Off the Page

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

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The Chat with Steven Heighton

The Chat with Steven Heighton

By Trevor Corkum

This week, we’re in conversation with author Steven Heighton. His memoir, Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and …

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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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In Conversation With: Nutritionist @JulieDaniluk (Meals That Heal Inflammation) talks cravings and the path to healing. (cc: @RandomHouseCA)

Julie Daniluk, author of Meals That Heal Inflammation.

Julie Daniluk, host of Healthy Gourmet.

Walk with me, barefoot in the snow, back to the summer of 2006 where a group of post grad book publishing students have just presented their final project, a hypothetical publishing house. I was one such student and presented a hypothetical title written by a young nutritionist I knew from The Big Carrot in Toronto. Flash forward, and Julie Daniluk—having since added TV Host to her many gigs—has indeed written her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation: Embrace Healthy Living and Eliminate Pain, One Meal at a Time (Random House).

What better way to catch up with Julie than to ask her a few questions for Canadian Bookshelf?

In particular, we focus on the often complicated and conflicted emotions that accompany a shift in diet, how to counteract the fear and shame of giving our bodies what they need to heal, and how to start that conversation with our loved ones.

Julie Wilson: I'd like to theme the questions, if possible, around the emotional legwork one needs to do to get to healthful place of self-worth, to make a choice that is best for their own mind and body and not the needs of their friends and family. My guess is that there's a lot of shame and fear associated with maintaining a healthy diet, possibly akin to …

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Megan Ogilvie Dishes on the Hidden Horrors in Fast Food and How to Combat Them

Menu Confidential, by Megan Ogilvie (HarperCollins). (Photo credit: Christopher Campbell.)

Menu Confidential, by Megan Ogilvie, is a book for every Canadian who dines out. One-quarter of Canadians, 8.5 million people, dine out once or twice a week, and almost one million Canadians say they eat at a restaurant every day. While cravings for a greasy burger will sometimes overtake you, the biggest hurdle to making smart choices is a lack of information. Menu Confidential is not a traditional weight-loss book, but a guide to navigating the dining scene.

Julie Wilson: In Menu Confidential, you describe the ideal plate portions as: one-quarter protein, one-quarter grains, and the remainder with fruits and vegetables.

When constructing this book, what portion did you allocate to each of the following: education, shock value, proaction, and self-compassion?

Megan Ogilvie: What a great question! You know, I never overtly set out to divvy up those things. But I did think about each while researching and writing.

Let me try to serve up an answer for you.

I’d say education takes up at least half of the plate. I believe the more you know about anything, the better choices you will make. And that’s what the book is about: helping people become smart diners.

Proaction—or how about empowerment?—would take up one-quarter of the plate. Because once you are armed with …

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Inspire Me Well Offers Tales of Motivation Toward Better Health

Inspire Me Well, by Lisa Belanger and Sarah O'Hara (Insomniac Press, 2012).

Inspire Me Well: Finding Motivation to Take Control of Your Health (Insomniac Press, 2012), by Lisa Belanger, MSc, CEP and Sarah O'Hara, RD, showcases the tales of everyday people who made extraordinary changes to their health and well-being. While making a commitment to run 250 marathons in one year to benefit a beloved charity might seem daunting to the average person, it was an average person who made such a commitment, and you'll meet him, and others, in the pages of Inspire Me Well.

At the turn of each new year, we're surrounded by claims of how to be a better you, how to drop pounds fast and be bikini-ready by March Break. Inspire Me Well boasts a host of tips toward a healthier lifestyle, but at its core is a message of social support and how life-changing experiences are often the precursor to life-changing habits and lives well-lived.

Belanger and O'Hara chat with 49th Shelf about their approach to wellness, how making changes to just one area of your life will automatically (and positively) impact three others (together known as The Big Four), and they offer some tips for how to combat daily stress. You'll also meet Judy, whose story appears in Inspire Me Well, reposted here in excerpt.

Julie Wilson: There are a lot of books in the marketplace that offer a …

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Crime Fiction Virtual Round-Table

Book Cover A Language of Secrets

What happens when you gather eight of Canada's most exciting authors of crime and detective fiction to take the pulse of Canadian crime fiction today? Among the discussion topics: Is CanCrime a genre and how do we define it? What writers served as literary inspirations? How is one affected by writing about violence and brutality? And so much more, including the authors' answers to the essential question: What books are you excited about right now? Our participants' enthusiasm for books and literature is palpable and will no doubt spread like, well, a crime wave. 

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49th Shelf: In 2014, we talked to critic Sarah Weinman about the possibility of “CanCrime,”—the notion that Canadian crime fiction might be a genre unto itself. Sarah had theories on the subject, but she hadn’t developed them entirely. What are your thoughts?

Hilary Davidson: That’s such a tough thing to quantify, and my answer is going to be based on—and biased by!—the authors I’ve read (there are many I haven’t read yet). But to me, CanCrime explores grey areas. It’s not about easily identifiable villains and heroes; there’s more shading and nuance. There’s a lot of thought given to the psychological life of all the characters. I know Sarah mentioned empathy, and I think that …

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The Recommend: Summer 2018

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 Ian Hamilton (The Imam of Tawi-Wawi), Sam Wiebe (Cut You Down), Dave Butler (Full Curl), Mark Lisac (Where the Bodies Lie), and Dietrich Kalteis (Ride the Lightning).

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Ian Hamilton recommends Paul William Roberts' The Demonic Comedy

I'm a huge fan of the travel/memoir genre. To my mind, writers like Bruce Chatwin, Eric Newby, Pico Iyer, and Norman Lewis who can weave history, personal stories, geography, politics, culture, and social mores into wonderfully complex stories are to be treasured. All of those writers have British roots, and so does another of their ilk: Paul William Roberts. But since Roberts has lived almost his entire adult life in Canada, and identifies himself as Canadian, I have no trouble claiming him as one, and I have no trouble choosing his book The Demonic Comedy as one of the best Canadian books I've ever read.

Roberts—who has a doctorate in ancient Middle Eastern history—writes about Iraq pre …

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