Off the Page

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

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Most Anticipated: Our 2020 Fall Poetry Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

Our Fall Preview continues with poetry, an intriguing selection of debuts, collected works, and excellent new releases.

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Shelf Talkers: Books for Summer 2020

Shelf Talkers: Books for Summer 2020

By Robert J Wiersema

Here are our booksellers’ picks for your endless summer days. And if you exhaust this list, remember, more recommendat …

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The Chat with Madhur Anand

The Chat with Madhur Anand

By Trevor Corkum

Our first conversation this month is with writer Madhur Anand, whose brilliant experimental memoir This Red Line Goes St …

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Awesome August Giveaway

Awesome August Giveaway

By Kiley Turner

We hope you've had some wonderful summer escapes by now – we all deserve some magic this season! Today, we're highligh …

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Book Cover Blue Sky Kingdom

Let's Get Out of This Town: Literary Travel

By Kerry Clare

Journey through place and time with this collection of new and forthcoming travel books, spotlighting some of the best t …

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Book Cover Bird's Eye View

Ann Eriksson Launches BIRD'S EYE VIEW

By Kerry Care

"Anyone, young or old, who wants to learn more about the birds that live in their neighbourhood or on the other side of …

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The Chat with John Elizabeth Stintzi

The Chat with John Elizabeth Stintzi

By Trevor Corkum

Writer John Elizabeth Stinzi has the distinction of publishing two fabulous debuts a week apart this past spring. On The …

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Robert Bateman

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Bird Books

By Julie Booker

A flock of tales to get young readers into birding.

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Book Cover Hope Matters

Most Anticipated: Our 2020 Fall Nonfiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

We're looking forward to books about history, true crime, memoir, nature, music, dance, food, and so much more. There's …

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Book Cover The Woman Before Wallis

Exploring Sister Bonds

By Bryn Turnbull

One of our most anticipated debuts of the season, Bryn Turnbull's The Woman Before Wallis, tells the true story of the A …

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The Right Book at the Right Time: Samuel Martin Reads Russell Wangersky's Whirl Away

Whirl Away

You know that feeling when a book comes to you at just the right time, when you need it most? That’s how I feel about Russell Wangersky’s new story collection Whirl Away. It’s a book about people whose lives are in tailspin: people trying to see straight through the blinding vertigo of change.

I can relate to that. Over the next few months I will finish a three month writer residency on Fogo Island (off the north coast of Newfoundland), launch my first novel A Blessed Snarl, edit and defend my Ph.D. dissertation, pack up my home, and move from St. John’s to the States for a new job. I’m a creature of habit, so change rocks me like the great gusts of wind that shake my studio here on the hill up from Deep Bay.

Sometimes I think there’s just too much on the go: too many emails to answer, too many forms to fill out for moving companies, immigration, real estate, insurance, etc. But so far so good: I’m holding it all together. Or, rather, Samantha, my wife, is holding it all together and I’m hanging onto her organisational skills for dear life. Most days, I feel like Dennis Meany in Wangersky’s story “McNally’s Fair,” test-running a rickety, old rollercoaster that could collapse on its next run.  Everything could skid off the road like the ambul …

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Quick Hits: Infernos, Outrage, Love, and Anything But

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

*****

Pathologies, by Susan Olding

Genre: Personal Essays

Publisher: Freehand Books

What It's About

In 15 personal essays, debut author Susan Olding takes us on an unforgettable journey into the complex heart of being human. Each essay dissects an aspect of Olding's life experience—from her vexed relationship with her father to her tricky dealings with her female peers; from her work as a counsellor and teacher to her persistent desire, despite struggles with infertility, to have children of her own. In a suite of essays forming the emotional climax of the book, Olding bravely recounts the adoption of her daughter, Maia, from an orphanage in China, and tells us the story of Maia's difficult adaptation to the unfamiliar state of being loved.

Written with as much lyricism, detail, and artfulness as the best short stories, the essays in Pathologies provide all the pleasures of fiction combined with the enrichment derived from the careful presentation o …

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