Off the Page

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

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Book Cover In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo

Get Out Of Town: 11 Literary Getaways

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that take you places. 

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Quick Hits: Circus Acts, Prison Love, Middle Age, and More

Quick Hits: Circus Acts, Prison Love, Middle Age, and More

By [Kiley Turner]

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction …

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The Chat with Pamela Mulloy

The Chat with Pamela Mulloy

By [Trevor Corkum]

What happens when a soldier goes AWOL and ends up meeting a lonely gardener at an isolated farm in small-town New Brunsw …

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Shelf Talkers: Mid-Summer 2018

Shelf Talkers: Mid-Summer 2018

By [Rob Wiersema]

For readers, the summer months have a special connotation. We remember not family trips, per se, but those books we read …

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Book Cover Bec and Call

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2018 Poetry Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

All the new poetry coming on the scene.

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Book Cover Zolitude

8 Short Story Collections To Put on Your Summer Reading List

By [Kerry Clare]

There's still plenty of summer left, and it's not too late to add these story collections to your reading lists.

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Mystery Minute: August 2018

Mystery Minute: August 2018

By [Kiley Turner]

Our Mystery Minute series brings you acclaimed mysteries that just beg to be added to your already towering TBR pile.

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Book Cover Anna Like Thunder

Reimagining West Coast History

By [Kerry Clare]

A recommended reading list from Peggy Herring, whose new book is Anna, Like Thunder

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Book Cover The Tiny Kite of Eddie Wing

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Flight

By [Kerry Clare]

Great books to complement the Grade 6 Science and Technology Unit. 

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Book Cover All the Sweet Things

Summer Eats: Our Taste Canada Shortlist Extravaganza

By [Kerry Clare]

Try these delicious recipes excerpted from cookbooks nominated for 2018 Taste Canada Awards. 

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8 Short Story Collections To Put on Your Summer Reading List

There's still plenty of summer left, and it's not too late to add these story collections to your reading lists. 

*****

Zolitude, by Paige Cooper 

About the book: Fantastical, magnetic, and harsh—these are the women in Paige Cooper’s debut short story collection Zolitude. They are women who built time machines when they were nine, who buy plane tickets for lovers who won’t arrive. They are sisters writhing with dreams, blasé about sex but beggared by love—while the police horses have talons and vengeance is wrought by eagles the size of airplanes. Broken-down motorbikes and housebroken tyrannosaurs, cheap cigarettes and mail bombs—Cooper finds the beautiful and the disturbing in both the surreal and the everyday.

Troubling, carnal, and haunting, these stories are otherworldly travelogues through banal, eco-fabulist dystopias. Zolitude is a gorgeous, sad, and sexy work of slipstream and an atlas of fantastic isolation. The monstrous is human here, and tender.

Why we're taking notice: From The Toronto Star, "...across fourteen stories Cooper builds strange, genre-defying, sci-fi- and fantasy-infused realities that are distinctly her own. Truly, they’re like nothing else you’ve read lately. Whether funny, erotic, puzzling, Mirror Universe-y, or claustrophobi …

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Mystery Minute: August 2018

Our Mystery Minute series brings you acclaimed mysteries that just beg to be added to your already towering TBR pile.

***

Ruined Abbey, by Anne Emery

"True to the Irish tradition of great storytelling, this is a mesmerizing tale full of twists that will keep readers riveted from the first page to the last."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

About the book: It’s 1989. The Troubles are raging in Ireland, bombs exploding in England. In this prequel to the Collins-Burke series, Father Brennan Burke is home in New York when news of his sister’s arrest in London sends him flying across the ocean. The family troubles deepen when Brennan’s cousin Conn is charged with the murder of a Special Branch detective and suspected in a terrorist plot against Westminster Abbey. The Burkes come under surveillance by the murdered cop’s partner and are caught in a tangle of buried family memories.

From the bullet-riddled bars of Belfast to an elegant English estate, Ruined Abbey combines a whodunit with a war story, love story, and historical novel, while exploring the eternal question: what is fair in love and war? It all starts with a ruined abbey.

**

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Reimagining West Coast History

Peggy Herring reimagines West Coast history in her new book, Anna, Like Thunder, and in this recommended reading list, she shares titles that share the same questions that she explored as she was writing the novel. 

*****

Anna, Like Thunder is fiction based on fact. In 1808, a Russian trading ship ran aground off the coast of Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula. According to historical record, the 22 people on board the St. Nikolaiwere captured, enslaved, and traded up and down the coast until rescued 18 months later. But the record also recounts that a Russian woman on the ship—Anna Petrovna Bulygina—refused rescue only a few months into the ordeal. She called the Makahs with whom she was living “kind and humane people.”

This novel explores Anna’s decision and asks questions about the early days of contact between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people—and how the historical record portrays those encounters using language, tone, and specific voices chosen to tell the stories. Through Anna’s eyes, we witness the effects of the misguided and disruptive Russian imperial policy on the inhabitants and their land.

My research demanded that I look deeply into my own Russian heritage and, with respect to protocols, that I also reach out to the communities affec …

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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Flight

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

*****

Take off! These books about flight complement the Grade 6 Science & Technology unit.

The first of the nonfiction titles us Generating Wind Power, by Niki Walker. A pleasure to read and well laid out with photos and text boxes, it covers the gamut: the definition of energy, how wind is harnessed, why wind is a viable alternative to fossil fuel, how wind turbines work, wind farms, the history of harnessing wind (windmills), its drawbacks, and the future of wind power. Includes a timeline and glossary.

In The Wright Brothers: A Flying Start, by Elizabeth MacLeod, well-chosen historical details beautifully animate the Wright Brothers’ story; their close relationship, lack of high school education, money-making schemes growing up. One such business included bicycle repair, resulting in a redesign of the bicycle of the time—small back wheel/large front wheel. (Their same-size tires meant a much easier ride). The reader learns the science of flight throug …

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Summer Eats: Our Taste Canada Shortlist Extravaganza

If a few of the books on the 2018 Taste Canada Shortlists sound familiar to you, it might just be because we've been featuring them (and sharing their delicious recipes!) on our blog during the past year. And now with summer at its height and with the shortlists just announced, the time seems just as ripe as the fruit is to spotlight these incredible recipes again. 

Explore all the nominated books and blogs at the Taste Canada website. 

*****

Make This:

Apricot Curd Tart

from Rod Butter's and Kerry Gold's The Okanagan Table

"My chef de cuisine Robyn Sigurdson, who has worked with us since Fresco, came up with this simple and yummy tart, showing off the tasty union that is apricot and thyme."

*

About the book: The Okanagan Valley, 125 miles long and 12 miles wide, is home to some of B.C.’s most historic farmland, and every summer, the region explodes with apricots, peaches, sweet cherries, pears, plums, nectarines, grapes, and apples. There is no greater pleasure than seeing the reaction to true, honest cooking, and home cooks know this feeling, too. The Okanag …

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