Off the Page

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

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Books for Young Readers Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

The best in picture books, middle-grade and YA. (It's so good!) 

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Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea

By [Kerry Clare]

The gorgeous result of a five year quest for Canadian nautical writings. 

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The 13 Worst Holidays in Canadian Literature

By [Kerry Clare]

Some very good reasons to stay home with a good book. 

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The Chat, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, First Nations

The Chat With Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week on the Chat, we’re in conversation with acclaimed writer and musician Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of …

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Book Cover Better Nature

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Poetry Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Our Fall Preview continues with poetry, and an exploration of the incredible array of books readers will fall in love wi …

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Apricot Tart from Okanagan Table

Summer Eats: Apricot Curd Tart

By [Kerry Clare]

A delectable treat from new cookbook, The Okanagan Table

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Shelf Talkers: August Long Weekend, 2017

Shelf Talkers: August Long Weekend, 2017

By [Rob Wiersema]

Perhaps the first time CanLit and mohito have been aligned in the same sentence.

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Book Cover Barrelling Forward

Winning Books: Spring 2017 (Part Two)

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that have been winning judge and jury hearts. 

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The Chat With Anne Fleming

The Chat With Anne Fleming

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week we turn to magical YA fiction on The Chat. I’m in conversation with BC-based author Anne Fleming, author of …

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Book Cover Snacks

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Non-Fiction Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that will deepen your connections to the world all around you. 

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Books for Young Readers Preview

Out Fall 2017 Preview concludes with books for young readers, and the selection is amazing. 

***** 

Picture Books 

The theme of gratitude is playfully explored in If You're Thankful and You Know It (August), a Thanksgiving treat written by Chrissy Bozik and illustrated by Patricia Storms. Sydney Smith illustrates Smoot (September), written by Michelle Cuevas, in which a shadow breaks free in search of a more colourful life. Danielle Daniel’s first book, Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award; her second picture book is Once in a Blue Moon (October), which celebrates the magical moments that can be found in the wonders of nature. A young boy unabashedly loves his purse in (wait for it...) I Love My Purse (September), by Belle DeMont and Sonja Wimmer. Marianne Dumas’s acclaimed The Fox and Fisherman (September) is translated into English, the beautifully illustrated story of an unlikely friendship. Annika Dunklee and Lori Joy Smith team up again for Me, Me, Me (September), a lighthearted story about the virtues of working together instead of going solo. Wallace Edwards does something new with Woodrow at Sea (November), about a mouse and an elephant on an epic journey. A picture book inspired by the iconic poem “First they came for …

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Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea

Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea, edited by Michael L. Hadley and Anita Hadley, is an anthology of 170 pieces of writing from over 130 of Canada’s most significant literary voices. The passages range from Kwakiutl prayers to stories of immigration and exile; from tales of nautical exploration to humorous portraits of coastal characters; and from classic Canadian poetry to sea-themed contemporary fiction. It showcases the relationship of all Canadians to the three oceans that frame our country.

*****

from the Introduction, by Anita Hadley:

Beginnings

The inspiration for [Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea] arose from an evening of nautical readings held at the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Victoria. Entitled “Master and Commander,” the presentation offered an entertaining selection describing daring exploits upon the high seas. While passages were largely drawn from the adventures of Patrick O’Brian’s swashbuckling hero, Captain Jack Aubrey, other works from around the world were also represented. We were enthralled—and our seagoing imaginations tweaked. As we walked home past the vessels moored in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, we began to imagine a similar evening based on Canadian nautical writings. What would it include? Who would be the writ …

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The 13 Worst Holidays in Canadian Literature

If you've been away on holiday this summer, you might find some of your story in these unfortunate adventures—but hopefully not too much. And if you haven't been able to go anywhere, you can pick up these books to glad you didn't. 

*****

The Bear, by Claire Cameron

About the book: Told in a voice reminiscent of Room, this nail-biting tale of psychological suspense shows two small children fighting for survival in the wilderness after a terrifying bear attack.  

The black dog is not scratching. He goes back to his sniffing and huffing and then he starts cracking his bone. Stick and I are huddled tight. . . . It is dark and no Daddy or Mommy and after a while I watch the lids of my eyes close down like jaws.

Told from the point of view of a six-year-old child, The Bear is the story of Anna and her little brother, Stick—two young children forced to fend for themselves in Algonquin Park after a black bear attacks their parents. A gripping and mesmerizing exploration of the child psyche, this is a survival story unlike any other, one that asks what it takes to survive in the wilderness and what happens when predation comes from within.

What goes wrong: If you're making a list of what NOT to pack on your next family camping excursion, a homicidal black bear should probably …

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The Chat With Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

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This week on the Chat, we’re in conversation with acclaimed writer and musician Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of the superb new work This Accident of Being Lost. Genre-bending, fiercely political, and deeply personal, the pieces that make up this collection resist and defy entrenched colonial narratives and speak back to power in direct, intimate ways. 

Writing in The Winnipeg Review, writer Gwen Benaway says “What fascinates me about Simpson’s work is not its Anishinaabe cultural roots, but its examination of intimacy and love. You can’t separate being Indigenous from how we love others. It’s an extension of culture and worldview .... [t]his notion of reclaiming love and intimacy as a space for resistance and revitalization sits at the heart of Simpson’s new work.”

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer, scholar, musician, and is a member of Alderville First Nation. She holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba and has lectured at universities across Canada. She is the author of three previous books, incl …

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Poetry Preview

Our Fall Preview continues with poetry, and an exploration of the incredible array of books readers will fall in love with this year.

*****

Winner of the 2016 Short Grain poetry prize and the 2015 Vancouver Writers’ Festival Contest, Susan Alexander’s first collection is The Dance Floor Tilts (October), poems that offer the possibility of finding the beauty within the everyday resonance of our own existence. All Manner of Tackle (October) brings together a selection of Brian Bartlett's literary prose from the past three decades. Award-winner Chris Banks’ The Cloud Versus Grand Unification Theory (September) attempts to find poetry, or what Gwendolyn MacEwen once called “a single symmetry,” amid the chaos of 21st-century life. And the poems in Lesley Belleau’s debut, Indianland (October), are written from a female and Indigenous point of view and incorporate Anishinaabemowin throughout.

While in the world of politics there are still climate change deniers, the poets stand as close to the shore as possible and watch the slow turning tide in Refugi …

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