Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
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 Special Edition: Authors for Indies

Oh, my, what a month! April marks the first anniversary of this column, which offers monthly recommendations from independent booksellers across the country—the books you need to read, from people who know reading best.

(Waiting a moment, looking around ... Where’s the balloon drop?)

To celebrate, we have something even better than a balloon drop. We have an entire national movement! This month we have an extra-special, jumbo-sized edition of Shelf Talkers, wherein some of Canada’s finest authors weigh in with their recommendations. We’re not only celebrating the anniversary of this column, we’re pitching in and helping out with the Authors for Indies program.

On May 2, under the auspices of the Authors for Indies program, writers from across the country will be serving as volunteer booksellers at their local independent bookstore, helping out customers with their picks, throwing their support behind Canada’s independent booksellers.

In this month’s column, we’ve asked some of those volunteer, one-day booksellers for their picks, a sneak preview of what you can expect next month.

May 2: Mark that date on your calendar, and make a point of visiting your favourite authors at your favourite indie.

Until then, enjoy these picks, and thank you for reading this year. We’re just getting started.

 

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Quick Hits: Strange and Otherworldly

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

*****

fionavar

The Fionavar Tapestry Omnibus, by Guy Gavriel Kay

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: HarperCollins

In the three novels that make up the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy (The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road), five University of Toronto students find themselves transported to a magical land to do battle with the forces of evil. At a Celtic conference, Kimberley, Kevin, Jennifer, Dave, and Paul meet wizard Loren Silvercloak. Returning with him to the magical kingdom of Fionavar to attend a festival, they soon discover that they are being drawn into the conflict between the dark and the light as Unraveller Rakoth Maugrim breaks free of his mountain prison and threatens the continued existence of Fionavar. They join mages, elves, dwarves, and the forces of the High King of Brennin to do battle with Maugrim, where Kay's imaginative powers as a world-builder come to the fore. He stunningly weaves Arthurian legends into the fluid mix of Celtic, …

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Shelf Talkers: May 2016

Is it spring where you are, or summer ... or more of a mishmash of weather?

With the sheer size of this country, and the vicissitudes of climate change, it’s tough to get a handle on the change of seasons. In Victoria, for example, it’s been positively balmy for weeks now, and while Alberta is struggling with a tragically early summer, eastern Canadians are finally, tentatively, shoving winter coats into the darkest corners of closets in hopes they remain there.

We live in a country not of two solitudes, but of climatic blur. Book-wise, though, we are a united country, and on that is clearly in the spring. From coast to coast, the intrepid indie booksellers of the Shelf Talkers project are enthralled with what’s sprouting on the shelves, the first new growth of a fine literary year.  It’s time for renewal, and our booksellers, as always, have just the thing.

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The Bookseller: Carolyn Gillis, of King’s Co-op Bookstore (Halifax, NS)
The Pick: Children of Earth and Sky, by Guy Gavriel Kay
Like all of Kay's previous works, the scope is vast and the characters are incredibly well drawn. Kay always manages to make my heart ache and feel uplifted, often at the same time, for his characters. Their lives are entwined with destiny and none of them are safe from it …

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