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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Iona Whishaw: Out of Place

Book Cover A Sorrowful Sanctuary

A Sorrowful Sanctuary, the fifth book in Iona Whishaw's Lane Winslow Mystery Series, is finally here! Whishaw is currently touring the country with dates in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Hamilton from October 10 to 14. In the meantime, enjoy her recommended reading list of books in which characters—like her own Lane Winslow—find their stories in being out of place. 

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I’m fascinated by the misplaced, and I’m drawn to the stories of people who must act in places that are unfamiliar, especially when these people are affected, knowingly or unknowingly, by the influence of the past. As I selected the following books, I realized that they reflect the displacement I felt growing up in four distinct cultures and moving from place to place. My own books mirror the life of someone who has moved several times, someone who has not quite succeeded in putting down roots—mainly from a lack of practice. The trauma of war bifurcates the lives of many into branches of what existed before and what remains after; so too can the past feel like an alternate plane of existence, leaving survivors feeling fragmented as they are grafted into the circumstances of their new lives. Many of my characters have come from various sorts of wars, both personal and geopoli …

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