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 >

Our Coast-to-Coast Guide to Word on the Street 2011

Word on the Street Logo

This Sunday September 25th, Canadians coast-to-coast will take to the street for The Word on the Street National Book & Magazine Festival. This year the festival, which began in Toronto in 1990, will take place in six Candian cities: Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener, Toronto and Halifax. With its tagline, "Celebrating Reading, Advocating Literacy," WOTS is a chance for Canadians to learn about and support local literacy causes, as well as connect with some of the people behind the best books and magazines this country has to offer.

In Vancouver the festival runs for three days (September 23-25). Not to be missed is Charlotte Gill, whose book Eating Dirt has just been shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for nonfiction. Also be sure to check out poet Aisha Sasha John, Wayde Compton (whose book After Canaan is up for the Vancouver Book Award), Jen Sookfong Lee, kids writer Vikki VanSikkle, Kevin Chong, short story writer Samuel Thomas Martin, Campie author Barbara Stewart, Governor General's Award-winning writer John Vaillant, awesome poet Sachiko Murakami, and Andrew Nikiforuk,whose most recent book is Empire of the Beetle.

Angie Abdou (whose novel The Bone Cage was a 2011 Canada Reads contender) reads at the Word on the Street in Leth …

Continue reading >

The Donair: Canada's Official Food?

In Book of Donair: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Halifax Street Food that Became Canada's Favourite Kebab, Lindsay Wickstrom explores the history of the donair, and the people who shaped this Halifax-born kebab into the iconic Canadian street food it has become. In this excerpt, she shares how a bitter rivalry between Halifax and Edmonton helped propel the donair to be declared the official food of Halifax.

Bonus: want to win a copy of Book of Donair? We've got it up for giveaway this week.

*****

“Edmonton is the true donair champion, the true mecca of donairs,” Omar Mouallem said, boldly concluding his presentation at Edmonton’s PechaKucha Night 2014. A PechaKucha is a storytelling art, originating in Japan, where 20 slides are presented with 20 seconds of commentary each. It’s an efficient, creative and personal way for people to share their work with the community.

Omar’s work was journalism. He went on to write an in-depth piece for the Walrus about the history of the donair in Alberta. That year he also wrote donair articles for Maclean’s and Swerve Magazine. In 2017, he wrote a piece for Canadian Geographic’s Canada 150 special issue, which officially made the donair one of CanGeo’s “150 icons of Canada.” A local paper had deemed …

Continue reading >

Stephanie Domet's Red Letter Day

redletter

Red Letter Day is a new 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell me about a dream day where all pleasures are possible, thanks to a combination of extraordinary talent and mad cash.

Today that day is envisioned by Stephanie Domet, author, most recently, of Fallsy Downsies (Invisible Publishing), her second novel.

Here is the premise: It’s been a good year. Things are looking up. You’ve sold your book, some lucrative foreign rights, and won a few prizes. AND it’s your birthday. It’s time to treat yourself. For once, money is no object. It’s time to go live a little.

And so ...

*****

GM: You walk (or fly!) to your favourite bookstore (SD: Type in Toronto) and browse the shelves for three books you’ve been meaning to buy (SD: only three?!?). What are they? 

SD:

Continue reading >

6 New Canadian books about the Titanic

While images of Leonardo di Caprio decorating its bow have at times threatened to overwhelm the story of the Titanic, that unsinkable ship that sank remains an object of fascination. In the century since the disaster, its story has been told countless times in books and films and even campfire songs, and now we can add to that a whole slew of new Canadian books that have just been published to mark the Titanic’s centenary this week.

 

Impact: The Titanic Poems by Billeh Nickerson: Perhaps poetry is what the Titanic required for the legend to be rid of its cinematic grandiosity. Nickerson has written his poems with an eye for detail, the ship itself already a ghost from the book’s start to its finish, but every single one of its rivets (and the men who built them) are rendered in remarkable specificity. So too are the passengers, crew and other details Nickerson brings back to life—the piano player who could only watch as his band played on, the woman whose last sign of her husband is the bruise he left on her arm as he pushed her into the lifeboat without him, somebody’s lucky penny drifting in the sea. Read an excerpt here.

Continue reading >

Genevieve Graham on Quintessentially Canadian: From Oddball to Awesome

Book Cover Tides of Honour

Set against World War One and the the Halifax Explosion, Genevieve Graham's new novel, Tides of Honoura story of love, loss, and honour, is quintessentially Canadian. But what does that mean, exactly? Well according to research by Graham herself, it means everything. Quintessentially Canadian is huge and splendiferous, from oddball to awesome, and Graham celebrates its variousness in the books list below. 

*****

I never used to think about where authors lived, what country they represented. Unless an author was writing something specifically themed to a country, then I couldn't see how citizenship might affect the writing. Writing, to my way of thinking, represented the thoughts of the writer, no more than that.

Then I started up my editing business and noticed a definite trend. I have edited for dozens of authors around the world, and while excellent writing (and poor writing, for that matter) can be found anywhere, I generally find something special in my compatriots' work. Something unique and distinctly Canadian.

So who, from this vast, eclectic country do I enjoy reading? Well, like almost everyone else studying English in high school, I read Laurence, Atwood, and Ondaatje, but nowadays my taste tends to run to historical fiction. 

Continue reading >

The Randomizer

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