February 2020 Newsletter

January Bestsellers

1. Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper
2. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
3. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
4. The Cockroach by Ian McEwan
5. Agent Jack by Robert Hutton
6. Dog Man: Fetch-22 by Dav Pilkey
7. Not Mentioned in Dispatches by RHOMA
8. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
9. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
10. The Innocents by Michael Crummey

Greetings Book Lovers!

Happy Valentine’s Day! It might still be cold and wintry outside, but we’re toasty warm in the store here, surrounded by the love of our lives – books! We may have said this once or twice before, but one of the things we love most about books is that they can take you to any place and any time. That’s especially useful this time of year when the winter seems interminable and current world issues are getting a little overwhelming. So, why not take a little break from reality by delving into some of the great new reads that have landed on our shelves over the last few weeks?

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of some of 2020’s greatest books so far, we wanted to remind you about our first Titles@Table40 event of the season. Some of you may have seen our notice go out a week and a bit ago, but for those who didn’t, we’re going to be kicking off our ever-popular dinner series on Sunday, February 23 with former CBC reporter Carol Bishop-Gwyn. She has written a wonderful (unauthorized) biography of two of our country’s most esteemed artists, who were also, at one time, a couple. Art and Rivalry details the marriage of Mary and Christopher Pratt, the highs and lows of their life together, their respective art careers, and the eventual implosion of their marriage. Filled with fascinating details, heart-breaking realities, and the beautiful art that came out of what was a very emotionally-fraught situation makes for an undeniably compelling read. Armed with a photograph-filled power-point presentation, Carol Bishop-Gwyn will be giving us not only a glimpse into the lives of two very talented people, but will also be dazzling us with some of our country’s most well-known pieces of art.

For those of you who have never been to one of our Titles@Table40 events at Fraser Cafe, or who need a little refresher on what’s what, here’s how it all 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. Fraser Cafe can accommodate all special dietary needs if we are informed at the bookstore in advance. Tickets are on sale at the bookstore now, so be sure to get yours soon. This evening of timeless Canadian art, wonderful food, and fascinating stories is not to be missed!

Since this is the day that’s been chosen to celebrate love, what better moment than now to dive into our book picks from the last few weeks – all of which, coincidentally, we can safely say that we love! For anyone who’s been in the store anytime over the last year and a bit, we’re sure you’ve heard someone here talking about how much they loved Madeline Miller‘s 2018 novel, Circe. A sweeping historical novel that takes readers into the ancient world of Greek deities, nymphs, monsters, heroes, and demi-gods, it introduces us to the formidable character Circe, a daughter of Helios who is recognized as the first ever witch. If you haven’t read it, you definitely should, but if you have, we would highly recommend you pick up The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave next. Set in the furthest reaches of Norway in the early 17th century, this heart-stopping novel opens with a tragic reminder of the power of the sea and the fragility of human life. When the menfolk in the small town of Vardo are wiped out in an incredible, almost otherworldly storm, twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter and her fellow wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers must adapt to their harsh new reality and learn to fend for themselves. Left to their own devices for a few seasons, the appointment and arrival of a new commissioner for their tiny town, a Scottish-born witch hunter named Absolom Cornet, is welcomed by some and spells doom for others. Inspired by true events, this is a story filled with love, stoicism, fanaticism, and heart-break – a novel to be read, absorbed, and placed among other favourites in your collection.

Though the title implies a historical setting, Andrew David MacDonald‘s When We Were Vikings has its feet firmly planted in the present. Zelda is twenty-one-years-old and lives with her older brother Gert. She loves vikings and knows everything there is to know about Valhalla, Beowulf, and how a viking warrior can become the hero of their own legend. She also likes to have sets of rules in place so she can keep the things around her in order, has trouble dealing with conflict, and suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. So, when she finds out that her brother has acted dishonourably by dropping out of college, lying to her about it, and falling in with some very bad people, she’s determined to help him by setting out on her very own viking quest to defeat the grendels that are plaguing their family. Things get serious quickly though, and Zelda soon finds herself in a situation where saving the people she loves means being stronger than she’s ever been before. Touching, inspiring, and built around a core of sibling love, this sweet, funny story will touch your heart and keep you engaged long after you’ve closed the cover for the final time. Eoin Colfer has long delighted us with his wonderfully funny, ever delightful Artemis Fowl series and now he’s gifted us an equally lovable book for adults. Highfire is, in a word, unparalleled. Hilarious, ridiculous, action-packed, and piloted by two very unlikely heroes, be prepared to read this one in a single sitting! The last of his kind, Vern lives in the Louisiana bayou, swigging vodka, smoking Marlboros, and spending the majority of his time in his Lay-Z-Boy recliner decked out in his favourite Flashdance t-shirt. The thing is, Vern used to be known as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie, and is the world’s last dragon. Enter a crooked cop and a young swamp rat playing an epic game of cat and mouse, and Vern is not only forced out of his comfy recliner, but he’s set on a path that just might lead him back to his glory days…or it could see the extinction of his species. Told in trademark Colfer style, you will laugh yourself silly from beginning to end!

Our undying love of books and stories is matched only by our love of language and writing, so we always get pretty excited when a new book about words arrives in the store. Don’t Believe a Word by David Shariatmadari is just that kind of book. Delving into the science of language, this book challenges us to forget everything we thought we knew about words, their true meanings, and how they evolve. Prepare to have your mind blown as Shariatmadari shatters nine commonly held beliefs about language and introduces us to some new ground-breaking ideas about one of humanity’s greatest (and most changeable) inventions. Understanding the wheres and whys of language is one thing, but learning how to use it properly can be a very different matter. Long-time teacher and writer, Roy Peter Clark brings his writing knowledge to the masses in his new book Murder Your Darlings. Along with his own know-how, this book also contains some of the top writing tips from masters of the genre such as Anne Lamott, Stephen King, and even Aristotle! No longer will aspiring writers have to stand in front of the “Language and Linguistics” section of their local bookstore wondering which writing guide to choose. Instead they can simply pick up Clark‘s book and receive not only his own advice, but the top 100 tips from fifty of the top writing books of all time! After all, who could argue with an essential guide born of essential guides?

Here in the store, our children’s section gets just as much (if not more) love from our staff than the rest of the store does. There’s just something about a good coming-of-age story that still appeals to us all. Much like Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy did a few years ago, Jo Cotterill‘s new book, Jelly, has completely captured our hearts. At school, Angelica puts on a good show – she’s great at impressions, makes everyone laugh, and doesn’t mind throwing her weight around – but the truth is, that’s not the real her. Lacking the confidence to be herself, Jelly saves all her innermost thoughts and feelings for her special notebook. It’s not until her mother’s new boyfriend comes on the scene and recognizes Jelly’s behaviour as an act that this shy young girl realizes that sometimes putting yourself out there and trusting others to accept you as you really are is where real confidence comes from! There are moments in life when people can surprise you and true friendships can come from some pretty unexpected places. These are lessons that Norris Kaplan has yet to learn in The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Phillippe. As a Black French Canadian, the prospect of moving to Austin, Texas doesn’t strike Norris as a very good idea – he can tell that much just from watching American sitcoms. This leads him to believe that keeping his new high school classmates at a safe distance by compartmentalizing them seems like the perfect plan. Fortunately for him, life rarely abides by our plans and before he knows it, his safely-labeled peers are causing cracks to appear in his armour and proving that they might actually make for good, trustworthy friends. It all goes pear-shaped on prom night though, and Norris must decide whether to come out from behind the walls he’s built between himself and the world, or stay in the safety and comfort of his own self-imposed isolation. Funny, realistic, and full of all the joys of adolescence, this novel for teens is at once charming and heart-warming.

While we could stay here forever talking about all the books we’ve loved over the last few weeks, time is not infinite, so here are a few other recently released and forthcoming titles that we’re excited to bring to your attention: Martin McLean, Middle School Queen by Alyssa ZaczekRace to the Sun by Rebecca RoanhorseThe Mitford Scandal by Jessica FellowesSt. Francis Society for Wayward Pets by Annie England NoblinBloom by Kenneth OppelThe Second Midnight by Andrew TaylorA Divided Loyalty by Charles ToddAlone in the Wild by Kelley ArmstrongA Witch in Time by Constance SayersThe Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson (February 25), Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore (February 25), Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson (March 3), Actress by Anne Enright (March 3), Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare (March 3), Awkword Moments by Ross and Kathryn Petras (March 10).

Love is a funny thing – we can feel it for other people, inanimate objects, animals, and ourselves and it can sometimes be subtle, overwhelming, unpredictable, epic, and electric…ideally not all at the same time. Like any great love affair, the love of books will take you on a journey – there will be highs and lows, danger and adventure, sadness and loss, and you never know where your journey will take you until you get there. Books are really the ultimate companions – steadfast, dedicated, comforting – and the best part is, they’ll never yell at you for putting your feet up on the coffee table!

Lots of love from us to you on this Valentine’s Day weekend!
Happy Reading!

— The Staff of Books on Beechwood

Holiday Hours

We will be CLOSED on Monday, February 17 for Family Day. Regular store hours will resume on Tuesday, February 18.


Titles@Table40 with Carol Bishop-Gwyn

Date: Sunday, February 23
Time: 5:30pm
Place: Table40 Restaurant, 7 Springfield Road

Tickets for this event are on sale now. Be sure to pop by the store, call or e-mail us to get yours today!



Hilary’s Bookshelf

What I’m Reading: Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

“Victorian London seems to have a strange sort of appeal to me, as I find myself reading yet another book that’s set there. Starring a lady detective named Bridie Devine, this book has taken me through the sooty streets of London in search of a kidnapped girl rumoured to have the kind of powers that make her appealing to some collection-obsessed Victorians. Also featuring an enamoured ghostly sidekick, I can’t wait to see what awaits me around the next cobblestone corner!”

Titles@Table40 with Carol Bishop-Gwyn

We are happy to announce that we now have our first Titles@Table40 date of the year!

We’ll be kicking things off with a visit from Carol Bishop-Gwyn. She’ll be joining us for dinner on Sunday, February 23 to discuss her new book Art and Rivalry: The Marriage of Mary and Christopher Pratt.

Date: Sunday, February 23, 2020
Time: 5:30pm
Place: Table 40, 7 Springfield Road

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 Cafe can accommodate all special dietary needs if we are informed at the bookstore in advance.

Call or visit us to purchase your tickets today!
Books on Beechwood
35 Beechwood Avenue

Tim Plumptre Signing

Local author Tim Plumptre will be in the store on Saturday, January 11 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm to sign copies of his book The Intrepid Nonprofit.

About the book:

The Intrepid Nonprofit is a playbook for nonprofit leaders to help them navigate the turbulent environment ahead.

It examines difficult challenges facing nonprofits, such as shrinking or stagnating revenue sources, technological change, under-performing boards, staff turnover, mission drift, or measuring intangible results. Drawing insights from organizations that have not only prospered but sometimes achieved outstanding results, the book outlines practical strategies for success, including some out-of-the-box approaches to leadership. It also calls upon governments and foundations to do more to support the sector.

Tomorrow’s nonprofit leaders will have to be intrepid—resolute, imaginative, adaptable, and courageous. This book will inspire and sustain them when the going gets tough.”

Annual Inventory Sale!!

From now until Saturday, January 18

All books 20% off
All gifts (cards, puzzles, mugs, bags) 25% off
Calendars 30% off
Christmas cards and crackers 50% off
Christmas chocolate bars 40% off
Christmas gift wrap 30% off
Christmas books 25% off

Following our sale, we will be CLOSED on Sunday, January 19 to do our annual inventory taking.
Regular store hours will resume on Monday, January 20.

**CDs, DVDs, magazines, and special orders not included in sale**

Winter 2020 Book Club List

January: Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper

Date: Wednesday, January 29 at 7:30pm

From Emma Hooper, acclaimed author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James, a People magazine “Pick of the Week,” comes a “haunting fable about the transformative power of hope” (Booklist, starred review)
 in a charming and mystical story of a family on the edge of extinction.

Newfoundland, 1992. When all the fish vanish from the waters and the cod industry abruptly collapses, it’s not long before the people begin to disappear from the town of Big Running as well. As residents are forced to leave the island in search of work, ten-year-old Finn Connor suddenly finds himself living in a ghost town. There’s no school, no friends, and whole rows of houses stand abandoned. And then Finn’s parents announce that they too must separate if their family is to survive.
But Finn still has his sister, Cora, with whom he counts the dwindling boats on the coast at night, and Mrs. Callaghan, who teaches him the strange and ancient melodies of their native Ireland. That is until his sister disappears, and Finn must find a way of calling home the family and the life he has lost.

February: An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma

Date: Wednesday, February 26 at 7:30pm

The “superb and tragic” Booker Prize finalist about a Nigerian poultry farmer who sacrifices everything to win the woman he loves, by the author of The Fishermen (Boston Globe)

Set on the outskirts of Umuahia, Nigeria and narrated by a chi, or guardian spirit, AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his prized chickens into the water below to express the severity of such a fall. The woman, Ndali, is stopped her in her tracks.

Bonded by this night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family and struggles to imagine a future near a chicken coop. When her family objects to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. But when he arrives he discovers there is no place at the school for him, and that he has been utterly duped by the young Nigerian who has made the arrangements.. Penniless, homeless, and furious at a world which continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further away from his dream, from Ndali and the farm he called home.

Spanning continents, traversing the earth and cosmic spaces, and told by a narrator who has lived for hundreds of years, the novel is a contemporary twist of Homer’s Odyssey. Written in the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, Chigozie Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about destiny and determination.

March: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Date: Wednesday, March 25 at 7:30pm

The mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series
One of five Summer 2019 reading picks by Bill Gates
“The novel buzzes with the energy of numerous adventures, love affairs, [and] twists of fate.” —The Wall Street Journal

He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

January 2020 Newsletter

December Bestsellers

1. Coconut Lagoon by Joe Thottungal
2. Ottawa Rewind by Andrew King
3. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
4. Not Mentioned in Dispatches by RHOMA
5. The Cockroach by Ian McKewan
6. Truth Be Told by Beverley McLachlin
7. Murdered Midas by Charlotte Gray
8. Agent Running in the Field by John Le Carre
9. Under Occupation by Alan Furst
10. Flight of the Highlanders by Ken McGoogan

Bestsellers of 2019

1. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
2. Coconut Lagoon by Joe Thottungal
3. Truth Be Told by Beverley McLachlin
4. Brave: Living with a Concussion by Kanika Gupta
5. Ottawa Rewind by Andrew King
6. Effin’ Birds by Aaron Reynolds
7. Agent Running in the Field by John Le Carre
8. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
9. Murdered Midas by Charlotte Gray
10. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Greetings Book Lovers!

Happy New Year! Well, what a season it’s been! Busy to the last, 2019 definitely ended with a bang for us. We hope you all had a lovely holiday and that Santa brought you everything you asked for…especially the books! After a brief break in business, we’re right back to work getting the store ready for another year full of nifty gifts, exciting events, and wonderful, wonderful reads!

The first order of business this month (and this year) is to tell you about our Annual Inventory Sale! From now until Saturday, January 18, we’re having a sale on almost everything in the store! All in-stock books are 20% off, all in-stock gifts are 25% off, and our 2020 calendars are now 30% off! In addition to all those discounts, our Christmas things are all on sale too! Christmas books are 25% off, Christmas wrap and tags are 30% off, Christmas chocolate bars are 40% off, and Christmas cards and crackers are 50% off! So many savings!! The only items not included in the sale are special orders, CDs, DVDs, and magazines. Once our sale is over, we will be CLOSED on Sunday, January 19 so we can do our annual inventory. Counting everything in the store can take us a while, even with all hands on deck, so the more you take advantage these discounts, the happier we will be! Plus, just think about how much further those gift cards you found in your Christmas stockings will stretch over the next two weeks! We look forward to seeing you and helping you fill in any gaps that Santa may have left on your wish list!

As the year is just getting started, we don’t have any events nailed down just yet, but we wanted to give you all a little heads up about our Titles@Table40 series. It’s coming back…sooner than we thought! While our dinner events usually take place in the fall, it looks like this year we might be blessed with a small winter/spring series! Featuring some returning favourites as well as exciting new faces, this series of events will touch on our country’s relationship to war history, will take us into the centre of a tumultuous (yet artistically fruitful) marriage, and guide us through 1930s Montreal on the coattails of a young nursing student. Be sure to keep your eyes trained on your inbox, our Facebook page, and our website for up to the minute information on the who and when of our first Titles@Table40 events of 2020! Details to come soon!

There haven’t been too many new arrivals here in the store since we talked to you last, so we thought we’d give you a sneak peek at what you can expect to see on our shelves in the coming weeks. Here are a few titles that we’re looking forward to getting our hands on: Successful Aging by Daniel Levitin (January 7), The Second Midnight by Andrew Taylor (January 7), 19 Love Songs by David Levithan (January 7), The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs (January 14), Brain Wash by David Perlmutter (January 14), Foresight by Ian Hamilton (January 21), A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (January 21), Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World by Matt Parker (January 21), Obsidian: A DreadfulWater Mystery by Thomas King (January 28), Highfire by Eoin Colfer (January 28), When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (January 28), Murder in an Irish Pub by Carlene O’Connor (January 28), Witches: The Transformative Power of Women Working Together by Sam George-Allen (January 28), Things in Jars by Jess Kidd (February 4), Story Boat by Kyo Maclear (February 4), Brother & Sister by Diane Keaton (February 4), Bloom by Kenneth Oppel (February 11), Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong (February 11).

The festive season might be drawing to a close but with that, a new year is just getting started! With great new books on the horizon, exciting events in the works, and all of our wonderful customers, we’re sure 2020 is going to turn out to be a banner year!

Happy Reading!

— The Staff at Books on Beechwood

Annual Inventory Sale!!!
From now until Saturday, January 18

All books 20% off
All gifts (cards, puzzles, mugs, bags) 25% off
Calendars 30% off
Christmas cards and crackers 50% off
Christmas chocolate bars 40% off
Christmas gift wrap 30% off
Christmas books 25% off

Following our sale, we will be CLOSED on Sunday, January 19 to do our annual inventory taking.
Regular store hours will resume on Monday, January 20.
**CDs, DVDs, magazines, and special orders not included in sale**

Hilary’s Bookshelf

What I’m Reading: A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers
Released Date: February 11, 2020

“Filled with magic, witches, curses, reincarnation, deals with the devil, and doomed love affairs, it almost feels like this book was written just for me!
I was completely taken in by the characters and couldn’t wait to see where our heroine, Helen, was going to end up next. From late 19th Century France to 1930s Hollywood, through 1970s California to modern day Washington, D.C., this story is a historical tour-de-force that will keep you riveted from beginning to end!”

Books on Beechwood Advent Calendar: Day 24

We made it! Today is the 24th Day of Advent and we’re celebrating our last day before Christmas with a lovely series of books by our friends at Biblioasis, one of our favourite Canadian publishers. The Christmas Ghost Stories Series includes classic holiday stories by writers such as Daphne Du Maurier, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Edith Wharton. They’re small (conveniently stocking-sized), beautiful, and satisfying – just like your favourite Christmas cookies! For today only, if you buy one of these lovely little books, you’ll get a second one for 50% off!

Just a quick reminder that we’ll be observing shorter hours today so that all our staff can head off to their own holiday festivities and a very well-deserved rest. From 9:00am to 2:30pm though, the store will be fully staffed with helpful booksellers ready to give you a hand with any last-minute gifts you might need!

In case we don’t see you in the store to wish you good tidings, we hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!

Books on Beechwood Advent Calendar: Day 21

We’re just days away from the big day now, but there’s still lots of time to stock up on wonderful, seasonal books to read in the glow of the Christmas tree lights. From Christmas Feasts and Treats to The Crayons’ Christmas, Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, for this 21st Day of Advent, all in-stock holiday-themed books will be 25% off today only!