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Being Well Read: Best of 2018

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Phil, Queen's Square | December 6, 2018

At the beginning of 2018, I made the bold suggestion that together we could become better read. To that end, I suggested titles to read each month, with the intent to help understand issues and to think deeply about the world in which we live.

However, instead of giving you an overview of last month’s reads (Midnight Light by Dave Bidini is fabulous, by the way), I decided to do a review of the entire year of reading, what with it being December.

Here then are the highlights of the year:

2018 was a great year for science writing that is both a compelling page turner and informative. Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World, and Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America were three of the best of the past year. In all cases, the author’s infectious enthusiasm and ability to tell their story, made for great reads.

In politics, there may be no better chronicler of modern-day war and its consequences than Steve Coll. Directorate S: the C.I.A. and America's secret wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan meticulously picks through the data, the politics, and the human stories that have consumed Western militaries for the past 18 years. His writing should be essential reading for everyone.

Speaking of human interest stories, The Saboteur: The Aristocrat Who Became France's Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando by Paul Kix is a life story that Hollywood couldn’t have dreamed up. It’s also proof that a single actor can have a profound effect on history.

But if I had to pick only one book to thrust into the waiting hands of you the reader, it would have to be Anesthesia: the gift of oblivion and the mystery of consciousness by Kate Cole-Adams, who looks into the conception of consciousness by looking at what it means to be unconscious. Personal, thought- provoking, and science-based writing at its best. It’s my pick for favourite of the year.

You can find all of the books from my year of Being Well Read in my reviews.

BuzzDirectorate SThe SaboteurAnesthesia book cover