1. Successful Aging by Daniel Levitin
2. We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
3. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
4. All Things Being Equal by John Mighton
5. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
6. Voyage of the Yacht, Dal by Andrzej Bohomolec
7. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
8. Truth Be Told by Beverley McLachlin
9. A Very Stable Genius by Philip Rucker
10. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Greetings Book Lovers!
Welcome to March! The days are just flying by here, but that’s not something we can bring ourselves to be too sad about. Especially since we’re gaining minutes of sunlight and degrees of warmth every day as we get closer and closer to spring. For us, not only does the warmer weather mean that winter’s on the way out, but it also heralds the arrival of interesting events, fun new gifts, and plenty more great books! After all, what else is there to do on spring’s forthcoming rainy days but read?
Despite the joy we feel in the arrival of the warmer weather, this March also finds us cradling heavy hearts as we say goodbye to one of the staples of the Ottawa independent business community. The wonderful toy store, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s, will be closing down it’s last remaining location at the end of this month after serving our city for over four decades. Not only are we heartbroken to witness the demise of yet another locally-owned indie shop, but having shopped in their stores for many years ourselves, it feels like we’re losing a childhood friend. From Playmobil to LEGO, Brio to boardgames, stickers to stuffed animals, this beautiful toy store had it all, and we can’t count the number of times we’ve told our own customers to “try Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s” when they’d come looking for a specific item that we don’t carry. Where will we send them now? Where will we make our own toy purchases from here on out? We’re not sure. All we know is that we’re losing a magical, imaginative, inspiring place that children have explored with wonder since 1977. Our city won’t be the same without it.
Even with our sadness over Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s and the uncertainty we’re feeling given recent world events, our march towards spring continues and with it come a few neat events that we’d like to tell you about. First off, we’re very excited about the fact that we’ve just announced another Titles@Table40event! Local author (and loyal bookstore customer) Chris Waddell will be joining us on Sunday, March 29 to talk about his new book, The End of the CBC? As a professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, Waddell has a good deal of insider insight into the often rough waters that our public broadcaster is trying to navigate. Given the failure of successive governments to put an end to CBC’s struggles and the emergence of a plethora of new online news platforms, CBC’s future is far from secure. But Waddell, along with his co-author David Taras, have come up with a plan – one that could spell a way forward for our beloved public broadcaster. As huge CBC fans, we can’t wait to hear what our visiting author has to say and hope that you’ll all be able to join us. Tickets are on sale now, so be sure to call or visit us soon to get yours!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with our Titles@Table40 dinner series or if you’ve just forgotten the way it all goes down, here’s how it works. 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 Café can accommodate all special dietary needs if we’re informed at the bookstore in advance.
In addition to our dinner series, we’ve also got a couple of in-store events to tell you about this month. Coming up this Sunday (March 15), local mystery author Essie Lang (a.k.a Linda Wiken and Erica Chase) will be here to launch her new Castle Bookshop Mystery Series. Come by this store between 2:00pm and 4:00pm to get your hands on a copy of the first two books in the series, Trouble on the Books and Death on the Page, and then settle in to be entertained like never before! Set in the beautiful Thousand Islands region of New York, this delightful series follows former literary editor and new bookstore owner, Shelby Cox as she tries to learn the ins and outs of a new business and settle back into life in her hometown. Just as she’s finding her feet though, she’s plunged into a real murder mystery when a local volunteer is found dead. Determined to help, Shelby soon butts heads with local investigators as she tries her hand at catching a killer. Peopled with a colourful cast of characters, this series is perfect for fans of Vicki Delany, Eva Gates, and Carlene O’Connor. Refreshments and snacks will be served. Former teacher and local author Kalli Dakos will be here in the store on Saturday, March 21 for a very special children’s reading and signing event. Having taught in Inuvik for many years, Dakos‘ newest children’s book, Recess in the Dark, is inspired by the children she used to teach. Featuring beautiful illustrations, charming poems, and fun facts about the North, this book would make a wonderful addition to any library. Be sure to stop by the store between 11:00am and 1:00pm to meet Kalli and listen to her read from this lovely collection.
Given recent events around the world – and in our own city – finding activities to occupy your kids over this year’s extended March Break is going to be even trickier than normal. Hopefully the weather will be nice so that we can see a return to playing outside, but in the event that you’re looking for a nice low-tech indoor activity, we’ve got you covered! Not only do we have a lot of fun puzzles and games to keep the kids occupied, but we also have a huge number of new books for kids and teens that might just peak their interest. Rin Chupeco‘s new novel, Wicked As You Wish, is a hilarious, rollicking, alternate history, fairy tale-inspired, fantasy story that marks the beginning of another great series. After the magical kingdom of Avalon is left desolate by the evil Snow Queen, former citizens find themselves refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. As the sole surviving member of the royal family, Prince Alexei is determined to win back his kingdom, but doesn’t see a good way to do that from his hiding place in the most boring place ever…Arizona. With the help of his friend Tala, one of the few who knows his true identity, he wiles away the days trying to plan his return home – a venture that makes great gains when a legendary creature of Avalon, The Firebird, makes its first appearance in decades! Funny and endlessly entertaining, this book is a must for the teen readers in your life!
We’ve always loved the idea that there are magical places hidden within our very non-magical world – close enough to touch, but invisible to the naked eye – so it’s little wonder that we’re so taken with Havenfall by Sara Holland! The Inn at Havenfall is a sanctuary – a safe place that connects all the ancient worlds and has strict no-nonsense rules in place to keep the peace. Maddie Morrow has spent too many summers at the inn to count and not only does it provide her with an escape from her sad reality at home, but it’s also been great training for when she inherits the inn from her beloved uncle. But when murder invades the inn’s peaceful rooms, Maddie gets a bit more responsibility than she bargained for. Desperate to restore the inn’s reputation, Maddie joins forces with alluring new staffer Taya to track down a killer and bring peace back to Havenfall. Lynette Noni‘s Akarnae is the first book in a brand new fantasy adventure series perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Clare. Sixteen-year-old Alex is dreading her first day at a new school, but she certainly hadn’t planned on escaping to a magical world in order to avoid it! Doors can be mysterious things and when one transports Alex to Medora, she immediately sets out to find a way back home. But when her search takes her to Akarnae Academy, a school for teens with extraordinary gifts, she soon finds herself settling into a world she’s suddenly not quite so desperate to leave. It’s not until strange things start happening that Alex is faced with a choice – stay and help save the Medorans, or turn her back on this magical place she’s come to love in order to return to her own world?
In addition to all the great teen books coming out, there are lots of wonderful new reads for the younger set too. Perfect for fans of Philip Pullman, Ursula Le Guin, and Colin Meloy‘s Wildwood series, Sylvia V. Linsteadt‘s new book is destined to become a classic! The Wild Folk brings together Tin, an orphan City boy, and Comfrey, a curious Country girl in an epic quest to save the world. Faced with a series of seemingly impossible challenges set by the mystical (and tricky) Wild Folk, Comfrey and Tin must learn to work together if they’re going to successfully navigate this magical world and save both the city and the country. Set in the author’s home province of New Brunswick, The Copycat by Wendy McLeod MacKnight finds Ali Sloane starting classes at a new school in yet another new town. Having long since learned that being a bit of a copycat is a good way to fit into a new school, actually being able to physically change your appearance to copy someone else’s is not exactly what Ali had in mind. Though she thinks this strange Sloane family inheritance is going to take new friendships completely off the table, not only do her new classmates surprise her, but they help her accept this new aspect of her life and come to the realization that there’s no better person to be than herself. Inspired by Agatha Christie and her famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyne is the first in a series that will no doubt become a favourite for fans of Lemony Snicket and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Living in a small coastal English town, Aggie hasn’t had much to occupy her since her father died, so meeting 12-year-old Hector Perot couldn’t have happened at a better time! On top of that, she discovers a body on the floor of the local dance hall! Now, armed with a new friend and a long list of suspects, Aggie sets out to catch a killer before this murder tears her town apart!
Making the transition from writing for teens to writing for adults can be tough, but Sarah J. Maas has done just that with aplomb. Her new novel, House of Earth and Blood, is the first volume in what will be the Crescent City series – a wonderfully magical, high-fantasy series with the perfect amount of urban grit thrown in! Clocking in at just over 800 pages, this novel is a bit of a commitment, but one that fantasy lovers will have no trouble making. Centred around a series of demonic murders, readers will adore following our heroine, Bryce, through all the ups and downs of an otherworldly investigation and a romantic liaison with a Fallen Angel who really puts the “bad” in bad boy! Incredibly crafted and full of unexpected twists, this is bound to be the fantasy pick of the season! Unquestionably one of the top historical fiction writers of all time, Sharon Kay Penman has quit the shores of merry England and instead traveled to the Kingdom of Jerusalem in her new novel, The Land Beyond the Sea. Featuring some historical heavy-hitters, this epic tale shines a light on King Baldwin IV, a young king struggling to keep control of his volatile kingdom in the face of a royal court rife with deception and the ever-present, ever-threatening Muslim army led by Saladin. Fighting battles on all sides, there are few people Baldwin can trust and even fewer he can truly rely on. Perhaps, if there is to be peace during his reign, there must first be war. Epic on a scale Penman has achieved in book after book, this novel is perfect for fans of Jack Whyte, Bernard Cornwell, and Hilary Mantel.
While browsing our shelves, it’s not hard to tell that we are partial to the odd British-themed book, be it a travel memoir, a humorous book of quotations, or a grand historical novel, so it would be surprising to many if we didn’t at least mention Peter Fiennes‘ new book, Footnotes: A Journey Round Britain in the Company of Great Writers. Following in the footsteps of famous writers such as Enid Blyton, Wilkie Collins, and Charles Dickens, Fiennes crosses miles and centuries as he explores his homeland anew and imagines the way these great thinkers may have perceived and experienced the very same lands he’s traversing. Part travel memoir, part philosophical exploration, and part historical retelling, this fascinating book is a treat to be savoured and revisited again and again! Another of our great loves here at the store are quirky books about language. Since we got so much enjoyment out of 2018’s That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means by Ross and Kathryn Petras, it took no convincing at all for us to pick up their new book, Awkword Moments. We’re faced with them everyday – words that we use without thinking, but that we maybe aren’t exactly sure the meaning of. Covering 100 words and terms that have become commonplace but that are rarely directly defined, this handy little book will help you avoid flat-footedness forever as it clearly explains words that we slightly, maybe, don’t really know the meaning of. With their usual humour and style, readers will find that this small volume is so much more than just a slightly quirky dictionary!
Despite everything that’s going on in the world right now, the wheels of the publishing industry just keep on turning. With so many new books hitting our shelves every day, it’s virtually impossible to stay on top of them. Here are some other recent and forthcoming releases that we’re excited to get our hands on: Tips From a Publisher by Scott Pack, In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, Firewatching by Russ Thomas, Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn, The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide by Jen Gale, Patchwork Society by Sharon Johnston, The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter, Actressby Anne Enright, Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle by Laura Purdie Salas, The Moon Keeper by Zosienka, Oraculi by Athena M. Kaiman, The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub, The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham, The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel, Violet Shrink by Christine Baldacchino, The Truth About Wind by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert, Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman, The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben (March 17), The Safety Net by Andrea Camilleri(March 17), The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (March 24), The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (March 24), Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward Gorey by Lori Mortensen (March 24), A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purcell (March 24), A Silent Death by Peter May (March 31), Cave Dada by Brandon Reese (March 31).
With all the news flying around out there these days, it’s hard to know which end is up.The best we can all do is follow the recommendations and instructions put out by Ottawa Public Health, wash our hands thoroughly, and try not get ahead of ourselves. They may be cancelling events and closing cultural centres left, right, and centre, but one thing we can assure you of is our commitment to keeping you stocked with books, games, and puzzles for the foreseeable future. So, whether you’re planning ahead for March Break, preparing for potential self-isolation, or just trying to keep your routine as close to normal as possible, your friendly, neighbourhood bookstore will be here, ready to serve, with a smile and a book recommendation in hand!
Happy Reading and Take Care!
— The Staff at Books on Beechwood
Just a reminder that we’re happy to deliver or ship books to you if you’re not able to come to us. We accept book orders by phone (613-742-5030), e-mail (email@example.com), and online (https://store.booksonbeechwood.ca/?q=h)
What I’m Reading: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
“The very first book I bought when I started working at Books on Beechwood was City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – a teen novel that introduced me to the dark, magical world of the Shadowhunters. Now, about twelve books (and years) later, delving back into that world once again was just as exciting as the first time. I can’t wait to see what adventures await this new group of demon hunters as they navigate the dark alleyways, cobblestone streets, and mist-shrouded squares of turn of the century London.”