Books by Fruit



fruit book apple


I just got back from the Indigo store at the Yorkdale Mall and I feel sick.

How is it possible to spend over an hour in a bookstore and not find one book to buy? Good Lord, there is no end of books. Why so few that I’m interested in?

Is it because they don’t stock any authors I like?

Usually they don’t. Or if they do, it had better be on a bestsellers list or won some award. Or fit nicely into some easily digested category such as “Lifestyle”.

Is it because it’s more of a fashion boutique than a bookstore?

A little bit, yes. Well, a lot, yes.

The merchandise seems to be as important as the books judging by the prominent places reserved for displaying soap, candles, bags, novelty items etc.

I’ll admit it bothered me no small amount that I had to line up behind someone screaming at the cashier about returning a pair of socks. In a bookstore?

Is it the calibre of writing these days?

Unfortunately, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to.

Walking down the maze of aisles and shelves, I began to get into a fugue state. It was a bit like when your mother took you to a department store as a small child and told you to wait in a chair while she checked out the ladies department.

I was briefly lifted out of this delirium by a bright little yellow paperback with the word “lemon” in it’s title. I thought it was absurd and forgot about it till I got home.

I had actually brought a list of new books and writers that I’d make note of from radio interviews and CBC podcasts, notably Writers and Company and The Next Chapter. Indigo stocked none of these.

In the end, I picked up a mystery novel by a writer I knew and trusted.

The cashier asked if I had “Plum Rewards Card”. More fruit.

But when I got home, the “lemon” thing came back to mind. For the heck of it, I searched Amazon for books with “lemon” in their titles.

The result was 496 book titles in fiction and literature alone.

Some of my favourite titles include:
1. Vampires in the Lemon Grove (by Karen Russell)
vampires in the lemon grove cover

2. The Sour Lemon Score: A Parker Novel ( by Richard Stark) Sour_Lemon_Score 2
This was published in 1969 and would now feature a cell phone as well as, or instead of, a handgun. As the gun was indispensible to American TV shows (still is), the cell phone is now de rigueur.

And I really like this one:

3. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel (by Aimee Bender) particular sadness of lemon cake cover 2

– the blurb says: “On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake.”

Good grief!

4. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (by Joanne Fluke)

– I can see a whole series happening here along the lines of the “Rabbi who..”and “the Cat who…”

Now, I wrote this before checking it out, thinking the fruit “series” idea was too nuts, but, lo and behold, Ms Fluke has already done it:

– Apple Turnover Murder,
– Red Velvet Cupcake Murder,
– Strawberry Shortcake Murder
– Peach Cobbler Murder
– Cream Puff Murder (where’s the fruit, Joanne?)
– Gingerbread Cookie Murder (ginger is a rhizome, not a fruit – Joanne is breaking her training now)
– Cherry Cheescake Murder
– Key Lime Pie Murder
– Plum Pudding Murder
– Carrot Cake Murder
There’s more, (14 of them, I think) and that’s more than enough. Interestingly, these mysteries are written by someone who also writes cook books and you’d think she would know better than to serve up endlessly repetitious themes to her customers.

Perhaps a palate freshener would be the curiously titled “Fruit: A novel about a boy and his nipples” by Brian Francis

. fruit-a-novel-about-a-boy-and-his-nipples

Perhaps not.
(actually, I’m told this is really a pretty good book)


Let’s make one big book and get it done with.

Something with “vampire/coming- of-age/murderous childhood/set in Italy/fruit name/colour name/survivor…” kind of book.

Indeed, this sort of thing was done by Alan Coren in his 1976 collection of comic essays: Golfing for Cats.

golfing for cats 2

A little something for everyone.
But not at the Indigo. I checked.

I would have been better off if I was in the market for socks. Or body lotion. I mean, a bookstore is where you go to buy that stuff, isn’t it?

Maybe  I need something like “Chicken Soup for the Jaded Reader” – like a hole in the head, I do.

Today’s Listening:

1. August Day Song – Bebel Gilberto
2. Girl Talk – Ben Sidran
3. The Nights are Cold – Richard Hawley
4. Treasure Island – Bob James

5 thoughts on “Books by Fruit”

  1. Liked this blog a lot. It made laugh but also feel sad. Where are all the good books? Gone with all those good little book stores, like my friend’s former store in Regina, Buzzword Books. Ah well. FYI, I read Fruit and it was good (It was a Canada Reads’ book). I have read at least two Joanne Flukes and they are not good. I did not buy any of these but use our local, albeit small, library. Give your local a try too as I’m sure you will find some excellent books. This will also help keep our libraries vibrant places and keep the critics in favour of their closure at bay. Thanks for writing this piece. Cheers to you!

    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Moira.
      I, too, miss some old favourite book stores – one of which was called Old Favourites. And Britnall’s. And many others. That’s just in Toronto but we can see the same phenomenon across the country. Things have not changed for the better.
      But, you’re right, our local libraries are worth supporting at all costs. Even though the cost isn’t much.
      Cheers to you, too.

  2. There is still hope for the traditional (small) bookstore but you have to look in small places, like Port Hope, where you will find Furby House Books (, a delightful “classical” bookstore that sells no socks, but does sometimes host small art shows or musical events. It helps that Port Hope actively promotes (and substantially supports) the “Best Preserved Main Street in Ontario” (

    I share your despair at the sorry state of the “big” bookstores. The only time I go in one is when my daughter receives a Chapters gift card from a well-meaning relative. There was a time, (not that long ago) when I could usually find something interesting and esoteric in the religion section, but the last time I was there that section had disappeared to make more room for the lifestyle and (God-help-me) self-help sections.

    I heartily concur with Moira about supporting local libraries. About a year ago we almost lost our little village branch. Our daughter was one of many who spoke out in the local press against this proposal, and the proposal was defeated. We always try to bring home a big basket of books. Even if we don’t read them all, it keeps up the circulation numbers, which helps when the municipal bean-counters come sniffing around.

  3. I’ve this blog bookmarked in my Daily folder and, as I’m lazy and old, I thought I’d wander on down, so to speak, thus avoiding dishes and folding laundry.

    You made me think of the bookstores that pop up here and there in untenanted spaces. I’ve always been tempted by them, and nearly always have come out disappointed and utterly bewildered – the number of authors I’ve never heard of, the meaningless titles, all were headshakingly depressing.

    Occasionally, though, there was jewel, and that’s what kept luring me into wandering about those aisles of heaped up unreadables.

    I give my husband a gift card twice a year – he fills in the library’s gaps in series that he’s enjoying. If I need a book that’s going to take me more than three weeks to read, I go to ABEbooks, and often find I can buy a good copy cheaply from the UK and have it shipped free of charge (if the same book is available in Canada, they expect anywhere from $6 to $10 s&h – sheesh). At Christmas my book list has the mind-benders I need to keep the old brain working – usually expensive too! Most are chosen from book reviews in the TLS and don’t appear in ABE or Indigo for ages, if ever.

    1. Well, this is highly gratifying, that you’re reading my older posts.

      A funny thing is happening to me as time goes on. It’s like there are no good books being written anymore. Or is it that I’m trying to recapture the thrill or engagement I used to get from reading but don’t anymore?
      There are still a number of authors whose books I’ll buy just on the merit of their name.
      And I do scour the Net for reliable (in my opinion) reviews and I do listen to podcasts from CBC, The Guardian, and NPR to hear what’s new. But so much seems the same.
      What I find interesting is that the better a talker an author is, say, in an interview, the worse his/her writing is.

      Who was it who said that the job of the artist (including the writer) is to introduce an element of the “strange” to people’s lives? Was it D. H. Lawrence?

      Those of us who love books and reading are finding our own personal ways to find and get new books. I’m glad you’ve found your way.

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