters you’d like to befriend and hang out with for a while. Sarah Haywood‘s The Cactus is definitely one of those books. Susan has always led an extremely ordered life and makes decisions based on logic instead of emotions. So, when her perfectly organized world is thrown into chaos with the death of her mother and an unplanned pregnancy, it’s anyone’s guess how this self-sufficient woman of 45 will deal with the maelstrom of emotions swirling around her. Full of humour, quirkiness, and unlikely allies, readers will love Susan more and more as the book goes on! Sharing an apartment with a roommate always comes with at least a few bumps in the road…especially when you’ve never actually met! Leon and Tiffy, the main characters in The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, might live in the same apartment, but since one of them works nights and the other works days, they’re never home at the same time. Communicating solely through sticky notes, these two strangers soon become friends, cooking for each other and slowly learning what makes the other tick. Leon and Tiffy are funny, sweet, caring, and thoughtful and their story is so charming, we guarantee you’ll have a hard time closing the book once you reach the end!

Now that the weather is properly warm, it looks like pretty much all our migratory feathered friends have returned home for the summer. Whether you’re watching them flit around your own backyard or around the eaves of your cottage, it’s always good to have a bird guide close at hand when the age-old “I swear that was a bluebird” argument inevitably occurs. Though The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America by Matt Kracht is definitely not your typical bird guide, it makes for a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek book for bird lovers and the avian-averse alike. A wonderful companion book to Kracht‘s might be the slightly more practical An Asylum of Loons: Charming Names from the Bird World. Complete with full colour photographs and fascinating bits of history related to some of these names, you’ll learn much more from this little book than the fact that a group of goldfinches is called a “charm.” Not dissimilar to birdwatching in a slightly strange way, royal-watching has been going on for centuries, with certain royals garnering more attention than others over the years. One of the most talked about royals in recent decades has undoubtedly been the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret. Alternately described as rebellious, glamourous, rude, hard-done-by, jealous, spiteful, and fun, this intriguing royal is the subject of Craig Brown‘s new book Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret. Drawing from essays, diary entries, and interviews, this fascinating book is a witty look at one woman’s life and the high society swirling around her. It would be a perfect summer read for anyone in withdrawal from the last season of The Crown.

It’s always hard to fit all the titles we’d like into our newsletter, so here are some more recent and forthcoming releases that we’re excited about sharing with you: The Frame-Up by Wendy McLeod MacKnightSorcery of Thorns by Margaret RogersonEvery Little Piece of Me by Amy JonesThe Gameshouse by Claire NorthThe Sentence is Death by Anthony HorowitzParis, 7 A.M. by Liza WielandThe Body in the Castle Well by Martin WalkerFatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys, The Magical History of Britain by Martin Wall, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes by Graeme Davis, The Debatable Land by Graham Robb (June 11), The Porpoise by Mark Haddon (June 18), The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham (June 18)Big Sky by Kate Atkinson (June 25), The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan (June 25)Pinch of Nom by Kate Featherstone (June 25), and Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane (July 2).

Since summer is finally here, now is the perfect time to start planning out your warm, sunny days ahead. While we fully support lounging on the beach, backpacking across Europe, having fun at summer camp, and taking road trips across the country, we also firmly believe that none of these activities should be undertaken without having a great book close at hand! Luckily, we just happen to know a great place where you can get your hands on one…or maybe two.

Wherever this summer takes you, we hope you have a wonderful time!
Happy Reading!

— The Staff at Books on Beechwood


Holiday Hours

We will be CLOSED on Monday, July 1 for Canada Day! Regular store hours will resume on Tuesday, July 2.


Hilary’s Bookshelf

What I’m Reading: The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

“Set in Maine, this family saga carries readers through three generations of the Milton family from the mid-1930s onward. The story jumps forwards and backwards in time, exploring the varied lives and experiences of the Miltons and looking at how a single decision can echo down through the years in unexpected ways. Full of family secrets, shattered myths, and unsettling discoveries, this sweeping novel is sure to keep you hooked!”