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Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Stephanie Domet's Red Letter Day

Stephanie Domet's Red Letter Day

[April 23, 2014] | By [George Murray]

It's Red Letter Day, and this week, Stephanie Domet gives us her book picks, some serious food cravings, and a reminder …

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Book Cover Finding Grace

On Our Radar

[April 21, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

New books by Ray Robertson, Gillian Wigmore, Dan Falk, Julie Joosten, and Becky Citra.

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A Nose for Adventure

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Funny Books for Young Readers

[April 20, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Where are the funny books? Julie Booker gives us the scoop. 

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Jon Paul Fiorentino's Red Letter Day

Jon Paul Fiorentino's Red Letter Day

[April 17, 2014] | By [George Murray]

Red Letter Day is a new 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell contributing editor George Murray about a dream da …

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What Makes This Book So Great

Lady of Mazes: Jo Walton on What Makes Karl Schroeder's Book So Great

[April 17, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Jo Walton rereads Karl Schroeder's Lady of Mazes in this excerpt from What Makes This Book So Great?

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The Interruption: Sean Cranbury Interviews Nancy Lee

The Interruption: Sean Cranbury Interviews Nancy Lee

[April 16, 2014] | By [Sean Cranbury]

In today's The Interruption podcast, Sean Cranbury interviews Nancy Lee, and Lee reads from her much-buzzed-about new no …

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Shelf Talkers for April 2014: A New Series by Robert J. Wiersema

Shelf Talkers for April 2014: A New Series by Robert J. Wiersema

[April 15, 2014] | By [Rob Wiersema]

Today—in the first installment of a new monthly series Robert J. Wiersema is doing for 49th Shelf, called Shelf Talker …

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Book Cover Well Heeled

Lesley-Anne Scorgie Takes the Pain Out of Tax Season

[April 14, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

April doesn't have to be the cruellest month when it comes to filing your taxes.

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The Recommend: Books From Andrew Kaufman, Dina Del Bucchia, Helen Humphreys, Joan Thomas, and Susin Nielsen

The Recommend: Books From Andrew Kaufman, Dina Del Bucchia, Helen Humphreys, Joan Thomas, and Susin Nielsen

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

We're pleased to present the picks of multimedia artist and author Vivek Shraya; Vancouver librarian and lit fest organi …

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Don Draper Inferno

The Canadian Mad Men Reading List

[April 9, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Because Megan Calvet isn't Mad Men's only Canadian connection...

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Stephanie Domet's Red Letter Day

redletter

Red Letter Day is a new 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell me 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 Stephanie Domet, author, most recently, of Fallsy Downsies (Invisible Publishing), her second novel.

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.

And so ...

*****

GM: You walk (or fly!) to your favourite bookstore (SD: Type in Toronto) and browse the shelves for three books you’ve been meaning to buy (SD: only three?!?). What are they? 

SD:

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On Our Radar

tagged : on our radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

*****

I Was There the Night He Died by Ray Robertson

From David Worsley's review in Cord Community: "I Was There The Night He Died doesn’t read like a lot of Canadian fiction. It’s urban, has a lot of alt-country and obscure rock and roll in it, and it’s not trying to turn anyone into a better human being. It’s just a great story populated by some very real, very flawed characters.

Granted, no one who works for the Chatham Chamber of Commerce will be too thrilled, but I think many of the rest of us will remember fondly a life not too far removed from our own, and have a laugh on the way."

****

Grayling by Gillian Wigmore

From Caroline Woodward's review in BC Booklook: "Grayling is a page-turner that wears its dense layers lightly. Wigmore’s pitch-perfect language and brilliantly-paced unspooling of the plot (think fishing line, dancing here and the …

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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Funny Books for Young Readers

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

*****

A ten-year-old’s question: “Where are the funny books?” made me think. In a sea of junior novels, what are the telltale signs? A jacket quote? A comical cover illustration? A title with whimsy? Beyond that, how does an author make writing humorous?

Each of these books has its own form of “funny.”

Alice, I Think, written by Susan Juby, is a perfect example of comedic voice, and it's written in diary form. Alice, a 15-year-old home-schooled isolate, is finally attending high school. But her retro fashion sense makes her a bully magnet. The reader cringes at her Italian housedress, nurse shoes, accessorized by a Fred Flintstone lunch box. Besides a few beatings (one done by the bully, another done to the bully, by Alice’s mother) not much happens in this book. There’s the druggie cousin Frank who comes to live with them. And the co-dependent boyfriend whom her parents (and the reader) know is a loser. But we have to wait while Alice makes her own decisions. When she finally meets a boy (a male version of Alice) there’s an amusing sex scene suitable for ages 12 and up.

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Jon Paul Fiorentino's Red Letter Day

redletter

Red Letter Day is a new 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell me 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 Jon Paul Fiorentino, author, most recently, of I'm Not Scared of You or Anything (Anvil Press), his second collection of short fiction.

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.

And so ...

*****

GM: You walk (or fly!) to your favourite bookstore (JPF: McNally Robinson in Winnipeg) and browse the shelves for three books you’ve been meaning to buy. What are they?

JPF:

Continue reading >

Lady of Mazes: Jo Walton on What Makes Karl Schroeder's Book So Great

What Makes This Book So Great

As any reader of Jo Walton's Among Others might guess, Walton is both an inveterate reader of SF and fantasy, and a chronic re-reader of books. In 2008, then-new science-fiction mega-site Tor.com asked Walton to blog regularly about her re-reading—about all kinds of older fantasy and SF, ranging from acknowledged classics, to guilty pleasures, to forgotten oddities and gems. These posts have consistently been among the most popular features of Tor.com. Now this volume presents a selection of the best of them, ranging from short essays to long reassessments of some of the field's most ambitious series.

We are excited to feature her piece on Lady of Mazes by Canadian SF writer Karl Schroeder. Schroeder's latest novel is Lockstep, which was just released last month.

*****

Karl Schroeder’s Lady of Mazes is one of the best pure SF novels of recent years. I read it in 2005 when it came out and was surprised it got so little attention. It seemed to me to be one of those books everyone would be talking about. I’ve just read it for the second time, and it holds up as well as ever. What a good book!

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