Off the Page

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

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Book Cover The Birds That Stay

Ann Lambert: Watershed Books

By [Kerry Clare]

The challenge: "How do I isolate ten books to recommend from the range and depth of Canadian literature?"

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The Recommend: Masterpieces, Celebrities, Survival, and Magic

The Recommend: Masterpieces, Celebrities, Survival, and Magic

By [Kiley Turner]

This week we're pleased to present the picks of book blogger Laura Frey (, Melanie Fishbane (whose de …

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Book Cover The Girl and the Wolf

Most Anticipated: Our 2019 Books for Young Readers Spring Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Last but certainly not least in our 2019 Spring Preview is our Books for Young Readers list: books that will delight rea …

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Book Cover Whale Music

Celebrating Short Books

By [Kerry Clare]

An excellent chance to meet your reading goals , or to score a Book Club pick that everyone stands a chance of actually …

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Book Cover Black Women Who Dared

New Books on Black History

By [Kerry Clare]

About Black artists, writers, civil rights activists, athletes, heroes, and more. 

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Book Cover Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club

Megan Gail Coles: Writing Through Risk

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that challenge  literary expectations and community norms while demanding artistic honesty and human compassion

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The Chat with Shauntay Grant and Eva Campbell

The Chat with Shauntay Grant and Eva Campbell

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week we’re in conversation with the creators of Africville, a picture book nominated last year for the Governor G …

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Book Cover There Are Not Enough Sad Songs

Most Anticipated: Our 2019 Spring Poetry Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Post-Groundhog Day, we're looking forward to spring with our Poetry Preview, featuring new books by established poets an …

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Book Cover Sugar and Snails

On Our Radar

By [Kerry Clare]

Books with buzz worth sharing. 

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Shelf Talkers: Books to Get You Through February

Shelf Talkers: Books to Get You Through February

By [Rob Wiersema]

Think baggy sweaters and hand-knit slippers, think warm baths and hot drinks, think, of course, of books. (And if your s …

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The Personal Book Shopper: June's Picks Revealed

personal book shopper

The day has arrived! Our panelists for the June edition of The Personal Book Shopper Contest have come back with their picks for this month's winners.

Remember, we do this all again next month. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 19 at 10:00 a.m. and look to us on Twitter at @cdnbookshelf and on Facebook for reminders.

Let's meet the panelists again, shall we?

Shelley Macbeth is the force behind one of my favourite independent bookstores, Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, ON.
Aaron Brown is the force behind the CanLit blog The Canadian Book Review.
Julie Forrest is the force behind—I'm sensing a theme here—the litblog Read, Play, Blog and the Founder of the This Ain't Your Mother's Book Club. (She's also a publishing professional known to just about every blogger across this great country.)
Ashley Winnington-Ball is the force behind the entire Universe. Oh, fine. She's just severely well (and widely) read and one ridiculously good jewellery designer.

Now to the picks! Each winner will receive four books as selected for them by our panelists. And you, dear Reader, will walk away with a recommended reading list of one, two, three, four . . . twelve books!

Steve Vernon, the panelists have spoken. Your words are: bearded, big-bellied, blustering blowhard of bookstores. …

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2011 Literary Festival Guide

Literary Festival season starts early here in Canada, with events such as Salon du Livre du Grand Sudbury, Niagara Literary Arts Festival, Whitehorse Poetry Festival, the Frye Festival in Moncton NB, and the Festival littéraire international de Montréal Metropolis bleu already behind us. Now that summer is officially here, however, things will be kicking into high gear, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a Canadian summer weekend without a literary festival in it. And so to help you navigate that busy calendar, we're pleased to bring you the 2011 Literary Festival Guide, celebrating books from coast to coast.


The Scream Literary Festival runs in Toronto from July 6-11. It's the last hurrah for this legendary fest, which culminates in an event in the middle of High Park with readers including Christian Bök, Dani Couture, Sheila Heti and Misha Glouberman. The Saskatchewan Festival of Words takes place in Moose Jaw from July 14-17, featurning Helen Humphreys, Susan Juby, Charlotte Gray, Ryan Knighton and Robert J. Sawyer amidst an absolutely stellar line-up. And then there's the Lakefield Literary Festival, in Lakefield ON, which happens July 15-17, with readers including Sarah Selecky, Trevor Cole, Alexander MacLeod, Merilyn Simonds, Suzanne Desrochers, and Lisa M …

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There is Life Among the Cubicle Dwellers: Guest Post by Rebecca Rosenblum


Rebecca Rosenblum is author of Once, which won the Metcalf-Rooke Award and was one of Quill and Quire’s 15 Books That Mattered in 2008. Her second collection, The Big Dream, is forthcoming from Biblioasis in September 2011.

My book, The Big Dream, is about people who work…among other things. I’m interested in putting work in its proper place as a big part of the lives of many of the characters I write about. I have read too many novels and stories where the main character is a freelance something or other, and never does any work at all, or where the narrative cuts from 8:30 am to 6pm as if the characters had just been asleep in a closet during that period.

However, I wasn’t interested in writing a book where all the characters live their lives mainly at the office. There are certainly people whose main emotional life is on the job, and actually I enjoy writing about them. But I also enjoy writing about people who have jobs and parents and children and lovers and ex-lovers and problems and angst and great senses of humour. I think work is very closely woven into the fabric of our lives, and that our lives are generally more complex than genre designations like “office novels,” “domestic fiction,” “romance,” etc. Though my writing is not autobiogra …

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Zoe Whittall's Contemporary Queer Fiction List

To celebrate Pride this week, we're pleased to feature Zoe Whittall's Contempory Queer Fiction List:

Skim: a graphic novel with words by Mariko Tamaki, illustrations by Jillian Tamaki: A story about a lesbian student-teacher affair at a thinly fictionalized Havergal College.




Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion: a YA novel about young punk rock queers.






Missed Her by Ivan Coyote: This is the most recent book I've read by Ivan and it had me weeping and I'm *really* not easily moved but actually I would urge you to buy all of Ivan's books of stories, or Bow Grip, Ivan's novel, which was excellent.





Six Metres of Pavement by Farzana D …

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Discovering Summer with The 49th Shelf

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In the seductive labyrinth that is The 49th Shelf, a chief delight is discovering books you didn’t even know you were looking for, and this is precisely what happens when you explore the site using “summer” as a title search term. The search reveals a wealth of literary treasures, including The Summer of Apartment X by Lesley Choyce, whose nostalgia is less sepia-toned than vivid 1970s’s orange, the story of three guys whose plans to take over a summer beach resort town don’t go remotely according to plan. Or Andrew Binks’ The Summer Between, a darker story which depicts a young boy struggling against homophobia and racism in contrast to its idyllic summer setting.


Miriam Toews’ acclaimed novel Summer of My Amazing Luck won the Governor General’s Award, and was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. This hilarious story of a single mother on welfare has all the humour, depth and emotion that fans of Toews’ writing have since come to expect (and, naturally, a road trip.). In Linda Hutsell-Manning’s That Summer in Franklin …

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