Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Notes Towards Recovery

Louise Ells: Short Story Stunners

By [Kerry Clare]

Collections that inspired her as she wrote her debut, Notes Towards Recovery

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Book Cover What's My Superhero

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Books on Health and Wellness

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that focus on self-awareness—understanding personal strengths, recognizing sources of stress, making decisions, …

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Book Cover A Joy to be Hidden

Ariela Freedman: Jewish Canadian Fiction

By [Kerry Clare]

A recommended reading list by the award-winning author of the new novel A Joy To Be Hidden

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Book Cover The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

Awesome Girls in Middle-Grade Fiction

By [Kerry Clare]

A recommended reading list by Julia Nobel, whose novel is The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

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Book Cover Fierce

25 Books for International Women's Day

By [Kerry Clare]

Books on women's history, suffrage, reproductive experiences, memoir, menstrual cycles, athletics, and so much more—in …

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Book Cover the Migration

Helen Marshall: Weird Fiction

By [Kerry Clare]

"Weird fiction zigzags across the boundaries between horror and fantasy, sometimes chilling, sometimes beautiful, but al …

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The Chat with Ian Williams

The Chat with Ian Williams

By [Trevor Corkum]

Reproduction, the debut novel by Ian Williams, is a stunner. By any measure. Structurally daring, emotionally profound, …

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Logo 1000 Islands Writers Festival

Your 2019 Spring Festival Guide

By [Kerry Clare]

Across the country, organizers and volunteers-extraordinaire are programming epic celebrations of books and the amazing …

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End of February Giveaway

End of February Giveaway

By [Kiley Turner]

There has never been a better time for a surprise giveaway. Here’s how it works. Kerry and I will each tell you a TINY …

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Imperfect People: A Book List by Caroline Adderson

Caroline Adderson's headshot

Caroline Adderson is the author of two internationally published novels (A History of Forgetting, Sitting Practice), two collections of short stories (Bad Imaginings, Pleased To Meet You), and three books for young readers (Very Serious Children, I, Bruno, Bruno For Real).Her work has received numerous prize nominations including the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers' Trust Fiction Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. A two-time Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and three-time CBC Literary Award winner, Caroline was also the recipient of the 2006 Marian Engel Award for mid-career achievement. Her latest novel is The Sky is Falling.

I am partial to imperfect characters, the kind of people we sidestep in real life because they make us uncomfortable, because we are afraid of them, because we are afraid of being them. How much easier to turn and face them when they are between the covers of a book! This embracing of the imperfect exemplifies, I think, what the act of reading (and for that matter writing) actually is -- an act of compassion: com + pati = to suffer with. Through literature we gain privileged access to the private thoughts and feelings of a character and so become them and suffer with them. Oddly, only as I …

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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.

Book Cover

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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