Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
 The Chat with Cicely Belle Blain

The Chat with Cicely Belle Blain

By Trevor Corkum

This week on the Chat, we’re in conversation with Cicely Belle Blain, author of the forthcoming poetry collection Burn …

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Book Cover Indians on Vacation

Most Anticipated: Our 2020 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

New books by old favourites, sparkling debuts, and more than a few timely books about pandemics are among the titles tha …

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Book Cover County Heirlooms

Summer Eats: Kohlrabi Slaw, from COUNTY HEIRLOOMS

By Natalie Wollenberg and Leigh Nash

"I’ve always been impressed that seeds will produce all the food you need to live. It’s miraculous."

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Book Cover Cedar and Salt

3 Great Recipes from the 2020 Taste Canada Awards Shortlist

By Kerry Clare

Foodies, take note! Great recipes from celebrated cookbooks.

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Book Cover On Nostalgia

Launchpad: On Nostalgia, by David Berry

By Kerry Clare

"Berry’s subject is a wide-ranging one, but he pulls off the impressive feat of covering plenty of ground in a concise …

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Literatures, Communities and Learnings

Literatures, Communities, and Learning

By Kerry Clare

9 conversations with Indigenous writers about the relationship between Indigenous literatures and learning, and how thei …

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The Chat with Faye Guenther

The Chat with Faye Guenther

By Trevor Corkum

Swimmers in Winter (Invisible Publishing) is Faye Guenther’s debut collection of short fiction. These six stories expl …

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Book Cover Little Secrets

Summer Reading Starts Here

By Kerry Clare

Summer is not cancelled, and summer reading isn't either. We've got thrillers, epics, drama, historical fiction, and so …

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Behind the Poem: "When You Learn to Swim" by Souvankham Thammavongsa

In his reviewGlobe and Mail Books Editor Jared Bland called the poems in Souvankham Thammavongsa's new book, Light, "by turns ethereal, beguiling and riveting in their dramatic exploration of the book’s thematic terrain," and noted that, "[t]his new collection confirms Thammavongsa’s place as one of the most interesting younger poets at work in the country." 

In this piece, she tells the story behind one of the poems from Light

*****

A few years ago, I took a class, swimming lessons for adults. We shared the pool with another class for children. They ranged in age, maybe four to six years old. They were really tiny, the shallow end of the pool came up to their chins or around their ears. They took to their lessons really well, with enthusiasm and each week, each would grow with confidence. The adults, the class I was in, had a hard time learning, believing that they could float at all. By the fourth week, some were just beginning to put their whole face in the water. It wasn't that they were scared of the water or experienced some trauma that made swimming difficult. It was that none of us trusted what we were told about ourselves and the water, that we would float, if we let go.

The children needed to be told this once and they plunged forward, floating. The …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a new 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.

*****

Book Cover The Best Thing About Kindergarten

The Best Thing About Kindergarten by Jennifer Lloyd, Illustrated by Qin Leng

From the blog Perogies & Gyoza:

"I'm sure there are some kindy kids who are apprehensive about their new journey, and for them I would recommend this book about the joys of kindergarten... It might seem odd to recommend a book about finishing kindergarten to kids who are just starting—but all kids of this age can identify with the excitement of the classroom and the love of a good teacher." 

Read the whole review here

*****

Accusation by Catherine Bush

From the Now Toronto review by Susan G. Cole: 

"You can record, videotape, photograph and do a ton of other things to document a situation. But you can never be sure whether you’ve discovered any actual truths. That’s the theme of Catherine Bush’s deftly rendered tale about a seasoned journalist trying to get to …

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