Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Salma the Syrian Chef

Notes from a Children’s Librarian: Satisfying Endings

By Julie Booker

How do you create a sense of satisfaction in a story’s finale? The following books pull it off!

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49thShelf Summer Reads

Introducing the 49th Shelf Summer Books List: Part 2

By Kerry Clare

Our summer reads extravaganza continues with PART 2 of our Summer Books List, and once again, each and every title is up …

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Inclusive Learning, Diverse Books: Introducing Top Grade 2021

Inclusive Learning, Diverse Books: Introducing Top Grade 2021

By Spencer Miller

Welcome to the Association for Canadian publisher’s Top Grade: CanLit for the Classroom, a blog and preview video seri …

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Book Cover bread and water

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2021 Nonfiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

New books about everything, including food, beauty, art, travel, singing, healing, grieving, shopping, aging, and so muc …

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Book Cover Unlocking

CanLit Yearning

By Amy LeBlanc

"At the heart of my novella and in each book on this CanLit list is a sense of desire or a yearning (for belonging, iden …

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The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

By Trevor Corkum

This week we’re in conversation with political trailblazer Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, whose memoir, The Queer Evangelist, …

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Book Cover The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour

Most Anticipated: Our 2021 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

With new books by Miriam Toews, Dawn Dumont, Douglas Coupland, Marie-Renee Lavoie, Omar El Akkad, Zoe Whittall, Trudy Mo …

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Book Cover The Quiet is Loud

Speculative Fiction: Vast and Thrilling

By Samantha Garner

"As a reader and a lightly superstitious human, I can’t deny the pull of the unusual, the not-quite-real. I love books …

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Book Cover Travels in Cuba

Writing with Four Hands

By Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel

"That’s what the Travels series is all about: sending a resourceful, observant, unafraid (well, sometimes a little afr …

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The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Anne Carson

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Anne Carson

By Trevor Corkum

“Norma Jeane Baker of Troy leverages a millennia-old story of beauty and war to animate a history of the male gaze and …

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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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What Is Love: A Romancelandia Roundtable

Romancelandia. It's a sprawling and fascinating place, and some of its most exciting authors are here together (virtually) to talk about the genre, its challenges, and the very best parts of writing happily-ever-after.

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49th Shelf: Imagine you were welcoming a new reader to Romancelandia—can you provide a brief description of the lay of the land and its regions? Where in its world do you live?

Barb Curtis: Romancelandia is a world where lovers of the romance genre (both readers and writers) can connect over all things romance. If you follow the hashtag on Twitter, you’ll discover industry news and discussions, book recommendations based on your favourite authors or tropes, and reviews. It’s also a place where important conversations are happening about politics, women’s rights, and representation. It’s a community that comes together and stands up for all that romance is and can evolve into.

Romancelandia is just a click away and all you need to fit in is a love for any genre of happily-ever-afters—from historical romance to paranormal romance to romantic suspense.

Kelly Bowen: What a fun question! Here goes, according to my handy guidebook interpretation (which, of course, is not the only one!):

Romancelandia is a huge, fabulous world that welcomes a …

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