Off the Page
A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between
Our hardy crew of independent booksellers has recommendations for every eventuality, from guides to take you outside (do …
We start this month on The Chat in conversation with Eden Robinson, author of the much-heralded new novel Son of a Trick …
Poetry collections are to springtime what ripe peaches are to late summer, and let me tell you: the crop this year is sp …
Picks from Joanna Lilley (If There Were Roads); Matt Murphy (A Beckoning War), Robert McGill (Once We Had a Country); Sa …
Carolyn Harris on Canada's contribution to the changing conversation about royal parenting through the ages.
These picture books make good springboards for discussion on cooperation and the complexities involved when people work …
Books about travel, migration and immigration that show us what we can learn by going to find ourselves—as readers and …
"I was an outsider. I did not belong. But far from threatening, I was lonely, clueless and utterly terrified."…
Women who dare to defy society's expectations for them—for better or for worse.
Is it safe to come out yet?
Groundhog Day was months ago, and across the country, Canadians are only now daring to emerge cautiously from our holes in the ground, wondering if the strangest winter in recent memory is finally over. Take, for example, Victoria. Looking back, thanks to the miracle of social media, Victoria’s cherry trees were in full bloom in mid-February last year (yes, we know that makes you hate us; that’s one of the reasons we post those photos every year). This year, Victoria had blizzards through February. Blizzards. Of actual snow! That’s a once-a-decade or so occurrence.
But weather be damned, it’s spring on the calendar, and in the bookstores. Our hardy crew of independent booksellers has recommendations for every eventuality, from guides to take you outside (down to the dirt or up to the skies) to companions to warm you indoors. Plus, a baseball book, because it IS spring, after all.
And summer is just around the corner. Though many of us will believe it when we see it.
The Bookseller: David Worsley, Words Worth Books (Waterloo, ON)
The Pick: Baseball Life Advice, by Stacey May Fowles
With Baseball Life Advice, Stacey May Fowles has captured the tumult, frustration, and unabashed love that comes with being a long-suffering Blue Jays fan. …
We start this month on The Chat in conversation with Eden Robinson, author of the much-heralded new novel Son of a Trickster, the first in her Trickster trilogy.
Writing in The National Post, Robert Wiersema calls Son of a Trickster “a unique, genuinely surprising novel from one of Canada’s finest writers, a blend of hardscrabble coming-of-age story with mythic fiction at its most powerfully subversive.”
Eden Robinson is a novelist and short fiction writer from the Haisla First Nation. Her novel Monkey Beach, which combines contemporary realism with Haisla mysticism, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award, and received the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. She gave the 2010 Henry Kreisel Memorial Lecture, which was published as the memoir The Sasquatch at Home: Traditional Protocols & Modern Storytelling. She lives in Kitamaat, BC.
THE CHAT WITH EDEN ROBINSON
Poetry collections are to springtime what ripe peaches are to late summer, and let me tell you: the crop this year is splendid. Let the juice run down your chin.
No TV For Woodpeckers, by Gary Barwin
About the book: In the pages of Gary Barwin's latest collection of poetry, No TV for Woodpeckers, the lines between haunting and hilarious, wondrous and weird, beautiful and beastly, are blurred in the most satisfying ways. No stranger to poetic experimentation, Barwin employs a range of techniques from the lyrical to the conceptual in order to explore loss, mortality, family, the self and our relationship to the natural world.
Many of these poems reveal a submerged reality full of forgotten, unknown or invisible life forms that surround us—that are us. Within this reality, Barwin explores the connection between bodies, language, culture and the environment. He reveals how we construct both self and reality through these relationships and also considers the human in relation to the concepts of "nature" and "the animal."
As philosophical as it is entertaining—weaving together threads of surrealism, ecopoetics, Dada and more—No TV for Woodpeckers is a complex and multi-layered work that offers an unexpected range of pleasures.
Why we're taking notice: Barwin was …
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 Joanna Lilley (If There Were Roads); Matt Murphy (A Beckoning War), Robert McGill (Once We Had a Country); Samantha Rideout (The People Who Stay); and Sheree Fitch (If You Could Wear My Sneakers, plus two dozen or so other books!).
Joanna Lilley recommends Karen Enns’ Ordinary Hours
If you find poetry intimidating or just don’t think it’s for you, try sitting at the kitchen table with a copy of Karen Enns’ collection, Ordinary Hours. Enns writes as if she’s sitting at the table with you, her hands around a mug of tea, glancing every now and then through the window into the garden as she tells you about her day and asks you about yours.
I used to be daunted by poetry—both reading and writing it. I think Enns’ poems are the sort of poetry I was always looking for. She writes about everyday life: rain and wrens, memory and wonder. She confronts the realization some of us can have that we really have no idea …
From keeping Vikings at bay to fending off paparazzi, Carolyn Harris—in her new book Raising Royalty—explores the history of royal parenting and how its changes have reflected wider societal trends, and vice versa. In this guest post for us, she delves into the Canadian history of royal parenting, which includes a famous embrace, a Dutch princess born in Ottawa, and the wife of a Governor General...who happened to be Queen Victoria's daughter!
In September 2016, William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Victoria, British Columbia with their two young children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The royal children did not simply accompany their parents for a week in Canada but shaped the nature of the royal tour. With the exception of a single overnight in Whitehorse, Yukon, the royal couple’s itinerary allowed them to spend the evenings at the Lieutenant Governor’s residence in Victoria with their children. The royal children even undertook public engagements, appearing with their parents at the beginning and end of the tour and taking centre stage at a picnic for children of military families. The Canadian public admired the royal couple’s rapport with their children and images from the Canadian tour continue to appear in art …