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

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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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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.

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 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 …

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Canadian Books of the Year: Chosen by Educators and Librarians

Canadian Books of the Year: Chosen by Educators and Librarians

By 49th Teachers

We asked educators and librarians to share their favourite Canadian books of 2020.

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Megan Ogilvie Dishes on the Hidden Horrors in Fast Food and How to Combat Them

Menu Confidential, by Megan Ogilvie (HarperCollins). (Photo credit: Christopher Campbell.)

Menu Confidential, by Megan Ogilvie, is a book for every Canadian who dines out. One-quarter of Canadians, 8.5 million people, dine out once or twice a week, and almost one million Canadians say they eat at a restaurant every day. While cravings for a greasy burger will sometimes overtake you, the biggest hurdle to making smart choices is a lack of information. Menu Confidential is not a traditional weight-loss book, but a guide to navigating the dining scene.

Julie Wilson: In Menu Confidential, you describe the ideal plate portions as: one-quarter protein, one-quarter grains, and the remainder with fruits and vegetables.

When constructing this book, what portion did you allocate to each of the following: education, shock value, proaction, and self-compassion?

Megan Ogilvie: What a great question! You know, I never overtly set out to divvy up those things. But I did think about each while researching and writing.

Let me try to serve up an answer for you.

I’d say education takes up at least half of the plate. I believe the more you know about anything, the better choices you will make. And that’s what the book is about: helping people become smart diners.

Proaction—or how about empowerment?—would take up one-quarter of the plate. Because once you are armed with …

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Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater

An excerpt from Nothing More Comforting: Canada's Heritage Food by Dorothy Duncan

I light the prairie cornfields Orange and tawny gold clusters And I am
called pumpkins.
Carl Sandburg, "Theme in Yellow"


Squash is the name we often use in Canada to include a wide variety of vegetables that grow throughout the western hemisphere. They are native to the Americas and were known and grown by the First Nations long before the arrival of explorers from other countries. Evidence of squash dating from 7,000 to 5,500 B.C. has been found at the Ocampa Caves in Mexico, and from there it would have travelled north. In the eastern United States, two-thousandyear- old burial mounds have yielded up similar evidence.

Among many First Nations, squash, beans, and corn were known as the Three Sisters.They were grown together, the corn standing tall and straight, the beans climbing the corn stalks, and the squash spreading out to control the weeds. When they were harvested, they were often eaten together to complement one another.

Early European explorers searching for the treasures of the Indies found instead the culinary treasures of the Americas, including squash. Although usually associated with North American cooking, squash was also carried to other parts of the world. In Great Br …

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Six Foods to Change Your Life, With Mouth-Watering Recipes


the power of food

It's one thing to tell people what to do about their health and lifestyle. It's another for an author to apply his advice to himself, lose 40 pounds, say goodbye to depression, and reverse his pre-diabetic diagnosis. Here are six of Adam Hart's top foods from his new book, The Power of Food, along with three recipes that illustrate how to incorporate them into a delicious diet: Pistachio Mango Salsa, Hummus Five Ways, and Warm Quinoa With Beets and Swiss Chard. With the bounty of fresh food we can access in the summer, there's no better time to try them out ...


1. Pistachios
Pistachios are a great source of protein, fibre, and essential fatty acids (EFAs). Studies have found that EFAs help hair quality and strength so if you’re planning on spending lots of time reading at the beach or cottage this summer, be sure to pack a handful or two of pistachios to help keep your hair looking healthy and strong.

2. Chia Seeds
If you’ve suddenly got the jingle from the Chia Pet commercial stuck in your head than you’re on the right track. It turns out t …

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Fight the Blahs With Butter Beer From The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook

Book Cover Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook

If the thought of beer puts you in mind of chilled glasses and summer patios, think again: beer is very versatile, as demonstrated by the recipes in The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook, by David Ort. We are very happy to share with you a recipe from the book for Butter Beer, a warm drink made for winter nights.

Could there be a better weapon in the fight against the February blahs? 


Butter Beer

This is a convivial drink for those of us who don’t belong to the eggnog fan club. It needs to be served warm, straight from the pot. More than four centuries before J. K. Rowling devised her band of child wizards, the British made butter beer to warm frosty winter evenings. In true Tudor fashion, it was spelled inconsistently, often with an extra “e” on the end. The Tudors were comparatively strict about the distinction between unhopped ale and hopped beer. Historical recipes are clear that the recipe was always made with ale very low in hops.

Recommended beer

Scotch ale

Iron Duke Strong Ale, Wellington Brewery (Ontario)

Serves: 4

Butter Beer

Photo by Robin Sharp, fro …

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Summer Eats: Greek-Style Mussel and Watermelon Salad

Book Cover Mussels

Our Summer Eats series continues with this delicious and unusual salad from the new cookbook, Mussels: Preparing, Cooking and Enjoying a Sensational Seafood, by Chef Alain Bossé and Linda Duncan. Serve this dish at your next barbecue and you're bound to make an excellent impression.




Is there anything more refreshing than a cool slice of watermelon on a hot summer’s day? Alain thinks this mussel and watermelon salad makes a pretty refreshing change from a traditional garden salad. The sweetness of the watermelon balances the saltiness of the mussels and feta, creating a perfect balance on the palate.


2 lb (1 kg) mussels

1/4 cup (60 mL) white wine


4 cups (1 L) 1½-inch (4 cm) watermelon cubes

1/2 red onion, julienne

1 English cucumber, diced

24 oregano leaves

24 basil leaves, chopped

24 pitted kalamata olives

1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil

1/4 cup (60 mL) white balsamic vinegar

11/2 Tbsp (22.5 mL) coarse salt

1 Tbsp (15 mL) black pepper

1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled feta cheese


Mussel Salad Photo


Rinse the mussels under running fresh water. Throw away any that do …

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