Greetings Book Lovers!
We may not have been organized enough to send out an official April Newsletter, but we couldn’t let the month completely slip by without telling you about a very exciting nation-wide celebration that’s coming up this weekend. Saturday, April 30 is Canadian Independent Bookstore Day (CIBD), “the annual day when readers, writers, illustrators, publishers, and other industry supporters come together to celebrate indie bookstores across Canada.”
Like other independent businesses, indie bookstores play an important role in our communities and hold a special place in many a book lovers’ heart. They can be a place of comfort or discovery, somewhere to learn and grow, a safe space in which to explore new worlds or revisit old favourites. They can foster creativity in readers of all ages, fire up our imaginations, and help inspire us to take those first few scary steps down a new, untrodden path. Most importantly though, independent bookstores bring people together over a mutual love of the written word, creating lasting bonds that go far beyond the love of books.
As booksellers, nothing gives us greater pleasure than putting the right story in a reader’s hands. Whether they come into the shop knowing exactly what they want or only having a vague idea of what they’re looking for, being privy to the moment they find the perfect read is truly priceless. For most of our staff, Books on Beechwood started as a shop we would visit with our children, parents, or friends, but it wasn’t until we started working here that it really became a home away from home. Simply put, we love books. Discovering new authors, disappearing into worlds we couldn’t conjure in our wildest dreams, delving into the past – we love it all. And we know that this job we love so much, this place that we call home, wouldn’t exist if not for all of you.
So, on this Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, we want to say thank you. Thank you for being there for us when no one knew what the future held. Thank you for trusting us to find you just the right book for that hard-to-shop-for person in your life. Thank you for letting us talk your ear off about our favourite authors and indulging us by giving one of their books a shot. Thank you for all the love and support you give us everyday in so many different ways – especially over the last two years. It’s been a tough time to say the least and we know that we wouldn’t be here (in body or mind) without all of you. In March of 2020 a rallying cry was sent out to support small, local businesses and you all went above and beyond in answering that cry. We really can’t thank you enough!
Since the pandemic hasn’t allowed us to celebrate CIBD as we normally would, we wanted to make sure that we made this year a special one. It still won’t be quite the same as in the past, but we’re determined to do what we can to make this coming Saturday a fun and exciting day for everyone. First off, on April 30 only, everything in the store will be 25% off. The discount will be available in-store and online, but it will not include CDs, magazines, newspapers, or customer special orders. We will also have a number of door prizes on hand for which a single purchase will get you one entry. Each door prize has a retail value of around $100 and draws will be done once all the festivities are over. There will also be special tote bags on offer, a collection of bargain books to poke through, and even some signed copies of a special limited edition Andre Alexis chapbook up for grabs. Quantities of this beautiful chapbook are very limited, so they will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and will only be available to purchase in-person in the store (sorry, no online orders for this one). If you miss out on this particular signed book, you may come across a few other special CIBD “signed by author” goodies around the store if you’re in the mood for a hunt. Keep an eye on our social media pages for a sneak peek at what those other titles might be!
If this were a normal year, we would no doubt have invited some of our favourite local authors to spend the day celebrating with us here in the store, but as the pandemic hasn’t loosened its grip on us quite yet, we thought we’d do something a bit different. We decided to reach out to our local author friends and ask them to share their thoughts with us on a few book-related subjects. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
A Bookstore Memory…
“We stumbled on The Old Children’s Bookshelf on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, in April of 2012. The shop’s name is nicely ambiguous because the stock is antiquarian, to be sure, but I suppose it is a shop for old children as well. To my great thrill, I found all of the Enid Blyton “Adventure” series, with their original dust jackets and in pristine condition. I couldn’t resist buying The Mountain of Adventure, since I have long thought of this particular title as being special. It wasn’t the first novel I had read all the way through, but I remember this deep satisfaction, upon finishing it, of having become a stalwart reader able to carry my own weight of camping gear and keep up on the journey into the Welsh mountains and the adventure that was waiting there.”
First Childhood Book…
“The Wind in the Willows was the first book I remember owning. I loved the stories and beautiful illustrations—like the one of a snowy forest where a door in a tree led to an underground home where a badger was tucked under a quilt in his bed. On the inside cover was a map showing lanes and rivers in a lush countryside. Places were marked. Mole’s House, Toad Hall, and Wild Wood. I traveled that world and opened that door in the tree. My imagination vibrated. That feeling I had as a child—that vibration that comes from being transported to another world—is why I love to write.”
A Bookstore Memory…
“When I was small, my older sister used to take me to Boyle’s Bookstore in Brampton, Ontario. It was a magical place, up a set of stairs above another shop. I can still remember how it smelled—of paper, leather and possibilities—and see the dust motes dancing in the sun pouring through the small windows. The children’s section was stocked with Curious George and Dr. Seuss books, which I loved, but my favourites were the Anne of Green Gables books, which I still have to this day.”
– Laura Byrne Paquet, author of Ottawa Road Trips
Keep your eyes trained on our social media pages for more thoughts and memories from our local authors in the lead-up to Saturday’s festivities!
We’re pretty excited to see you all this coming weekend! We honestly can’t quite wrap our minds around the fact that this is actually happening! Before making your way down to visit us though, please remember that it’s still mandatory to wear a face mask while shopping in the store and while we don’t have an official capacity limit anymore, the pandemic isn’t over, so please browse responsibly. If at any point we feel like there are too many people in the store, we’ll start asking customers to wait outside until the crowd thins out. Don’t worry though! Even if you have to wait outside for a bit, there will still be books for you to browse once you get inside – we’re always sure to have lots of those!
Wherever you are in the world, we hope you show your local indie some love on Saturday! We all loved bookstores long before we ever worked in one, and now that we do, we know that these wonderful nooks full-up with the written word wouldn’t exist without readers like you! Thank you for all that you are, all that you do, and all that you read!
Wishing you all a very happy Canadian Independent Bookstore Day!
— The Staff at Books on Beechwood
1. Thomas Mackay: Laird of Rideau Hall by Alastair Sweeny
2. All the Queen’s Men by S.J. Bennett
3. When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O’Neill
4. And a Dog Called Fig by Helen Humphreys
5. Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez
6. Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
7. Secrets of the Sprakkar by Eliza Reid
8. The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
9. The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
10. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
What I’m Reading: The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley
“Join me in traveling to 18th Century Edinburgh to meet Lily Aitcheson, a young woman who is no stranger to strife, and Adam Williamson, a young soldier with more than his fair share of secrets. Even as they butt heads, Lily and Adam quickly realize that they each need the other in order to safely navigate their way through a shadowy world of intrigue and betrayal. Full of historical touchstones, charming fictional characters, and just a touch of mystery, this new Susanna Kearsley book is not one to be missed!