Off the Page

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

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Book Cover knot body

Launchpad: knot body, by Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch

By Kerry Clare

"Readers may sit and ruminate on the sharp and sensual inquiry offered by each individual letter, or read cover-to-cover …

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book cover footlights

2020 Poetry Delights

By Pearl Pirie

A list by the author of new collection footlights. These books turn and explore, question and listen.

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The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

By Trevor Corkum

Zsuzsi Gartner’s debut novel, The Beguiling (Hamish Hamilton), is a stunner. It was a finalist for this year’s Write …

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Book Cover Loss Lake

Launchpad: LOSS LAKE, by Amber Cowie

By Kerry Clare

"Sentence by gorgeous sentence, Cowie reveals an intricately woven, powerful plot, unveiling the depths of the character …

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Hope Matters

25 Reasons to be Hopeful

By Kerry Clare

The following books are infused with hope—that what we do and who we are really matters, that second chances are possi …

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Book Cover Spend It

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Money Money Money

By Julie Booker

Financial literacy is part of the new math curriculum for grades 4-6. But why not start even sooner, as young as kinderg …

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Book Cover You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked.

Launchpad: YOU ARE EATING AN ORANGE. YOU ARE NAKED. by Sheung-King

By Kerry Clare

"This novel ...gives the cold shoulder to the dominant gaze and its demands to control the Asian body, carving out a thr …

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Book Cover The Way Home

Books for University Press Week

By Clare Hitchens

“Raise UP” is a particularly apt theme in a time when information moves at faster speeds than ever before across a m …

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Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

By Robert J. Wiersema

To mark the passing of the year, we’ve gathered the independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers fellowship – the st …

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Book Cover Four Umbrellas

Launchpad: FOUR UMBRELLAS, by June Hutton and Tony Wanless

By Kerry Clare

"Our goal from the outset was to write a book in which the person with Alzheimer’s has a place on the page, too."

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Feel the Love Valentine's Day Contest

Valentines Book

Photo Credit: Eric M. Martin

Whether or not you’ve found your one true love, you’ve read enough to know what it should feel like—and it ain’t all pretty. For Valentine’s Day, help us create a list of Canadian books with powerful love stories in them. The love can end well, it can end tragically, but it must have made your heart beat harder or broken it at least a little.

We've started off the Feel the Love list, so add your book(s) by:

By adding a book to our list in any of these three ways, you get entered automatically into our contest to win a $150 gift certificate for books at the bookstore of your choice. You can also enter by sharing the list on Twitter or by sharing one of our FB posts about the contest (for both options add #cdnbooklove).

Contest ends at midnight on February 14, 2013. We will announce the winner February 15!

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Donna Milner: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Somewhere In Between

We're pleased to feature new list of unlikely love stories compiled by Donna Milner, author of After River and the new novel, Somewhere In-Between.

About Somewhere In-Between

Following tragic events from which Juliee O'Dale believes she will never recover, she buys into her husband Ian's dream to give up their comfortable city lives and retreat to the isolated Chilcotin area of British Columbia. Only after purchasing the remote six hundred-acre cattle ranch do they realize that they have inherited the reclusive tenant who occupies and old trapper's cabin on the property. As both Juliee and Ian wrestle with their individual guilt over their deteriorating marriage and their sorrow, they also have to contend with the wilderness at their doorstep and the mysterious tenant, Virgil Blue.

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On first look, neither these books nor my own new book are love stories. It appears that the more common theme here is loss, personal and family tragedy, broken relationships, heartache and heartbreak, rather than romance. War often raises its ugly head.

But on second look, hidden beneath all the sorrows, hardships and conflict, there is also the truth that there is no life without heartache, no romance without heartbreak. At the core of all these novels is the resilience of the hum …

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Lesley Buxton: "Are You Still Married?"

Book Cover Love Me True

Love is hearts and roses, but life is complicated, and to share a life with someone else requires a bond and commitment far stronger than any verse ever penned on a Valentine. In the new anthology Love Me True, edited by Fiona Tinwei Lam and Jane Silcott, 27 creative nonfiction writers and 16 poets explore how marriage and committed relationships have challenged, shaped, supported and changed them, delving deep into the mysteries of long-term bonds. 

Lesley Buxton's essay from the collection, "Are You Still Married?" is devastating, sad, glorious and beautiful, and we're so glad to be able to share it with you. 

Please note that Love Me True is on our giveaways page until February 18.

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“Are you still married?” the customer asks.

I look up from her bill and glance towards my section on the patio, hoping to find an excuse to leave. Nobody needs me. I’m stuck.

This customer and I share an unwanted and one-sided intimacy. For the last months of my sixteen-year-old daughter India’s life, this customer was our social worker. Her job was to navigate us through the medical system. She was neither exceptionally good at her job nor bad. This is the first time I’ve seen her since my daughter died ten months ago and I can’t remember her name.

Finally I say, “Yes, …

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Launchpad: Keepers of the Faith, by Shaukat Ajmeri

Launchpad Logo

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter, great insight, and short and snappy readings to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Keepers of the Faith, by Shaukat Ajmeri, which Farzana Doctor calls, "complex, beautiful, and essential reading for our times."

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

It’s a story of two young lovers caught in their community’s religious strife, are forced to separate and meet again years later to face soul-destroying moral dilemma.

Describe your ideal reader.

Loves a good tale written well, reads widely and diversely and has a healt …

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