Top Five: Fall 2013 Books by Edmonton Authors

I wrote about reading local last year, and why I think it’s important. I don’t know if there’s an exceptional crop of Edmonton books out this season, or if I’m just paying more attention, but I’ve got a short list that could rival any hoity-toity book award. Here are my most anticipated #yegbooks for Fall 2013. Which ones are on your To Be Read list?

1. Love Letters to the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist


The basics:

  • Release date: August 3, 2013
  • Goodreads
  • I received a review copy from the publisher, Linda Leith, but assure you it was my most anticipated book before that happened.

Why I want to read it:

  • I love Jennifer’s blog. Every post has me nodding my head in agreement. She’s a beautiful writer.
  • She got a great review in the Montreal Review of Books.
  • The novel is about a happy marriage. I like to read about dysfunction so much that maybe I need to change things up.
  • A personal connection. The set up is the death of the main character’s mother just before his wife gives birth. My husband lost his father just weeks before our first baby, and I didn’t deal with it very well. I’m looking forward to a fresh perspective on life and death (yep, my expectations are pretty high!)

2. The Dilettantes by Michael Hingston


The basics:

  • Release date: September 10, 2013
  • Appearances: September 14, 2:oopm, Audreys. I’ll be there!
  • Goodreads
  • Check out Michael’s blog for lots of book-related goodies.

Why I want to read it:

  • Michael is so good at Twitter that I wish he tweeted more. He also introduced me to David Foster Wallace when I won his contest for a copy of the biography Every Love Story is a Ghost Story. 
  • The Dilettantes got a great blurb from Patrick DeWitt. That’s hardcore.
  • I get the sense that this is very much a Millennial novel, and I hope to challenge my preconceptions about that generation. Is it weird that I’m worried about a generation gap between me and a writer who’s only five years younger than me? Don’t answer that.

3. Come Barbarians by Todd Babiak


The basics:

Why I want to read it:

  • That title!
  • That cover! Nice to see a man with his back turned for once.
  • Todd’s blog is hilarious
  • But…I don’t know if this is the best introduction to his work. I’m contemplating reading one of his lighter/funnier books first.

4. Pilgrimage by Diana Davidson


The basics:

  • Release date: September 17, 2013
  • Book launch September 25th, 7:00pm at Audreys
  • Goodreads

Why I want to read it:

  • The blurb got me. This is classic CanLit: “Set in a brilliant northern landscape, Pilgrimage is a moving debut novel about journeys, and women and men trying to survive the violent intimacy of a small place where two cultures intersect.”
  • I haven’t read much about the Aboriginal experience. Time to change that.

5. 40 Below, edited by Jason Lee Norman

The basics:

  • Release date (expected): November 1, 2013
  • Goodreads

Why I want to read it:

  • 40 Below is a collection of stories by Edmontonians about Edmonton in winter. I submitted a story late last year. It was terrible and I didn’t make the cut. Jason was very kind in his rejection though.
  • I really enjoyed his short story collection Americas (my review.)
  • This might be the only book written by local authors about Edmonton on the list.

Bonus! My local reads over the past year or so:

  • From Away by Michelle Ferguson (my review)From Away by Michelle Ferguson
  • Americas by Jason Lee Norman (my review)
  • Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford. Not so local anymore, but much of the book is set in Edmonton. (my review)
  • Rosina, the Midwife by Jessica Kluthe (Goodreads. Review coming. It was fantastic.)
  • First (Wrong) Impressions by Krista D. Ball (Goodreads. Review coming. I have some reservations, but the story won me over in the end.)


  1. Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis

    What a great post! Living in Nova Scotia, I naturally hear lots about Atlantic Canadian writers, but I’ve realized I know very little of authors west of Manitoba.

    None of these titles was on my TBR list – but that’s changing right now! Thanks so much for the info.

    • lauratfrey

      Oh I love Atlantic writers too. I just read a book by and ex-Nova Scotian, Roost by Ali Bryan. It was great. And David Adams Richards is one of my all time favourites.

  2. Rick @

    I had no idea Babiak had another book coming out this fall! That’s awesome. I’ve read The Book of Stanley and The Garneau Block. Really like that guy. Great writer.

    Really really excited for both Love Letters and The Dilletantes. Been waiting for both of these for a few months now. Great post!

      • Rick @

        Babiak seems pretty even kiel. No great “masterpieces” that you have to read first. Everything is solid, but nothing will blow you away either (most likely). Don’t think you can go wrong with any of his books. So I’d say just pick the one that sounds interesting and go from there.

  3. plaidheart

    Although I live a little ways south on Hwy II, I love this post! I’ve been reading a lot of Canadian fiction this summer, yet so far no local Albertans. Thanks for the list!

  4. Pingback: Acknowledgements: | Another Book Blog
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