Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
Success is never a permanent state. Things go wrong, fall apart, mess up irrevocably. And then the central question beco …
Today Sean Cranbury chats with Marianne Apostolides, author of the provocative, sensual new novel Sophrosyne (BookThug).
Sure sign of spring? Literary festivals are kicking off across the country. Find one near you or, even better, plan a we …
Any of these books would inspire a young reader to look outside themselves, mindful of a world where children’s lives …
Public perceptions of mental illness have changed enormously in just the last two decades.
In Chicken in the Mango Tree, bestselling food writer Jeffrey Alford gives unique view of rural Thai food culture.
In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction …
"My contribution from my small world of Montreal and Ireland is part of that work of imagining the integration and cohab …
Nik is an eccentric art student obsessed with painting his dancer girlfriend, Jennifer. When one day she inexplicably disappears, Nik’s world is shattered. Determined to find her, he embarks on a cross-country journey following a scant trail of clues. He doesn’t anticipate how far he’ll have to travel, what he’ll do when he runs out of money, or the fact that an intimidating stranger is looking for Jennifer, too.
Today she shares with us a list of books that, like her own book, address the question of how we are to live in urban settings just as multitudinous and complex as our lives are.
In an era when we broadcast only versions of our happiest selves and highest achievements on social media, it’s comforting to read books that go to the depths of complexity, chaos, and crisis and to stumble along with their characters. One of the questions I’m interested in as both a reader and an author is not only the universal how do we live, but also more specifically, how do we live in the jumble and scramble of today’s vast and ever-changing cities.
Canadian authors are looking at this from multiple angle …
Hi everyone! Welcome back to The Interruption, a 49th Shelf–Books on the Radio collaboration in which I interview Canadian writers about the surprising things that inform, inspire, and even interrupt their creative process. Today I chat with Marianne Apostolides, author of the provocative, sensual new novel Sophrosyne (BookThug).
Marianne is a prolific author whose other works include Voluptuous Pleasure: the Truth About the Writing Life, and Swim: a Novel, both also from BookThug. In this really excellent conversation Marianne discusses how Sophrosyne "made [her] psyche crackle a bit," the mystery of how a narrative unfolds for her, the difficulty of restraint and self-mastery in a digital age, and how she abandoned the manuscript for Sophrosyne ... and what brought her back to it.
The Interruption always features two podcast selections for your listening enjoyment: the first podcast features my interview with Marianne. The second podcast features a unique reading from Sophrosyne. Thank you for listening.
Here's a sure sign of spring: Literary Festivals are kicking off across the country. Use our guide to find out what's going on near you, or to pick the perfect destination for a literary mini-break.
Until May, the Vancouver Writers Fest, in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library, runs Incite, free twice-monthly readings by writers including Deni Béchard, Jane Urquhart and Emily Urquhart, Russell Smith, Guy Vanderhaeghe and more. Versefest is back in Ottawa from March 24-30 (right now!), with Lorna Crozier, Nicole Brossard, Daphne Marlatt, Paul Vermeersch, Sandra Ridley and so many poets from Canada and elsewhere on their fantastic roster.
Great bookish things are happening in Picton, ON, from April 15-18, for the Prince Edward County Authors Festival, this year with Christine Fischer Guy, Helen Humphreys, Frances Itani Sean Michaels, Shani Mootoo, and Leigh Nash. We're thrilled that GritLit returns to Hamilton, ON, this year, with events throughout April and the main program taking place April 16-19. You'll be able to catch Claire Cameron, Step …
Carellin Brooks is the author of One Hundred Days of Rain. Mourning her recent disastrous breakup, its narrator must rebuild a life from the bottom up. As she wakes each day to encounter Vancouver's sky and city streets, the narrator notices that the rain, so apparently unchanging, is in fact kaleidoscopic. Her melancholic mood alike undergoes subtle variations that sometimes echo, sometimes contrast with her surroundings. Caught between the two poles of weather and mood, the narrator is not alone: whether riding the bus with her small child, searching for an apartment to rent, or merely calculating out the cost of meager lunches, the world forever intrudes, as both a comfort and a torment.
Lots of writers like to live in the now. Their characters drink green smoothies and go to Pilates. When I began writing my latest novel, One Hundred Days of Rain, I didn’t exactly strive for the opposite, but I did find some old skool language, to use the technical term, creeping in. I’m still not sure why: because rain feels so, well, 19-century in terms of its unavoidability? Because we haven’t entirely conquered weather? All I know is what I saw taking shape on my screen: characters wearing homburgs (a hat type my copy editor suggested, to my delight, was rather too …
Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.
How do you foster world-mindfulness in children? With a good wall map that's referred to often. This is one of the great tips found at the end of If the World Were a Village: A Book About the World's People (2nd edition), by David J. Smith and Canadian illustrator Shelagh Armstrong. It asks, "What if the world's population were a village of 100 people?" Each page answers using one aspect of the global village, i.e., nationality (60 would be from Asia; five would be from Canada/US); language (only nine would speak English); age (37 would be under 19); and food (there would be seven times as many chickens as people). The inequities become profoundly obvious when it comes to access to clean air and water, school, work, money, and possessions. Beautifully illustrated, this large picture book is recommended for grades four and up.
Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together, by Herb Shoveller, is non-fiction told in story form. It begin …