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Off the Page

A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between

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Project Superhero

E. Paul Zehr: Why We Need Superheroes

[September 18, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Exploring the reality of superheroes can actually enhance the lives of us ordinary mortals. 

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Michelle Berry's Red Letter Day

Michelle Berry's Red Letter Day

[September 17, 2014] | By [Kiley Turner]

Today it's Michelle Berry's Red Letter Day, where she gets to do anything and everything she wants, including buying gre …

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Shelf Talkers for September

Shelf Talkers for September

[September 16, 2014] | By [Rob Wiersema]

Books about magic, new frontiers in sex, resistance, forgetful elephants, and environmental devastation.

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Book Cover Sad Peninsula

Mark Sampson: Lives Abroad

[September 15, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Expatriate writing has always been a big part of Canada’s literature. Here are seven titles that take you, literally, …

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Book Cover Family Meals

Best Eats: Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew from Michael Smith's Family Meals

[September 11, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

With the chill in the air that September brings, this recipe for Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew will seem especially delicio …

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The Interruption: Sean Cranbury Interviews Michael Crummey

The Interruption: Sean Cranbury Interviews Michael Crummey

[September 10, 2014] | By [Sean Cranbury]

Today Sean chats with Michael Crummey, celebrated author of River Thieves, The Wreckage, Galore, and now ... Sweetland.

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The Recommend for September

The Recommend for September

[September 9, 2014] | By [Kiley Turner]

This week's picks are amazing, from Michael Petrou, Frances Peck, Jennifer Kervin, Christine Fischer Guy, and Steve Stan …

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Book Cover Between

Angie Abdou and Between: The world is not made for women

[September 8, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Steamy sex, global labour issues, feminist politics: Angie Abdou's new novel, Between, takes on a bit of everything and …

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Umbrella Mender

Best Canadian Book Trailers

[September 4, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Want some highlights of great reads to look forward to this fall? Look no further than our latest selection of book trai …

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Some, Just Some, of Our Favourite Lists

Some, Just Some, of Our Favourite Lists

[September 3, 2014] | By [Kiley Turner]

There are so many amazing lists in the archives of 49th Shelf, it's impossible to get them all in one post. This is just …

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E. Paul Zehr: Why We Need Superheroes

Superheroes are not just an idle preoccupation, or even the jurisdiction of the young, as E. Paul Zehr has discovered during his career using superheroes as a basis of science education. His new book for young readers, Project Superhero, is a perfect back-to-school tale blending fiction and non-fiction to connect classroom learning to the real world, and explore the amazing lives of superheroes—including those who live among us. In this essay, Zehr explores what superhero stories mean to readers of all ages, and why their tales are so important.  

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In my popular-science writing I use superheroes as foils for communicating science. Since writing Becoming Batman (2008) and Inventing Iron Man (2011), I have done a huge number of interviews, talks, and presentations in venues spanning the ginormous spectacle of the San Diego International Comic-Con, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, TEDx, scientific conferences, school assemblies, and classroom visits.

I’ve learned from all those conversations that superheroes are super-popular at any age and for any group.

By far, the majority of my school visits have been to middle schools and grades 6 to 8. Which is why, a little while ago, I started to think about writing a book specifically f …

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Michelle Berry's Red Letter Day

redletter

Red Letter Day is the 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell us about a dream day where all pleasures are possible, thanks to a combination of extraordinary talent and mad cash.

Today that day is envisioned by Michelle Berry, author most recently of the suspense novel, Interference, in which an ordinary neighborhood turns out to be anything but.

Here is the premise: It’s been a good year. Things are looking up. You’ve sold your book, some lucrative foreign rights, and won a few prizes. AND it’s your birthday. It’s time to treat yourself. For once, money is no object. It’s time to go live a little.

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49th Shelf: You walk (or fly!) to your favourite bookstore (MB: Munro's Books in Victoria) and browse the shelves for three books you’ve been meaning to buy. What are they?

MB:

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Shelf Talkers for September

tagged : Shelf Talkers

With September comes back-to-school reading lists (well, except in BC, where the main texts seem to be Supreme Court rulings, political skullduggery, and opinion pieces), new books to delight and illuminate readers. Booksellers across the country are in the same boat, poring over new releases and advance copies to keep abreast of all that is new as the busy fall season kicks into gear. This month's Shelf Talkers is chock-a-block with new books just waiting to meet you.

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The Bookseller: Mary-Ann Yazedjian, Black Bond Books, Lynn Valley, BC

The Pick: The Confabulist, by Steven Galloway

"This book is absolutely magical! How did Houdini really die? And what did our only-somewhat-reliable narrator, Martin, have to do with Houdini's death? Galloway weaves together the two men's stories with just enough mystery, drama, and magic to make you wonder what's really happening at all times. This book had me intrigued to the last page!"

The Bookseller: Carolyn Gillis, King’s Co-op Bookstore, Halifax, NS

The Pick: Hot, Wet, and Shaking, by Kayleigh Trace

"Hot, Wet, and …

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Mark Sampson: Lives Abroad

Mark Sampson's new novel, Sad Peninsula, is set in Korea. In this list, he shares some CanLit classics set abroad. 

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Sad-Peninsula

Every act of fiction is, at least for me, a voyage into foreign territory. Even the most autobiographical piece can possess shadowy corners and unexpected landscapes. That’s part of the appeal: every work of the imagination is an undiscovered country. But this is especially true with expatriate writing, when an author is either living in or writing about a country or culture that is not his own. When I began working on my new novel, Sad Peninsula, set mostly in South Korea, a country I lived in for two and a half years, I was very cognizant of the expatriate tradition of which (I hoped) my book would become a part. From Graham Greene’s The Quiet American and Anthony Burgess’s Malayan trilogy to the short stories of Somerset Maugham and the best works of Hemingway, this genre has proven time and again that foreignness is a double-edged sword. As writers, we can gain incredible liberty when we put distance between us and our home countries. But we also face the challenge of capturing our new locales with originality, accuracy, and sensitivity.

Canada has its own rich tradition of fiction from aboard, and one I leaned on heavily during the writi …

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Best Eats: Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew from Michael Smith's Family Meals

Book Cover Family Meals

 

 

 

For most Canadian families with children, September is a time for new schedules and routines, plus resolutions to live better together, and family meals are a huge part of that. To that end, Chef Michael Smith's new cookbook, Family Meals, goes a long way. Here are recipes for busy families looking for opportunities to eat healthier, cook together, and feast together. With the chill in the air that September brings, this recipe for Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew will seem especially delicious. Enjoy! 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew

Serves 4 to 6

 

2 tablespoons (30mL) of vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tablespoons (30mL) of curry powder

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes

A 19-ounce (540mL) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew

4 cups (1L) of water

1 teaspoon (5mL) of salt

A 14-ounce (400mL) can coconut milk

2 cups (500mL) of fresh or frozen green peas

1 pint (500mL) of cherry tomatoes, halved

½ teaspoon (2mL) of your favorite hot sauce

The zest and juice of 1 lime

A handful of fresh cilantro sprigs

Splash the v …

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