Talking about the Top 10 lists: Terry Fallis


CBC Books asked a few publishing insiders -- booksellers, authors and editors -- to reflect on and respond to the Canada Reads: Turf Wars Top 10 lists. Today, we turn to a previous Canada Reads winning author, Terry Fallis.

I clearly did not think it through when I hastily agreed to offer my thoughts on the Top 50 books vying for this year's Canada Reads crown. Even though the regional longlists had not yet been unveiled, I blithely replied, "Sure, no problem, happy to." Yeah, well, happy shmappy. Have you seen the list of grand books? The blend of CanLit masters and young talented upstarts had me racing for my book shelves, and then to the bookstore. So here's my not exactly completely informed (understatement alert) sense of which books in each region to watch for as the Canada Reads race tightens.

British Columbia and Yukon: A great list of books, old and new, from the far west. I'd keep my eyes on Canada Reads veteran Angie Abdou's The Canterbury Trail, and Billie Livingston's One Good Hustle.

Prairies and North: Several novels here that really capture this special part of the country. I have to go with Todd Babiak's The Garneau Block and Fred Stenson's The Trade.

Ontario: This is torture. I have to cite three favourites here. Cathy Marie Buchanan's The Day the Falls Stood Still, Alison Pick's Far to Go and a classic, Robertson Davies' Fifth Business.

Quebec: In la belle province, something new, Louise Penny's The Beautiful Mystery, and something old(er), one of my faves, Mordecai Richler's Solomon Gursky Was Here.

Atlantic Provinces: As usual, some wonderful storytelling from the east. Watch out for Michael Crummey's Galore and Alistair McLeod's gem No Great Mischief. Honourable mention to Jessica Grant's Come, Thou Tortoise.

Terry Fallis is the author of The Best Laid Plans, winner of the 2008 Leacock Medal for Humour, and the 2011 CBC Canada Reads crown as the "essential Canadian novel of the decade." It is now in development by CBC Television as a six-part miniseries, and by Touchstone Theatre as a stage musical. The sequel, The High Road, published in 2010, was a finalist for the 2011 Leacock Medal. His third novel, Up and Down, hit bookstores in September 2012 and debuted on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list. All three of his novels are published by McClelland & Stewart. He blogs at and his Twitter handle is @TerryFallis.

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