Off the Page

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

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The Chat with Richard Van Camp

The Chat with Richard Van Camp

By Trevor Corkum

Author Richard Van Camp is a celebrated and beloved storyteller who has worked across many genres. His latest offering, …

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Book Cover In Praise of Retreat

Why We All Need Breathing Space

By Kirsteen MacLeod

"Retreat is an adventure, and it involves uncertainty. Whether we go to the quiet woods to rest or make art, walk a pilg …

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Book Cover What the Kite Saw

What the Kite Saw: Stories of Children and Crisis

By Anne Laurel Carter

"Children have their own unique ways of facing a crisis. Yes, they need protecting, but they are also resilient. They ha …

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Shelf Talkers: Spring 2021

Shelf Talkers: Spring 2021

By Robert J. Wiersema

One of the best pieces of news in an otherwise dark year was the word that, despite the growth of online giants during t …

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Book Cover The Shadow Life

My Drifter Reading List

By Jen Sookfong Lee

A poetry list by the author of new book The Shadow List.

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Book Cover Fuse

Persian-Canadian Writers You've Got to Read

By Hollay Ghadery

So, where were all the Persian Canadian writers? It turns out, here all along, but not as represented as one might hope; …

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Tough Like Mum: An Essential Picture Book for Kids *and* Adults

Tough Like Mum: An Essential Picture Book for Kids *and* Adults

By Geoffrey Ruggero

Picture books are often written with young children as their intended audience. In Tough Like Mum, Lana Button provides …

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Book Cover We Jane

Aimee Wall on The Great Canadian Abortion Novel

By Kerry Clare

"I didn’t want the plot to turn on an abortion or the decision to have one. Any conflict or tension is rooted elsewher …

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Book Cover Because the Sun

Poetry That's Going to Grab You

By 49thShelf Staff

Great books to read before for National Poetry Month is out.

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The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

By Trevor Corkum

Christopher DiRaddo’s sophomore novel, The Family Way, is a dynamic and rich exploration of queer family, parenthood, …

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Shelf Talkers: January 2015

It’s a brand new year which means that booksellers across this fine nation are picking themselves up and dusting themselves off after the blur and chaos of December. They’re both looking back and looking ahead, giving a sense and perspective to the year and the books just past, and gazing hopefully, always hopefully, at the year and books just ahead.

Here are five of our finest booksellers, ready again to help you fill your shelves with the best books this country—and its bookstores—have to offer.

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The Bookseller: Mary-Ann Yazedjian, Book Warehouse Main Street (Vancouver, BC)

The Pick: Anatomy of a Girl Gang, by Ashley Little

"This is a dark and gritty story of a girl gang in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. It is told from five points of view, and Little has managed to give each character a unique voice. This is the perfect book for girls aged 15 and older who are tired of reading teen fluff books and want to read something real and important."

 

The Bookseller:  Heather Kuipers, Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore (Toronto, Ontario)

The Pick …

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Visceral: A Book List, Part II

Today we follow up Part I of our focus on visceral books: books we feel in our bodies as much as our brains, books that can range from shocking to arousing to graphic ... and more. These books often stay with us long after we've turned the last page. We're pleased to present a compilation of these books, complete with publishers' descriptions and review excerpts.

*****

Midnight Tides, by Steven Erikson: Book Five of The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Midnight Tides is the most visceral of the series. After decades of internecine warfare, the tribes of the Tiste Edur have at last united under the Warlock King of the Hiroth, There is peace—but it has been exacted at a terrible price: a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst deadly. To the south, the expansionist kingdom of Lether has enslaved all its less-civilized neighbors with rapacious hunger. All, that is, save one—the Tiste Edur. It seems only a matter of time before they too fall, either beneath the suffocating weight of gold, or by slaughter at the edge of a sword. Yet as the two sides gather for a pivotal treaty neither truly wants, ancient forces are awakening. The impending struggle between these two peoples is but a pale reflection of a far more profound, primal battle …

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Shelf Talkers: September 2015

You would think that school would be paradise for a bookish, nerdy kid, like I was. But as any former bookish, nerdy kid will tell you, that was hardly the case. Sure, there was always lots to read, new books to discover, stories to talk about (and sometimes even write!). But there was a downside as well. So often, the books we had to read were old hat, or overly familiar. Things I’d read long before, or things I had no interest in reading.

I lost track, early on, of the number of times I got caught reading the books I had chosen, not the ones assigned in class. I thought I had it all worked out: keep the book in your lap, and glance down to read when the teacher’s not looking. Keep the book you want to read underneath the book you’re supposed to be reading, with only a few lines visible at a time. It seemed like it should work, but I got caught almost every time.

That didn’t stop me, though. I don’t think it stopped any bookish, nerdy kid.

And we never forget it. We never quite grow up.

Even now, decades later, I’m still that kid close to the back of the room, sneaking Tom Swift or Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators or John Bellairs, when I’m supposed to be reading ... Funny. I can’t even remember what I was supposed to be reading, but those books I snuck? Those books I loved enough to risk the ire of the teachers, and the threats of the hallway or principal’s office? Those books became a part of me.

In celebration of September, this is a special editi …

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The Chat With Ashley Little

AshleyLittle2015_creditVancouverPublicLibrary

TREVOR CORKUM cropped

This week, we’re in conversation with Ashley Little. Her new novel, Niagara Motel, tells the story of Tucker Malone, an eleven-year-old boy who sets out on a journey across North American in search of his birth father, whom he believes to be Sam Malone from Cheers.

The Winnipeg Review called Niagara Motel “a strange, absorbing tale." Brett Josef Grubisic, writing in the Vancouver Sun, says Tucker is “an innocent in a tough and corrupt world .... He’s plucky and determined and, despite circumstances, refreshingly unmarred.”

Ashley Little is the author of four books including Niagara Motel. Her novel Anatomy of a Girl Gang (Arsenal, 2013) won the Ethel Wilson fiction prize, was shortlisted for the city of Vancouver Book Award, a finalist for the In the Margins Book Award for youth in custody, and was long-listed for the IMPAC Award. She lives in Kelowna, BC with her partner, Warren, and their toy poodle, Huxley. She teaches Creative Writing at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
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THE CHAT WITH ASHLEY LITTLE

Trevor Corkum: Your latest novel, Niagara Mote …

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