Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Memoir Conversations and Craft

Dazzling Memoirs

By Marjorie Simmins

Marjorie Simmins, author of MEMOIR: CONVERSATIONS AND CRAFTS, recommends her dream lineup of memoirs.

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For Fans of Grisham, Munro, Wolitzer, Shriver, and More

For Fans of Grisham, Munro, Wolitzer, Shriver, and More

By Kiley Turner

Isn't it great when you find a new author or series that fits your reading taste to a tee? Here are a few new books that …

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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. 

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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 …

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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Today we're launching Marianne Boucher's graphic memoir Talking to Strangers, about her experiences as a teenage girl who was lured into a cult and later fought to escape and reclaim her identity.


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

My memoir, Talking to Strangers, takes place in California when I was 18. I had travelled there to audition for the Ice Capades, but instead I was lured into a scary religious cult.

Describe your ideal reader.

Someone who has been flung off the planet by a traumatic experience and is curious about how I found my way back from the same. People concerned about brainwashing or mind control and how disinformation undermines the truth and the rights of others. And those with an interest in mental health, psychology and the history of PTSD.

What authors/books is your work in conversation with?

David Small, Stitches; Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive; Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just; Dr. Margaret Singer, Cults in Our Midst.

What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?

I thought it was going to be difficult to draw myself, but it was actually very satisfying to relive this event visually, and I developed a huge crush on my 1 …

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New Lit Wish List: All the Art Books

To start off this week's Lit Wish List, we asked Jeannette Montgomery from M Gallery|Book in Penticton BC to recommend 5 great books with images as their focus. But of course, her selections are only just the beginning. Please add your own suggestions in the comments below.

Wind River Variations by Brian Brett, Illustrated Poetry, and Photography by Fritz Mueller

The collaboration between Brett and Mueller, in this book, is based on a decade-long friendship and their exploration together of the Wind River. Prose and images combine to tell a story greater than their individual parts.





Jacques Hurtubise, edited by Sarah Fillmore

Through his five-decade career, Jacques Hurtubise has been an artist redefining for Canadians that which is continually evolving: the definition of Canadian art. The book is bilingual, making it an interesting storytelling (or storyreading) experience; the same thing can rarely be said in two languages.

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The Randomizer

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