Off the Page

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

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Books to Spark Inquiry and Design Thinking

Books to Spark Inquiry and Design Thinking

By Allison Hall

Design thinking can take students to many different end results: a tangible product or invention, a virtual design, or a …

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Book Cover Smells Like Stars

The Space Between

By Kerry Clare

Books that challenge binary and complicate matters in the most interesting and useful ways.  

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The Chat with Téa Mutonji

The Chat with Téa Mutonji

By Trevor Corkum

Vivek Shraya launched her imprint VS. Books with Arsenal Pulp to highlight bold work by new and emerging Indigenous or B …

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Book Cover These Are Not the Potatoes

26 Books to Celebrate for Poetry Month

By 49th Shelf Staff

Featuring highlights from amazing new poetry being published this spring. 

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Book Cover War / Torn

War/Torn Identities

By Hasan Namir

A recommended reading list from the author of the new poetry collection, War / Torn

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Book Cover The Centre of the Universe

How an Email to an Astrophysicist Changed My (Book’s) Life

By Ria Voros

YA Author Ria Voros explains how two literary worlds collided—and tells the amazing story of what happened next. 

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Book Cover The Case of Windy Lake

Farley Mowat, Comics, SciFi and Manitoba

By Michael Hutchinson

A recommended reading list by Michael Hutchinson, whose Mighty Muskrats middle grade series launches with The Case of Wi …

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Choose Kindness! Kids Books that Explore This Crucial Value

Choose Kindness! Kids Books that Explore This Crucial Value

By Sarah Campbell

As parents, teachers, librarians, family, and friends, we want to raise children who know how to be kind. Reading allevi …

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The Chat with Lucas Crawford

The Chat with Lucas Crawford

By Trevor Corkum

This week, we’re in conversation with Lucas Crawford, author of The High Line Scavenger Hunt (University of Calgary Pr …

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Shelf Talkers: Whispering Words to Hasten Spring's Arrival

Shelf Talkers: Whispering Words to Hasten Spring's Arrival

By Rob Wiersema

Here in the Shelf Talkers column, we have a round-up of books for your spring reading pleasure. And, in keeping with the …

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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

tagged :

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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In Conversation With: Suzanne Desrochers (Bride of New France, @penguincanada)


I met Suzanne Desrochers (Bride of New France, Penguin Group Canada) in a carpool en route to an event in Uxbridge hosted by Blue Heron Books. Suzanne sat in the front. I sat in the back. Over the sweet music remix provided by publicist Barbara Bower, we shouted back and forth about a variety of topics: England. Agents. Babies. On the return trip, we sat together in back, talk turning to, well, England. Agents. Babies. Back in our usual corners, I asked Suzanne if she'd like to expand a bit on some of the comments from the evening's panel: traversing the divide between academic writing and fiction, unveiling previously hidden historical figures, and a day in the life of one writer with kid and another on the way. Hurrah for us, she agreed, and I think you'll enjoy the chat.

Julie Wilson: I recall reading somewhere something to the fact that the longer a scientist works in the field the more likely he or she is to ascribe to one faith or another because there comes a time when one simply cannot reason away every discovery. I recently had the pleasure of seeing you speak on a panel about memoir and family history and this sprang to mind again. All three authors on the panel—you, Camilla Gibb and Susanna Kearsley—come either out of an academic background, in which …

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The Personal Book Shopper Contest: June #mybookshopper

personal book shopper

Welcome to The Personal Book Shopper Contest!

To recap, we know word-of-mouth is the #1 one way readers find their way to their next book. And we know that if you're into social media, you're used to sending out the call for recommendations of one sort or another. So to hearken back to my earliest days as @BookMadam, I'm going to hook you up with some good books. It's the personal touch.

How does it work?

We're inviting readers to submit a few "choice words" to describe themselves. Have a deep think and get as creative as you'd like. Using those words, I, along with a rotating door of readers, publishers, booksellers, authors, bloggers, librarians—you name it—will attempt to come up with not one but three books we think you might like . . . and then we're gonna give 'em to you! We'll choose three winners per contest. Counting on my fingers, that's, yep, nine books given away each month. Even if you don't win, you'll still walk away with a new reading list!

And the first contest begins . . . now!

Enter in one of three ways:

1) Twitter: Follow @CdnBookshelf so you'll never miss our news and announcements. When each Personal Book Shopper Contest is announced, using the hashtag #mybookshopper, reply to @CdnBookshelf with a minimum of five choice words to describe …

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Books Your Dad Will Love

wild geese

What dad doesn’t like a bit of plot? For Father’s Day this year, may we suggest Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese, which portrays the very worst father in all of CanLit? It’s a great read, but more than that, the tyrant Caleb Gare will make your own dad look really good in comparison. Another creepy dad reigns in Jonathan Bennett’s Entitlement, which is a fun, twistily-plotted novel that your dad might enjoy reading at the cottage this summer. (Or he might like any of the books recommended in Bennett's Power and Politics reading list).


So creepy, we’re glad he’s not anybody’s dad is the protagonist of Tony Burgess People Live Still in Cashton Corners, a perfect gift for the father who likes to blur the lines between true crime and disturbing fiction. And how about a couple of legal thrillers: Robert Rotenberg’s Old City Hall, and also his latest novel, The Guilty Plea? A father/son relationship is at the heart of Andrew Pyper’s terrifying novel The Killing Circle, and also in Thomas King’s just-as-mysterious Truth and Bright Water.

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The Randomizer

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