Off the Page

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

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Earth Hour: Books & Activities to Spark Discussion and Environmental Action

Earth Hour: Books & Activities to Spark Discussion and Environmental Action

By Allison Hall

On Saturday March 28th millions of people around the globe will turn off their lights and spend an hour without the use …

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The Books I Want to Read Again

By Kerry Clare

Rereading is comfort, and indulgence. It's a voyage back to the familiar, but one that's still rich with discovery, and …

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How Do We Read When Words Fail Us?

By Kerry Clare

On the value of books and reading in a dangerous time.

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Catchy Beginnings

By Julie Booker

Great books with great starts.

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Books to Keep Young People Learning During Covid-19

Books to Keep Young People Learning During Covid-19

By Kiley Turner

There's never been a better time to highlight some great posts from our resident children's librarian, Julie Booker.

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Book Cover The Birth Yard

A Sense of Place: THE BIRTH YARD Book List

By Mallory Tater

"The Birth Yard embodies a sense of place that I, as a woman, have always felt inside."

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Book Cover Last Impressions

"All of us are better when we're loved."

By Joseph Kertes

"Last Impressions will make you laugh out loud and cry out loud. What more could be asked of a book?" —Miriam Toews

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The Chat with Eufemia Fantetti

The Chat with Eufemia Fantetti

By Trevor Corkum

Today's chat is with Eufemia Fantetti, author of the brand-new memoir My Father, Fortune-Tellers, & Me, out now with Mot …

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Your 2020 Spring Festival Guide

By Kerry Clare

A round-up of literary festivals taking place this spring near you and across the country.

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Lives of Girls and Women

By Kerry Clare

22 books to celebrate for International Women's Day.

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The God Edit: Guest Post by Barbara Stewart

Book Cover Campie

“Did you mean Two-Fingers Bob or Alligator Bob?” By (mostly) gentle consensus, nicknames are how anonymous 12-Step program members identify one Bob from another Bob, or Sailboat Mary from Big Boobs Mary, or Blue Judy from Tom’s Judy. You don’t get to pick your own handle. I once asked about mine and was disappointed to hear I was just “Barb.” How crushing. Nothing special set me apart from other Barbs? Only years later, well into my second decade of recovery did someone finally tell me. “We’ve always called you God-Barb.”

To my way of thinking, I had earned the moniker not because I was godly, but because I’d done so badly: a divorce followed by years of court dates and single parenting, followed by more years of bankruptcy, unemployment and depression. God became my go-to-guy, a heavenly Mike Holms with spiritual duct tape to fix the demolition job I’d done on my life. Finally in 2003, broke and homeless, I was hired to work as the camp attendant (nicknamed the “campie”) at an oilrig in northern Alberta. By then, the carpenter-saviour was embedded in my vocabulary and throughout my journal notes.

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote, “Pain was the touchstone of all spiritual growth.” Perhaps the touchstone of all my …

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Gretta Vosper on spirituality vs. religion, prayer as placebo, and how to become an agent for change.

Gretta Vosper, author of Amen and With or Without God

Gretta Vosper has been in the spotlight since founding the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity in 2004. Her first book, With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important that What We Believe, quickly became a national bestseller (and one of Amazon's "Top 25 Books that Caused a Commotion") and attracted media attention and debate across the country. Met with both acclaim and vitriol by those inside and outside the church, the book challenges the clergy’s silence on contemporary scholarship, arguing that people need to know the Bible is not the authoritative word of God for all time. Having twice narrowly avoided heresy trials, Gretta continues to lead West Hill United—"a progressive community of faith growing out of the Christian tradition"—in Scarborough, Ontario. In 2009, Gretta was named one of the Most Compelling Women in Canada by More Magazine. Amen: What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief is her latest book (HarperCollins Canada). Visit her at www.GrettaVosper.ca.

Julie Wilson: From your site: I think it is high time we stopped feeding the acrimony between atheists and people of any faith tradition and start looking at the values that lie at the heart of whatever it is we believe. If those values are grounded in a respect for th …

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Beating My Addiction to Busyness

In My Year of Living Spiritually, Anne Bokma documents a diverse range of soulful first-person experiences—from taking a dip in Thoreau’s Walden Pond, to trying magic mushrooms for the first time, booking herself into a remote treehouse as an experiment in solitude, singing in a deathbed choir and enrolling in a week-long witch camp. Along the way, she reconsiders key relationships in her life and begins to experience the greater depth of meaning, connection, gratitude, simplicity and inner peace that we all long for, and offers an inspiring roadmap for readers' own spiritual journeys.

*****

I begin the new year the way I always have, with a bunch of earnest resolutions. For decades this trinity of trials has been pretty much the same: get in better shape, save more money, get organized. But this year I’m tackling something new. One of the things holding me back from living a more spiritual life, I realize, is my addiction to busyness.

The truth is, if I’m not engaged in work, filling up my social calendar, relentlessly tidying my home, doing errands and generally keeping on top of everything, I’m not sure what to do with myself. It’s as if my life only has meaning if I’m occupied every minute of the day. I have zilch in common with Marie Curie, the No …

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