Off the Page

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

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Introducing the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Crisis Teacher Diary

Introducing the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Crisis Teacher Diary

By Allison Hall

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping wi …

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Book Cover A Forest in the City

Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

By Andrea Curtis

When self isolation and physical distancing has got your family cooped up, the next best thing might just be reading pic …

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The Chat with Amanda Leduc

The Chat with Amanda Leduc

By Trevor Corkum

Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space (Coach House) is a brilliant and startling book of essays by Am …

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Book Cover Dead mom Walking

Five Queer Memoirs to Keep You Going

By Rachel Matlow

When you’re done watching Tiger King and taking a break from playing Animal Crossing, here are five queer memoirs to k …

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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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Book Cover Sputnik's Children

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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Neon BOOKS sign

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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Book Cover Lost in the Backyard

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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How Do We Read When Words Fail Us?

Neon Sign that says BOOKS

Last week, I finally finished reading a book.

And that this is even remarkable speaks volumes about the strange times we're all navigating right now. Because usually I finish books in the way that most people finish wearing pants at the end of the day, or in the way that one might finish eating their lunch. Usually it's easy, automatic, even reflexive. I read therefore I am, but last week I didn't, and I wasn't, scrolling social media feeds and news blogs instead: refresh, refresh. When will there be good news?

Last week, it seemed like words were failing on all fronts, in print, online, and especially in my head. As I was reading every bit of journalism I could get my hands on in search of answers, in search of certainty, for all the chaos to coalesce into something that made sense, but there was nothing, only noise, and fear, and questions. What is going to happen next?

And I couldn't read. Which didn't make sense when I had all the time in the world, and all the books at my fingertips, a to-be-read pile that was taller than my child, and access to e-books for days. I'd even had two new releases delivered from my local indie bookshop straight to my front door, which should have been the best thing that had ever happened to me, but the books sat unopened on a chair …

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All the Latest Best Book Trailers We've Seen Lately

Let's start with the trailers for kids' books. Andrew Larsen, who spoke to us as part of #Fest2Fest, makes a cameo appearance in the trailer for his new picture book Bye Bye Butterflies.

We're in love with the Cozy Classics, Pride & Prejudice and Moby Dick in board book style. Their trailer suggests that the books are as high on substance (and felt!) as they are on charm.

 

This adorable video for Debbie Ridpath Ohi's picture book I'm Bored (which was written by Michael Ian Black) gets our vote for the best use of the word "ennui" that we've seen lately.

 

For the YA set, the trailer for Helene Becker's Trouble in the Hills promises an action-packed read full of suspense.

 

This short trailer for the novel Margaret and the Moth Tree is most intriguing, particularly for those of us partial to stories about orphan girls. 

 

And Kenneth Oppel is back with the latest in his Victor Frankenstein series with Such Wicked Intent.

And now for the grown-ups...

What it lacks in slick production, the trailer of Lydia Perovic's Incidental Music makes up for in take-downs of Can-Lit cliches ("and there is some sex").

 

The trailer for Joy Fielding's new novel Shadow Creek is totally terrifying. Consider yourself warned!

 

And now for something completely different, Had a Glass 2013 author James Nevison provides a 4-step wine tasting tutorial.

In "Locating the Blondes", Emily Schultz visits sites from her bestselling novel The Blondes, which takes place in New York. Part 1 is here:

 

"What's an unemplo …

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Mystery Month: Sarah Weinman on "CanCrime"

Sarah Weinman

May is Mystery Month at 49th Shelf, and there's no better way to kick things off than with an interview with critic Sarah Weinman. Weinman is the National Post's Crime Fiction columnist, and has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other publications. She is also editor of Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories From the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense.

Here, she talks to us about her book and its Canadian connections, attempts to define Canadian crime fiction as a genre, and names up-and-coming authors on the scene. 

*****

49th Shelf: You've written about crime fiction for publications in the US and UK, as well as your "Crime-Wave" column for the National Post. And while this is such a Canadian kind of question, I need to ask it: What is distinctive about Canadian crime fiction as a genre?

Haunting of Maddy Clare

Sarah Weinman: You know, considering how much time I spend reading contemporary Canadian crime, I haven't really given much thought to this question before. I'd say there's an extra sense of warmth and caring …

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