Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Memoir Conversations and Craft

Dazzling Memoirs

By Marjorie Simmins

Marjorie Simmins, author of MEMOIR: CONVERSATIONS AND CRAFTS, recommends her dream lineup of memoirs.

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For Fans of Grisham, Munro, Wolitzer, Shriver, and More

For Fans of Grisham, Munro, Wolitzer, Shriver, and More

By Kiley Turner

Isn't it great when you find a new author or series that fits your reading taste to a tee? Here are a few new books that …

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Book Cover Big Reader

A Taster: Spring 2021 Nonfiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

Life stories, family, baseball, and retreat. These highlight the nonfiction we're most looking forward to this spring. 

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ICYMI: Don't Miss These Beauties

ICYMI: Don't Miss These Beauties

By Kiley Turner

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on our attention spans, making it possible to miss really great fiction. These books caug …

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Book Cover Small Courage

Small Courage: Parenting Memoirs

By Jane Byers

A recommended reading list by Jane Byers, whose new queer parenting memoir is out now.

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The Chat with Kimiko Tobimatsu

The Chat with Kimiko Tobimatsu

By Trevor Corkum

Author Kimiko Tobimatsu and illustrator Keet Geniza have teamed up to create Kimiko Does Cancer, a timely graphic memoir …

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Book Cover Best Canadian Poetry 2020

A Record of Literary History: Best Canadian Poetry 2020

By Marilyn Dumont

An excerpt from Marilyn Dumont's introduction to BEST CANADIAN POETRY 2020.

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Book Cover Book of Donair

The Donair: Canada's Official Food?

By Lindsay Wickstrom

Excerpt from BOOK OF DONAIR explores how a bitter rivalry between Halifax and Edmonton helped propel the donair to be de …

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Book Cover My Ocean is Blue

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Questions, Questions

By Julie Booker

Great picture books that engage with questions and encourage readers to think about answers.

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Book Cover Gutter Child

Most Anticipated: Our 2021 Spring Fiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

Exciting debuts, and new releases by Christy Ann Conlin, Pasha Malla, Eva Stachniak, Jael Richardson, and more.

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Our Coast-to-Coast Guide to Word on the Street 2011

Word on the Street Logo

This Sunday September 25th, Canadians coast-to-coast will take to the street for The Word on the Street National Book & Magazine Festival. This year the festival, which began in Toronto in 1990, will take place in six Candian cities: Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener, Toronto and Halifax. With its tagline, "Celebrating Reading, Advocating Literacy," WOTS is a chance for Canadians to learn about and support local literacy causes, as well as connect with some of the people behind the best books and magazines this country has to offer.

In Vancouver the festival runs for three days (September 23-25). Not to be missed is Charlotte Gill, whose book Eating Dirt has just been shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for nonfiction. Also be sure to check out poet Aisha Sasha John, Wayde Compton (whose book After Canaan is up for the Vancouver Book Award), Jen Sookfong Lee, kids writer Vikki VanSikkle, Kevin Chong, short story writer Samuel Thomas Martin, Campie author Barbara Stewart, Governor General's Award-winning writer John Vaillant, awesome poet Sachiko Murakami, and Andrew Nikiforuk,whose most recent book is Empire of the Beetle.

Angie Abdou (whose novel The Bone Cage was a 2011 Canada Reads contender) reads at the Word on the Street in Leth …

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Launchpad: Lost Lagoon, Lost in Thought, by Betsy Warland

Launchpad Logo

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter, great insight, and short and snappy readings to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Lost Lagoon/ Lost in Thought, by Betsy Warland, which Shaena Lambert calls, "an extraordinary love spell cast by a master magician."

The Elevator Pitch for Lost Lagoon/lost in thought.

An up-close prose poetry account of The Human’s relationship between Stanley Park’s lagoon wildlife and Vancouver’s fast-paced urban living.

Describe your ideal reader.

Sinks into the soundscape of Tord Gustavsen’s The Other Side; savours reading Tanya Tagaq’s Split Toot …

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Launchpad: Legacy of Trees, by Nina Shoroplova

Today we're launching Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver's Stanley Park, by Nina Shoroplova, which Wayne Grady calls "a fascinating answer to why we should care about trees in the first place." 

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence:

Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver’s Stanley Park tells the stories of the trees of Stanley Park through the eyes of an amateur botanist and researcher who has much to learn and appreciate.

Describe your ideal reader.

A Vancouverite or a British Columbian who loves our world-class park and wants to learn more about it, especially how the stories of its trees also tell the story of Vancouver.

What books is your work in conversation with?

Gerald B. Straley’s Trees of Vancouver. Alison Parkinson’s Wilderness on the Doorstep. Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World.

What is something interesting you learned during the process of creating and publishing your book?

I set myself the mission of getting to know Stanley Park well enough to be able to confidently call to call it “my park.” To do this, I realized I would have to wander it purposefully, path by path, plaque by plaque, monument by monument, tree b …

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Eliza Robertson's Red Letter Day

eliza

redletter

Red Letter Day is the 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell me about a dream day where all pleasures are possible, thanks to a combination of extraordinary talent and mad cash.

Today that day is envisioned by Eliza Robertson, author of the upcoming short story collection, Wallflowers.

Here is the premise: It’s been a good year. Things are looking up. You’ve sold your book, some lucrative foreign rights, and won a few prizes. AND it’s your birthday. It’s time to treat yourself. For once, money is no object. It’s time to go live a little.

And so ...

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GM: You walk (or fly!) to your favourite bookstore (ER: Munro's in Victoria) and browse the shelves for three books you’ve been meaning to buy. What are they?

ER:

GM: Then you se …

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Shelf Talkers for the Dark Days of November

Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean November isn’t dark enough all on its own. Is there something inherently spooky about the autumn that lends itself to a celebration of the darker mysteries around us?

With the waning of the year, we’re surrounded by reminders of mortality, from the crunch of leaves underfoot to the snap of cold in the air in the morning to the faint whispers of smoke in the distance. And along with those reminders, the early evenings and the lengthening shadows hint at secrets beyond the darkness, beyond the divide between life and death ... Though perhaps that’s just me.

Or not.

The daring independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers column have taken a peek into the darkness and come up with a great selection of titles for November, some fiction and a couple of local, true-to-life collections that will chill you to the bone and give you the perfect excuse to lock the door and pretend you’re not home. You’re not hiding, you’re reading.

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The Bookseller: Colin Holt, Bolen Books (Victoria, BC)

The Pick: The Haunting of Vancouver Island, by Shanon Sinn

It is the perfect time of year to brush up on your scary stories, and Shanon Sinn is here, with a compelling investigation into supernatural events and local lore on Vancouver Isla …

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