October/November 2023 Newsletter

September Bestsellers

1. Passionate Mothers, Powerful Sons by Charlotte Gray
2. Tom Lake by Anne Patchett
3. Snow Road Station by Elizabeth Hay
4. The Fraud by Zadie Smith
5. Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves
6. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
7. Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman
8. A New Season by Terry Fallis
9. A Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein
10. Murder Most Royal by S. J. Bennett

Greetings Book Lovers!

Happy Halloween! Our favourite holiday of the year is officially here – the crunchy leaves, the witchy reads, the chilly air – we love it all! A little part of us actually wishes that Halloween (and its host-month of October) could come twice a year! Whether you’re an autumn fan or someone who deeply feels the loss of those sunny summer days, there’s no denying that this time of year is perfectly designed for cozying up with a great read! After all, what could be better than snuggling under a blanket with a warm beverage and a new book while the world around us prepares for the long dark?

When walking around the store these days, it’s not hard to tell that we’ve left the beach read days behind in favour of exciting new fall and winter tomes. Our shelves and tables are packed and stacked with great biographies, fascinating histories, famously-penned novels, and highly-anticipated kids books! Not to mention all the award nominees! Things are certainly shaping up to be a wonderful fall season! From Chris Hadfield to Naomi Klein, Walter Isaacson to Micheal Crummey, Richard Osman to Michael Palin, Jann Arden to Barbra Streisand, there’s a little something for everyone here this fall!

Before we get too carried away talking about all our new arrivals, we want to take a minute to let you know about some exciting book events we have on our schedule in the coming weeks. The biggest event news we have to share with you this fall is the return of our ever popular author dinners! Renamed, reborn, and ready to treat you to unforgettable evenings with wonderful authors, the Books on Beechwood Author Dinner series has started with a bang with two very special local authors, Roy MacGregor and Charlotte Gray! After hosting a very appropriate forty Titles@Table40 dinners over the years with our friends at Fraser Cafe, rebooting our dinner series wasn’t just a question of picking up where we left off – it meant searching out a whole new venue willing to host us. In our ongoing quest to find a new permanent home for our dinners, we’ve chosen two different restaurants for our first two author dinners of the year. Our first dinner took place last week at The Bridge Public House at the Rideau Sports Centre where Roy MacGregor talked to us about his new memoir, Paper Trails: From the Backwoods to the Front Page. It was a truly wonderful evening and a lovely time was had by all – author, diners, and booksellers alike. For our second dinner, the incomparable Charlotte Gray will be giving a presentation on her new book, Passionate Mothers, Powerful Sons, on Monday, November 6 at 6:00pm. This special evening will be taking place at Dhruvees Restaurant right on the corner of Beechwood and Charlevoix. Tickets cost $62 and cover your meal (a set menu served family style), the tax, and the tip. Dhruvees is happy to accommodate any special dietary needs if we are informed at the bookstore ahead of time. Though our Roy MacGregor dinner has now passed, you still have a chance to attend our dinner with Charlotte Gray. Tickets are very close to being gone, so be sure to call, visit, or e-mail us to get yours soon! If you do happen to miss out, you can always put yourself on our waiting list in event that we have a cancellation.

In addition to our Author Dinner series, we also have a number of in-store events to tell you about. On Wednesday, November 1 (tomorrow) between 5:00pm and 7:00pm, we hope you will join us in celebrating the publication of Maggie Knaus‘ debut picture book Eleanor’s Moon! Beautifully written and illustrated by Maggie, this charming picture book explores our relationships with our loved ones and how we can stay connected even when we’re far apart. Saturday, November 4 sees the return of our longtime friend, Rick Houle to the store. He will be here from 1:00pm to 3:00pm to sign copies of his newest mystery novel, Cordial Venues. This new book is the fourth in Rick’s Vicky Veston series and we’ll be sure to have copies of the previous three books, Affable Scavengers, Violet Shoal, and Vicky Veston Inc., on hand for those who want to start reading from the beginning! Looking further into November, Ottawa mystery mavens, Barbara Fradkin and Mary Jane Maffini will be paying us a visit for a joint signing on Saturday, November 25 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. Barbara and Mary Jane will be signing copies of their newest releases, Wreck Bay and You Light Up My Death, respectively, as well as a selection of their earlier titles. Be sure to mark all these great events on your calendar so you don’t miss a minute of the fun!

Although the darker days and cooler nights mean that winter is on its way, there’s still lots to enjoy about autumn before we get to that seemingly endless long dark. For one thing, what better way is there to relish the beauty, mystery, and spookiness of the season than to read books with all those qualities? In the first ever authorized return to Shirley Jackson‘s The Haunting of Hill House, Elizabeth Hand has delivered a chilly, eerie, and entirely delightful story in A Haunting on the Hill. When it looks like Holly is finally going to get her big break as a playright, all that’s left for her to do is find somewhere to rehearse her play, Witching Night. Stumbling upon Hill House, Holly thinks she’s found the perfect place! Sure, it’s pretty dark and dingy… and, yes, it creaks quite a bit… and it’s definitely what one would call drafty… but it will serve Holly’s purposes perfectly! Once her best friend and company of actors join her though, the house (and its spectral residents) begins to express itself in ever creepier and more frightening ways! Following on the same theme, from the critically acclaimed author of Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow, comes a brand new creepy mansion story called Starling House. Set in a small Kentucky town and featuring a mysterious old house once owned by a reclusive 19th Century author, this spooky novel will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end! A perfect read for fans of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Shirley Jackson, and chilling reads for dark, stormy nights!

More eerie, magical thrills await in Beth Revis and Sarah Raasch‘s new collaboration, Night of the Witch! This adventure-filled young adult novel introduces readers to Fritzi, a witch who narrowly escapes a brutal attack on her coven, only to set off immediately in search of vengeance against the ruthless perpetrators. Dogging her every step are the hexenjagers, an elite group of witch hunters who are not only responsible for her family’s demise, but are determined to obliterate the world of all witches. However, unbeknownst to Fritzi, Otto, the hexenjager captain hot on her trail, has a secret not even his commanding officers are aware of – his position as a witch hunter is a cover for his own quest for vengeance. As witch and hunter trade barbs and backstories, an uneasy (and unlikely) alliance is formed. Can their fragile relationship survive the epic, magical battle that is to come? Perfect for fans of Kelley Armstrong, P.C. Cast, and Cassandra Clare, this is the ideal enemies-to-lovers historical fantasy to keep you company on a cold, fall night. If you’re a fan of Naomi Novik‘s The Scholomance series or other books in the Dark Academia genre, be sure to put Pascale Lacelle‘s new book, Curious Tides, on your reading pile. Emory’s magical abilities have never been very remarkable, but all that changes after the devastating events she witnesses one night in the sea caves near Aldryn College. Now possessed of innumerable strange abilities and dark, troubling magic, Emory enlists the help of a classmate in an effort to understand (and gain control over) these new powers coursing through her veins. Despite her efforts, her unusual new abilities remain unchecked and begin to attract some very unsavoury attention from dangerous quarters. Suddenly, the mystery of what happened in the sea caves begins to morph into a much more sinister and twisted plot than she ever expected! Full of twists and turns, magic and mystery, this debut novel by an Ottawa author is one that should not be missed!

Although murder, mystery, and mayhem is often thought to exist mostly within the pages of the novels we love so much, there is more to find than you might think within your own flower plots and hedgerows! Evolutionary biologist Noah Whiteman takes readers deep into the uses, abuses, and origins of some of the most commonly used (but also deadly) plants in existence in his book, Most Delicious Poison. From the caffeine-riddled coffee bean to the deliciously crunchy poppy seed, the colourful mushroom cap to the humble apple seed, Whiteman outlines how although most of these items have innocent, everyday uses, in certain combinations and quantities, the consequences of consumption can be fatal! Fascinating and frightening, this book is most definitely worth a deep dive! The very real impacts of some of the world’s most toxic plants can indeed be troubling, but also, as Marta McDowell tells us, inspiring. In her new book, Gardening Can Be Murder, McDowell (an avid gardener herself) illustrates how the garden and all its contents have inspired some of the world’s most famous mystery writers – from classic authors like Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe to more contemporary ones like Colin Dexter. Whether your detective has a penchant for all things horticultural, the manor you’re visiting employs a very shady groundskeeper, or your civilized tea time devolves into a shocking murder scene, there’s really no end to the connections between our beloved mysteries and the lush, green, shadow-filled gardens we find all around us. Guaranteed to appeal to gardeners and mystery lovers alike, this book is an ideal read for the long, dark, garden-less season ahead of us.

Though the height of autumn is pretty much behind us now, there’s still lots of time to enjoy the crisp, cool air, the carpets of golden leaves, and the deliciously haunting reads before the seasons officially turn again. And if you’re ever at a loss for a book to keep you company, be sure to pop by the store where one of our on-site book experts will be happy to help you find the perfect literary world to disappear into.

Happy Reading!

— The Staff at Books on Beechwood

Meet, greet, and eat with Charlotte Gray!

Date: Monday, November 6
Time: 6:00pm (seating available as of 5:30pm)
Place: Dhruvees Restaurant (18 Beechwood Avenue)

Contact the bookstore for more details and to purchase tickets.



Hilary’s Bookshelf

What I’m Reading: The Scandalous Confession of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub

“I couldn’t believe my luck when I came across this title that perfectly combines my love of witches with my love of Jane Austen! Narrated in the first person, Lydia Bennet recounts the events of Austen’s famous novel directly to the reader with lots of sly comments and snarky asides. Though not every beloved character in the book has magical qualities, you may be surprised at the ones who do… and what they use said qualities for. Funny and charming, this book is proving to be endlessly entertaining! And it may even cause me to like Lydia Bennet just a bit more than I did before.”