1. Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard
2. Values by Mark Carney
3. The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett
4. Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
5. The Menopause Manifesto by Jen Gunter
6. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
7. Not Dark Yet by Peter Robinson
8. World Travel by Anthony Bourdain
9. The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
10. Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Greetings Book Lovers!
Happy Summer! The solstice has passed and those hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer are stretching out before us like the most inviting of adventures! Who knows where these next few months will take us? Maybe we’ll be heading off to camp or safely visiting relatives. Perhaps we’ll hit the road and search out hidden gems within easy driving distance. Or we could treat ourselves to a hammock and while away some sunny days snoozing in the dappled sunlight…with a book, or course! Really, no matter how we plan to spend our summer days, we’re bound to have a great time as long as we do things safely. So, pack your sunscreen and prep your snacks – it’s time to find out what books should accompany you on all of this year’s summer adventures!
One of this summer’s must-read books has got to be the locally produced and published Ottawa Road Trips by Laura Byrne Paquet. With the pandemic digging in its heels and the country still subject to some travel advisories, what better year than this to discover some of the secret corners and overlooked nooks and crannies in our own province! Based on a popular blog and featuring trips that will take you no further than 100km from Ottawa, this useful and informative guide is the perfect thing to have riding shotgun whenever you get into the car this summer. After all, you never know when the need to hit the road is going to strike! If physically travelling isn’t on your to-do list this summer, maybe you’d rather travel by map with An Atlas of Extinct Countries by Gideon Defoe. Described as Prisoners of Geography meets Bill Bryson, this fascinating and charming book takes a no-holds-barred look at some of the countries and nation-states that have cropped up and disappeared over the centuries. Whether it was due to some kind of natural disaster, a democratic vote, or because Napoleon came knocking, the 48 countries touched on in this book simply slipped off the map and out of existence. Informative and revelatory, this book is the perfect balance of fact and funny and is sure to delight all members of the family on the sultry summer nights to come.
Being book lovers and word nerds are qualities that often seem to go hand in hand. As such, it’s seldom that a language book ever passes through the store without us noticing it! From books about strange or forgotten words to more academic books on the evolution of linguistics – we love them all! So, we were pretty excited when we unpacked copies of Arika Okrent‘s new book last week. Highly Irregular: Why Tough, Through, and Dough Don’t Rhyme – And Other Oddities of the English Language is funny, intriguing, and full of rules that even some of the most fluent English speakers may not know! Due to innumerable cultural influences over the centuries, English is arguably one of the strangest languages out there. With exceptions galore and more oddities than you can shake a stick at, it’s baffling that this strange, sometimes incomprehensible language became as widespread as it is today. Whether English is your Mother Tongue or your third or fourth language, there’s something in this book for you! Okrent has filled the pages of Highly Irregular with answers to our most pressing language questions – “why is it eleven and twelve instead of oneteen and twoteen?” – and takes readers on a glorious trip down the wonky, winding river that is the English language.
Even if it’s been many years since we used to count down the days to the summer holidays, we somehow always retain a kind of fascination (or maybe fixation) with the magical, carefree time from the end of June to the beginning of September. It was a time when we didn’t have to worry about schoolwork and could just kick back and play in the sunshine all day long. Then, as now, one summer activity we can’t do without is reading…preferably in a hammock, but a lounge chair will do just as well! Regardless of where you’re sitting though, there’s nothing quite like spending hot, hazy days delving into a new book and disappearing to a distant place or time, only to emerge hours later to witness the first blinks of fireflies all around you. Okay, so it doesn’t always happen that way, but summer is definitely a time of year synonymous with the reading of great novels. Prepare yourself to plunge into the myths and legends of Ancient Greece with Claire Heywood‘s debut novel, Daughters of Sparta. As the daughters of a King, Helen (the face that launched a thousand ships) and Klytemnestra know that despite their incredible beauty, luxurious upbringing, and endless riches, their fates still lie squarely in the hands of their father and his male advisors. As young women, the sisters are separated and married to powerful kings in whose palaces they are expected to do only two things – give birth to an heir and embody the meek and demure nature of the ideal woman. When the weight of domestic expectations and royal ambition become too much to bear, these courageous women push back and what happens next sets off a devastating chain of events that ripple forward through time for centuries. Perfect for fans of Circe by Madeline Miller, Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne, and A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, this novel is a beautiful story of sisterhood, love, war, and having the courage to fight for your place in the world.
Heroes and villains and the battles between them are something that many of us have gotten used to enjoying in the summer months (thank you, Marvel movie franchise). Since this year is a bit different on the silver screen front, why not enjoy your heroes and villains in print instead? Veronica Roth, the bestselling author of the blockbuster teen series Divergent, has gifted us with a wonderful adult novel that will not cede its grip on readers until the very last page. Chosen Ones is a tale as old as time – a villain rises up to destroy everything and five heroes (the Chosen Ones) are recruited to defeat it and return everything to normal – kind of. Ten years after defeating the Dark One with her four companions, Sloane Andrews has yet to recover from her ordeal and just wants to be left alone. But the Dark One isn’t finished yet, and Sloane is torn from her dreams of rest, relaxation, and recovery to finish what she and her companions started a decade ago. Can the Dark One be defeated once and for all so the world can finally rest in peace? Only time will tell. In a season often filled with beach visits and lounging under umbrellas, it’s always good to have at least one light, romantic read in your back pocket. For us, this month’s To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne is that read! After her father passes away, Gracie Cooper takes over his beloved champagne shop, laying her own art dreams aside in favour of her father’s wishes. But running a shop is complicated and Gracie soon finds herself caught between her desire to keep her father’s dream alive and pressure to sell to a large corporation. The only thing keeping her going is the advice she gets from a man she’s been chatting with in an online dating app – someone she’s never actually met, or has she? With hints of Nora Ephron‘s beloved You’ve Got Mail, this sweet and funny story is the perfect way to spend any summer day!
In a year full of changes, one thing that’s stayed the same is the fact that there are way too many books and far too little newsletter space! Here are some other recent and forthcoming releases that we’re excited about: The Shining Life by Harriet Kline, Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium by Lucy Jane Santos, Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella, Home Stretch by Graham Norton, Troy by Stephen Fry, Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey, Royal Witches by Gemma Hollman, Wendy, Darling by A.C. Wise, The Maidens by Alex Michaelides, The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict (June 29), The Daughters of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase (June 29), Leonard, Marianne, and Me by Judy Scott (July 1), This is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollan (July 6), The Comfort Book by Matt Haig (July 6), The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs (July 6), Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin (July 6), Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim (July 6), While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory (July 13), The Bookshop Cat by Cindy Wum (July 13), One Year of Ugly by Caroline Mackenzie (July 13).
Though many of you have been to visit us in the last two weeks, for those who haven’t, we have some exciting news – we’re open for in-store shopping once again! We can’t tell you how excited we are to have you all back in the store! Just the thought of being one step closer to “normal” brings tears to our eyes. It’s been such a tough year for everyone and we’re so happy to see that things seem to be heading in the right direction. Even though we’re open again, there are still some rules in place to keep us all safe.
- All customers must wear a mask while shopping in the store, passing through the vestibule, or doing a curb-side pick-up.
- Anyone entering the store must sanitize their hands on the way in, before touching any products.
- There will be a maximum of 2 customers allowed into the store at a time in compliance with the province’s 15% capacity rule. This number will increase to 3 customers at a time (25% capacity) after Canada Day.
- If the store is at capacity, we ask that customers waiting to come in form a line outside on the sidewalk, curving around the building towards The Clocktower. Taking into consideration our neighbours, The Scone Witch, our staff, and our couriers, we’d like to keep our vestibule clear and the doors unblocked so both businesses can be accessed easily.
Being open for in-store shopping, while exciting, doesn’t mean that we’ll be cutting back on other services here at the store. Orders can still be placed by phone (613-742-5030), e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or online (store.booksonbeechwood.ca), and we will continue to offer local delivery in surrounding neighbourhoods, shipping further afield, and curb-side pick-ups in addition to in-store pick-ups.
If you are one of those who has either called or visited us over the last month, you may have noticed that our bookstore family has grown by one. Cathy is a retired teacher, a passionate reader, and a long-time customer of the store and we couldn’t be happier that she agreed to join our team! With her sunny disposition, dedication to the shop, and wicked sense of humour, we know that you’re going to hit it off with her just like we did. Her wide-range of interests means that she’s incredibly well-read and likes to stay up to date on the latest book reviews and prize winners. So, when you’re next on the hunt for the perfect gift or just a good book for yourself, you will be in very safe hands with Cathy. The bookstore is a pretty special place and we’re so happy to now have Cathy as part of our team. It’s only been a month and we’re already having so much fun with her that we can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer (and beyond) has in store for us. If you happen to catch her on the phone or in the shop, be sure to give her a great big Books on Beechwood welcome!
Since summer has now officially arrived, it’s time to stock up on books to see you through the bright, warm days ahead. Although this summer will be a bit different than we’re used to and there will still be rules to follow in order to keep everyone safe, it does look like we’re heading in the right direction. That light at the end of the tunnel – the one that’s seemed so far away for so long – is getting closer and closer and we can’t wait to step out of the shadows and raise our faces to the sun once more. In the meantime, we wish you many happy days spent exploring far off lands and making new friends through the pages of some great new books!
— The Staff at Books on Beechwood
What I’m Reading: Rabbits by Terry Miles
” Rabbits is a mysterious alternate reality game that you have to be in the know to get into, and even if you are among the chosen few, you will face unspeakable danger – possibly even death – for the chance at an incredible (and unknown) reward. Does that sound tempting? As the danger increases, so does the tension and you won’t be able to put this book down! It’s mysterious, technological, and thrilling. This debut novel is so unique and absorbing that it will make you forget where you are! A must read!”
Local Authors in the News…
“St. Michael’s Residential School: Lament and Legacy [by Dan and Nancy Rubenstein] is one of the few narratives told by childcare workers who witnessed on a daily basis the degradation of Indigenous children. Their account will help to ensure that what went on within the residential schools will be neither forgotten nor denied.”
Listen to their interview with Alan Neal on CBC Radio’s All In a Day from June 7, 2021:
Dan and Nancy Rubenstein in conversation with Alan Neal
“In Frances Boyle‘s short story collection Seeking Shade, nuanced characters endure trauma, evolution and epiphany as they face challenges, make decisions, and suffer the inevitable consequences.”
Seeking Shade was shortlisted for both The Writers’ Union of Canada’s Danuta Gleed Award (for best debut short fiction collection) and the 2021 ReLit Award (for best short fiction collection from an independent publisher).
Danuta Gleed Literary Award
Quill and Quire