A journalist, teacher and writer, T.F. Rigelhof plumbs his undeniably deep knowledge of the CanLit canon to come up with his selections of “the Good, the Better and the Best Canadian Novels Since 1984,” as goes this book’s subtitle. (He covers 25 years of the Canadian novel, up to 2009.) Early on, Rigelhof defines these terms (good, better, best). Most others wouldn’t. Right away, the reader gets the seriousness of Rigelhof’s tone and intent. But too often this gives way to defensiveness, a state of agitation. As well, and perhaps because of his depth of knowledge, Rigelhof segments his themes (there are themes within themes) and presents too many lists, proofs, of books that best illustrate the theme. Longer essays on fewer books might’ve helped.