Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover the Queer Evangelist

On Telling the Truth in Politics

By Cheri Divnovo

An excerpt from new memoir The Queer Evangelist, Cheri DiNovo's story of her life as a queer minister, politician and st …

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 The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winners The Fan Brothers

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winners The Fan Brothers

By Trevor Corkum

We continue our special coverage of this year’s Governor General's Literature Award winners in conversation with the a …

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Book Cover Oy Feh So

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Jewish Heritage

By Julie Booker

Compelling stories showcasing Jewish Heritage to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

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The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Madhur Anand

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Madhur Anand

By Trevor Corkum

Check out our conversation with Madhur Anand, whose brilliant experimental memoir This Red Line Goes Straight to Your He …

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Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)

Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)

By Erika Thorkelson

Erika Thorkelson's "Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)" is one of the essays in Midlife, a new essay collection explo …

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The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Michelle Good

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Michelle Good

By Trevor Corkum

Today we are pleased to kick off our special coverage of the 2020 Governor General's Award winners (English-language) wi …

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Book Cover Cattail Skyline

The World Up Close

By Joanne Epp

A recommended reading list by author of new book CATTAIL SKYLINE on paying close attention to the small and particular.

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Book Cover What's In It For Me

The Keepers on My Bookshelf

By LS Stone

Depth and humour are themes in this great recommended reading list by the author of the new middle grade novel What's in …

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Book Cover the Girl from Dream City

How Does a Woman Become a Writer?

By Linda Leith

"The writers who interest me most, always, are women who write about themselves in ways that a male writer never could." …

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Book Cover Big Reader

11 Essay Collections to Revisit Now

By Susan Olding

"The bestselling novel of a decade ago will sometimes seem stale or irrelevant today, but that’s rarely true of an ess …

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Food and Farming Books (by Margaret Webb)

Book Cover Apples to Oysters

In 2008, I wrote a book about Canadian food and farming called Apples to Oysters: A Food Lover’s Tour of Canadian Farms. It captures the craziest, most delicious journey of my life – exploring Canada’s food regions by visiting farms, working alongside farmers and eating at their tables. That adventure, along with my favourite Canadian books on food and farming listed below, made me realize that saving our local food systems may well be the most important thing we do for future generations.

Anita Stewart’s Canada by Anita Stewart: I first discovered Anita Stewart’s work in a remainder bin. That book -- The Ontario Harvest Cookbook, which she co-authored with Julia Aitken in 1995 – changed my life in a couple of ways. Stewart wrote about local food well before The 100 Mile Diet became a book and locavore a word, and she was talking about recipes and farmers from my farm roots in Ontario. I fell in love with making soup from a squash soup recipe in that book, and the vignettes about Ontario’s food regions that accompanied the recipes struck …

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Launchpad: Mad Cow, by Alexis Kienlen

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 Alexis Kienlen's debut novel Mad Cow, the perfect literary fiction debut for a published poet who spends her days working as an agricultural journalist.

*****

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

Mad Cow is a novel about how bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, devastates and nearly destroys a beef ranching family living in rural Alberta in the early 2000s.

Describe your ideal reader.

People who want to le …

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Summer Eats: Kohlrabi Slaw, from COUNTY HEIRLOOMS

Book Cover County Heirlooms

Get away without leaving your house with gorgeous new cookbook County Heirlooms: Recipes and Reflections from Prince Edward County, by Natalie Wollenberg and Leigh Nash, drawing on the amazing flavours of Prince Edward County to celebrity the culinary spirit of the place. 

This recipe for kohlrabi slaw (it's seriously delicious: my kids ate it!) comes from Ed and Sandi Taylor of Honey Wagon Farms, which grows regular & specialty vegetables without the use of herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides.

One of the most interesting things about County Heirlooms is that it's more than just recipes, and tells the stories of the chefs and farmers who've contributed them—scroll down to learn more about Ed and Sandi Taylor, and how and why they do the work they do.

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Salad

1 large kohlrabi, peeled, stems trimmed off, grated

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

1⁄2 red onion, sliced
4 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)

1⁄4 cup golden raisins or dried sweetened cranberries (optional)

Dressing

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, unfiltered

1 tbsp maple syrup
(adjust quantity to desired taste)

1 tsp salt

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Launchpad: REVERY, by Jenna Butler

Launchpad Logo

Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.
LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

Today, Ariel Gordon is championing Revery, by Jenna Butler. Gordon writes, "Books are built on the backs and shoulders of other books. I wouldn’t have written my book Treed: Walking in Canada’s Urban Forests, if I hadn’t read Jenna Butler’s A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail back in 2015. Back then, I loved Jenna’s stories about building an off-grid farm an hour and a half north of Edmonton. But I needed to read about Jenna’s commitment to her land in an era when the effects of climate change were beginning to make themselves felt in Alberta, where she is, and in Manitoba, where I am.

Five years later, Jenna and her husband Thomas are still on the land, but everything has changed. They’ve moved the farm to higher ground after five years of flooding and are having to re-build their market gardens from scratch, both in terms of plants and the soil bene …

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