Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Between Breaths

Books for Earth Day

By [Kerry Clare]

Fantastic books for readers of all ages and across genres, about nature, ecology, and conservation. 

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The Chat With Jessica Westhead

The Chat With Jessica Westhead

By [Trevor Corkum]

Jessica Westhead has an uncanny ability to combine humour and despair in her writing. In her latest collection, Things N …

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Book Cover The Honey Farm

A slow, creeping madness...

By [Kerry Clare]

It seems that Canadian literature is rife with stories of isolated characters and their slow creeping madnesses. And yes …

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Book Cover Yes or Nope

16 Seriously Funny Poets

By [Kerry Clare]

A totally scientific list of the funniest poets in all of Canada.

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Book Cover Surfaces

Eric Schmaltz: Reading at the Intersection of Text and Image

By [Kerry Clare]

"These books highlight the intersection of text and image to create compelling explorations of linguistic meaning-making …

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The Recommend: April 2018

The Recommend: April 2018

By [Kiley Turner]

This month we're pleased to present the picks of Shawna Lemay (The Flower Can Always Be Changing), Andrew Battershill (M …

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Book Cover the Return of Kid Cooper

Reimagining the Old West

By [Kerry Clare]

A recommended reading list by Brad Smith, who (according to Dennis Lehane) is "a writer to watch, a comet on the horizon …

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The Chat With Kevin Chong

The Chat With Kevin Chong

By [Trevor Corkum]

A modern-day story of infectious disease and rising social inequality, The Plague is Kevin Chong’s take on Camus’ cl …

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Logo National Poetry Month

Celebrating 20 Years of National Poetry Month

By [Kerry Clare]

This April, National Poetry Month is all about looking back and moving forward. It’s the twentieth anniversary of Nati …

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Sangria

Say YES to Sangria

By [Kerry Clare]

An excerpt from Emily Lycopolus' new cookbook, Spain: Recipe for Olive Oil and Vinegar Lovers

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What We've All Been Waiting For: Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2011

In publishing, springtime arrives in the autumn, which marks the blossoming of scores of brand new books into the world. And though summer is decidedly still at its height, one can't help but look ahead to the bounty the Fall 2011 season promises to deliver.

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The Antagonist by Lynn Coady is her first novel since 2006's Mean Boy, and the story of a wayward man who discovers a former friend has written a novel stolen from his life. The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott, about the Vaudeville lives of three singing sisters, is eagerly awaited by readers who loved her Scotiabank Giller-nominated novel Good to a Fault. Natural Order is Brian Francis's very different follow-up to 2009 Canada Reads contender Fruit, a witty portrait of an older woman reflecting on the choices she's made throughout her life. In Frances Itani's Requiem, a man is pulled into a painful past to understand the effects of the Japanese-Canadian internment upon his family.

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Beauty Plus Pity by Kevin Chong is "the tragicomic modern immigrant's tale" of a wannabe-model whose plans are derailed …

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In Conversation With: Book Maven Vicki Ziegler (@bookgaga) on How to Make the Most of The 49th Shelf

Canadian Bookshelf member Vicki Ziegler.

Vicki Ziegler.

Vicki Ziegler is an early adopter. From the moment 49thShelf.com went into public beta, Vicki was building lists, rating reads and carving out a presence for her publishing client, the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry. On Twitter, she also has one of the most public online personas in Canadian publishing, tweeting as @bookgaga and on behalf of one of this country's most distinguished (and lucrative) awards—@griffinpoetry.

I caught up with Vicki to ask about her thoughts on the appeal of online reader communities and how she's helping shape our community right here at The 49th Shelf.

Enjoy!

Julie Wilson: When I visit The 49th Shelf to check out member activity, you're always in the mix. What is it about the site that appeals to you?

Vicki Ziegler: I come at something like The 49th Shelf from multiple angles that all intersect at the point of loving books, loving fellow book lovers and wanting to share, both as an outlet for my own enthusiasms and for the opportunity to learn from others' enthusiasms.

  • I'm a book lover who loves to record what I'm reading, review books and share my thoughts about/reviews of books.
  • I have a personal book blog and Twitter feed and I like to share (aka c …
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The Literary Garden: A Book List by Merilyn Simonds

Merilyn Simonds' most recent book is A New Leaf: Growing With My Garden. Her other books include The Holding (2004), the internationally acclaimed short story collection The Lion in the Room Next Door (1999) and The Convict Lover (Non-Fiction, 1996), which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, and won the TORGI Award. She is also author of the Frugalista Gardener Blog. Here she shares with us a list of essential Canadian literary books about gardens and gardening, which, for very good reason, includes two books of her own.

Tottering in my Garden by Midge Ellis Keeble, originally published by Camden House Books in 1989. Reprinted 1994.

I can always find the spine of Midge Keeble’s book on my gardening shelf: it is pale pink, the colour of apple blossoms, and stands out among its green-backed fellows that scream, rather than whisper garden. Midge was a writer of extraordinary grace, and she was a lifelong gardener who started digging in the dirt as a young hoursewife just after the Second World War. When she was 76, she published one of my favourite garden memoirs, Tottering in my Garden, which I love for its humour, its honesty, its unabashed love of growing things. “Gardening is an adventure, liberally laced with misadventur …

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The Canadian Children's Book Centre

CCBC Logo

The Canadian Children's Book Centre caters to an enormous demographic:"If you love children's books, you've come to the right place!" announces the tagline on their website. The non-profit organization has been long beloved for establishing connections between teachers and librarians, authors and illustrators, and publishers, and providing these groups with valuable resources.They're the force behind TD Canadian Children's Book Week, and several notable children's book awards. Lesser-known, however, is the support CCBC offers parents and other caregivers in connecting children with books and literacy activities that will awaken them to the joys of reading.

According to the CCBC, "The recipe for creating a life-long reader is wonderfully simple." That recipe involves the following four steps for parents: "Read-- Make books and reading a part of your children’s lives right from the start. And set aside regular time to read to your children from infancy to adolescence. Lead the Way-- Make regular visits to your local library and bookstore to help your children find the best books available. And Set an Example-- When children see adults enjoying a good book, they get a very important message – you never outgrow books!"

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In Conversation With: Sachiko Murakami on Community Poetry Renos and ProjectRebuild.ca.

tagged :
Project-Rebuild-Sachiko-Murakami

One day, my inbox went *DING* *DONG* and this showed up:

"YOUR INVITATION TO MOVE INTO PROJECT REBUILD

Move in and renovate the poems of Fred Wah, Darren Werschler, Larissa Lai, a.rawlings, Ray Hsu and over a hundred more in this collaborative poetry project initiated by Sachiko Murakami.

What is a poem but a rental unit of language?
Project Rebuild allows visitors to move in to any poem/house in the neighbourhood. On the page of any poem, click on “renovate” and the poem becomes editable in a text box. Change the nouns. Throw out the verbs. Bring in the big delete-button bulldozer and start fresh. Your poem will become a new house in the neighbourhood. And you can follow a poem's evolution by clicking on the "previous tenants" and "renovations" houses on each poem's page."

I immediately went to the site, clicked on the first house closest to my cursor . . . and froze.

"I can't mess with someone else's writing!" I exclaimed. (That's the G-rated version.) I tried again, highlighting a word, then two, then clicking outside the box and closing the tab.

Later that day, I sat in the corner of the room, knees to my chin, peeking out only occasionally to see if The Poem was still intact. I became defensive of The Poem, worried someone less reasoned would stumble in, like …

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