Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
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. 

read more >
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 …

read more >
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.

read more >
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 …

read more >
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.

read more >
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 …

read more >
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.

read more >
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.

read more >
Book Cover Better Luck Next Time

Patriarchy Lies: Women Are Funny

By Kate Hilton

A funny woman reading list by the author of new novel Better Luck Next Time.

read more >
 The Chat with Eve Lazarus

The Chat with Eve Lazarus

By Trevor Corkum

Eve Lazarus has drawn back the curtain on some of Vancouver’s secret places. Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City …

read more >

Patriarchy Lies: Women Are Funny

Book Cover Better Luck Next Time

Kate Hilton's latest novel is Better Luck Next Time, a story that puts the comedy in "divorce comedy" and of which Marissa Stapley writes, "Kate Hilton’s writing reminds me of Nora Ephron‘s work: it’s laugh-out-loud funny, with startling observations about life, love, family and reinvention at any age."

**Bonus: Better Luck Next Time is one of the fantastic titles we have up for giveaway RIGHT NOW.**

*

Patriarchy tells so many lies that it’s hardly a sport to single one of them out for special attention. Let me do it anyway: Women are funny. And when they set their minds to writing comedy—especially about the intricate web of relationships that we call a family—they do it very well. (Perhaps it is the feminist undercurrent in women’s comedy that the patriarchy finds unfunny? Just a thought.) Today we celebrate the women of Canadian humour writing, and their perfectly dysfunctional families.

*

Ayesha at Last, by Uzma Jalaluddin

Dysfunctional Family: Ayesha Shamsi is an aspiring poet and substitute teacher who lives with her widowed mother, he …

Continue reading >

Fierce: The Secret Life of Miss Freeman

Book Cover Fierce

Fierce: Women Who Shaped Canada, written by Lisa Dalrymple with illustrations by Willow Dawson, is a collection of fascinating biographical stories about ten women who've shaped the story of Canada. "Often relegated to the sidelines of history, the women highlighted in this book were performed feats that most people would never even dream of. You may not know their names now, but after reading their stories, you won’t soon forget them." This book is geared toward middle-grade readers, but readers of all ages will find much to discover in its pages. 

We're excited to share an excerpt from the story of Alice Freeman, the Toronto school teacher who led a double life...

*****

Alice Freeman

February 1888 Toronto, Ontario

Though the students at Ryerson School loved Miss Freeman, none of them knew her secret. At the end of the day, when they went home to their chores and their beds, she became Faith Fenton, investigative reporter for the Empire newspaper in Toronto, Ontario. She spent her nights doing things that surely no teacher would do—like interviewing famous actresses or visiting jails and homeless shelters, before walking home alone down dark city streets in the early hours of the morning. By the time her students arrived back at school, Miss Freeman was standing …

Continue reading >

Reading to Smash the Patriarchy

At 49th Shelf, we always make a thing of International Woman's Day—previous posts for the occasion include Everyday Is Malala Day, Read the 30 Women Who Ruled Canadian History, Angela Sterritt on The Legacy of Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada, and Sally Armstrong on The Ascent of Women. But this year more than ever before, a day to challenge the system and raise up women feels incredibly necessary—and like not nearly enough. 

And so to that end, we've enlisted Erin Wunker, author of Notes From a Feminist Killjoy, to recommend some essential reading for patriarchy smashing, works of poetry that are challenging in all senses of the word.  

*****

As my friend Tanis MacDonald has written, every time I talk about Canadian poetry I feel I am doing something radical. This is even more true when I talk about poetry written by women and women-identifying people writing in the context of Canada. The titles I’ve chosen are challenging. Indeed, they are challenging insofar as they shake at the structures of what is in service of what might be. They are, to me, hopeful without turning away from inequity and pain. They are radical in their enactments of gender politics and poetics. They are working to make us better readers, these books. They breathe life into my …

Continue reading >

The Randomizer

Load New Book >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...