Off the Page

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

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The Chat with Anthony De Sa

The Chat with Anthony De Sa

By Trevor Corkum

We continue our summer edition of The Chat in conversation with Toronto writer Anthony De Sa. His new novel, Children of …

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Book Cover The Work

Most Anticipated: 2019 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

The novels, story collections, and drama that readers will be loving in the second half of 2019. 

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Shelf Talkers: Marilyn Monroe, YA Romance, Magic Basketball, and More

Shelf Talkers: Marilyn Monroe, YA Romance, Magic Basketball, and More

By Rob Wiersema

In a lot of ways, reading is the perfect summer reading project: you get to accomplish something AND you don’t have to …

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Book Cover Seaside Treasures

Books Beat Boredom: 8 Things for Your Kids to Do this Summer

By Kerry Clare

Engaging titles that also suggest amazing ways to engage with and have fun in the natural world. 

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Book Cover Simon and Louise

Super Summer Reading Guide

By Kerry Clare

20 titles that are sure to delight you. 

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Logo Read By the Sea Festival

Your 2019 Guide to Summer Literary Festivals

By Kerry Clare

Good things are happening across the country! 

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Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

Leading Students on a Path of Self-Discovery: Sadia by Colleen Nelson

By Geoffrey Ruggero

As a fifteen-year-old adjusting to life in high school, Sadia begins to realize that growing up in Winnipeg brings many …

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The Chat with Kris Bertin

The Chat with Kris Bertin

By Trevor Corkum

Kris Bertin is back. The Halifax-based writer’s highly anticipated second collection of short fiction, Use Your Imagin …

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Book Cover The Little Hummingbird

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Text to Text

By Julie Booker

As part of the Language curriculum, primary readers are asked to make connections between books, identifying similaritie …

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Giving a Canadian Book This Holiday Season? We can help.

Give-a-CDN-book image

The "Give a Canadian Book" meme began with an email and a blog post by writer Steve Pitt, and grew from there to make the rounds on Twitter and Facebook. And it's not hard to see why the idea has caught on-- the following argument is pretty persuasive:

"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.

Canadian books also offer unbelievable choice. From Romance to Home Renos, Humour to Who-dunnits, Canadian books are second to none anywhere in the world. No matter what the age, gender or personal interests are of all the people on your gift list, there is a perfect Canadian book for each of them."

And …

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Stranger in a Strange Land (by Laura Boudreau)

Laura Boudreau

The economy of a life reduced to a suitcase can be as romantic as it is alienating. Being on the move, as I have been for much of the last few years, changes you. It changes you because of the newness you encounter, certainly, and this can be tremendously rewarding. But all that newness also layers itself over the past, altering it. Or at least I have found that to be a sad and liberating truth of my own experience. All lands, even the ones I know best, are strange.

I am drawn to stories about travellers, and this list celebrates writers who explore the excitement, adventure, and anguish of life in parts unknown.

Book Cover Natasha

Natasha by David Bezmozgis: What a privilege to see my hometown of Toronto through the eyes of Mark Berman, a Jewish boy whose family moves to Canada from Riga, Latvia. When we first meet Mark he is six, and these early stories are my favourites of the collection — some of Mark’s first English words are “gaylord,” “shithead,” and “mental case,” and these “germs of a new vocabulary” are both cure and disease when it comes to t …

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In Conversation With: Playwright and Novelist Kate Cayley on the Jump from Stage to Page

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Kate Cayley, author of The Hangman in the Mirror (Annick Press).

This summer, I visited poet, playwright and novelist Kate Cayley in her home beside the train tracks where we recorded her reading from The Hangman in the Mirror. It was like sitting side-by-side on stage with an actor whispering to reach the back row. I had the same experience when I recorded Marina Endicott, in town for The International Festival of Authors, reading from her latest novel The Little Shadows. Both women have a performance background, so I went back to Kate to ask her about this distinction and how she went about adapting a stage play into what would become her first novel. We also talk about growing up unschooled and its impact on her artistic pursuits. (Please do listen to Kate read from her novel at the end of our interview.)

Julie Wilson: Your play After Akhmatova, opens with two women reciting lines of a poem to one another to commit it memory. Then they burn the poem. When we met this past summer, you had some interesting thoughts on poetry and performance. Am I correct that you desire more performance in poetry, rather than something understated?

Kate Cayley: This is an interesting question, especially when I think of "Requiem," the Anna Akhmatova poem which the two women recite to each other at the beginning of the play. In that instance, they …

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The God Edit: Guest Post by Barbara Stewart

Book Cover Campie

“Did you mean Two-Fingers Bob or Alligator Bob?” By (mostly) gentle consensus, nicknames are how anonymous 12-Step program members identify one Bob from another Bob, or Sailboat Mary from Big Boobs Mary, or Blue Judy from Tom’s Judy. You don’t get to pick your own handle. I once asked about mine and was disappointed to hear I was just “Barb.” How crushing. Nothing special set me apart from other Barbs? Only years later, well into my second decade of recovery did someone finally tell me. “We’ve always called you God-Barb.”

To my way of thinking, I had earned the moniker not because I was godly, but because I’d done so badly: a divorce followed by years of court dates and single parenting, followed by more years of bankruptcy, unemployment and depression. God became my go-to-guy, a heavenly Mike Holms with spiritual duct tape to fix the demolition job I’d done on my life. Finally in 2003, broke and homeless, I was hired to work as the camp attendant (nicknamed the “campie”) at an oilrig in northern Alberta. By then, the carpenter-saviour was embedded in my vocabulary and throughout my journal notes.

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote, “Pain was the touchstone of all spiritual growth.” Perhaps the touchstone of all my g …

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2011 Culinary Book Award Winners, plus great links and recipes

The winners of the 2011 Canadian Culinary Book Awards were announced on November 7th at Toronto's Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Book Cover Locavore

Sarah Elton's Locavore: From Farmers' Fields to Rooftop Gardens, How Canadians Are Changing the Way We Eat took the Gold for Special Interest, English Language. Earlier this year, Locavore appeared on Margaret Webb's Canadian Bookshelf Food Books Reading List, where Webb called it, "Lively, compelling and warm-hearted journalism with a generous helping of rigorous research."

Book Cover Incredible Edibles

Incredible Edibles: 43 Fun Things to Grow in the City by Sonia Day won the Silver Award. Check out Sonia Day's recent "The Real Dirt" column about growing (and taming) sorrel, and how to make it into soup.

Book Cover Flavours of Prince Edward Island

Jeff McCourt, Allan Williams and Austin Clement won Gold in Canadian Culinary Culture, English Language for Flavours of Prince Edward Island: A …

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