Diane Bethune (1935-2024)

It was with very heavy hearts that we said goodbye this past week to our beloved friend, Di Bethune. She passed away peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday, March 13 and will be missed terribly.

Di was a lifelong booklover, a passionate reader, and an irreplaceable member of our bookstore family. She was incredibly kind and caring, exhibiting a sharp, quick wit, often when you were least expecting it. She adored dogs and always delighted in visits from our canine customers, even following some human customers out onto the sidewalk so she could greet their four-legged companions with lots of love and a biscuit. Bookstore dogs, Tika and Dickon, of course also received many Di pats and cookies over the years. Both felt quite at home curled up on Di’s lap and were always quick to stake their claim whenever she sat down.

Children’s literature was another of Di’s great passions. She loved reading all the newest children’s books and was an expert at putting the right book in the right child’s hands. Her expertise certainly didn’t end there, though. Di was also a voracious reader of mysteries, fiction, and non-fiction and was a master at hand-selling her favourite reads. Here at the store, we always had to make sure we stocked up on whatever Di’s latest pick was as she would undoubtedly continue hand-selling it long after she had left work for the day. A book with Di’s stamp of approval was always guaranteed to become a Books on Beechwood bestseller! This talent extended beyond our store, of course, and was always in evidence during her many years volunteering with the Rockcliffe Park Library Book Sale and the Rockcliffe Park Public School Book Fair, her time working at The Bookery, a children’s bookshop on Sussex Drive, and while running no fewer than two second-hand bookstores of her own with her husband, Don.

Working with Di was always such a joy! Whether you were sorting books at the library sale, discovering rare treasures in among book donations at Book Fair, or learning the ins and outs of working retail, she always led with kindness and had an infinite amount of patience with those just finding their footing. Her knowledge of all things book-related was extensive, and she was always so happy to share what she knew with others. Despite all her teaching, though, there were times when all her colleagues wanted to do was stand back and watch Di at work. Witnessing the way she handled a store full of eager customers was truly incredible! Even more so when bookstore co-founder, Jean Barton was by her side – the two of them together made the perfect team!

We’ve all enjoyed so many wonderful moments with Di over the years. From chance meetings around the neighbourhood to volunteering together at a book sale, playing games at staff Christmas parties to simply working alongside her in the store. Every moment was special and we’re all so grateful for the time we got to spend with her. There was work, of course, and some serious moments, but there was also lots of laughter and fun. Di was a wonderful bookseller, a great colleague, and a very special friend. We are all better people for having known her, and we will miss her everyday.

Sending all our love to the Bethune family at this difficult time, and our heartfelt thanks to Di’s children, Margot and Andrew, for sharing their lovely Mum with us for so many years.

— The Staff at Books on Beechwood

Memorial service arrangements and Di’s obituary can be found here.

On Thursday, September 20 @ 6:00 PM
at Books on Beechwood

Join us for the launch of award-winning author Paul Carlucci’s critically acclaimed new story collection, The High Rise in Fort Fierce. Featuring special guest (writer, editor, reviewer, critic, publisher) rob mclennan!

Come meet the author of the collection Quill & Quire calls “Darkly majestic but notably grim … The nine linked pieces in this latest collection command attention.”

Paul Carlucci’s first collection of short fiction, The Secret Life of Fission, won the 2013 Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His second collection, A Plea for Constant Motion, was published to critical acclaim in 2017. His stories have also been published in numerous magazines and journals, including the Malahat Review, subTerrain, the Fiddlehead, and the New Quarterly. He lives in Ottawa.

Learn more about The High-Rise in Fort Fierce here.

Ottawa’s rob mclennan is a Canadian writer, critic, and publisher. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour, is the recipient of two Senior Canada Council grants, and his literary archives are held at the University of Calgary. Find him online at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com 

Books will be available for purchase.

Thursday, September 20 @ 6:00 PM
Books on Beechwood
35 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa, ON

FREE | All are welcome to attend!

For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.

Tips for a bookish March Break: Hilary was on CBC!

Hilary was on CBC’s Ottawa Morning show over the March break..

Tips for a bookish March Break. We ask a local librarian and bookstore manager for their surefire slamdunk reads for kids.

Have a listen on the CBC website. There was also an accompanying article with all the details from the radio piece.

A local copy of the article and audio are also available if the originals above go missing.

Elie Nasrallah Signing “Hostage to History”

hostagehistoryLocal author, Elie Nasrallah will be here on Saturday, December 3 from 12:00pm to 3:00pm to sign copies of his book Hostage to History.

Check out the following links to find out more about Elie Nasrallah and his work!

Elie’s essay from one of this week’s editions of the Ottawa Citizen:


This is a great article from Ottawa Life Magazine in which Elie Nasrallah is named one of the top 25 people in the Capital:


“Trudeaumania” by Robert Wright

trudeaumaniaWith a second Trudeau in the Prime Minister’s office, it is a good time to read Trudeaumania by Robert Wright.

Wright is Professor of History at Trent University in Oshawa and winner of prizes for books on Canadian History, including one on the love affair between Pierre and Margaret Trudeau and another on the Iran hostage crisis, which was made into a documentary film. In this new book, he concentrates on Pierre Trudeau’s political life and his rise to fame; from being a provocative writer of the magazine Cite Libre and a charismatic professor himself at the University of Montreal, to achieving political success in Ottawa, where he spearheaded reform of Canadian laws respecting divorce, abortion and homosexuality.

Trudeau rode the wave of national excitement that swept Canada after Expo 67. Although he was a Quebecer, he was against Quebec nationalism and advised against confusing the rights of French Canadians with provincial powers. He believed in a national homeland including French Canadians as well as English Canadians and advised that making this work would require political vision and determined effort. This book gives good examples of what he meant.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

Buy Now!