Special Store Hours

It’s almost the end of January and that means it’s time for all of us here at the bookstore to take stock…literally.

So, we will be CLOSED on Sunday, January 22 for our annual inventory count. All our staff get together and spend the day counting every single item we have in stock – the bookstore version of a fresh start for the new year.

Our regular store hours will resume on Monday, January 23 at 9:30am.

Have a great weekend!

Annual Inventory Sale On Now!

It’s January and that means we’re having our annual inventory sale! From Thursday, January 12 to Saturday, January 21, all books will be 25% off, all gifts and toys will be 30% off, and all 2017 calendars will be 35% off!

This sale applies to in-stock items only. The only products not included in the sale are the fundraising cards we sell for Causeway, IODE, and NECTAR, and our small selection of music CDs.

Be sure to take a break from your weather-inspired January hibernation to venture out and capitalize on these great deals!

“The Witches of New York” by Ami McKay

This book is set 200 years after the witch trials in Salem, Mass. Now 1880, this is the story of three modern “witches” as they ply their trade in New York city.

One of them had worked in a circus sideshow, the other was a medical student and “keeper of spells.” They cater to rich women of Manhattan, and specialize in cures, palmistry and potions. They are joined one day by a young woman who came seeking a job. It turns out she sees and hears things no one else can. One day she disappears and the desperate search turns up accusations from the past for all concerned.

It is a startling look at a world not much discussed. Ami McKay is an American, born and raised in Indiana. She now lives in Nova Scotia and has written two best sellers, The Birth House  and The Virgin Cure.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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“Shakespeare and Company, Paris” by Krista Halverson

This is a big, heavily-illustrated book about one of the most famous bookstores in the world. Situated in Paris, it was opened in 1919 by Sylvia Beach of Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A. with the purpose of selling English books in France. It gathered all kinds of famous writers who made it their headquarters, i.e. Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Scott Fitzgerald. It was forced to close in 1941 when the war made it too difficult to run.

By 1946, another American, George Whitman of Salem, Mass., had graduated from college and was travelling the world, visiting France in 1946. Intrigued by the success of Shakespeare and Company, in 1951 he took his inheritance money and opened another bookstore with the idea of making a meeting-place for all kinds of writers and book-lovers. He made his home there and gradually added more rooms which made it possible for visitors to sleep over, have the occasional meal. He also encouraged students to give two or three hours work to running the store in exchange for books. There are all kinds of visitors in this book: Allen Ginsberg (the Beat poet), Henry Miller, Nureyev, Jackie Kennedy.

Whitman died in 2011 in his nineties. His daughter, Sylvia and her family have taken over the store. It is a fascinating story.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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“The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories” by P.D. James

mistletoemurderP.D. James was the Queen of Crime before her death in 2014 at the age of ninety-four. She had written some 20 novels, many involving her detective hero, Adam Dalgliesh, as well as a few non-fiction, and won prizes across the world.

During this time, she was often commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special story for Christmas. Four of the best of these are collected here in a small book called The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories. In a foreword to this book, Val McDermid tells of James’ fascination with the Golden Age that followed the end of the First World War and involved the famous British women crime writers: Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh.

In this new book there are traces in James’ work of these early Queens of Crime. The settings are always carefully constructed, and James understands the importance of respectability, as well as wickedness. The collection makes for a very neat small book, suitable for Christmas.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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“Precious and Grace” by Alexander McCall Smith

preciousandgraceAlexander McCall Smith was born in Africa in a British Protectorate now known as Zimbabwe. For many years he taught law at the university there. Since then he has lived in Scotland where he is Professor Emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh and has served on many international organizations concerned with bioethics.

He has never forgotten his life in Africa, however, and we are the lucky recipients of not one but four series of books that he has written about those days, as well as his later life in Scotland. In The No. l Ladies Detective Agency he writes intimately about Precious Ramotswe and her assistant-director, Grace Makutsi, and how they help a young Canadian woman looking for someone from her past.

Precious is a pioneer in the field of detective work. She is kind and naturally compassionate, but also shrewd. The neighbourhood trusts her and she manages to let most cases solve themselves simply by putting people together and letting them talk things out. The book is filled with the sunshine and warmth of Africa as well as the charm of its inhabitants. It is also a very reassuring read in a world where the subject of ethics is very seldom mentioned.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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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:

Nasrallah: Let's stop the myth-making around multiculturalism

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


“The Promise of Canada” by Charlotte Gray

promisecanadaCharlotte Gray is well known for her histories and biographies of Canada – many of them winning prizes.

In The Promise of Canada she cleverly chooses nine Canadians from very different walks of life who have left their mark on how we view our country. Beginning with George-Etienne Cartier, one of the Fathers of Confederation, she shows how this shrewd Montreal lawyer insisted on two levels of government for the new Canada: one at the federal level to handle the whole federation, and a more local government in each province that joined up, thus ensuring that French Canada would run everything essential to the survival of their culture.

She goes on to describe a very tough Mountie, Samuel Benfield Steele and then seven more Canadians, some more famous than others but all of whom have left their mark on the way we live. These include Tommy Douglas (who master-minded health care), Margaret Atwood with her original-minded writing, Elijah Harper speaking up for First Nations.

This is Canada’s 150th Birthday coming up. There will doubtless be much written on how we look and how we got here. This will be one of the most interesting and provocative by a writer, herself an immigrant to Canada who has come to know and love it as her own.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

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A Weekend Full of Signings

elfconspiracyWe have a great lineup of book signings on tap for you this weekend!

First up, Kass Williams will be here on Saturday, November 19 from 11:00am to 1:00pm to sign copies of her new novel The Elf Conspiracy.

About the book:

“What’s a jolly fat man to do? He’s burned out after 1,000 years on the job. His elves are plotting to take over the world, the CIA thinks he’s a white-bearded Islamist terrorist, four incrementalisthackers have broken his greatest secret, and his wife consorts with demons. Christmas may never be the same.”

Later on November 19, Ian McKercher will be on hand from 1:00pm to 3:00pm signing his new novel (and the sequel to The Underling) The Incrementalist.

A truly Canadian story, this novel follows Frances McFadden as she tries to come to grips with her new position among the upper echelons of the Bank of Canada as the country goes to war.

biotsodysseyLocal sci-fi author, Alex Binkley will be in the store from 1:30pm to 3:30pm on Sunday, November 20 to launch his new book A Biot’s Odyssey, the sequel to Humanity’s Saving Grace.

Binkley continues the story of a biological robot named Genghis, who became a hero to both humans and Beings thanks to his role in the Nameless War. Now, charged with a new task and with the help of Wood, a maverick robot, Genghis sets off on a new adventure through the stars.

We look forward to seeing you all this weekend!