Categories: Readings, Wednesday ripples Leave a comment

What I’m Reading Now

by Rev. Dan Chambers

The St. Andrew’s website is getting a revamp and a tweak and will soon include a book review section from the ministerial staff.  Here’s a foreshadowing…


Are you frustrated by what passes as the political process?

Do you at times get irritated by politicians who dodge a straightforward question and maneuver their response to the safe-ground of a “talking point?”

Are you fed-up with “sound bites?”

Do you sometimes get the impression that many politicians care more about their own career or, possibly, the well-being of their party than they do the long-term good of the country?

Does negative campaigning infuriate you and as you watch the presidential campaign unfold down south do you worry about the health and vitality of the democratic process?

In the summer, do you enjoy reading something that will both engage your mind and make you laugh?

If you answer in the affirmative, then I have a couple of books to recommend to you.

Neither book is a new release, but I bother to mention them because when I ask people, “Have you read…by…” they often say, “No.”   Or, “Who?”   The few friends who have read these books have loved them and brought them to their book groups, who also loved them.

bestLaidPlansBoth books are by Terry Fallis, who has an engineering degree, is the president of a public relations agency and is an author.  In 2007, he published The Best Laid Plans, which won “the essential Canadian novel of the decade” on Canada Reads in 2011 (which is where I first heard of it), and also received the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour.  He followed with The High Road in 2010 which is a rare example of the sequel being at least as good as its predecessor.

The protagonist is a recently widowed Scottish curmudgeon engineering professor at the University of Ottawa who, in order to get out of teaching a first year English for Engineers class agrees to run as the Liberal Candidate for the riding. He makes this agreement firm and secure in the knowledge that a Liberal hasn’t won this Conservative seat for decades, and as he has no intention to serve, he has no intention to win.

But sometimes life has other plans, and Angus McLintock finds himself caught in a political tide which lands him begrudgingly in Parliament.

TheHighRoadThrough a rollicking story of twists and delightful turns, Terry Fallis gives us an endearing political candidate who has no investment in his political career – at all, yet is filled with integrity and intelligence and is wholly dedicated to the common good.  In other words, in crusty Angus, we find a politician many of us would not only vote for, but actively campaign for.

The Hon. Elinor Caplan, former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, writes,

Terry Fallis weaves a funny yet tender tale that gives us all hope for the future of democracy.  Hilarious and thought-provoking…

CBC Radio Host, Tom Allen, writes,

Terry Fallis has found the cure for Canada’s political malaise: a stubborn, old, irreverent Scotsman with nothing to lose.

We have a few weeks of summer left, or, if you already have a book or two on your bedside table, there will be political conversation in full rev this fall.  Pick-up The Best Laid Plans and allow your angry cynicism to be quelled by hope.  You’ll sleep better, and maybe even find a way to make your own contribution to the absurd but important democracy we share.        


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