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Almonte in Concert

Almonte in Concert presents another excellent lineup this year.

Saturday October 20 at 7:30pm   The New Gen

Join James Parker, pianist and veteran of the concert stage, as he pairs up with two of Canada’s most promising classical musicians of the new generation. This concert of solo and ensemble works showcases the amazing virtuosity and artistry of supremely talented young musicians who are able to perform at outstanding technical and musical levels.

Tickets available by phone or in person at Mill Street Books

Meet Tim Wynne Jones

Mill Street Books and The  Almonte Public Library invite you to meet local author and Officer of the Order of Canada,Tim Wynne Jones. He  has written numerous award winning novels for adults, teens and children.  Listen to him read from his new riveting murder mystery The Ruinous Sweep and learn about his writing process and experiences in the publishing business.  Both adults and teens to encouraged to attend this special event at the library on October 27 at 1:30 pm  Seating is limited. Call 613-256-9090 to reserve your place and for further information.

Buy the most popular book in Almonte and you might win a bottle of Prosecco!

One day soon it will happen. Someone is going to walk into Mill Street Books looking for a recommendation. If they are new to the store, Terry might say “I loved this book. The main character is a wonderful old geezer”  Debbie would enthuse “It makes you laugh; it makes you cry and then you don’t want it to end” and Mary would explain that the setting in Cape Breton reminds her of their community.  After placing the book in their hands, allowing them to read the description and get a feel for the book, that customer will set a store record.  The 300th copy of The Unlikely Redemption of John Alexander MacNeil will be sold and that customer will win a bottle of prosecco!

This book’s appeal lies in its characters. John Alexander MacNeil is eighty years old. Sharp-tongued and quick-witted, he lives alone in rural Cape Breton, but he still cooks breakfast for his wife, who’s been dead for thirty years. He silently starts to question his own mind after stopping to pick up a hitchhiker — a hitchhiker who turns out to be his neighbour’s mailbox.  Everything shifts, though, when Emily, a pregnant teenager, shows up at his house with no place else to go. Determined to help Emily as best as he can, John must also keep the wolves from his door and maintain some semblance of sanity.

Author Lesley Choyce lives in Halifax. Last year he wrote the store owners: “I have found it difficult to make good connections with audiences outside of Atlantic Canada. So I just wanted to write and let you know that it is much appreciated that you like the book and can share it with your customers.”  When I recently contacted him regarding reaching this milestone he added:   “This is a testament to the power and importance of the bookseller – especially the independent bookseller who is not only financially independent but independent of mind and spirit.  It is so good to know that John Alexander MacNeil is alive and well in Almonte, Ontario.  I had lost track of him in recent months and realize he’s carried his world – lock, stock and barrel of opinions and laughs – to this lively Ontario town where his voice echoes through the chambers of those readers’ minds and hearts.  Long live John Alex and long live Mill Street Books!”

Almost 40% of the total sales for this book to date are through Mill Street Books. Beverley Rach of Fernwood Publishing responded that she finds it heartening to know that there are still people hand-selling books – places where readers can rely on a trusted bookseller to put a good read into their hands.

Mill Street Books is a small store with limited space so they keep close tabs on inventory and only stock between 3-4,000 titles.  Owner Mary Lumsden explains “We are always looking for something unique to read – a book nobody has heard of. When I look through catalogues, I am imagining potential readers and thinking about the various interests of my kids, my friends and our local customers.”  When you tell someone to read a book that you love it is like an offer of friendship that will connect you, sometimes for the rest of your lives.  Personal recommendations are the life blood of independent bookstores and their value is evident when they can shine a light on a gem.

Follow up:

The 300th book was sold October 7th and customer Gudrun Mendzigall looked very pleased with her gift!





2018 Paddling Film Festival

Mill Street Books and Vamos Outdoors present

the 2018 World Tour Paddling Film Festival

Sunday October 28 at 3:00pm at Almonte Old Town Hall.

 a Fundraiser for the  Almonte Riverwalk Project.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for kids under 15 years. Buy them at Mill Street Books in person or by phone at 613-256-9090.

The Paddling Film Festival is an international adventure film tour presenting the world’s best paddling films of the year – whitewater, sea kayaking, canoeing, SUP, action and lifestyle – in more than 120 cities and towns across Canada, United States and around the world.


Sean McCann Concert in Almonte

An Intimate Evening with Sean McCann

Saturday November 10         7:30 PM

Almonte Old Town Hall

Tickets are $32.00.  Pick up in person at the store or call 613-256-9090 for phone purchase.

Proceeds to support phase 2 of the Almonte Riverwalk project

Séan McCann, acclaimed singer-songwriter, JUNO Award nominee, and mental health and recovery advocate, is taking his music and his message to Ontario fans this Fall. Séan’s Face to Face Tour is a celebration of community and togetherness in the age of the ever-growing and ever-isolating digital world. As a founding member of internationally renowned folk group Great Big Sea, Séan chose to forge his own path five years ago, embarking on a solo career which has brought him on a new journey with music as his medicine.

Séan’s musical message is now more than just notes and melodies. His last two solo albums, Help Your Self and You Know I Love You, were a large musical departure from his Great Big Sea beginnings, but in his latest release, “There’s a Place” he brings together his roots and his message on 11 beautifully crafted tracks sung by a man who knows his purpose, who embraces his past, but refuses to let it define him.

“I believe that a secret can kill you but that a song can save your life,” said Séan. “Music is my religion and it has helped me survive through some very hard times and now I hope it can help me find a real connection in a digital world. I’ve learned that the best version of myself is literally in the presence of other people, and I know I have an impact at that level so I want to fight to help keep live music gatherings like this alive. We are made of music and I want people to feel that with me…Face to Face.”

Séan celebrated seven years of sobriety in November 2017 and is now a sought-after speaker, mental health, abuse, and recovery advocate.



Meet author Tim Cook

Meet Tim Cook author of The Secret History of Soldiers
Renowned author and historian Tim Cook will make a presentation at the Almonte Public Library on Sunday September 30 at 2:00pm.  There have been thousands of books on the Great War, but few have focused on the daily lives of the combatants.  In The Secret History of Soldiers, Tim Cook, Canada’s foremost military historian, examines how those who survived trench warfare on the Western Front found entertainment, solace, relief, and distraction from the relentless slaughter. These tales come from the personal accounts and artifacts of more than five hundred soldiers.  The fighting at the front was devastating, but behind the battle lines, another layer of life existed, which included songs, skits, art, and soldier-produced newspapers.  With his trademark narrative abilities and an unerring eye for the telling human detail, Cook has created another landmark history of Canadian military life as he reveals the secrets of how soldiers survived the carnage of the Western Front.
Seating is limited.  Call organizer Mill Street Books at 613-256-9090 to save your place.


Closed May 13th

We are sorry for any inconvenience.  Terry and I are in Toronto this weekend and we tried to find someone to fill in… but everyone was busy. We will be back to regular hours 7 days a week next week. Please say hello to Esther on Saturday – she is coming from Arnprior to help us.

Thanks for your understanding. Mary

Meet local author Peter Usher

Local Author Peter Usher will speak at the Almonte Public Library on Thursday May 24 at 7:00pm about his book entitled Joey Jacobson’s War.

In the spring of 1940, Canada began training thousands of young men to man Britain’s bomber force in the war against Nazi Germany.  Nearly half of them were killed or captured within a year of their arrival.  This is the story of how one of those men, Joey Jacobson, was transformed from a raw recruit to a deadly serious yet idealistic warrior.

From letters and diaries, the author has pieced together an account of why he enlisted, his training as a navigator and bomb-aimer in Western Canada, and his service in Bomber Command at the sharp end of the air war over Europe.  Joey Jacobson’s War also relates how the fatal crash of his aircraft in Holland in January 1942 galvanized local resistance to the German occupation.

Some have asked author Peter Usher  if his book is a work of fiction.  It is not.  “It is at once biography, social history, and military history, based on my research in Canada, England, and the Netherlands.  I have set Joey’s account in the context of the early war years in Canada and England, and of Bomber Command’s operations at that time.  Nearly 10,000 Canadians died serving in Bomber Command.  Joey Jacobson’s story is also their story.  He did not survive to write a war memoir, but his personal account, written in the moment, brings Canada’s war-time experience to life.”

“Well written, well researched, and well organized, Joey Jacobson’s War is a splendid account of a young Jewish airman’s war. His letters and diaries—and his father’s—offer great insight into the early years of the war and much on public opinion in Canada from 1939 until Joey’s death in action. Peter Usher has done a fine job.” – J.L. Granatstein, author of Canada’s War

David Mulholland visits for Independent Bookstore Day


Celebrate Canadian Independent Bookstore Day Saturday April 28that Mill Street Books. There will be refreshments, prizes and a special visit from local author David Mulholland at 1:00pm.

His recent historical novel is
Chaudière Falls.  On March 7, 1800, Philemon Wright, a farmer from Woburn, Massachusetts, arrives on the north shore of the Ottawa River in Hull Township in Lower Canada. On September 1, 1860, on the south side of the river in the united province of Canada, Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Albert Edward, lays the cornerstone for Canada’s Parliament Buildings on Barrack Hill in Ottawa.

While the novel dramatizes the real events that unfold between those two dates, Wright’s determination to establish a community of farmers, the political scheming that results in Ottawa becoming Canada’s capital it’s also the story of immigrants struggling for survival in a new world. Among them, Jedediah Jansen, who is ten years old when his family arrives with Wright’s party. Jed marries, enters the volatile timber business, is overwhelmed by both, and his life spirals out of control.

The settlers’ attempts to establish a peaceful community are further exacerbated when the government in York (Toronto) refuses to confer legal status on Bytown (Ottawa). And because its inhabitants resent Colonel By’s civil authority, the lawless settlement is rampant with self-serving politics, religious bigotry, and barbaric violence.

Meet the author this Saturday at Mill Street Books.


A tribute to Audrey Ellard

Audrey EllardWe were able to open Mill Street Books thanks to the generosity of my mother Audrey Ellard who died recently in Cozumel, Mexico at the age of 88.  She helped us to purchase the store, took an interest in all aspects and celebrated our success.

My mom was a voracious and speedy reader; she read to keep informed and to appreciate fine literature. I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by books and as a child I remember spending more time at the library than the grocery store.

Her day started with a cup of coffee and newspaper; she often fell asleep with the light still on and a book on her lap. No matter what subject arose, Audrey had read about it and could suggest a book or author. She read reviews, made lists and surrounded herself with books so there was always a good one in the pile.

My mother read throughout her life for pleasure, the pursuit of  knowledge and to share stories with others. It was time well spent.

Mary Lumsden