Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Hope Matters

Hope Matters: Turning Toward Solutions and Away From Doom

By Elin Kelsey

The tired old narrative of doom and gloom can no longer capture the changing global dynamics of life on planet Earth. Th …

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Book Cover Instructor

9 Canadian Writers Who Run with the Night

By Beth Follett

A recommended reading list by the founder and publisher of Pedlar Press, whose new novel is Instructor.

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Book Cover Trip of the Dead

Apocalypses, Quests, and Survival

By Angela Misri

A great list of books for middle-grade readers by author of new novel Trip of the Dead.

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The Chat with Eva Crocker

The Chat with Eva Crocker

By Trevor Corkum

This week we’re in conversation with author Eva Crocker. Her debut novel, All I Ask, (House of Anansi Press) was publi …

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Book Cover A Town Called Solace

Mary Lawson: A Sense of Place

By Mary Lawson

"I don’t know if it’s a Canadian thing, or if people the world over are similarly drawn to the landscape they know w …

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Book Cover: Elvis Me and the Lemonade Summer

Most Anticipated: Our Books for Young Readers Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

Looking forward to some of the books for young readers (and readers of all ages) that we're going to be falling in love …

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I Read Canadian Day is back!

I Read Canadian Day is back!

By Geoffrey Ruggero

It’s back! After a very successful first year where authors, students, educators, librarians, parents and many other C …

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Book Cover The Adventures of Miss Petitfour

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Scrumptious Stories

By Julie Booker

DELICIOUS books about food and eating.

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Book Cover Firefly

The Kids: Are They Alright?

By Philippa Dowding

What is it like for a child who lives with a parent or who knows an adult struggling with a crisis of mental health, add …

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Where It All Happened: A List of Propulsive Settings

Where It All Happened: A List of Propulsive Settings

By Kiley Turner

Anyone who's read Emma Donoghue's The Pull of the Stars knows just how much the confines of that understaffed maternity …

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Most Anticipated: Our 2014 Fall Fiction Preview

We're having a hard time living in the moment right now, what with the Fall Fiction line-up as amazing as it is. There are books by big-names, exciting debuts, and so many books that are going to surprise, challenge and delight us. So many books to look forward to, and to help you figure out which ones should top your must-read list, we've rounded up the ones that sound fantastic. There is something here for every reader. And don't miss our non-fiction, poetry and kids' book previews, coming out over the course of this month. 


Book Cover Ellen in Pieces

Angie Abdou's avid fans are excited about her third novel, Between (September), about foreign nannies and the complexity of modern family life. The Corpse With the Platinum Hair (October) is Cathy Ace's latest Cait Morgan mystery, in which the foodie criminologist encounters murder in Las Vegas. Ellen in Pieces (August) announces the return of Caroline Adderson, following her 2010 acclaimed novel, The Sky is Falling. Stone Mattress is Margaret Atwood's first collection of short stories since 2006. And Sophrosyne (September) is the latest from Marianne Apostolides, a complicated mother/son story about desire and restraint in a digital age.

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2015 Fiction Preview

Book Cover The Heart Goes Last

Fall books are the only truly good thing about summer's end. This year, we can look forward to a fine selection of new fiction by award winners, anticipated titles by CanLit favourites, and some truly promising debuts. So it's time to make lists! Some of these titles are going to be the best books you read all year.


Cathy Ace's sleuth Cait Morgan is back in The Corpse With the Diamond Hand (October), in which a Hawaiian honeymoon cruise turns murderous (of course!). Grand Menteur (October), by Jean Marc Ah-Sen, explores the secret world of Mauritian street-gangs in a style that will appeal to readers of diasporic fiction, adventure, and travelogue writing, and "lock, stock and barrel" British crime fiction. The Book of Sands (September), by Karim Alrawi, is the inaugural winner of the Harpercollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction and a love story set against the upheaval of the Arab spring. And Margaret Atwood's first stand-alone novel in years is The Heart Goes Last (September); it imagines a future world (but one not so far away) in which citizens take turns as prisoners and jailers. 

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Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2016 Fiction Preview

Book Cover Tears in the Grass

"Really?" some sad cynic somewhere might be saying as he contemplates just how many books appear on our Most Anticipated lists. "How can anybody possibly be that excited about so many books?" To which we'd reply, "But have you met the people behind 49th Shelf? Have you met our community members, the most avid supporters of Canadian literature?" If you have, you'll know that CanLit enthusiasm, as ever, abounds, and we're so pleased to be part of the movement. So here are some  of the best books you're going to be reading this spring. 


In Cathy Ace's latest Cait Morgan book, The Corpse With the Garnet Face (April), the foodie sleuth accompanies her husband to Amsterdam to solve a mystery in his family tree. Tears in the Grass (March), by Lynda A. Archer, is set in Saskatchewan and it confronts a history of trauma, racism, love, and cultural survival. There's lots of buzz already for Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (February), by Mona Awad, which is a novel that hilariously skewers our body-obsessed culture. The latest by Todd Babiak is Son of France (March), the sequel to Come BarbariansThe Pharos Gate: Griffin and Sabine’s Missing Correspondence (March), by Nick Bantock, is the final volume in a love story that’s been celebrated by readers for 25 …

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Fiction Preview

The one sure thing about summer is that it's going to go by way too fast, so be sure to soak up every second of its goodness. Luckily, just around the corner lies the very best thing about post-summer since autumn leaves, which is FALL BOOKS. These are the fiction titles we're most looking forward to. 


The latest by Angie Abdou is In Case I Go (October), in which young Eli invokes the spirit, and the mistakes, of his great-great-grandfather. With In The Third Person (October), a series of uncanny and humorous short stories by Emily Anglin, what we do for a living is put under the microscope and characters learn they're more than just the jobs that define them. Philippe Arseneault’s award-winning Zora, A Cruel Tale (August), a gothic tale of the macabre and the bizarre, is translated into English by David Homel. The second book in Wayne Arthurson’s new mystery series is Dishonour in Camp 133 (September), continuing the story of German POWs at a camp in Alberta during WW2. And Giller-nominee Martha Baillie follows up the acclaimed The Search for Heinrich Schlegel with If Clara (August), a novel of broken bones, Syrian folktales, a bedridden writer, and plummets of all varieties.

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Most Anticipated: Spring 2020 Fiction Preview

 The fiction selection for the first half of 2020 is shaping up beautifully! Here's what we're excited about.


Part literary Western and part historical mystery, Ridgerunner (May) is the follow-up to Gil Adamson’s award-winning and critically acclaimed novel The Outlander. Jean Marc Ah-Sen’s second book, after Grand Menteur, is the story collection In the Beggarly Style of Imitation (April). Keepers of the Faith (April), by Shaukat Ajmeri, is a Romeo and Juliet story with a twist, set in modern India, in a Shia Muslim community that lives under the thumb of a clergy dictating every facet of their lives. Marianne Apostolides’ latest novel is I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind (April), a book that asks what it means to be human—to be physical creatures endowed with a conscious mind, aware of our finitude—and to love. And in Alone in the Wild (February), Kelley Armstrong’s latest thriller, the hidden town of Rockton is about to face a challenge none of them saw coming: a baby.

Set in the mid-1930s, Filthy Sugar (May), by Heather Babcock, te …

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