Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover the Queer Evangelist

On Telling the Truth in Politics

By Cheri Divnovo

An excerpt from new memoir The Queer Evangelist, Cheri DiNovo's story of her life as a queer minister, politician and st …

read more >
 The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winners The Fan Brothers

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winners The Fan Brothers

By Trevor Corkum

We continue our special coverage of this year’s Governor General's Literature Award winners in conversation with the a …

read more >
Book Cover Oy Feh So

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Jewish Heritage

By Julie Booker

Compelling stories showcasing Jewish Heritage to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

read more >
The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Madhur Anand

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Madhur Anand

By Trevor Corkum

Check out our conversation with Madhur Anand, whose brilliant experimental memoir This Red Line Goes Straight to Your He …

read more >
Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)

Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)

By Erika Thorkelson

Erika Thorkelson's "Me and Bridget Jones (20 Years Later)" is one of the essays in Midlife, a new essay collection explo …

read more >
The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Michelle Good

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Michelle Good

By Trevor Corkum

Today we are pleased to kick off our special coverage of the 2020 Governor General's Award winners (English-language) wi …

read more >
Book Cover Cattail Skyline

The World Up Close

By Joanne Epp

A recommended reading list by author of new book CATTAIL SKYLINE on paying close attention to the small and particular.

read more >
Book Cover What's In It For Me

The Keepers on My Bookshelf

By LS Stone

Depth and humour are themes in this great recommended reading list by the author of the new middle grade novel What's in …

read more >
Book Cover the Girl from Dream City

How Does a Woman Become a Writer?

By Linda Leith

"The writers who interest me most, always, are women who write about themselves in ways that a male writer never could." …

read more >
Book Cover Big Reader

11 Essay Collections to Revisit Now

By Susan Olding

"The bestselling novel of a decade ago will sometimes seem stale or irrelevant today, but that’s rarely true of an ess …

read more >

Forest Prairie Edge: Place History in Saskatchewan

Book Cover Forest Prairie Edge

In her new book, Forest Prairie Edge, Merle Massie offers readers a rethinking of Saskatchewan, a province whose "prairie" designation simplifies the reality of its geography, history and culture. She examines the space in between the boreal forests of Northern Saskatchewan and the prairies of the south in order to imagine a refreshing new perspective on the province and Canada's West. In this guest piece for 49th Shelf, she tells how her own history influenced the book she would write, and also introduces us to the word "stumpranch." 

*****

I grew up on a forest fringe stump ranch farm near Paddockwood, Saskatchewan, north of Prince Albert. A stump ranch or stump farm, if you’ve never heard the term, is a farm cut out of the trees: the joke is that you mostly farm stumps instead of crops or animals. Just a few miles from the Northern Provincial Forest in Saskatchewan, our weeds tended to be poplar trees, and our cows would sometimes be found grazing next to a herd of elk or the odd moose or jumper. The farm wasn’t sprawling or prosperous like those on the prairies, but it had wood for the old Valley Comfort stove in the basement, the Garden River running through it for evening canoe rides and trapping, and it nestled in the centre of the northern Lakeland cott …

Continue reading >

Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead

Habeeb Salloum's award-winning book of recipes and recollections of Syrian cuisine in 1930s' Saskatchewan has just been released in a new revised edition, Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead. We're pleased to feature the book's introduction by historian Sarah Carter, as well as three stew recipes from the book. Enjoy! 

*****

Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead has long been one of my favourite books, not only because of the delectable recipes, but because it is a unique work of prairie history. It weaves recipes into a beautiful memoir about growing up on a Saskatchewan farm. Written by the son of homesteaders from Syria, it brings to light the experiences of Arab settlers whose contribution to the history of Canada is not well known. As Habeeb Salloum writes,“today people stare in disbelief when they hear that Arabs homesteaded in western Canada.” They were the first to grow lentils and chickpeas, the pulse crops that are today central to the economy of the prairies. Acquiring seeds from relatives, Salloum’s parents drew on the knowledge of their ancestors who had cultivated pulses in semi-arid conditions for centuries.

As Habeeb Salloum writes,“today people stare in disbelief when they hear that Arabs homesteaded in western Canada.” They were the first …

Continue reading >

Launchpad: Mad Cow, by Alexis Kienlen

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 Alexis Kienlen's debut novel Mad Cow, the perfect literary fiction debut for a published poet who spends her days working as an agricultural journalist.

*****

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

Mad Cow is a novel about how bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, devastates and nearly destroys a beef ranching family living in rural Alberta in the early 2000s.

Describe your ideal reader.

People who want to le …

Continue reading >

The Randomizer

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