Are you like me? Are you busy around this time of year? haha, kidding. I bet you are. Well here’s a gift idea for someone on your list: your sister, your mom, your partner, they will be very happy with you if you wrap up a copy of Terry Fallis’ new book, Up and Down (McClelland & Steward, 2012). [caption id="attachment_14201" align="aligncenter" width="223"] Makes a great gift – or a great read for yourself over the holidays.[/caption] The story: David Stewart gets a job at a PR agency. But it’s a far cry from his previous job on Parliament Hill. And when he’s assigned a major project, devising a campaign to revitalize North America’s interest in the space program, the pressure is on. David finds himself wading through the murky but hilarious waters of Canada-U.S. relations, and trying to hold on to his new job and dealing with his emotions – and his integrity. Best line: “What have I missed?” I said, feigning surprise. Which leads into my favourite part: David makes sure some news that isn’t supposed to gets out to the media. And when his boss finds out, he puts on an award-wining performance: I stood up…pushing my chair backwards so it bumped the wall behind me. I read just the lead paragraph of the story and moaned as if the bamboo shoots under my toenails had just been set alight. I rubbed my forehead with my free hand, which I thought was a nice touch. I could go on, but you'd have more fun reading it yourself. And hopefully you will kill yourself laughing the way I did when I was in a meeting pretending to read some pertinent notes. Kidding, TC Media, haha, who's funnier than me?! What Emma thought about the book: Who’s Emma? My intern, Emma Nicholson, who's a reader, too. So I told her to read the book because I thought she’d like it, too. No surprise, she did like it. Here’s what she said: This is not a book to read in crowded public spaces. In the span of one subway ride alone, my emotions wavered more than an astronaut in zero gravity. I surprised myself (and the surrounding commuters) by laughing out loud, and then, with one flip of the page, by having my emotions take a 180, eyes welling up and goosebumps ensuing. I developed a real concern for the characters and pride in their successes, as I'm sure you will, too. Why it‘s more than just a fun read: Woven between the lines of the main tale are tiny subplots: David’s mother, who is dying; the determination of a woman who wants something so bad that she would do anything to make it happen; and a lovely bud of a love story for David. Some of these parts were so touching and made me want to cry. OK, I did. And yet. And yet, Fallis resists the pull of sentimentality, something that might lure a writer with less craftsmanship. It sounds like a lot, I know. But it’s life, isn’t it? The good and the bad, the happy and the sad, it all happens on the journey. I do go on. Wrap one up and put it under the tree. And remember, in the quiet in-between moments of holiday gaiety, it's always nice to have a good book to read. How about you? Are you buying anyone a book as a present this year? Leave me a comment and you could win one of 10 copies we’re giving away!