Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Salma the Syrian Chef

Notes from a Children’s Librarian: Satisfying Endings

By Julie Booker

How do you create a sense of satisfaction in a story’s finale? The following books pull it off!

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49thShelf Summer Reads

Introducing the 49th Shelf Summer Books List: Part 2

By Kerry Clare

Our summer reads extravaganza continues with PART 2 of our Summer Books List, and once again, each and every title is up …

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Inclusive Learning, Diverse Books: Introducing Top Grade 2021

Inclusive Learning, Diverse Books: Introducing Top Grade 2021

By Spencer Miller

Welcome to the Association for Canadian publisher’s Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom, a blog and preview video seri …

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Book Cover bread and water

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2021 Nonfiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

New books about everything, including food, beauty, art, travel, singing, healing, grieving, shopping, aging, and so muc …

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Book Cover Unlocking

CanLit Yearning

By Amy LeBlanc

"At the heart of my novella and in each book on this CanLit list is a sense of desire or a yearning (for belonging, iden …

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The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

By Trevor Corkum

This week we’re in conversation with political trailblazer Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, whose memoir, The Queer Evangelist, …

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Book Cover The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour

Most Anticipated: Our 2021 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

With new books by Miriam Toews, Dawn Dumont, Douglas Coupland, Marie-Renee Lavoie, Omar El Akkad, Zoe Whittall, Trudy Mo …

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Book Cover The Quiet is Loud

Speculative Fiction: Vast and Thrilling

By Samantha Garner

"As a reader and a lightly superstitious human, I can’t deny the pull of the unusual, the not-quite-real. I love books …

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Book Cover Travels in Cuba

Writing with Four Hands

By Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel

"That’s what the Travels series is all about: sending a resourceful, observant, unafraid (well, sometimes a little afr …

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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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Book Cover Wood

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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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