1. The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel
2. The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
3. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
4. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
5. Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
6. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
7. Normal People by Sally Rooney
8. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
9. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
10. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Greetings Book Lovers!
Happy Victoria Day! I can’t believe it’s already mid-May! With time moving so strangely these days, it’s hard to know which way is up, never mind what day it is. Thankfully the appearance of buds on the trees and early blooms in our gardens must mean that summer is on the way! Although this summer will be unlike any other because of all the cancelled festivals, indefinitely postponed travel plans, and lack of summer camps, there are still ways to enjoy this sunny season while staying safe and healthy. In much the same way as everyone was baking bread in April, it sounds like the action has now moved out into the garden, with new plants taking root, weeds being pulled, and sunny patches being stalked by patio furniture. And really, what better way to enjoy the garden once your work is done, than with a good book?
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of our newsletter (though it may be more like beef jerky and potato chips this month), I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all your orders, messages, and requests. It’s been tough keeping the store going on my own, but you’ve all been so amazing and I know that with customers like you, our little bookstore will pull through this unprecedented ordeal just fine. Given the incredible response we’ve gotten, I’ve been finding it hard to stay on top of answering everyone’s orders, e-mails, and messages – what is normally done by eight people is now being done by one – so, it may take me a while to get back to you, but I will. If your request or question is time-sensitive, your best course is to call the store. You may not get me on the phone right away, but you’ll get an answer faster that way than any other.
Despite our Premier’s announcement last week that retail stores with doors opening onto the street will be allowed to open as of Tuesday, May 19, we will not be opening our doors that day, or even that week. Given that our current set up has been working pretty well, I’ve decided that it’s safest to continue in that vein for now, and take our time figuring out what reopening will look like for us. Whether it will mean fewer people in the store at once, masks and gloves required, shorter hours of operation, or some new way of shopping that doesn’t require as much product-touching, I don’t know. Whatever solution we come up with, it will be based on the continued health, safety, and security of our staff and customers – browsing in a bookshop should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, and we want to get back to that place just as much as you all do, but we have to make sure we get there in the right way.
So, for now, we will continue our online operations and contact-free pick ups, free neighbourhood delivery, and shipping will still be available. If possible, we ask that you do your shopping through our online store or by phone (613-742-5030) as they are the most effective ordering avenues. If this time has taught me anything, it’s that although e-mail is a handy form of communication, it’s definitely far from efficient – especially when you receive so many! So, if you could avoid using our e-mail address to order things, that would be greatly appreciated. This whole experience has truly been a whirlwind. Like everyone else, I’ve had ups and downs, good days and some very bad ones, and, although my concentration has gotten better over the last few weeks, finding it impossible to sit and read (one of my great comforts in life) at the outset of this pandemic just seemed too cruel. With summer just around the corner though, and our region’s confirmed cases of the virus on the decline, it seems like brighter days are ahead. We hope you’re all hanging in there and we can’t wait to see you again. Thank you so much for keeping us around! We are truly blessed with the best customers ever!
Although it makes me feel a bit like I’m cheating, I don’t have quite as many new titles to tell you about this month. Since a few of our suppliers have shut down their warehouses either completely or partially during this time, there definitely aren’t as many new releases making their way into the store these days; there are still a lot, but not as many as normal. That being said, I do have a running list of things that I’m looking forward to unpacking in the coming weeks. Here are some recent and forthcoming releases that might just peak your interest: All Adults Here by Emma Straub, Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope, The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson, A Song From Faraway by Deni Ellis Bechard, A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings by Helen Jukes, Who Ate the First Oyster? by Cody Cassidy, The Museum of Whales You Will Never See by A. Kendra Greene, Three by Stephen Michael King, A Month of Sundays by Liz Byrski, The Old Drift by Namwali Serpel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (May 19), Just a Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe by Sarah Mlynowski (May 19), Love in the Blitz by Eileen Alexander (May 26), The Book of Eels by Patrik Svensson (May 26), The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (May 26), The House on Fripp Island by Rebecca Kauffman (June 2). Keep an eye on our social media accounts for our most recent updates, book releases, and new favourites. I’m also working on a kind of virtual bookstore tour so you can visit the store without actually being inside, so that should make an appearance soon too.
On one non-book note (though demand seems to have dropped a bit) I wanted to give you all a jigsaw puzzle update. The puzzle publishers are still playing catch up when it comes to filling all the orders they’ve received over the last couple of months, and my orders have gotten caught up in the backlog too. Although a few designs have arrived in dribs and drabs over the last few of weeks, I still have a couple of larger orders outstanding. Both Ravensburger and The New York Puzzle Company should be shipping to us at some point soon, though neither could say when, and there will be another Pomegranate order showing up sometime towards the end of next week, hopefully. As new jigsaws are arriving, they’re getting uploaded right into our online store, so that’s the place to check to see if anything new has arrived. I’ll also post on social media when new orders do show up to try to keep you all up to date on the puzzle comings and goings.
Even though this COVID-19 crisis hasn’t completely passed yet, it looks like the worst might be over and we can finally see a bit of light at the end of this very long, unprecedented tunnel. With brighter days ahead, it’s good to be optimistic, but we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves. We’re not out of the woods quite yet, but we’re getting there. In the meantime, if you’re feeling the need to escape and can’t find a Netflix show that you haven’t already watched, why not travel by book? The destinations are varied, you don’t need a passport, and best of all, you can do it from the comfort of your own home!
Wishing you all the very best!
— Hilary for The Staff of Books on Beechwood
What I’m Reading: If Only by Kate Eberlen
“Far from a typical summer romance, Alf and Violet find their way to each other slowly and cautiously. Being the only two British students in their Italian class in Rome certainly helps though. From waltzing around a piazza to exploring ancient ruins, Alf and Violet’s romance is picture perfect until someone from the past unexpectedly breaks into their present, shattering their newfound love to pieces. Can they find each other again, defeat their ghosts, and move forward? If only it were that simple.”