Off the Page

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

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Book Cover Honey

Why Can't I Let You Go?

By Brenda Brooks

The author of Honey, a dark story of obsession, suggests books she just can't quit. 

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7 Books to Promote Leadership Skills in Your Students

7 Books to Promote Leadership Skills in Your Students

By Allison Hall

A wise principal once told me that whoever is doing the work, is doing the learning. Wouldn’t it be beneficial for stu …

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Book Cover Tawaw

Food Writing: From My Bookshelves and Browser

By Jennifer Cockrall-King

A jumping-off list for a larger discussion of authors and thinkers who inspire us to think more deeply about the food we …

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The Recommend for Fall 2019: RomComs, Mysteries, Shoe Sellers, and Icons of CanLit

The Recommend for Fall 2019: RomComs, Mysteries, Shoe Sellers, and Icons of CanLit

By Kiley Turner

This week we're pleased to present the picks of writers Ian Colford (A Dark House and Other Stories), Ariela Freedman (A …

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Book Cover Set-Point

The Edges of Identity

By Fawn Parker

8 books dealing with issues of identity, sexuality, and mental health. 

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Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers' Fall 2019 Picks

Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers' Fall 2019 Picks

By Rob Wiersema

Some of Canada’s favourite booksellers’ favourite books of the year.

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Citrus Salad from Antoni in the Kitchen

Southern-Italian/Cold-NYC Winter Salad

By Antoni Porowski

"In the winter, when I long for fresh produce, I serve this citrus and fennel salad, which reminds me of Italy." 

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Book Cover Mobile

Walk on Over: 8 Books about Walking and Place

By Tanis MacDonald

A recommended reading list by celebrated writer Tanis MacDonald, whose latest book is Mobile.

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The Chat with Jessica Westhead

The Chat with Jessica Westhead

By Trevor Corkum

Jessica Westhead’s work is well known to fans across Canada. She returns to The Chat this month to talk about latest n …

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Own Voices: Bringing Indigenous Author Waubgeshig Rice's New Novel Into the Classroom

Own Voices: Bringing Indigenous Author Waubgeshig Rice's New Novel Into the Classroom

By Jonelle St. Aubyn

Moon of the Crusted Snow is the second novel from accomplished author, journalist, and storyteller Waubgeshig Rice. Alth …

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Why Can't I Let You Go?

Honey, the new novel by Brenda Brooks (whose Gotta Find Me an Angel was a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award) is a dark story about obsession. In this amazing reading list, Brooks recommends a wide-ranging list of books she just can't quit. 

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“Time to pull up stakes and move to smaller, more expensive digs? That means sweating the book test, whittling the library down to its absolute essentials. Who of your too many darlings isn’t going with you? You’ll be ruthless. No excuses. You’ll drop them off at the used bookstore and sell them away for 3 cents per pound, or kilo, or whatever. And so it begins: you choose a darling, read a few sentences—put it back. Pick another, read a few sentences—put it back. Why, here are a few darlings that belong to somebody else! You keep them too.”

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Book Cover By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and WEpt

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, by Elizabeth Smart

Oh, what Elizabeth Smart accomplished in 128 pages. In her remarkable foreword to the book Brigid Brophy calls the novel “a rhapsody and a lament,” its images strung together with such …

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7 Books to Promote Leadership Skills in Your Students

Twice a month, we invite an educator to share their perspective on essential books for your classroom. To apply to become a contributor, please send us an email!

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I spent some time over the summer thinking about how to improve the organization of various clubs and initiatives that take place in the library. The school year always starts with much excitement and great intentions, but midway through November I find that I’m already run off my feet. A wise principal once told me that whoever is doing the work, is doing the learning. Wouldn’t it be beneficial for students to take on some of these tasks? I’ve decided to put ownership back into the hands of the kids. By preparing my students as leaders and setting them up for success, I can start them off on an amazing learning journey. This year for example, I’m putting together a library book selection committee of students from K–8 who will discuss and implement a plan for which books belong in the library. I usually spend hours compiling lists and sourcing tiles, and I’m not even the target audience for the material. This year my library collection will be fully representative of my students.

My robotics and Minecraft clubs will also be run by expert students this year. These kids know way more about robots and Minecraft then I do anyway. As an added responsibility, they will design lunch and learns for teachers on these topics.

The question becomes, how can I make sure that my students are good leaders? Do they have …

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Food Writing: From My Bookshelves and Browser

Jennifer Cockrall-King is the author of three food books, most recently her co-authored tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine, by Shane M. Chartrand. In this recommended reading list, she shares the food books, and writing and podcasts, that inspire her. 

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With my head buried in a cookbook project for two years solid (and a couple more before that as chef Shane M. Chartrand was seeking a place to begin the process of storytelling and recipe writing), I’ve kept myself inspired with the writing and talent of many Canadian food writers and cookbook authors.

Here’s a list of writers who’ve found a place on my bookshelves, my magazine stacks, and my bookmarks of good websites. I offer it up as a jumping-off point for a larger discussion of authors and thinkers who inspire us to think more deeply about the food we eat, cook, and share.

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Let’s start with Anita Stewart, because how many other cookbook authors and culinary writers are also members of the Order of Canada, University of Guelph Food Laureates, founders of Food Day Canada? Stewart has spent t …

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The Recommend for Fall 2019: RomComs, Mysteries, Shoe Sellers, and Icons of CanLit

Research shows that most of the books we read are the result of one thing: someone we know, trust, and/or admire tells us it's great. That's why we run this series, The Recommend, where readers, writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.

This week we're pleased to present the picks of writers Ian Colford (A Dark House and Other Stories), Ariela Freedman (A Joy to Be Hidden), Farah Heron (The Chai Factor), Sky Curtis (Traps), Heidi L.M. Jacobs (Molly of the Mall), and Denis Coupal (Blindshot).

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Ian Colford recommends Alison Watt's Dazzle Patterns

Dazzle Patterns is a quietly seductive novel, set at the time of the Halifax Explosion, which took place on the morning of December 6, 1917. Clare Holmes, a young woman employed in the glassworks, is injured when a window is blown apart by the blast. Fred Baker, a co-worker, takes Clare to the hospital. Clare, alone in the city, longs for her fiancé, Leo, who is fighting in France. But as the war drags on, Clare and Fred frequently find themselves in each other’s company and are taken by surprise when a trusting intimacy springs up between them. Alison Watt, a professional artist, brings her interest in the visual experience to her debut novel. The writing i …

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The Edges of Identity

Fawn Parker—whose most recent publication is the novel Set-Point, which “takes us to the very edge of identity, virtual and lived,” according to poet Kateri Lanthier—recommends eight books dealing with issues of identity, sexuality, and mental health. 

Heroine, by Gail Scott 

A Montreal woman masturbates in her bathtub, musing on her involvement with the '70s leftist movement, a polyamorous romance with a man always just out of reach, and her own personal identity cast against other women, other artists. Gail Scott blends poetic prose, stream of consciousness and “new narrative” (term coined by Soup magazine) to bring the reader right into the room with her protagonist. The line blurs between tense, story, character, and body. 

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Sodom Road Exit, by Amber Dawn

Starla Mia Martin moves back home to what feels like a ghost town (Crystal …

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