Off the Page

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

Latest Blog Posts
Book Cover Spindrift

Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea

By [Kerry Clare]

The gorgeous result of a five year quest for Canadian nautical writings. 

read more >
Book Cover Almost There

The 13 Worst Holidays in Canadian Literature

By [Kerry Clare]

Some very good reasons to stay home with a good book. 

read more >
The Chat, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, First Nations

The Chat With Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week on the Chat, we’re in conversation with acclaimed writer and musician Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of …

read more >
Book Cover Better Nature

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Poetry Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Our Fall Preview continues with poetry, and an exploration of the incredible array of books readers will fall in love wi …

read more >
Apricot Tart from Okanagan Table

Summer Eats: Apricot Curd Tart

By [Kerry Clare]

A delectable treat from new cookbook, The Okanagan Table

read more >
Shelf Talkers: August Long Weekend, 2017

Shelf Talkers: August Long Weekend, 2017

By [Rob Wiersema]

Perhaps the first time CanLit and mohito have been aligned in the same sentence.

read more >
Book Cover Barrelling Forward

Winning Books: Spring 2017 (Part Two)

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that have been winning judge and jury hearts. 

read more >
The Chat With Anne Fleming

The Chat With Anne Fleming

By [Trevor Corkum]

This week we turn to magical YA fiction on The Chat. I’m in conversation with BC-based author Anne Fleming, author of …

read more >
Book Cover Snacks

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Non-Fiction Preview

By [Kerry Clare]

Books that will deepen your connections to the world all around you. 

read more >
Book Cover Sidewalk Flowers

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Kindness and Caring

By [Kerry Clare]

Picture books featuring traits from character-based education. 

read more >

Shelf Talkers: August Long Weekend, 2017

tagged : Shelf Talkers

We try not to be overly political here in the Shelf Talkers column, but there are some issues we can only avoid for so long. We would like to apologize in advance for any offense this column might give, but we feel it’s something that needs to be discussed, now more than ever.

Summer reading.

Yes, you read that right.

Summer reading probably isn’t the most contentious issue of our times, but it’s a conflict that recurs with a troubling, almost calendar-like, regularity.

Every year, we are faced with two bitterly divided camps, framing the months of al fresco literary experience in such starkly differing terms you wonder if we could possibly be talking about the same activity.

On the one side of this bitterly entrenched ideological divide is the “summertime and the readin’ is easy” camp, those folks who feel that summer reading should be lighter, undemanding, a cool drink against the heat. These readers make the chaise longue resemble a fainting couch, as they reach up with trembling hands for the latest potboiler.

On the other side of the divide are the keeners, the readers who feel that summer’s endless vistas and seemingly unlimited time is perfect for reading projects. With all the determination of a fourth grader in a summer reading program, these readers attack their stacks, glowing not with sunburn, but with the satisfaction of a job well done.

It seems an untenable situation, two sides so rigourously opposed and each so well supported.

Here’s the thing, though: …

Continue reading >

Winning Books: Spring 2017 (Part Two)

So many winning Canadian books are celebrated every season that all of them don't fit into a single blog post. So on the occasion of summer, when the reading days still stretch oh-so-long, here are more of them, the Canadian books that have been winning judge and jurors' hearts. (See "Winning Books Part One," from May.) 

*****

Brown, by Kamal Al-Solaylee

Winner of the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

About the book: With the urgency and passion of Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me), the seductive storytelling of J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy) and the historical rigour of Carol Anderson (White Rage), Kamal Al-Solaylee explores the in-between space that brown people occupy in today’s world: on the cusp of whiteness and the edge of blackness. Brown proposes a cohesive racial identity and politics for the millions of people from the Global South and provides a timely context for the frictions and anxieties around immigration and multiculturalism that have led to the rise of populist movements in Europe and the election of Donald Trump. 

At once personal and global, Brown is packed with storytelling and on-the-street reporting conducted over two years in ten countries on four continents that reveals a multitude of lives and stories from destinations as …

Continue reading >

The Chat With Anne Fleming

Anne Fleming photo by Martin Dee_1
TREVOR CORKUM cropped

This week we turn to magical YA fiction on The Chat. I’m in conversation with BC-based author Anne Fleming, author of The Goat. This charming novel follows Kid, who accompanies her parents to New York City for a six-month stint of dog-sitting and home-schooling, but hears rumours of a goat living on the roof of her building and decides to investigate.

Of the book, Kirkus Reviews says “Fleming has created delightfully eccentric and warmhearted characters that exist in a close-knit community in lovely, accurately described New York City venues.” According to The National Post, “If Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach made a kids’ movie (pun intended), this would certainly be their script.”

Anne Fleming is the author of Pool-Hopping and Other Stories (shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, the Danuta Gleed Award and the Governor General’s Award), and Anomaly and Gay Dwarves of America. She is a long-time and highly regarded teacher of creative writing who has taught at the University of British Columbia, Emily Carr University of Art and Desi …

Continue reading >

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2017 Non-Fiction Preview

Books on nature, politics, family, current events, travel, health, sports, relationships, food, history ... and everything. The non-fiction we're most looking forward to this fall covers the world and its many fascinations. 

****

A work of memoir, history, and a call to action, In Search of a Better World (September), the 2017 CBC Massey Lecture delivered by International Law Professor and former UN Prosecutor Payam Akhavan, is a powerful and essential work on the major human rights struggles of our times. Ven Begamudré traces the history of both sides of his family in Extended Families: A Memoir of India (September). In The World's Most Travelled Man (October), Mike Spencer Bown shares stories from his decades of wandering, voyaging and trekking through every single country in the world. Opera sensation Measha Brueggergosman shares her story in Something Is Always on Fire: My Life So Far (October). Aileen Burford-Mason makes the link between nutrition and brain health in The Healthy Brain (December), following up Eat Well, Age Better. And in The Rights of Nature (September), noted environmental lawyer David Boyd tells a hopeful story which is, at its heart, one of humans as a species finally growing up.

Continue reading >

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Kindness and Caring

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

*****

The following books explore ideas about kindness and caring, which are important traits in character-based education.

Quiet offerings feature in Sidewalk Flowers, by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith. This wordless picture book follows a young girl walking through the city with her distracted father. He’s often on the phone as they pass shops, fruit stands, taxis, bus stop lineups, and busy pedestrians. All images are rendered in black and white, except the girl’s red hoodie and the flowers she picks from obscure places, including out of cracks in the sidewalk. Their stroll takes them through a park where she lays a bouquet on a dead bird, another near a snoozing man on a park bench, and one behind a dog’s collar. Finally, back home, she adorns her mother’s hair, and then her siblings in the backyard, before walking off into the bird-and-flower-filled endpapers. PreK+

Compassion is the basis for friendship in Abby’s Birds, by Ellen Sc …

Continue reading >

The Randomizer

Load New Book >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...