1. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
2. A Better Man by Louise Penny
3. The Innocents by Michael Crummey
4. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
5. The Long Call by Ann Cleeves
6. Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper
7. Women Talking by Miriam Toews
8. Albatross by Terry Fallis
9. No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
10. Transcription by Kate Atkinson
Greetings Book Lovers!
If ever there was a time to sing the Time Warp song, it would be now! Not just because of its association with Halloween, but because we can’t figure out where September went (or the first half of October for that matter)! One moment it was here and the next it was gone! Well, there is a reason the saying “time flies when you’re having fun” exists, we suppose. And it’s not all bad; October is, after all, one of our favourite months! We’re happily situated far enough away from summer that we’re not missing it anymore, but we’re not so late in the year that snow could arrive at any moment. We’re in that happy, russet gold middle space where we can enjoy the beauty of the changing leaves without thinking of what they’re changing leads into, and relish the opportunity to sport our first cozy scarves of the season without having to think about which fibres will more readily block the icy wind of winter. Of course, it should go without saying that our very favourite part of this time of year (or any time of year, really) is all the wonderful new books!
As many of you know, just over week ago we announced yet another Titles@Table40 event – an evening with former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin – to round out our fall dinner series. While both her event on October 20 and our evening with Joe Thottungal on October 27 are now sold out, there are still tickets available for our November 17 event with beloved novelist Terry Fallis. We have started waiting lists for the two sold-out events, so if you didn’t manage to get tickets before they were gone, it very well may be worth it to put your name on our waiting list – you never know, you might just luck out! For anyone who’s unfamiliar with our Titles@Table40 dinner series or if you just need a little refresher, here’s how our Titles@Table40 events work: 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 $70.00 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 the bookstore is informed in advance.
In addition to our Titles@Table40 series, we have a number of in-store signings and launches to tell you about this month. On Thursday, October 17 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Newfoundland-born Ottawa author, Mike Martin will be in the store to launch his new Sgt. Windflower mystery, Fire, Fog and Water. With three new cases that he’s convinced are connected somehow, Sgt. Windflower and his fellow officers must battle more than crime in this thrilling new Newfoundland mystery from a master of the genre. As a special treat for event attendees, if you buy any one of the Sgt. Windflower mysteries during the launch, you’ll receive a free gift in the form of Martin‘s seasonal mystery, Christmas in Newfoundland. With refreshments and snacks also on hand, be sure not to miss the closest thing to a Newfoundland kitchen party Books on Beechwood will ever have! Swinging over to the other half of the country now, Susan Taylor Meehan, a native of Edmonton and current Ottawa resident, will be paying us a visit on Saturday, October 19 from 11:00am to 2:00pm to sign copies of Halcyon Days, her new historical novel. Set on the prairies during the Great Depression, this novel follows a school teacher’s adventures navigating the sometimes fraught waters of a new town as controversy erupts surrounding a terrifying discovery. Also on Saturday, October 19, be sure to come by the store between 2:00pm and 4:00pm to meet local author Rick Houle. He’ll be here signing his new mystery, Vicky Veston Inc., the third book in his Affable Scavengers Trilogy, and his brand new Y2K-related novel We Really Made It Happen.
Injecting some slightly rude humour into our event roster, we’re looking forward to welcoming Aaron Reynolds and his hilarious (and often profane) bird book, Effin’ Birds, to the store for a book launch on Wednesday, October 23 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Full of detailed ornithological drawings and based on the popular Twitter account of the same name (@EffinBirds), this book is perfect for fans of birding and tongue-in-cheek humour. Sean Michaels, Scotiabank award-winning author of Us, Conductors, will be here in the store on Thursday, October 24 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm to read from his new novel, The Wagers. From the very real open mic stages of the comedy club scene to the beautifully imagined streets of Montreal, Michaels takes readers on an intense, magical journey full of probability, luck, and fortune. I Wanted Fries With That is a book about speaking up for ourselves and asking for what we want. Its author, Amy Fish, will be with us on Saturday, October 26 from 11:00am to 1:00pm to talk about why we spend so much time short-changing ourselves and to encourage us to change that behaviour. Also, there will be bagels, so be sure to stop by for a visit and a chat! That same Saturday, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Scott Bury will be on hand to sign copies of The Eastern Front Trilogy (Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel, Walking Out of War), a series of three historical novels inspired by true stories of one man’s experience in the Red Army of the 1940s and his determination to escape home to Canada. Taking a brief peek into November, local children’s author Angela Misri will be celebrating the release of her middle-grade novel with us on Saturday, November 2 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Pickles vs. The Zombies is the zombie apocalypse book we’ve all been waiting for! Pickles the calico cat isn’t sure what’s happened to her human, Connor, but she’s determined to find out. With the help of her feline friends and a street-wise racoon, zombies might be the least of Pickles’ worries as she sets out to recover her beloved human. On Sunday, November 3 at 2:00pm, local science-fiction author Alex Binkley will be in the store to launch his brand new science-fiction novel, The Circle of the Chosen. Complete with snacks and refreshments, this event is not one to be missed!
As the trees outside begin to change from leafy green, shade-providing canopies into ethereal domes of gold that crackle and rustle in the cool autumn breezes, we can’t help but feel a certain anticipatory energy in the air. Though it’s not the same feeling that comes with the twinkle lights and sparkling snow of Christmas time, fall has its own strange kind of magic – a magic that gives us an almost unquenchable desire to read as many books about witches, magic, and improbable occurrences as we can get our hands on! Joining out list of favourite fall reads (The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, The Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan, and The Witches of New York by Ami McKay), The Familiars by Stacey Halls is as intriguing as it is mystical. Set in 17th century England, during the height of the witch hunts, this riveting novel tells the story of Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a young pregnant noblewoman who seeks the aid of a local midwife as she tries to carry her baby to term – a child whose birth she has been warned will mean her own death. When her midwife, Alice, is accused of witchcraft, Fleetwood finds herself facing down more than her fear of miscarriage and possible death, but also the strict hand of the law that would condemn an innocent woman. Inspired by true events, this novel is the perfect read for a cool, fall day!
If we can’t get our hands on a good witchy novel, a story about magical books can just as easily check all our book-love boxes! Enter Alix E. Harrow‘s debut novel The Ten Thousand Doors of January! Set in an artifact-filled mansion (check!), this fantastical novel introduces readers to January Scaller, a young woman who’s never really fit in (check!) until the day she stumbles across an unusual book filled with magical doors leading to great loves, unpredictable adventures, and unknown dangers (check! check! check!)! With a package just as beautiful as the words it encases, this novel is a true gift for anyone who loves books and prefers to take their literary adventures with a healthy side of fantasy! We have long been fans of Jenn Bennett and her contemporary teen fiction, but we love her even more now with the release of her new magical adventure novel, The Lady Rogue. Theodora’s greatest wish is to join her father on his travels around the world as he hunts for sought-after relics and treasures. Unfortunately, that honour is denied her and instead falls on his protege, Huck Gallagher. But when Huck returns from an expedition without her father, Theodora must leap into a world she’s only ever read about in order to save her father and fulfill her own destiny. It’s a race against time and treasure-hunting rivals, as Huck and Theodora lead readers through Gothic villages, dark castles, and misty mountains – an especially perfect read for the dark nights leading up Halloween!
Despite the energy in the air this month prompting us to read magical books, there are some days when we just need a few more veins of truth in our reads to truly satisfy us. As we’ve now entered the pre-Christmas selling season, our non-fiction section is burgeoning with great new titles that you’ll be hard-pressed to pass up in the coming weeks. From memoirs to political rallying cries, odes to nature and fascinating local histories, there’s definitely a little something for everyone on offer this fall. Though we perhaps know her best as the acclaimed author of The Birth House and The Witches of New York, Ami McKay is a woman of many talents – the proof of which can be found in the pages of her new memoir, Daughter of Family G. Intimate and heartfelt, this genetic memoir travels over seventy years into the past to trace a specific gene through the women in McKay’s family; a gene that predisposes them to certain types of cancer and often leads to early death. In her usual lyrical style, Ami has given us a beautiful book on a solemn subject that still manages to find hope and life in dark places, even as she herself comes to terms with the reality that this deadly gene is part of her makeup as well. Last year, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, delighted and thrilled us with her legal mystery, Full Disclosure. This year, she’s back with her highly anticipated memoir, Truth Be Told. Covering her life from her childhood in the Alberta foothills to her time on the Supreme Court where she helped influence and shape the fabric of our country, this detailed and revealing memoir is a must-read for all Canadian politicos!
Now more than ever, it’s proving virtually impossible to stay on top of all the wonderful new books that are rolling into the store every day. Here are some more recent and forthcoming releases that we’re getting excited about: To Speak for the Trees by Diana Beresford-Kroeger, CBC Massey Lectures: Power Shift by Sally Armstrong, Dear Juliet by The Juliet Club, The Grace Year by Kim Liggett, Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman, The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman, A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier, Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky, The Man That Got Away by Lynne Truss, The Book of Dust Volume Two: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman, Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson, The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, Me by Elton John, Agent Running in the Field by John Le Carre (October 22), Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers by The New York Public Library (October 22), Many Rivers to Cross by Peter Robinson (October 22), The Second Sleep by Robert Harris (October 29), Notre-Dame by Ken Follett (October 29), The Noble Path by Peter May (October 29), London’s Great Theatres by Simon Callow (October 29), Fluevog by John Fluevog (November 4), Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 14: Wrecking Ball by Jeff Kinney (November 5), I am C-3PO: The Inside Story by Anthony Daniels (November 5), The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (November 5), North Korea Journal by Michael Palin (November 5), Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell (November 12).
October seems to find us all on something of a precipice – the tipping point between warm breezes and icy winds, if you will. And, although it leads into the frozen expanse of winter, we wouldn’t trade it for the world! It’s a season of rustling carpets and canopies laid out by Mother Nature; a season of gold and caramel tones that glow like halos around our homes and neighbourhoods; a season of warm spices and cozy blankets, hot cocoa and endless adventure-filled books to enjoy! So, why not glory in the golden glow of October with us and we, in turn, will help you set sail on unexplored seas of ink and paper!
–The Staff of Books on Beechwood
What I’m Reading: Hollow Places: An Unusual History of Land and Legend by Christopher Hadley
“As my friends would tell you, the Medieval history and legends of Britain have always fascinated me, so I couldn’t pass up this book when it came to my attention. Covering 1000 years of history, Hadley eases us into his exploration of legend with the story of Piers Shonks, a Hertfordshire dragon-slayer. From there we’re taken around the country from hollow trees to Georgian churches, exploring how legends grow and change, and why they’re just as important today as ever.”