Bookstrology: Leo

Leo (July 23–August 22)

Happy Birthday Leo! Leos are regal leaders who can seem extravagant and arrogant to some, but are also warm and charismatic.


Book of the Month:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

There’s something for every Leo in this sprawling and epic novel about a group of friends in an exclusive classics program at a prestigious New England university. This book explores the darker side of a group of charismatic leaders who delve deep into the world of the Greeks, entering a dark world of murder.


Fellow Leos:

Percy Bysshe Shelley (August 4, 1792)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (August 6, 1809)

J.K. Rowling (July 31, 1965)

Enid Blyton (August 11, 1897)

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819)

Beatrix Potter (July 28, 1866)


5 Sherlockian Reads + Giveaway!

Have you just finished binging Sherlock and want more? You won’t want to miss these 5 Sherlockian reads! Become a super sleuth and see if you can solve crack these cases.

Have a super-sleuth summer! Enter for a chance to WIN these Sherlockian reads!

Book Club Recommendations: World War II–Era Books

It may not seem like the most uplifting theme for a discussion usually had over cheese and wine, but it is precisely the surfeit of discussion points that make books about the Second World War so perfect for a book club pick.

Continually relevant and continually refreshed, books set in this era, both fiction and non-fiction, speak to a devastating ripple effect that altered the world in ways we are only made aware of on the page. Ground zero may have been Europe, but the tendrils of war are long and treacherous, and these books provide not only illumination on the immediate horrors of war, but insight into the often hidden or unknown circumstances of those living well behind the front.

Each of these six contemporary books presents a unique perspective on life during World War II, making them perfect choices as book club picks. And as a bonus for reading groups, not only are these books packed with thematic discussion points, but they are written beautifully, with strength of voice and originality of style that is sure to lead to an even more robust conversation—so plan your wine and cheese inventory accordingly.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The war has just ended and a London author is looking for her next book subject. What she finds is the extraordinary story of a group of people who formed a resistance party under the guise of an innocent book club while under occupation on a small island in the English Channel. This tale of the ingenuity and determination of the human spirit in the face of adversity is as uplifting as a WWII story can get.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

A truly remarkable novel that introduces us to Ursula Todd, who, on a winter night in 1910, is born, and then dies, again and again. With each rebirth she inches closer to her intended fate, and the fate of those around her, culminating in the role she is destined to play during the Blitz of London. A highly original, thoroughly fascinating look at the significance one life will have on the world around it.

Introducing Arrowood

I had the idea for writing Arrowood when I was rereading Sherlock Holmes several years ago. I love Conan Doyle’s stories, but I wondered which other private detectives would have been working in London at the time, and whether they would have resented Holmes’s genius and fame. I thought I probably would have.

William Arrowood was just such a detective, living in cheap rooms in South London, only just surviving on the low fees he charged working the poorer parts of London, a man with a huge heart and a concern for the injustices of Victorian society.

I knew if Arrowood was to capture the imagination, he had to be a strong character. And if he was to resent the success of Sherlock Holmes, he had to have a different approach to solving crime. This was the key to who he was. While Holmes focuses on physical clues and logic, Arrowood is obsessed with people, with their emotions, their motives, and their inconsistencies. Instead of studying shipping timetables and the qualities of cigar ash, Arrowood studies Victorian ideas of the mind and emotion. He carries out small experiments in the course of his work, prodding and poking his clients, his informants, his suspects. And instead of the cool reserve of Holmes, Arrowood is affable, given over to tenderness and fury in equal measure, loving yet greedy, generous to strangers yet careful with his pennies.

Discussion Starters for Every Book Club

Theoretically, book clubs, both online and in person, are the ideal place for book lovers to gather. The collective act of sharing a book-reading experience can be creatively inspiring, intellectually stimulating and, sometimes, politically challenging. It is a wonderful thing when the majority of the group loves the book and wants to share their mutual adoration, but dissenting experiences can also lead to a robust and interesting discussion.

The key, however, is to ensure that the discussion starts, flows and remains open-minded and respectful, even when opinions of the text diverge. And if you are the host or curator of the book club, this responsibility is yours alone.

Getting the conversation started and sustaining it throughout your meeting is easier with some books than with others, but with a few points of preparation, you can ensure that a vigorous talk is enjoyed by all. Follow these generalized topics for starting, and maintaining, a great discussion about any book:


First Questions:

A quick “So, did we like the book?” is fine as a way to call the meeting to order, so to speak, but the only answer necessary is a nod, shake of the head or quick poll around the room. Then move on to more invigorating opening questions. Try these:

  • Did everybody finish the book? If not, was it a time constraint, or did the reader ditch it? Why?
  • Was the book what you expected before you began reading? How/in what ways were you surprised?”

Quintessential Canadian Bookish Decor

Oh, Canada! Our home and native land has been a country for 150 years and all of 2017 is a celebration of what makes Canada unique. Maple syrup, bagged milk, toques, Tim Hortons…if you can’t get enough of the Canadian-esque, decorate your house with these Canadian decor must-haves and cuddle up with your favorite read from the North.


An Iconic Hudson Bay Blanket

The Hudson Bay Company is the oldest company in North America and their signature multistripe blanket dates back to 1800. Nothing will keep you warmer while you enjoy an exceptional Canadian read like Alias Grace or Lullabies for Little Criminals. Find the blanket in wool or the less costly fleece.

Perfect Fandom Reads

The rise of the Internet has made it easier than ever to connect with people who like the same weird stuff that you like. For some people, fandom and fanfiction are a huge part of their lives, whether they like comics, video games, books, movies or TV shows. As a self-proclaimed fangirl, here are my seven picks for books for passionate fans of everything from fantasy to sci-fi.


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan, and with the approaching release of the last book in the series the pressure is on for Cath to finish her fan fiction story, Carry On Simon Snow. Her fan fiction is famous in the fandom and features a romance between the hero Simon and his nemesis Baz. As she starts her first year of college, Cath is separated from her twin sister Wren for the first time. While Wren has grown out of Simon Snow, Cath hasn’t. As Cath continues work on her fanfic and struggles with her creative writing class, she finds her own voice outside of Simon Snow and apart from her sister.

Interested in more? Rainbow Rowell also wrote a Simon Snow novel called Carry On.


The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Perfect for fans of Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia who have now entered adulthood, The Magicians follows Quentin as her enrolls in a prestigious college of magic. Hoping to find a world of adventure, Quentin stumbles into a dark world of magic that’s connected to the childhood stories he loved as a child.


Mouth-Watering Reads

Looking for a delicious read? Get your favorite snack ready and dive into mouth-watering reads!

7 Perfect Beach Reads for Summer Days

Summer time is officially here and life is easy, especially when you’re sprawled out with a book in your hands and sand in your toes. “Beach read” is a term that is used a lot from May to September, and what this actually means might be different for everyone. For me, a beach read is a book that radiates that summer feeling, is all absorbing and might be a lighter, fun read but still has a lot of depth.

Here are 7 summer reads perfect for toting to the beach this summer.


Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank

One summer two couples begin a friendship that will span 20 years. Set on an island in South Carolina, happily married Eliza and Adam rent a condo for the summer with their twin toddlers. There they meet Eve, Carl and their young daughter, also spending the summer in the same condo. Eve and Adam were high school sweet hearts, but despite this the two couples form a deep friendship. Years later, a transgression could ruin their decade long friendship, and even their marriages.


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

A picturesque and isolated Italian island. A woman on the brink of stardom. A love affair and a lie. Beautiful Ruins can only be described as an epic novel, spanning decades and continents as it explores characters tied together by an Italian innkeeper and the fledgling star he met and fell in love with years ago.


Essential Reads for Commemorating the Fourth of July                    

As the US gears up for Independence Day celebrations, here is some required reading that features significant figures in American history. Part celebration, part cautionary tale, these stories serve up some of the past’s most infamous characters and give them the gift of hind-sight and perspective. The perfect reads for an era that some might consider stranger than fiction.


Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Even if you haven’t yet seen the musical, this play-book with tons and tons of bonus material will give you a good idea of how a hip-hop musical about founding fathers wound up being the biggest thing to ever hit Broadway. And it’s much easier to get a copy of this book than to try to score tickets to the show.

X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon

Written by Malcolm X’s daughter, this young adult tale explores the activist’s younger days and influences, and looks at the path that led him to become one of the civil rights movement’s most important leaders. A great introduction to the early life of Malcolm X, told with compassion and honesty, for readers of any age.


Celebrate 150 Years of Canada with These Essential Authors

2017 marks 150 years of Canada’s federation, and the celebrations have begun in earnest. One of the most beautiful, honest and timeless ways to mark our country’s trials and triumphs is, of course, through its books and authors. Our voices are as vast and varied as our landscape, and our experiences are, as well. But each is worthy of our time, consideration and enjoyment.

A list off essential Canadian authors would be nearly endless, so here are just a few of the significant voices that have recently released fiction. They speak of the experience of feeling both a part of, and apart from Canada; they speak of our unity and our divisions, and most important, they speak of how we must listen to each other in order to understand Canada from the many perspectives that make our country what it is today. This is the tip of the iceberg, but start your reading list with these five authors.

Son of a Trickster, the latest from award-winning Indigenous author Eden Robinson, tells the story of Jared Martin, a 16-year-old kid, who, according to his grandmother, is not even human. Sure, Jared may have some issues: he’s a bit of a stoner, his mom is an addict, and—oh yeah, he can talk to ravens, but underneath it all he is a creative, compassionate kid who is left to draw his own roadmap for life. Robinson’s coming of age story is a must-read for Canadians of any age.


Metis writer and Governor General’s Award winner Katherena Vermette presents a gripping family saga in The Break, which tells the story of the ripple effect of a crime that a young woman observes one freezing winter night in Winnipeg’s North End. Themes of violence, addiction, racism and colonialism—as well as tradition, legacy, loyalty and love—are explored through multiple perspectives, each sharply and sensitively presented.

Thanks to a Hulu televisation and some global political unrest, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has taken its place on international bestseller lists again, more than three decades after its original release. It’s everything we love about Margaret Atwood—dystopian realism, feminist protagonists, laser-sharp wit and eerily prescient story lines—and everything we fear about the future of society. Blessed be the fruit.


July New Releases You Can’t Miss

Summer is finally here, and with that comes amazing summer reads you just can’t miss. Keep reading to discover what July books need to make it in to your TBR pile, and let us know in the comments what you’ll be reading this summer.

The Ultimatum by Karen Robards

“Enthralling… Readers won’t want this adrenaline-rich story to end. ” —Booklist (starred review)

Thief. Manipulator. Con artist. Call it what you will—Bianca St. Ives is the best in the business. 

Growing up, Bianca St. Ives knew she was different from all her friends. Instead of playing hopscotch or combing her dolls’ hair, she studied martial arts with sensei masters and dismantled explosives with special-ops retirees. Her father prepped her well to carry on the family business. Now a striking beauty with fierce skills, the prodigy has surpassed the master.

She’s known as the Guardian. Running a multinational firm with her father, she makes a living swindling con men out of money they stole—and she’s damn good at it. She does things on her own terms. But her latest gig had a little hiccup—if you count two hundred million dollars and top secret government documents going missing as little. Her father also died on the mission. The thing is, the US government doesn’t believe he’s really dead. They’ll stop at nothing to capture Richard St. Ives, a high-value target and someone who has been on most-wanted lists all over the world for over two decades, and they mean to use Bianca as bait. With only a fellow criminal for backup and her life on the line, it’s up to Bianca to uncover the terrifying truth behind what really happened…and set it right, before it’s too late.

5 Decor Ideas Every Bookworm Needs

Sure, you’ve purchased a fancy bookshelf and arranged all your books by color, but what else can you do to bring your love of books into your home decor? Well, we have 5 fun suggestions below that will really let your bookish side shine through.

Throw pillows

When you relax at the end of the day with a good book, do it in style.

Wall art

Bare walls are depressing! Spice things up with book art featuring your favorite literary quotes!

BookClubbish Was There: Book Expo America and Book Con

Book Expo America just wrapped up, and with that means plenty of book recommendations. Here is what BookClubbish thinks you need to read!

3 Fantasy Reads That Tackle Big Questions

I love fantasy novels that tackle the big questions—novels that are not only timely and contemporary but have a way of commenting on and critiquing our world, making us see everyday life through an entirely different lens. Below, you will find a list of fantasy novels sure to ship you to another world that is very different, yet in many ways offers insight into the world we are experiencing now.

SPECTACLE by Rachel Vincent

The second novel in the Menagerie series provides a timely and sophisticated discussion of the marginalization of the “other.” SPECTACLE is set in a world where cryptids—creatures lurking just beneath their human veneers such as mermaids, minotaurs, griffins and kelpies—are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of “exotic wildlife.” Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle’s owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price.

The Menagerie trilogy provides a timely and important discussion on the line between human and monster, compassion and cruelty, and understanding that this line may not always be so easily recognizable.

Celebrate 200 Years With These HarperCollins Recommendations

Celebrate the 200th Anniversary of HarperCollins with these amazing recommendations!


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