Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Cedar and Salt

3 Great Recipes from the 2020 Taste Canada Awards Shortlist

By Kerry Clare

Foodies, take note! Great recipes from celebrated cookbooks.

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Book Cover On Nostalgia

Launchpad: On Nostalgia, by David Berry

By Kerry Clare

"Berry’s subject is a wide-ranging one, but he pulls off the impressive feat of covering plenty of ground in a concise …

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Literatures, Communities and Learnings

Literatures, Communities, and Learning

By Kerry Clare

9 conversations with Indigenous writers about the relationship between Indigenous literatures and learning, and how thei …

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The Chat with Faye Guenther

The Chat with Faye Guenther

By Trevor Corkum

Swimmers in Winter (Invisible Publishing) is Faye Guenther’s debut collection of short fiction. These six stories expl …

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Book Cover Little Secrets

Summer Reading Starts Here

By Kerry Clare

Summer is not cancelled, and summer reading isn't either. We've got thrillers, epics, drama, historical fiction, and so …

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Cover Summer Feet

Picture Book Sneak Peek: Summer Feet, by Sheree Fitch and Carolyn Fisher

By Kerry Clare

Summer starts HERE with this glorious celebration of childhood...and filthy feet.

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Book Cover Mr. Frank

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Texts on Textiles

By Julie Booker

Exploring the art of sewing? Here are some tales to comfort and inspire.

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COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Pondering the “What If” with Shari Green & Caroline Pignat

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Pondering the “What If” with Shari Green & Caroline Pignat

By Erika MacNeil

During this time of self-isolation and social distancing, books can sometimes be our only companions as the days stretch …

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Book Cover Good Mothers Don't

Launchpad: Good Mothers Don't, by Laura Best

By Kerry Clare

"An unlikely page turner replete with hushed surprises, unexpected crescendos, endless love and boundless vitality."

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Book Cover #NotYourPrincess

Exploring Indigenous History

By Kerry Clare

June is Indigenous History Month, a great opportunity to celebrate some of our favourite books over the years, along wit …

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Fictitious Can-Lit: The Books that Never Were

We love books so much that we positively worship at the altar of books within books. And so today we're featuring nine fictitious books from Canadian literature. How many of these do you recognize? (Books of origin are revealed below.)

Book Cover GroundWork

1) Groundwork by Jakob Beer: This was the first poetry collection by Beer, and it deals with memory (of the Holocaust in particular) in terms of themes of archeology and excavation, with secrets and mysteries buried deep undeground. Beer was killed in Athens in 1993.

Book Cover Blind Assassin

2) The Blind Assassin by Laura Chase: Inspired by real life events, Chase's book is a novel within a novel, a science fiction story set on the planet Zycron told by a radical socialist to the lover with which he is having an illicit affair. The novel was published not long after Chase's death in 1947, when she drove her car off a bridge into Toronto's St. Clair Ravine.

Book Cover Turrets of Tantripp

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Rebecca Rosenblum: Good Books for Hard Times

Rebecca Rosenbaum's debut novel, So Much Love, is a stunner, and it's recently been nominated for the 2017 Amazon First Novel Award. And while it's a heavy book, in her list with us Rosenblum shares the books that helped her along the way by providing a little levity. These are, as she tells us, good books for hard times.  

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I wrote a very serious, very dark book and it took six years. I read a lot of different things for different reasons during that long challenging period of writing—for research, for inspiration, for reminders of what I was striving for—but I read a lot for fun. These are some of the books in that last category. These are all fiction—my preferred reading matter—and though not all were originally intended for grownups, all can be enjoyed by us. These are all good books—the word funny isn’t a pejorative in my world—but those that take on serious issue do so with a lighter hand and some skip right over the serious issues and go straight for the silly. Apply as needed.

Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Mongomery

I’ve …

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Your 2019 Guide to Summer Literary Festivals

It has finally arrived, and you KNOW what we're talking about. SUMMER! Six perfect letters when laid out like that.

It's time to lay blankets on the grass or to haul out camp chairs and to sit under tents to listen to readings and panels and celebrations of books. It's Literary Festival Season, and good things are happening across the country. 

Read on to discover what literary festivals are happening near you.

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The Wordplay Festival is back July 3 in River John, NS, at Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe & Dreamery, featuring Jessica Scott Kerrin, Arthur Slade, singer-songwriter Anna Plaskett. It's all hosted by amazing emcee Sheree Fitch. 

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Festival fun continues on July 6 in River John, NS: Read By the Sea 2019 includes authors Elizabeth Hay, Kevin Major, Mayann Francis, Allan Cooper, and Colin Campbell. 

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The Elephant Mountain Literary Festiva …

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Picture Book Sneak Peek: Summer Feet, by Sheree Fitch and Carolyn Fisher

Summer officially starts HERE with this glorious celebration of childhood...and filthy feet. We're so excited to feature two spreads from this beautiful book.

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About Summer Feet, by Sheree Fitch and Carolyn Fisher:

Hello toes, our tootsie friends
 Hello, summer feet again!

Canada's Dr. Seuss, Sheree Fitch, is back with a brand-new tongue-twisting picture book that celebrates all things summer. From those first barefoot days, wobble-dy walking over rocks and pebbles, to wandering-wild while searching for sea glass and, finally, huddled-up cozy at a late-summer bonfire, these summer feet flutter kick, somersault, hide-and-seek, and dance in the rain, soaking up all the season has to offer.

With Fitch's classic lip-slippery, lyrical rhymes and Carolyn Fisher's bright and colourful illustrations, Summer Feet will be an instant summertime favourite.

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Spread from Summer Feet, by Sheree Fitch and Carolyn Fisher

 

 

 

Spread from Summer Feet, by Sheree Fitch and Carolyn Fisher

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16 Seriously Funny Poets

Poetry just isn't that funny.

This is the kind of outlandish and generalized subjective-disguised-as-objective statement critics make about poetry all the time, donning their authority as one might don a hat. Critics do the same thing with humour—as though funny can be definitive, as though it wasn't kind of weird that one guy gets to be the definer.

So now I'm going to do that too, and pretend the following list is scientific and totally not subjective and not at all compromised by the list being limited to books I happen to have on my bookshelf. I'm going to put on the hat and OWN my authority: Behold, sixteen seriously funny poets.

Thanks to Dina Del Bucchia for the inspiration. And in the spirit of conversation (and expanding the limits of science) please tweet us YOUR favourite funny Canadian poems and poets @49thShelf

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Fake Paul, by Kimmy Beach

What's so funny:

...now he asks if anyone is called Michelle

I could fucking be Michelle

a frumpy woman with grease

in her hair calls, I'm Michelle!

 

she's not even looking at him

she's talking to her friends while he sings

                       to her!

he doesn't even look at me the whole song

I'll tell him I broke the wineglass accidentally 

cut myself a bit but I'm all right

leave my blood on the table

 

I can see the vei …

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