Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

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Here's a good list of 100 great novels. I'm not sure about "the best" -- two Dostoevsky titles, but no Brothers Karamazov, WTF? -- but it's still a good resource, with plenty of authors on here I'd never heard of, or had heard of but had never considered reading (Howard Norman, John Williams, etc.)

I've read thirty-three of these books, and a number of other books by some of the included authors, but mostly the list excites those old anxieties and inadequacies I talked about in a previous post. So many books to read, so little time, and I often find myself hungover and dumb and more apt to read comic books or google ex-girlfriends or just stare out the window at the rain, the driving rain... No?

Catalogues like this always seem a project of exclusion; I'm less excited to see The Hour of the Star than dismayed at the absence of Horacio Castellanos Moya's Senselessness or David Ohle's Motorman -- never mind that there isn't a single Graham Greene book of the one hundred! And while I'm not much of a patriot when it comes to literature, I'm a little rankled by the fact that Margaret Atwood is the sole and token Canadian.

Still, this list is more interesting, and invigorates me more to get reading, than most similar projects. The Modern Library's 100 Best Novels, for example, seems more like a compendium of PhD comps in American Literature. (And then there's the "Reader's List," which is topped out by Ayn Rand's two doorstoppers and L. Rob Hubbard.) The Guardian's take has a more international flavour, while the crowd-sourced BBC version includes multiple Harry Potters, Rosamunde Pilcher and, awesomely, Roald Dahl's The Twits, one of my favourite books of all time.

This is my last post on Open Book. I haven't really thought about ending my time here in any special way, except to say that coming up with sixteen topics with even tenuous connections to literature has been both fun and exhausting. But I hope that I've conveyed some of my enthusiasm for books, which, maybe, by doing all this typing, has even been rejuvenated a bit.

Now, to tackling This Recording's list. (First up: The Elementary Particles, which I've avoided for reasons I can't remember.) I've got sixty-seven books to get through before I find some other list that makes me anxious and frantic and, eventually, hungry for more.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Pasha Malla

Pasha Malla’s first collection of short stories, The Withdrawal Method, a Globe and Mail and National Post book of the year, won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Trillum Book Award and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and longlisted for the Giller Prize. His latest book, People Park, is forthcoming from Anansi in July 2012.

Go to Pasha Malla’s Author Page