Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Why Birds Sing

Launchpad: WHY BIRDS SING, by Nina Berkhout

By Kerry Clare

"Berkhout writes with an uncommon compassion and an uncanny understanding of what it means to be human." —Amy Jones

read more >
Book Cover The Old Woman

What Aging Looks Like: A Picture Book List, with Dogs!

By Joanne Schwartz

It’s so important for children to see positive images of aging. There are many wonderful books about children and thei …

read more >
Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Souvankham Thammavongsa

Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Souvankham Thammavongsa

By Trevor Corkum

We continue our Giller coverage of The Chat in conversation with Souvankham Thammavongsa. She’s on this year’s short …

read more >
Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Gil Adamson

Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Gil Adamson

By Trevor Corkum

Next on our special Giller coverage of The Chat, we speak with Gil Adamson. She’s a finalist for her second novel, Rid …

read more >
Book Cover After Elias

Launchpad: AFTER ELIAS, by Eddy Boudel Tan

By Kerry Clare

"After Elias gifts the reader with gorgeous, economic prose and the pace of a thriller. I couldn't put it down." —Nata …

read more >
Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with David Bergen

Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with David Bergen

By Trevor Corkum

We’re thrilled to begin this year’s special Scotiabank Giller Prize coverage in conversation with David Bergen. Davi …

read more >
Book Review: The Boy Who Moved Christmas by Eric Walters & Nicole Wellwood

Book Review: The Boy Who Moved Christmas by Eric Walters & Nicole Wellwood

By Geoffrey Ruggero

The Boy Who Moved Christmas is a beautiful story of a community coming together to grant the wish of a young boy battlin …

read more >
Book Cover Daughter of Black Lake

Be Transported with Historical Fiction

By Cathy Marie Buchanan

A recommended reading list by Cathy Marie Buchanan, whose new novel is Daughter of Black Lake.

read more >
Book Cover How to Lose Everything

Launchpad: HOW TO LOSE EVERYTHING, by Christa Couture

By Kerry Clare

"This might be the wisest, most delightful sad story that you've ever read in your life."

read more >
The Chat with Jack Wang

The Chat with Jack Wang

By Trevor Corkum

This week on The Chat we’re speaking with writer Jack Wang, whose debut short story collection, We Two Alone, was rece …

read more >

Launchpad: WHY BIRDS SING, by Nina Berkhout

Launchpad Logo

Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.

LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

Today, Amy Jones recommends Why Birds Sing, by Nina Berkhout, writing, “A bratty parrot, a group of whistlers, an opera singer who doesn’t sing—it’s impossible not to be charmed by the characters who inhabit Nina Berkhout’s Why Birds Sing. But this novel offers so much more than just a loveable, quirky cast of misfits, and Berkhout writes with an uncommon compassion and an uncanny understanding of what it means to be human. Why Birds Sing is an ode to the families we choose, and the love that chooses us (whether we want it to or not.) This is a beautiful novel full of humour, warmth, sorrow, and above all, music.”

****

49th Shelf: What particular something have you ma …

Continue reading >

What Aging Looks Like: A Picture Book List, with Dogs!

What does it feel like to be old?

It’s so important for children to see positive images of aging. There are many wonderful books about children and their relationship with grandparents or an elderly friend.

In my book, The Old Woman, I write about an old woman who lives alone with her faithful companion, her old dog. Depicting an old woman on her own, gives a child a different view of what aging looks like. Life is not about new adventures anymore but the old woman is not lonely or sad. She relishes the simple pleasures of each new day and revels in the memories and thoughts that float through her mind. Nahid Kazemi’s beautiful illustrations merge with my words to bring the old woman and her dog to life, creating the unique visual landscape of the story.

In the following picture books authors and illustrators explore the themes of aging, intergenerational friendships, loss, and dogs in a myriad of approaches and tones from the sombre to the hilarious.

*

Oy, Feh, So?  by Cary Fagan, illustrations by Gary Clement

– am I really related to them?

It’s no …

Continue reading >

Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Souvankham Thammavongsa

STHAMMAVONGSA author photo by Sarah Bodri

We continue our Giller Prize coverage of The Chat in conversation with Souvankham Thammavongsa. She’s on this year’s shortlist for her debut short story collection, How to Pronounce Knife.

Jury citation:

"The Scotiabank Giller Prize introduced me to Souvankham Thammavongsa’s work. I could not be more grateful. How to Pronounce Knife is a stunning collection of stories that portray the immigrant experience in achingly beautiful prose. The emotional expanse chronicled in this collection is truly remarkable. These stories are vessels of hope, of hurt, of rejection, of loss and of finding one’s footing in a new and strange land. Thammavongsa’s fiction cuts to the core of the immigrant reality like a knife—however you pronounce it.”

Souvankham Thammavongsa is the author of four poetry books: Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Her fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Non-Required Reading, The Journey Prize Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. How to Pronounce Knife is her debut book of fiction, and the title story was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Born in the Lao refuge …

Continue reading >

Giller Prize 2020 Special: The Chat with Gil Adamson

ADAMSON-bertini-2019

Next on our special Giller Prize coverage of The Chat, we speak with Gil Adamson. She’s a finalist for her second novel, Ridgerunner.

Jury citation:

“The long-awaited sequel to Gil Adamson’s hit The Outlander moves the action forward a decade, returning the 13-year-old son of the original protagonists to a forested land into which prisoners of the first world war are now hewing roads. The proximity of this new type of outlaw presents an existential threat to young Jack, who takes refuge in his parents’ abandoned shack with a price on his head after escaping the toxic hypocrisies of ‘civilization.’ Drawing richly on both the Western and on gothic fiction, Adamson evokes a mythic landscape to frame the question: how is it possible to live a good life, when obedience to man-made laws is so at odds with love, loyalty and respect for the natural world?”

Gil Adamson is the critically acclaimed author of The Outlander, which won the Dashiell Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the ReLit Award, and the Drummer General’s Award. It was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, CBC Canada Reads, and the Prix Femina in France; longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and chosen as …

Continue reading >

Launchpad: AFTER ELIAS, by Eddy Boudel Tan

Book Cover Launchpad Logo

Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.

LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

Today, bestseller Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society, is championing After Elias, by Eddy Boudel Tan.

She writes, "After Elias, by Canadian debut author Eddy Boudel Tan, promises from the start to be a puzzle: an airline pilot about to be married is killed in a crash and immediately pegged as the main suspect in the disaster. But this is no simple mystery, and the layered psychological struggles and revelations of Elias's grief-stricken fiance kept me furiously turning pages until the very end. With chapters that shift through time along with the narrator's emotions, a cast of very real but relatable secondary characters, and a haunting sense of the past, After Elias gifts the reader with gorgeous, economic prose and the pace of a thriller. I couldn't put it down."

*****

Continue reading >

The Randomizer

Load New Book >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...