Off the Page

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

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Book Cover knot body

Launchpad: knot body, by Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch

By Kerry Clare

"Readers may sit and ruminate on the sharp and sensual inquiry offered by each individual letter, or read cover-to-cover …

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book cover footlights

2020 Poetry Delights

By Pearl Pirie

A list by the author of new collection footlights. These books turn and explore, question and listen.

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The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

By Trevor Corkum

Zsuzsi Gartner’s debut novel, The Beguiling (Hamish Hamilton), is a stunner. It was a finalist for this year’s Write …

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Book Cover Loss Lake

Launchpad: LOSS LAKE, by Amber Cowie

By Kerry Clare

"Sentence by gorgeous sentence, Cowie reveals an intricately woven, powerful plot, unveiling the depths of the character …

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Hope Matters

25 Reasons to be Hopeful

By Kerry Clare

The following books are infused with hope—that what we do and who we are really matters, that second chances are possi …

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Book Cover Spend It

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Money Money Money

By Julie Booker

Financial literacy is part of the new math curriculum for grades 4-6. But why not start even sooner, as young as kinderg …

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Book Cover You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked.

Launchpad: YOU ARE EATING AN ORANGE. YOU ARE NAKED. by Sheung-King

By Kerry Clare

"This novel ...gives the cold shoulder to the dominant gaze and its demands to control the Asian body, carving out a thr …

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Book Cover The Way Home

Books for University Press Week

By Clare Hitchens

“Raise UP” is a particularly apt theme in a time when information moves at faster speeds than ever before across a m …

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Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

By Robert J. Wiersema

To mark the passing of the year, we’ve gathered the independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers fellowship – the st …

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Book Cover Four Umbrellas

Launchpad: FOUR UMBRELLAS, by June Hutton and Tony Wanless

By Kerry Clare

"Our goal from the outset was to write a book in which the person with Alzheimer’s has a place on the page, too."

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

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Book Cover Strange Gift

The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden by Philippa Dowding

From Danielle's review at Bookish Notions: "Gwendolyn Golden isn’t your average tweenager. Ever since her dad mysteriously vanished during a storm, she finds herself yelling, unable to stop. Now, as if she needed something else to set her apart from the other kids at school, she wakes up with the ability to fly, er, float. The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden by Philippa Dowding tells the story of how Gwendolyn deals with her curious new ability and how it turns her world upside down (both literally and figuratively).

With one of the best opening scenes I’ve read in a long time, Gwendolyn Golden is an absolutely charming read from page one. I was instantly curious about this girl who wakes up on her bedroom ceiling, and I am not ashamed to admit that it had me giggling on more than one occasion."

 

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The Recommend: Masterpieces, Celebrities, Survival, and Magic

Research shows that most of the books we read are the result of one thing: someone we know, trust, and/or admire tells us it's great. That's why we run this series, The Recommend, where readers, writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.

This week we're pleased to present the picks of book blogger Laura Frey (reading-in-bed.com), Melanie Fishbane (whose debut YA novel is Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery), Katherine Ashenburg (whose debut fiction novel—following many nonfiction works—is Sofie and Cecilia), Karen Hofmann (whose forthcoming short story collection is Echolocation), and Bruce Cinnamon (whose debut novel is The Melting Queen).

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Laura Frey recommends Éric Dupont's Songs for the Cold of Heart

I am a blurb skeptic. Blurbs are, at best, the most biased form of literary criticism. Just check how often a blurber’s name appears on the acknowledgements page. At worst, blurbs are clichéd, or taken out of out of context, or of dubious veracity (did Gary Shteyngart really read all those books?).

The blurb on Songs for the Cold of Heart got all my skeptic senses tingling:

“If the Americans have John Irving and the Colombians Gabriel García Márquez, we have Eric Dupont. A …

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Karen Hofmann: Barefoot Girls and Wild Women

Karen Hofmann's first novel is After Alice, which author Angie Abdou has calledun "a rich novel with big heart.” In this list, she recommends wild Canadian heroines who have much in common with the fascinating female characters in her book. 

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This is a list of Canadian books with female characters who break the rules, ignore decorum, sin, err, shoot at people, take off their shoes in public, love who they shouldn’t, and otherwise transgress. These unconventional woman are also associated with the landscape—not in the classic sense of fertility and cultivation, but in their ability to discover or rediscover and draw on their inherent, individual, untrammelled selves.

Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson

Maggie Lloyd has had more than her share of sadness and loss. One day she puts down a dish she is drying and walks out the back door, away from her sour, narrow, controlling husband, Eddie, and takes a job in a rugged resort at Three Loons Lake (reputed to be an alias for Lac le Jeune, near Kamloops, in BC’s Interior). Both Maggie, who is unconventiona …

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