Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
Books about magic, new frontiers in sex, resistance, forgetful elephants, and environmental devastation.
Expatriate writing has always been a big part of Canada’s literature. Here are seven titles that take you, literally, …
With the chill in the air that September brings, this recipe for Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew will seem especially delicio …
Today Sean chats with Michael Crummey, celebrated author of River Thieves, The Wreckage, Galore, and now ... Sweetland.
This week's picks are amazing, from Michael Petrou, Frances Peck, Jennifer Kervin, Christine Fischer Guy, and Steve Stan …
Steamy sex, global labour issues, feminist politics: Angie Abdou's new novel, Between, takes on a bit of everything and …
Want some highlights of great reads to look forward to this fall? Look no further than our latest selection of book trai …
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 …
Alison Pick, author of new book, Between Gods, shares a list of Canadian memoirs.
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.
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 …
Mark Sampson's new novel, Sad Peninsula, is set in Korea. In this list, he shares some CanLit classics set abroad.
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 …
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
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 …
Welcome 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.
The Interruption is generously sponsored by The UBC Creative Writing Program, celebrating 50 years of excellence in creative writing. Programs include undergraduate minor and major degrees, Masters of Fine Arts in Vancouver or by distance education from anywhere in the world! For more information visit creativewriting.ubc.ca.
Today, I chat with poet and storyteller Michael Crummey. Michael is the Newfoundland-born and raised author of the critically acclaimed novels River Thieves, The Wreckage, Galore, and now Sweetland, as well as half a dozen well-loved poetry collections and a book of short stories. River Thieves was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and longlisted for the IMPAC Award; it won the Thomas Head Raddall Award. Galore was shortlisted for the 2011 IMPAC Award and admired as recently as yesterday on 49th Shelf's The Recommend.
In the first podcast, Michael talks about productive and not so productive interruptions in his writing life (hint: doing nothing is sometimes essential). In the second podcast, he reads from S …
Research shows that most of the books we read are the result of one thing: someone we know, trust, and/or admire tells us it's great. That's why we run this series, The Recommend, where readers, writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.
This week we're pleased to present the picks of Mike Petrou, Maclean's journalist and award-winning author of Is This Your First War? Travels Through the Post-9/11 Islamic World; Frances Peck, partner with West Coast Editorial Associates and author of Peck's English Pointers; Jennifer Kervin, TO-based bookseller and publishing professional; Christine Fischer Guy, author of the new novel, The Umbrella Mender, and many acclaimed short stories; and Steve Stanton, author and former president of Canada's national association of science fiction and fantasy authors.
Mike Petrou picks Alistair MacLeod's The Lost Salt Gift of Blood
"Alistair MacLeod achieved his greatest international accolades for his first and only novel, No Great Mischief, published in 1999, but it is in his short stories, and especially those in his first collection, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood, that his writing is its most evocative, limpid, and heart wrenching.
'I am speaking now of a July in the early …