Off the Page

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

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Book Cover All the Sweet Things

Summer Eats: Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

By [Kerry Clare]

From Renée Kohlman's All the Sweet Things, a delicious recipe that will never taste as excellent as right now with stra …

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A Chat Roundtable With the Editors of  Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer

A Chat Roundtable With the Editors of Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer

By [Trevor Corkum]

Published by Coach House, Any Other Way draws on a range of voices to explore how the residents of queer Toronto have sh …

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Book Cover The Party

Summer Reads: Robyn Harding and THE PARTY

By [Kerry Clare]

Robyn Harding on where The Party started, the surprising joys of writing dark, and how to make the reader keep turning t …

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Book Cover Boy in Motion

Notes From a Children's Librarian: On Perseverance

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that show the development of perseverance as a character trait. 

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Book Cover The Summer Book

2017 Summer Books

By [Kerry Clare]

Books about road trips, swimming, canoe paddling, long lazy days, and even a little bit of summer intrigue. These are th …

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The Chat With Janet Rogers

By [Trevor Corkum]

“Janet Rogers’ latest book Totem Poles & Railroads doesn’t pull any punches. All of the stinging and difficult rea …

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Book Cover Pride

On Our Radar

By [Kerry Clare]

Books with buzz worth sharing. 

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Book Cover The Native Voice

The Native Voice: Canada's First Aboriginal Newspaper

By [Kerry Clare]

"Our Dominion is not in a position to point a finger of scorn at the treatment meted out by other countries toward their …

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Summer Festival Season, #fest2fest

Your 2017 Guide to Summer Literary Festivals

By [Kerry Clare]

Summertime is festival time! All across the country this summer readers and writers will be gathering to celebrate stori …

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Book Cover Silvija

The Chat: A Griffin Poetry Prize Special With Canadian Finalist Sandra Ridley

By [Trevor Corkum]

Our final interview in this year’s Griffin Prize special edition of The Chat is our conversation with Sandra Ridley, a …

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Summer Eats: Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream from All the Sweet Things

Top-rated food blogger Renée Kohlman's All the Sweet Things is a gorgeous celebration of dessert with traditional tastes and unexpected twists on the familiar. This recipe for Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream is incredible, and will never be as delicious as it is right now with strawberries plump, ripe and abundant. Enjoy! 

*****

I have stacks of cookbooks all around my house. Most of these books are too beautiful to be stuffed away into a cupboard. Now and then I’ll cozy up with one of them to read while sipping tea on a lazy afternoon, or when I'm nestled in bed—you know, to encourage sweet dreams. Nigel Slater’s Ripe is one of my favourite go-to books for such times, as much for the photographs as the writing. Devoted to all things fruit, this book is an education and an inspiration. From that inspiration, I came up with this recipe on a sweltering July day when I had a mountain of strawberries practically bursting with ripeness.

There’s no need for an ice cream maker here; all you need is a food processor, a mixer and a handful of ingredients. The result? A fresh, creamy taste, with deep strawberry flavour and just a murmur of balsamic. Simple. Sensational.

Makes about 4 cups

3 3/4 cups fresh, ripe strawberries, rinsed

1/2 cup superfine sugar

2 tsp balsamic vine …

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A Chat Roundtable With the Editors of Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer

TREVOR CORKUM cropped

As this summer’s Pride festivals and festivities are set to get underway, we’re in conversation this week with three of the editors of the seminal (and fabulous) volume on Toronto queer history—Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer. It’s a pleasure to be in conversation with John Lorinc, Rahim Thawer, and Jane Farrow.*

Published by Coach House, the anthology draws on a range of voices to explore how the residents of queer Toronto have shaped and reshaped one of the world’s most diverse cities. Any Other Way includes chapters on Oscar Wilde’s trip to Toronto; early cruising areas and gay/lesbian bars; queer shared houses; a pioneering collective counter-archive project; bath house raids; LBGT-police conflicts; the Queen Street art/music/activist scene; and a profile of Jackie Shane, the trans R&B singer who performed in drag in both Toronto and Los Angeles, and gained international fame with her 1962 chart-topping single, "Any Other Way."

Rahim Thawer

Rahim Thawer is a registered social worker, consultant, post-secondary instructor, and mental health counsel …

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Summer Reads: Robyn Harding and THE PARTY

Book Cover The Party

The Party, by Robyn Harding, is getting a lot of buzz—it's a Canadian Loan Stars pick for June 2017 and tops more than a few summer reading lists. Pitched as as a cross between Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party is a gripping and unsettling tale of domestic drama that goes very wrong. And in this Q&A, Robyn Harding tells us where the story came from, the surprisingly joys of writing dark, and how to make the reader keep turning the page. 

*****

49th Shelf: A “good” family, “good” parents, an innocent sweet sixteen party: what could go wrong? Apart from everything. With what did this story begin for you, and how did it grow?

Robyn Harding: This story began with my own teenaged children. As responsible parents, my husband and I had to discuss substance use with our kids and set boundaries. But I learned that many parents still follow the adage: “They’re going to drink anyway, I’d rather they do it at home.” I started to think about the risks of this parenting choice. What if something terrible happened to a child who was drinking in your home? Or what if your child was hurt while drinking at a friend’s house? How would this affect everyone involved: the parents, the kids, the …

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Notes From a Children's Librarian: On Perseverance

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

*****

Perseverance as a character trait is the focus of these stellar picture books. 

Young readers will be captivated by Boy in Motion: Rick Hansen’s Story, by Ainslee Manson, illustrated by Renne Benoit. This non-fiction picture book begins with Rick as an energetic boy, lover of fishing and sports. A car accident in his teens leaves him paralyzed from the waist down. Rick’s struggle begins with eight weeks in a Stryker bed, crutches, then a wheelchair. He begins coaching, with his father’s adage in mind: “There’s no such word as ‘can’t'.” One day Rick goes fishing on his own, falls in the lake, wheelchair and all. Through sheer will, he pulls himself out, drags his chair up onto the rocks…and continues fishing! An afterword explaining Hanson's The Man in Motion World Tour will inspire all. Grade 1+

The Little Hummingbird, by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, is a folktale about stamina, with Haida-style illustrations. A forest fire causes the an …

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2017 Summer Books

Winter is good, autumn is nice, spring is okay, but there is nothing else quite like reading in the summer. Except for, perhaps, reading about summer, books about road trips, swimming, canoe paddling, long lazy days, and even a little bit of summer intrigue. The books in this list, out now or coming soon, have all of this, and they run the gamut of fiction, non-fiction, YA, and a most excellent picture book. These are books that mean summer starts NOW. 

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The Last Wave, by Gillian Best (Out in August) 

About the book: A beautifully rendered family drama set in Dover, England, between the 1940s and the present day, The Last Wave follows the life of Martha, a woman who has swum the English Channel ten times, and the complex relationships she has with her husband, her children, and her close friends. The one constant in Martha’s life is the sea, from her first accidental baptism to her final crossing of the channel. The sea is an escape from her responsibilities as a wife and a mother; it consoles her when she is diagnosed with cancer; and it comforts her when her husband’s mind begins to unravel.

An intergenerational saga spanning six decades, The Last Wave is a wholly authentic portrait of a family buffeted by illness, intolerance, anger, failure, and regret. Gil …

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