Off the Page

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

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Summer Gone: Amazing Reads from Past Years

By Kerry Clare

While looking ahead to summer is a delightful experience, there is something in the nature of summer itself that invites …

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Book Cover Meteorites

The Short Story Has No Limits

By Kerry Clare

For Short Story Month, we show that there is a collection for every kind of reader with these twelve amazing titles.

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Downton Abbey, ABBA's Greatest Hits, Lena Dunham's Girls, and More

Downton Abbey, ABBA's Greatest Hits, Lena Dunham's Girls, and More

By Kiley Turner

There's nothing like a great hook or review, in which a book is compared to a popular movie or bestselling novel, to ins …

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Blueberry Vanilla Cake from Everyone's Welcome

Everyone's Welcome: Blueberry Vanilla Cake

By Amanda Orlando

A delicious recipe excerpted from Amanda Orlando's new cookbook Everyone’s Welcome:The Art of Living and Eating Allerg …

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Resilience, Social Justice, and Race: Reviewing Jael Ealey Richardson's The Stone Thrower

Resilience, Social Justice, and Race: Reviewing Jael Ealey Richardson's The Stone Thrower

By Jonelle St. Aubyn

It can be very difficult to tell two stories in one book, especially in a work of nonfiction, but this is something that …

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Book Cover Outside In

7 Books on Politics that Matter

By Kerry Clare

Has there ever been a more vital moment for Canadians to be thoughtful and critical about our democratic institutions? A …

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Book Cover Proof I Was Here

11 Books that Write the World

By Kerry Clare

Travel to Spain, New Mexico, Mozambique, Vietnam, Italy, India, Goa, Israel, Lebanon, Lithuania, and Nepal through the p …

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The Chat with Megan Gail Coles

The Chat with Megan Gail Coles

By Trevor Corkum

Today we're in conversation with Megan Gail Coles, whose debut novel Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club (An …

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Book Cover Winning Chance

Stories of Second Chances

By Katherine Koller

Katherine Koller, who follows her award-winning Art Lessons with Winning Chance, shares other story collections about se …

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Walters Rules YA Fiction

Walters Rules YA Fiction

By Geoffrey Ruggero

Eric Walters is a well-known Canadian author who has published an astounding 100 books (and counting). Only a writer who …

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Summer Gone: Amazing Reads from Past Years

While looking ahead to summer is a delightful experience, there is something in the nature of summer itself that invites nostalgia, and not just for the season, but also for the books that help to make the season so memorable. And so before we start talking summer reads and 2019 new releases, we wanted to take a moment and recall the summer books that we've loved from years gone by, books that are definitely worth picking up if you haven't read them yet and which will always be good for a reread. 

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The Last Woman, by John Bemrose

About the book: In the heart of cottage country in Ontario, bordering on a native reservation, Ann and Richard are confronted with the abrupt reappearance after ten years of a local man, Billy. His presence once again in their lives brings back powerful memories and rekindles old conflicts, love, and a betrayal, as each of their past and present stories gradually unfolds during one 1980s summer.

Containing all of the elements for which The Island Walkers was celebrated, The Last Woman envelops us in Bemrose’s flawlessly crafted and complete world, where each character is unforgettably alive and real, and the land itself breathes its own story into our hearts.

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The Short Story Has No Limits

The books on this list serve to demonstrate that the short story has no limits, that it can take its readers anywhere and everywhere, and that reducing the form to any single definition is as foolish as it is futile. With short fiction, there's a story (or a book of them!) for every kind of reader, and you're sure to find something that hooks you right here. 

*****

Use Your Imagination!, by Kris Bertin

About the book: A woman becomes obsessed with a story about her family from 1890—when a naked, mute girl stumbled onto their property—and whether or not it really happened. A self-help guru and his chief strategist take their most affluent and unstable clients on a harrowing nature hike that destroys their company. A young convict in a prison creative writing class chronicles the rise and fall of his cellblock's resident peacemaker. A rural neighbourhood becomes obsessed by the coming of a strange and powerful new homeowner who is in the middle of reinventing herself.

The stories of Use Your Imagination! are about stories, about the way we define and give shape to ourselves through all kinds of narratives, true or not. In seven long stories, Kris Bertin examines the complex labyrinth of lies, delusions, compromise, and fabrication that makes up our personal history a …

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Downton Abbey, ABBA's Greatest Hits, Lena Dunham's Girls, and More

tagged :

There's nothing like a great hook or review, in which a book is compared to a popular movie or bestselling novel, to instantly make readers know that that they've found their next read. Here are some of the best comparisons we've seen for a while.

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ABBA'S GREATEST HITS:

Songs for the Cold of Heart, by Eric Dupont

Nuns that appear out of thin air, a dinner party at the Goebbels’, Quebec’s very own Margaret Thatcher, a grandma that just won’t die (not until the archangel comes back) ... Songs For the Cold Of Heart is a yarn to rival the best of them, a big fat whopper of a tall tale that bounces around from provincial Rivière-du-Loup in 1919 to Nagasaki, 1990s Berlin, Rome, and beyond. This is the novel of a century—long and glorious, stuffed full of parallels, repeating motifs, and unforgettable characters—with the passion and plotting of a modern-day Tosca.

Check the shelves in just about every household in Quebec with any inclination toward literary fiction and you will find a copy of Dupont’s novel. It’s the Thriller or ABBA’s Greatest Hits of its world, with a popular reach most serious writers stopped dreaming of decades ago.—Ian McGillis, Montreal Review of Books

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LOUISE PENNY'S THREE PINES:

The Birds that Stay, by A …

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Everyone's Welcome: Blueberry Vanilla Cake

Image Blueberry Vanilla Cale

Amanda Orlando has learned firsthand about the social and emotional impact of anaphylactic reactions, which is why she started blogging about it at EverydayAllergenFree.com. Her brand new cookbook Everyone's Welcome: The Art of Living and Eating Allergen Free is for people with anaphylactic allergies to any of the “big eight”: peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish. Most of the recipes are free from all eight allergens, with the rest offering alternatives to suit your particular allergy—and you’ll know whether the recipe is coconut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. 

We're excited to be featuring the recipe for her gorgeous blueberry cake—with frosting! With a special added bonus recipe for applesauce, which is an ingredient in the cake. Enjoy! Everyone is welcome... 

*****

Blueberry Vanilla Layer Cake

Vegetarian and vegan if coconut oil is used instead of lard

 

Cake:

⅔ cup unsweetened applesauce (see below for recipe!)

¼ cup canola oil

1 cup powdered sugar

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup coconut milk

Pinch of salt

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1½ tsp baking soda

 

Frosting:

½ cup lard or coconut oil

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

5–6 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup coconut milk

 

Decoration: 

fresh blueberries

lemon zest

 

Preheat the oven …

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Resilience, Social Justice, and Race: Reviewing Jael Ealey Richardson's The Stone Thrower

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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It can be very difficult to tell two stories in one book, especially in a work of nonfiction, but this is something Jael Richardson does  masterfully in her debut book The Stone Thrower. In this beautifully written memoir, Jael sets out on a path of discovery to find out how her father, football legend Chuck Ealey Jr., became one of the best quarterbacks in history and why he chose to end his illustrious career. While conducting this exploration of her father’s life, she also explores her own life and what it was like to grow up as a young Black woman in Canada. Even though this book is a tale of two stories, there are common themes that feature prominently in both.

Resilience, true grit, and determination are key components of this book and they are also traits that teachers attempt to instill in their students; which is why it is such an excellent resource and educational tool in multiple curricular areas. Physical Education, History, English, and Global Studies courses could all use this book as it covers the sport of football, provides historical context of the civil rights movement, and looks at ra …

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