Off the Page

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

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Image of pumpkin pancakes, accompanying the recipe

First We Brunch: The Summit Restaurant Pumpkin Pancakes

By [Kerry Clare]

"This recipe puts me in mind of cool, sunny autumn mornings, but using canned pumpkin purée makes these pancakes easy t …

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Giller Prize Special: The Chat with Michelle Winters

Giller Prize Special: The Chat with Michelle Winters

By [Trevor Corkum]

To kick off our Giller Prize special edition of The Chat, we’re in conversation with Michelle Winters, author of I Am …

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Book Cover Hunting Piero

Elephants, Bears and Birds: Animals in Canadian Literature

By [Kerry Clare]

"Animals contribute immeasurably to our lives, aesthetically, emotionally and spiritually." 

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So Many Writers, All in One Place

So Many Writers, All in One Place

By [Kiley Turner]

One of the best things we ever did on 49th Shelf was asking Trevor Corkum to join our team to lead the interview series, …

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Why Recreate the Woolly Mammoth?

Why Recreate the Woolly Mammoth?

By [Kiley Turner]

Jurassic Park meets The Sixth Extinction in Rise of the Necrofauna, a provocative look at de-extinction from acclaimed d …

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Book Cover Pictographs

Pictographs, by James Simon Mishibinijima

By [Kerry Clare]

"Mishibinijima’s art reflects a lifelong search for ways in which past and present, the spiritual and human, the anima …

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Book Cover Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead

Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead

By [Kerry Clare]

"Salloum’s book helps us remember what being Canadian means, that we have always been a pluralist nation." 

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Book Cover #NotYourPrincess

#NotYourPrincess

By [Kerry Clare]

Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale's new book provides insight into the lives and experiences of Indigenous women …

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Shelf Talkers: Thanksgiving 2017 Edition

Shelf Talkers: Thanksgiving 2017 Edition

By [Rob Wiersema]

"One thing that I’m thankful for (and I’m sure I’ve said it before), is that every month I get to spend some virtu …

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Book Cover The Scarlet Forest

Reading England in Through Historical Fiction

By [Kerry Clare]

A list by the author of new book, The Scarlet Forest: A Tale of Robin Hood

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Pictographs, by James Simon Mishibinijima

In Pictographs, Ojibway artist James Simon Mishibinijima brings to life the legends passed down to him by generations of Elders. In this collection of drawings, each image tells a story, silently communicating lessons of harmony, interconnectedness and peace.

We're pleased to feature five images from the book, as well as an excerpt from the introduction by Curator Tom Smart. 

*****

At the heart of Mishibinijima’s pictographic art is a conviction that the images painted on rock faces across the Canadian Shield and incised on sacred birch bark scrolls of the Grand Medicine Society are repositories of the religion, ethics and history of the Anishinabek people. Mishibinijima’s art reflects a lifelong search for ways in which past and present, the spiritual and human, the animate and inanimate can, and do, comingle in phenomena both seen and sensed.

Mishibinijima has spent much of his life exploring the islands and waterways of Manitoulin Island, the shores of Birch Island, the La Cloche mountains and the northern edges of Lake Huron. Contemplative, and patient, Mishibinijima’s purpose on his journeys of discovery has been to attune himself to the spiritual energy that radiates from any specific place, from the land and the water and from the souls that have lived and …

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Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead

Habeeb Salloum's award-winning book of recipes and recollections of Syrian cuisine in 1930s' Saskatchewan has just been released in a new revised edition, Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead. We're pleased to feature the book's introduction by historian Sarah Carter, as well as three stew recipes from the book. Enjoy! 

*****

Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead has long been one of my favourite books, not only because of the delectable recipes, but because it is a unique work of prairie history. It weaves recipes into a beautiful memoir about growing up on a Saskatchewan farm. Written by the son of homesteaders from Syria, it brings to light the experiences of Arab settlers whose contribution to the history of Canada is not well known. As Habeeb Salloum writes,“today people stare in disbelief when they hear that Arabs homesteaded in western Canada.” They were the first to grow lentils and chickpeas, the pulse crops that are today central to the economy of the prairies. Acquiring seeds from relatives, Salloum’s parents drew on the knowledge of their ancestors who had cultivated pulses in semi-arid conditions for centuries.

As Habeeb Salloum writes,“today people stare in disbelief when they hear that Arabs homesteaded in western Canada.” They w …

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#NotYourPrincess

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian#Not Your Princess, by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale, presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.  

We're pleased to feature these gorgeous spreads from #NotYourPrincess, featuring words and images by Danielle Daniel, Rosanna Deerchild, Patty Stonefish, Melanie Fey, Lee Maracle and others. 

*****

Spread from #NotYourPrincess

 

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Shelf Talkers: Thanksgiving 2017 Edition

Gratitude.

It seems like such a small thing, doesn’t it? Aren’t most of taught, from our earliest days, to say thank you? To be grateful?

It’s not that easy, though. And it’s more important than we had ever imagined.

As we gather, this week, for a national day of gratitude, tucking into our turkey (or turkey substitute), it’s worth noting that not only have the vast majority of spiritual and religious traditions long endorsed the significant benefits of gratitude, but Forbes magazine, of all places, has also come aboard, recognizing seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude, including health benefits, better sleep, and greater mental strength.

And if Forbes has been writing about it, there must be something to it, right?

If you don’t already have a practice for gratitude, why don’t you try this with me: this weekend, before you dig in, take a moment to really experience gratitude, to give thanks (even silently) for the good things in your life.

One thing that I’m thankful for (and I’m sure I’ve said it before), is that every month I get to spend some virtual time with some of Canada’s finest independent booksellers. I spent more than two decades of my life on the weary side of retail, and this column allows me to keep in touch with a part of my life I miss more than I was expecting to.

Plus, they always recommend such great books.

This month I asked, in a fairly general way, for our booksellers to talk about a book or author they were grateful for. Here’ …

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Reading England in Through Historical Fiction

In The Scarlet Forest: A Tale of Robin Hood, A.E. Chandler reimagines the story of Robin Hood for the twenty-first century reader, and in this fantastic list of historical fiction from England, she recommends great books that vividly bring history to life. 

*****

 

The Eagle and the Raven, by Pauline Gedge

After her husband’s death, Boudicca leads a great rebellion against Claudius and the Roman Empire. As the warrior queen of the Iceni, her power extends throughout what is now Norfolk, and farther. Leading the Celtic Britons, she fights for freedom in a struggle that stretches beyond herself, through three generations.

Book Cover the Magnificent Century

The Magnificent Century, by Thomas B. Costain

Costain’s The Magnificent Century follows the reign of King Henry III, from 1216 and the clash surrounding the Magna Carta, through years of building and rebellion, until Henry’s …

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