Shop Talk

Summer reading at Nicholas Hoare

Photo by Angela Gordon

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

There’s a certain languid elegance at Nicholas Hoare, the longstanding Sussex Drive bookstore. Maybe it’s the dark wood, reminiscent of the den of some well-read uncle, or maybe it’s the location across the street from the National Gallery of Canada (and just a few blocks away from some our favourite shops). Either way, it seemed the perfect place to go for summer reads.

We started with the store’s redesigned website, where we found Notes at Random: a hand-picked selection of both current and classic titles of particular interest and merit. What a delight! Herewith, a few favourites from this month’s Notes at Random.

Ever wonder how those bustling restaurateurs do it? Never mind the financial stuff, just knowing that you are, in effect, hosting guests almost every night of the week, inviting their judgment, and hoping for returns… just the thought of taking on such a venture is enough to make me run screaming. Not Gabrielle Hamilton.

Actually, it was — at first. In Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, Hamilton recalls her upbringing in rural Pennsylvania, her hard days eating ketchup packets in New York City, the long hours spent with a catering company, and other misadventures that eventually led her to accept her destiny and open a restaurant. What makes this book stand out is the sharp writing, which zeroes in on the link between food and kindness.

If you’re looking for a sexy mystery to while away an afternoon, we suggest Death at the Chateau Bremont by M.L. Longworth. The first in a series set in Aix-en-Provence, where the author resides, readers will meet two French detectives, a sexy chief magistrate (and his former lover), and an elegant law professor. Mix in a few glasses on wine, excellent food, and the aristocracy surrounding the fatal tumble of a neighbouring nobleman, and you’ve got the makings of a great mystery. Think you’re not into mystery? This is the debut novel by Longworth, who has contributed to The Washington Post, The Times (London), The Independent, and Bon Appétit magazine, and teaches writing at New York University’s Paris campus. In short, a good choice if you’re just starting to dip your toes into the mystery novel genre.

Need a break from weeding? Sit back and enjoy the The Curious Gardener, by Anna Pavord, the gardening correspondent of The Independent. This collection, which is separated into 12 chapters (one for each month of the year), offers tips on how to get the most from plants, reflections on the English landscape, and a wealth of natural history based on her experiences and well-researched study.

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