Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
The National Reading Campaign's Holly Kent has a Lit Wish for 2014—that Canadians reap the goodness of reading for ple …
Sara O'Leary gives readers her Lit Wish List book-giving recommendations.
This Top Shelf is about books exploring identity via compelling characters. Their stories are so good we may forget the …
Cookbooks. Some people use them for cooking, some people read them cover-to-cover, and other people just display them pr …
The Rude Story of English is part fact, part fiction and reveals that, no matter how uncomfortable or off-putting, there …
Karen Krossing recommends a few books that would make great gifts for kids and teens.
The editors of How to Expect What You're Not Expecting share their favourite Canadian anthologies.
To make it even more likely that people check out the exciting books on the ReLit Awards shortlist, we're dedicating thi …
Our resident children's librarian on big ideas and books about shoes.
Guest contributor Thomas Hodd, PhD, recounts his experience of having Canadian authors come into his classrooms and spea …
For the second year in row, we’ve been spending the holiday season making Lit Wish Lists—lists of books we want to give, books we want to get, books to read or reread. And all this thinking about Lit Wish Lists got us pondering the nature of the Lit Wish; what exactly might one of these look like? So we went exploring to find out, and came up with three excellent Lit Wishes worthy of coming true in 2014. First up is one by Holly Kent, Community Manager of the National Reading Campaign.
My Lit Wishes for 2014?
I’d like every person on earth to be literate—highly literate. I’d like books and other reading materials to be accessible, affordable, and widely purchased all over the world, outselling all other media. I’d like Alice Munro to be required reading for all human beings. I’d like all students to have fifth-grade teachers like Mr. Bromley and for their reading habits to be changed forever when he hands you a copy of The Giver, like mine were. I’d like all minds to be blown in the 11th grade when Ms. Tarawana recommends The Handmaid’s Tale. (What is it about dystopian novels that change lives?) I’d like everyone to be raised by passionate readers, to audit at least one long, rambling, passionate English class taught by Professor Michael Keefer at …
Lit Wish List continues with Sara O'Leary literary journalist and the author of the "Henry" series for children: When I Was Small, When You Were Small and Where You Came From, illustrated by Julie Morstad (Simply Read Books).
Recommend your own book-gifting suggestions on Twitter by following #givecdn.
Fiction is important in the real world for approximately 32,234 reasons, but one of the best is that it helps readers figure out who we are. A key way this happens is through the author's creation of unforgettable characters with idiosyncrasies, loves, challenges, faults, and triumphs. As readers we attach ourselves to these characters, often admiring them, sometimes hurting with them, sometimes laughing with them, sometimes disliking them. Along the way, we ask ourselves, "In what way am I like him/her?" or "What would I do in this situation?"
When the book ends, characters often stay with us, sometimes for our whole lives, and we think of them as we progress along our own paths. We use them as touchstones for the people we have become and the people we want to be.
That's what this edition of Top Shelf—the series where we compile great lists and posts on 49th Shelf—is about. It's a collection of guest-contributed lists whose books explore identity via compelling characters. The stories are so good we may forget the questions at their heart, but the questions persist long after the last page. What is male? What is female? What is queer? What is changing? And, what does it mean for me?
Cookbooks. Some people use them for cooking, some people read them cover-to-cover, and other people just display them in their kitchens (which is understandable—cookbooks are beautiful!). However they are used, cookbooks are always a welcome gift. The following is a selection of unique and interesting new cookbooks, and we've pinpointed their ideal recipients as well.
Alice Eats: A Wonderland Cookbook by Pierre A. Lamielle and Julie Van Rosendaal: Ever noticed how Lewis Carroll's story is jam-packed with food and edible things? Lamielle and Rosendaal did, and created Alice Eats in tribute, featuring Carroll's complete text, all-new illustrations by Lamielle, and recipes by acclaimed cookbook-author Rosendaal.
Perfect for: Lovers of all things culinary and all things literary. For readers who like their stories to live on off the page. For anyone with a hankering for her own Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
The Book of Kale by Sharon Hanna: Winner of a 2013 Taste Canada Award for single-subject cookbook, Hanna's book is an ode to everybody's favourite superfood. Her recipe …
In The Rude Story of English, Tom Howell, an ex-lexicographer, takes on one of his favourite stories: how the English language came to be—and tells it through its rudest, most offensive, simplest parts. From 440 AD, when Hengest, a Germanic warrior, first stepped onto English shores and cursed as his boots filled with seawater, to the present day, curses, insults, and rude words have played as important a role in the story of English as polite ones.
The Rude Story of English is part fact, part fiction and reveals that, no matter how uncomfortable or off-putting, there's much to be learned from some of a language's most colourful parts.
I grew up knowing about the Astérix reality, the world of the books populated by cartoon Gauls and Romans engaged in unevenly plausible scenarios drawn from facts and other speculations. The asterisk reality is exactly the same thing. In a philologist’s handwriting, an asterisk mark signals where material has been concocted to plug a hole in real-world evidence. For example, when someone at Oxford’s dictionary department wanted to show that our modern word “arse” once had a job as an ancient Greek word, “orsoz,” the scholar needed to imagine a scene in which a German princess 2000 years ago was sitting on something locally …