Parry Sound Books

Proud to be your community book shop since 1988
Knowledgable Staff - Service - Selection
Good Literature for Children & Adults


I am taking a pile of books and heading south to the sun. So, once again, and for the last time this winter, we will be open reduced hours during the coming week.

Tuesday – Saturday (19 – 22 March)  11 am – 4 pm

Saturdays 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Closed on Sunday & Monday

Great Expectations Quote

And, before we know it spring will be here – and we’ll be back to regular hours, Monday – Saturday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

News – week ending 22 February 2019


It may not be a leap year but we took the leap and planned a BOOKS & BEER in the middle of winter! In partnership with TRESTLE BREWING we are presenting FRANK WOLF, author of Lines On A Map – Unparalleled Adventures in Modern Exploration.

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS EVENT and join us for dinner & an evening reading! The reading will take place on Tuesday 26 February from 7 - 9pm. Dinner reservations at 5:30.

Your $40 ticket includes a copy of the book, a tasting flight of beer or glass of house wine, and an evening of literary and adventurous entertainment.

FRANK WOLF will share stories from his new book Lines on a Map - Unparalleled Adventures in Modern Exploration. From the shores of Georgian Bay to the high Arctic, this funny and engaging presentation will give you an intimate glimpse into the world of a lifelong adventurer. The evening will feature a reading by Frank and Q & A discussion.

Frank Wolf is a Canadian adventurer, filmmaker, writer and environmentalist. He is known for books, films, and feature magazine articles that document wilderness expeditions around the world, with a focus on the Canadian North. His expeditions include being the first to canoe across Canada in one season and cycling 2,000 km in winter on the Yukon River from Dawson to Nome. In 2012 he was named one of Canada's Top Ten Adventurers by Explore Magazine, and in 2015 he was named One of Canada's Top 100 Explorers by Canadian Geographic Magazine.

To make a reservation for dinner seating from 5:30pm-6:45pm, call 705-751-9108. The reading and Q&A will take place from 7 - 9pm.

Please support this winter Books & Beer and enjoy a fun and informative evening out – be an adventurer!



We have all of the shortlisted books in stock!

The Debate takes place between 25-28 March.


It is a quiet time of year in the book business – but one of my favourite novels of 2018 is now out in paperback – Thisbe Nissen’s Our Lady of the Prairie is the absolutely wonderful story of a woman who risks it all for a new love. Perfectly plotted and beautifully written – loss, love, motherhood, marriage – great book!


News - Week ending 8 February 2019

I have said too often this winter “life gets in the way” as it has once done again, as I take on the care of my elderly mother, which includes selling her home on the west coast and dispersing the contents among her family.

So, again we will be open with reduced hours –

We will be closed Sunday and Monday February 10th and 11th.

We will be open Tuesday 12th of February - Friday 15th February

from 11 am – 4 pm.

Saturdays we will be open 9:30 am – 5 pm.

My sincere apologies if you find us closed when you expected us to be open.


New & Noteworthy Books received this past week include

The Black Ascot by Charles Todd is new in hardcover, the 21st in this series and one I cannot wait to escape into. If you have not read this author try one of the earlier ones and I bet you’ll be hooked, as I am.


Death of an Honest Man by MC Beaton is now in paperback, another in the Hamish Macbeth Mystery series – will deliver just what you will expect – an complete escape with a few laughs.

The following were all reviewed when I read them in hardcover, and they are all now in paperback so have a look at the reviews on our website.


I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon is a work of historical fiction, and a good read -  as is Peter May’s I’ll Keep You Safe.


A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey and Sofie & Cecilia by Katherine Ashenburg are both exceptional - books I guarantee you’ll love.

News - End of January 2019

As the first month of the New Year comes to an end I am heading away for a much needed break – and some sunshine and sand.

The store will be open Tuesday – Friday 11am – 4 pm, and Saturday 9:30 am – 5 pm

If you are also packing a bag for a winter holiday there are 3 books that have come in recently in paperback – perfect for the plane or the beach

Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett is the story of an estate in England, and the people who lived there from the 1600s to the present time. It is a wonderful work of historical fiction and contemporary life – the past and the present connected in a great big saga of a story.


The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict is a novel based on the life of actress Hedy Lamarr. This is a woman who led a fascinating life, from her youth in Austria as the Nazi party comes to power, to her escape to Hollywood and her career as glamour girl. But, she was far more than a pretty face as readers will learn in this novel.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain tell the story of another Hemingway wife – this time Martha Gellhorn. Perhaps the most interesting and accomplished of the wives, Martha Gellhorn met Hemingway during the Spanish Civil War, lived with him in Cuba, and together they covered the liberation of Paris as the Second World War came to an end.


If you are planning an Italian vacation .............

I am, sadly, not travelling to Italy this winter but I have had two people who are planning trips to Italy ask me for recommended reading. So, if you are planning an Italian vacation sometime in late winter or early spring you may also want to read some novels to get into the mood, and augment the information in the travel books you’ve been pouring through while planning a trip that might take in Florence, Naples and, my favourite of all, Venice!


Prepare for FLORENCE by reading Magdalen Nabb’s Florentine mystery series featuring Marshal Guarnaccia. These books bring Florence alive as Georges Simenon’s Maigret did Paris. In fact, on reading Magdalen Nabb’s first novel, Simenon wrote to her “My dear fellow-writer and friends, it is so good to walk with you through the animated streets of Florence, with its carabinieri, its ordinary people, its little trattorie and even its noisy tourists. It’s all so alive, you can hear the noises, smell, see the morning mist on the fast flowing Arno…:. “.

Brunelleschi’s  Dome – The Story of the Great Cathedral of Florence – by Ross King is your non-fiction read for this city. The Cathedral is amazing – and the dome even more so – as is the story of its construction. “For over a century after work on the cathedral began in 1296, the proposed dome was regarded as all but impossible to build because of its enormous size. The greatest architectural puzzle of its age, when finally completed in 1436 the dome was hailed as one of the great wonders of the world”.



South of Sienna and Montepulciano lies La Foce, the estate of the late Iris Origo. One can tour the extensive gardens, and the olive orchards – and even stay the night or longer. We were privileged to have a private tour of the building and grounds the week after a devastating snowstorm in the early spring of 2010. I read the absolutely riveting wartime diaries of Iris Origo – now published as Chill in the Air 1939-1940 and War in Val d’Orcia 1943-1944. There is also an excellent biography of Iris Origo by Caroline Moorehead that is very much worth a read, providing a good history of not only the woman and her time but also life in Tuscany before, during and after the Second World War.

NAPLES has become a literary destination of sorts in the past few years with so many people reading Elena Ferrante’s addictive quartet of Neapolitan novels, beginning with My Brilliant Friend. These books brought the city alive. But, there are a few earlier books that I read long ago that are still a good source of the history and lore of this fascinating city.

The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag is a fictional biography of sorts – This story of The Cavaliere aka Lord Hamilton, who was the British Ambassador to Naples in the late 1700s, his second wife Emma Hamilton, and her lover, Lord Nelson makes for absorbing reading.

The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard opens with the words “A military plane crashed that winter on Mount Vesuvius”. This is the story of a young woman, Jenny, who begins her adult life as a translator for the American military in Naples a few years after the end of the Second World War.

Lucia – A Venetian Life In the Time of Napoleon – by Andrea Di Robilant tells the story of the author’s ancestor and the time in which she lived, painting a picture of Venice in the late 1700s.

I doubt that anyone spending time in Naples does not also take in a day or more at Pompeii. The novel titled Pompeii by Robert Harris is a real page-turner and perfect airplane reading for a flight to Italy on route to Pompeii and Herculaneum. This novel brings the time and place, and the people who perished, to life.

And, of course VENICE, where your reading starts and ends with the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series by Donna Leon. I have read them over and over – once one after the other in bed with flu while in Venice, not feeling too very sorry for myself.

There was a time we travelled quite frequently to Europe, and as often as possible made Venice the arrival or departure point no matter the destination or the time of year. Winter is the best time to be there – after Carnivale – when the hotels and restaurants re-open after the long post Christmas holiday, and the masses of tourists have not yet arrived. Cold weather means no lining up and all the excuse you need to stop often for a cup of coffee with zeppole, or proseco and olives. Snow in Venice is a truly beautiful sight.


The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich takes place in 1575. The Jewish Ghetto in Venice is unique in that it is basically unchanged since the 1500s. Roberta Rich wrote about her first visit to Venice in 2007, “We were on a walking tour of the Jewish Ghetto, which if you haven’t seen it for yourself, is like a movie set of narrow, dark buildings and several synagogues, tucked away on a second or third floor, out of view. Walking up the staircases and through musty passages and narrow streets strung with drying laundry, I began to wonder what life must have been for Jews who flocked to the ghetto as one of the few safe havens available at the time.”

The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi
by Jacqueline Park also tells the absorbing story of a Jewish woman, as she writes in a dairy for her young son. In doing so, she tells us about her life during the tumultuous years of the Italian Renaissance.




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