Off the Page

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

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The Chat with Krista Foss

The Chat with Krista Foss

By Trevor Corkum

With Half Life (McClelland & Stewart), Krista Foss has delivered a spectacular sophomore novel, one that entangles compl …

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Book Cover The Memory Collectors

8 Books for Fans of Fabulism

By Kim Neville

A recommended reading list by Kim Neville, whose debut novel is The Memory Collectors.

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Book Cover The Octopus Has Three Hearts

Exciting Fiction to Read This Spring

By Kerry Clare

New books by Camilla Gibb, Marissa Stapley, Wayne Grady, Uzma Jalaluddin, and more! Sme of the novels and short fiction …

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Book Cover Outside You Notice

New Picture Books for Spring

By Kerry Clare

A selection of gorgeous new picture books celebrating new life, hope, nature, and mindfulness.

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Book Cover Half Life

She Blinded Me With Science

By Krista Foss

When wonder and inquiry are subverted and held up to the light by these writers, the results are often uncomfortable, al …

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Book Cover Fairy Science

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Celebrating STEM

By Julie Booker

This list includes all kinds of STEM’ers—science enthusiasts, builders, inventors, real life engineers—in both fic …

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Book Cover The Hill

Pairs Well: Ali Bryan's Awesome YA Reading List

By Ali Bryan

Celebrated novelist Bryan shares great titles to complement her latest book.

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Book Cover Glorious Birds

Why Is Harold and Maude Considered a Cult Film?

By Heidi Greco

The critic Roger Ebert dismissed it with a measly one and a half stars. Variety claimed that “It has all the fun and g …

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Book Cover New Girl in Little Cove

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Reader

By Damhnait Monaghan

An expat reading list by the author of new book New Girl in Little Cove

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The Chat with Carol Bruneau

The Chat with Carol Bruneau

By Trevor Corkum

For anyone who adores the work of famed painter Maud Lewis and has wondered about her life, Carol Bruneau’s new novel …

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Efficiency Expert: Lillian Gilbreth, Larger-Than-Life

Book Cover Spic and Span

Throughout National Science and Technology Week (October 17–26), we're celebrating new Canadian books on science and technology. Today we're talking to celebrated children's author Monica Kulling about her latest non-fiction picture book in the "Great Ideas" Series, Spic-And-Span! Lillian Gilbreth's Wonder Kitchen, illustrated by David Parkins. 

Lillian Gilbreth might be familiar to you as the mother of the family that inspired the Cheaper by the Dozen book and films, and sequels too. But in addition to being the mother of 11 children, Gilbreth was also a psychologist, a leading efficiency expert, industrial engineer, an author, a professor, and an inventor. Her inventions included the electric mixer, and the compartments you use every day in the door of your fridge

Monica Kulling explains why she was so captured by Gilbreth as a character, and what it was like to render her life in just a few pages. 

*****

49th Shelf: Lillian Gilbreth’s life was so remarkable—you’d scarcely believe it if it were fiction. What parts of her experience were most immediately compelling to you?

Monica Kulling: Lillian Gilbreth was absolutely larger than life. I think what impressed me most was her ability to remain calm and centered in the midst of so many demands on her time, bot …

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She Blinded Me With Science

Krista Foss's new novel is Half Life.

*

There’s a dark poetry to scientific language that’s hard to resist, and we’re lucky these women writers don’t. By adapting the lexicon and ideas of science to their work, they’ve created bold hybrids in fiction and memoir that defy categories, challenge narratives and remark on the eerie culpabilities of discovery. Do nerds have more fun? Sometimes it reads that way. But don’t be fooled. When wonder and inquiry are subverted and held up to the light by these writers, the results are often uncomfortable, always dazzling.

*****

Fauna, by Christiane Vadnais

Delicious murk and lyrical category-creep distinguish this linked short-story collection that sees biologist Laura navigate extreme weather in Shivering Heights, a place where climate change shakes down scientific certainties, and in the process of understanding a mutating parasite, Laura’s own body becomes another specimen to comprehend.

Geek-worthy moment:

In a story titled, “In Vivo,” a winter storm traps Laura in a laboratory where she’s torn …

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