Off the Page

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

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Book Cover her Turn

Her Turn: A Conversation With Katherine Ashenburg

By Kerry Clare

"I think as I wrote Her Turn I wanted to combine Shields’ dry wit and a certain ironic distance from her characters wi …

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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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L. Marie Adeline Reveals the S.E.C.R.E.T. Behind The Sisterhood of the Travelling Hot Pants

L. Marie Adeline/Lisa Gabriele (Photo credit: Virginia MacDonald)

S.E.C.R.E.T. is the debut erotic novel by L. Marie Adeline. However, upon its publication, Doubleday revealed another secret, the true identity of Adeline: seasoned novelist Lisa Gabriele.

I chat with Gabriele/Adeline about the leap from CanLit to erotica, sexual bravery, and something I like to call The Sisterhood of the Travelling Hot Pants.

First, some introduction to S.E.C.R.E.T.:

The novel's protagonist, Cassie Robichaud, a waitress in New Orleans, is in a rut. She's lonely and full of regret following the death of her husband. One day, a customer leaves behind a notebook in the cafe, the pages of which detail explicit confessions, leading Cassie to an underground society of women who support and guide one another through their wildest sexual fantasies. Set free of inhibitions, having discovered new confidence, Cassie begins a transformation that leaves her satisfied and sated. (Readers also come to know a fine fella named Will, Cassie's colleague at the cafe.)

Julie Wilson: Let's being with the pseudonym. It's not a big leap to get from William Bradley "Brad" Pitt to Brad Pitt, but L. Marie Adeline is a more conscious construction. Where did she come from?

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Shree Ghatage on Thirst, Desire, and Arranged Marriages

Thirst, by Shree Ghatage (Doubleday Canada).

Set in mid-century India and England against the backdrop of WWII, Thirst, by Shree Ghatage (Doubleday), tells the story of unexpected love born out of an arranged marriage between Vasanti and Baba and how their worlds fall apart after Baba decides to study abroad in London.

49th Shelf talks with Shree Ghatage about desire—"the lynchpin that separates humans from animals"—and her story of a passionate marriage, arranged then torn apart.

Julie Wilson: Thirst is set in India and London, in the early 40s, against the backdrop of World War II. What drew you to this time period?

Shree Ghatage: Thirst is the second novel in a trilogy that began with Brahma’s Dream. There were two characters in Brahma’s Dream—Vasanti and her husband, Baba—who stayed with me even after I had finished working on the book. So when I began to write the first draft of Thirst, the character of Baba, almost unbidden, came foremost to mind, and I was quickly drawn into developing an account of his life. The fact that my first novel was set against the backdrop of India’s 1940’s independence movement meant that Baba’s story would also play out during that era. As it happens, England in World War II became a prolific setting and time period in which to explore the nuances of memory …

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Marissa Campbell's Romance (and Erotica!) Book List

Book Cover Evelyn

"What's not to love?" asks Marissa Campbell, about the romance. "We crave those delicious feelings that love inspires..." In her list for us, Campbell tells us about her debut novel, Avelynn, and shares some other romance titles that turn things up hot, and even hotter.

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My debut novel, Avelynn, set in 869 Anglo-Saxon England is a historical romance. I have a weakness for romance books, because honestly, what’s not to love? A bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolate, a love note, a picnic beneath the stars. We crave those delicious feelings that love inspires—the heart-pounding mixture of trepidation and excitement leading up to that first date, the breathless anticipation of a first kiss, the curious and delirious moments fumbling toward first base, the crashing, rolling surge of yearning culminating in that first night of wild passion. We may struggle in life, we may have to fight tooth and nail to eke out beautiful moments to hold onto and cherish, but in a romance novel, we are guaranteed a happy ending.

Avelynn has big dreams. Despite the confines of a patriarchal society, she hopes to one day oversee Wedmore, a wealthy manor in Wessex. She also refuses to give up on her pagan roots, resisting the Christian church’s increasing hold on Britain. Most of …

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Drunken Chicken Wings: from Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

Book Cover Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

There's so much great buzz for Roselle Lim's debut Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortuneplus, Ali Wong's Always Be My Maybe has left us hungry for more stories about food and romance with a San Francisco setting. To give you all a taste of what Lim's novel has in store for readers, we're pleased to feature an excerpt from the book, along with Natalie Tan's recipe for Drunken Chicken Wings, which are exactly what's called for to save an ailing marriage—or so Natalie hopes....

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From Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune: 

I combined five spice, black pepper, Thai chilies, and paprika into a large bowl for the seasoning. I tumbled two pounds of chicken wings out of their brown paper wrapping and into the awaiting bowl where I kneaded the pungent mixture into them, squeezing the spices into the meat like an experienced massage therapist. Another bowl full of shaoxing rice wine combined with red vinegar awaited the wings as the next step after their rigorous massage. They soaked, relaxed, basking in the pool of wine, to become drunken like their namesake. I set them aside to marinate in the fridge...

The side dish for the drunken chicken wings was a pickled slaw. This was my recipe and something I had picked up from my travels in Vietnam. I julienned carrots …

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

Book Cover Launchpad Logo

Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.

LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

Today Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of Minutes, recommends the debut novel by Sheung-King. "You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked. is a tale of two rich and rootless people that oozes the horror and confusion of love, while staying somehow still desperately romantic, and so gloriously sad. This novel is also about something else: it gives the cold shoulder to the dominant gaze and its demands to control the Asian body, carving out a thrilling space beyond whiteness. I didn't want it to end."

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49th Shelf: What particular something have you managed to achieve with this book that you're especially proud of?

Sheung-King: You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked. is not an immigra …

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