Off the Page

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

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Book Cover This Is All a Lie

Tacit Permissions: Literary Goals Beyond One's Grasp

By [Kerry Clare]

A list by Thomas Trofimuk, whose This Is All a Lie has been called "a powerful, dazzling accomplishment.” 

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Book Cover Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Lianne Oelke on Strong YA Narrators

By [Kerry Clare]

Leanne Oelke, author of Nice Try, Jane Sinner, recommends amazing YA novels that are unabashedly Canadian. 

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The Chat with Carleigh Baker

The Chat with Carleigh Baker

By [Trevor Corkum]

Next up on The Chat, we speak to Carleigh Baker, author of the sensational short story collection Bad Endings, a finalis …

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The Chat with Ahmad Danny Ramadan

The Chat with Ahmad Danny Ramadan

By [Trevor Corkum]

We begin The Chat in 2018 with a conversation with Ahmad Danny Ramadan, author of the stirring debut novel The Clothesli …

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Book Cover The Figgs

Most Anticipated: Our 2018 Spring Fiction Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Here are the books that will be rocking CanLit in the first half of 2018. 

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Book Cover We All Love the Beautiful Girls

Our Holiday Reads

By [Kerry Clare]

Happy Holidays! Here are the books the 49thShelf.com team will be reading during the break. 

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Book Cover On Island

Books for the Holidays Part Three

By [Kerry Clare]

Book recommendations for all the special someones on your holiday shopping list. 

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Shelf Talkers: 2017's Must-Reads

Shelf Talkers: 2017's Must-Reads

By [Rob Wiersema]

For this year-end column, we’ve combed through the dozens of recommendations, a year of reading, to create a double-ha …

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Book Cover Whispers of Mermaids

Picture Books For the Holidays

By [Kerry Clare]

Some of our favourite books this year, titles that would make great gifts for readers of all ages.

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Book Cover Glorious and Free

Books for the Holidays

By [Kerry Clare]

Still haven't finished your shopping? Here are a few suggestions to help you cross out a couple more items on your list. …

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Roughing It In the Books, or Everybody Dies in the End: Guest Post by Melanie Masterson

Roughing It In The Books is obviously a play on Roughing It In The Bush by Susanna Moodie which is often the first book people think of when they think of Canadian Literature. It shouldn't be, of course, but it is. Canadians are a self-deprecating lot so we tend to make fun of ourselves and our work even though there is much to be celebrated, and Roughing It In The Books is a little bit making fun and a little bit celebration. When I tell people what I'm doing they kind of roll their eyes at me but laugh at the same time and a conversation always ensues--even if it is only to tell me how much they loved or hated reading A Handmaid's Tale in high school. I can only imagine how many times Margaret Atwood has to listen to that. In case she is reading this I fall firmly in the 'loved it' category.

Book Cover Barometer Rising

I first had the idea to start Roughing It In the Books in 2008 when I was spending all my time nursing my oldest daughter. I had been collecting the 1970s abstract art paperback editions of McClelland & Stewart's New Canadian Library for years and my husband was always asking me if I was ever going to actually read them. (The point being that if I wasn't reading them I wasn't allowed to buy anymore). I'm not a big shopper but I have a real soft spot for these books and when I …

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Meet Molito: Guest Post by Rosemary Sullivan

Molito Cover

Meet Molito:

The story of Molito started as puppet theatre in Chile in 1974 in the dark days of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Juan Opitz was about to graduate from the University of Chile’s theatre program, when the theatre school was closed on September 11th, 1973, the day of the coup d’état. Juan had been working as an assistant to the “Minister of Government,” travelling by boat to bring theatre to remote communities who had never seen theatre before. When he was not picked up in the first sweep of so-called dissidents, he fled Santiago.

To survive, he and a friend travelled as itinerant puppeteers. They invented a puppet called Topito who was a little mole born underground but unique because he had eyes to see. When Topito decided to come up to see what was happening in the world, he had many adventures, including an encounter with a nasty frog whose chest was covered with medals, and a female puppet who carried the scales of justice but whose pockets were filled with garbage. Children loved the story, but it was also a way to say things that couldn’t be said, and all the audiences knew it. Juan later got a job teaching theatre at the Catholic University of Talca, where he put on a play that was meant to be a history of theatre.

Unfortunately f …

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Book Madam's Quirky Recommended Reading Lists for #GiveCDN

Julie Wilson among her favourite friends. (photo credit: Jeff Kelly)

Have you read about our Give a Canadian Book promotion, inspired by this post by writer Steve Pitt that encourages Canadians to buy made-in-Canada books?

In Steve's words:

Have you noticed lately that most of the holiday gifts filling up Canadian store shelves are no longer made in Canada? Even gifts bearing the most recognizable Canadian symbols seem to come from some distant land. When Canadians buy foreign made gifts most of their money leaves the country taking jobs away from other Canadians.

One exception is Canadian books. Canadian books are written by Canadians for Canadians. Behind every Canadian writer is a Made in Canada team of editors, graphic designers, lay-out artists, publicists, printers, warehouse staff, delivery drivers and book sellers. Every year the Canadian book industry pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the Canadian economy which creates jobs and pays taxes.

Sean Cranbury (Books on the Radio) and I (Book Madam & Associates and Seen Reading) are about to enter our third year soliciting reader recommendations for The Advent Book Blog for these very same reasons.

From the start, The 49th Shelf has been touting Canadian-made books via interviews, guest posts and our popular Recommended Reading lists submitted by Canadian authors and personali …

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Dear Canadian Bookshelf: Helping You #GiveCDN this Holiday Season

Book Cover Bud the Spud

This holiday season, we're making it easy for you Give Canadian. For the next few weeks, we'll be helping our readers match their most special someones with the perfect Canadian Book. If you would like some expert advice, email your holiday book shopping quandary to hello@canadianbookshelf.com, and we'll do our best to get you sorted.

Dear Canadian Bookshelf,

I am looking to buy my little nephew a book this Christmas. He's 18 months old, and loves books, but the problem is his love of books is so well-known that everybody else is going to be getting him a book this Christmas too. The last book I bought for him was Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton for his birthday, and I should have known that he'd have a copy already. This time, I want to give him a Canadian book, and I'd also like to stand a reasonable chance of it being a book he hasn't seen before. Can you recommend something he'd like, but a little off the beaten track? I'm hoping you can help me!

Sincerely,

Marlene P., Barrie ON

***

Dear Marlene,

You can find great picture book suggestions on our expert-curated lists, including Picture Books We've Known and Loved by Sara O'Leary, CanCon Picture Books by Julie Booker, Eight Great Picture Books by Woozles Book Store, and Andrew Larsen's What I Read on My Summer Vaca …

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Garth Martens, 2010 Bronwen Wallace Award Winner: Readings and Readings

Garth Martens

Garth Martens is a construction labourer for an Edmonton-based commercial construction company and a recent graduate of the University of Victoria's MFA program. Garth was the winner of the 2010 Bronwen Wallace Award for most promising Canadian writer under 35. He is a former member of The Malahat Review's poetry editorial board and The Open Space Arts Society's Board of Directors. He lives in Argentina.

1) Garth Martens reads poems "Tonic Clonic" and "Collarbone:"

2) Tired Masculinity: Recommended Reading List by Garth Martens

The books I've chosen contribute to a conversation about masculinity. They don't offer new visions of masculinity, but they complicate the stereotype, the archetype, of the ordinary heterosexual man, whoever that is. They refuse the blinkered, reductive view. I've worked seven years off and on construction sites in Western Canada where there were seldom any women. The men I've known shared standards by which they measured themselves men. Eager to fit this role, each man nevertheless veered from it in astonishing ways. By shared understanding the crew moderated itself. And if each man was regulated by the tribe, he was also judged at a cross-cut by the public. So often I felt myself summed up at a glance merely because I wore steel-toed boots, …

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