By Deb A.
For anyone who lacks Pantone's confidence in predicting the future (get ready for the "life-affirming" Living Coral), there is always the calm comfort of a look back into the recent past with the intent of crowning a champion. And so this year, we once again scrape through a series of 'best books of 2018' lists in order to see what titles pop up again and again. Please note that what you are about to read may be helpful if you're looking for a last-minute Christmas gift or a treat for yourself, but it is completely and utterly emancipated from scientific rigour.
This year we consulted sources that skew American: the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, NPR staff picks, Publishers Weekly, and the New York Public Library, along with the CBC, the Financial Times, and the Guardian's favourite authors. Here's what they think you should read.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
From the publisher: "A dazzling adventure story about a boy who rises from the ashes of slavery to become a free man of the world."
Esi Edugyan's third novel pleased Americans, Brits, and Canadians alike—hardly surprising for a book that won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker.
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
From the publisher: "...explores the imbalances that spark and sustain many of our most dramatic human relations: inequities in age, power, talent, wealth, fame, geography, and justice."
Lisa Halliday's debut juxtaposes a May-December affair between an editor and a Philip Rothlike novelist with the detention of an Iraqi-American at Heathrow airport.
There There by Tommy Orange
From the publisher: "a stunning novel that grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse, and suicide."
Championed by Margaret Atwood, Tommy Orange's first novel follows 12 Urban Indians at the Big Oakland Powwow.
From the publisher: "An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University."
Tara Westover didn't go to school until she was 17. Educated is her story of her life in a fundamentalist Mormon family and her relentless quest for knowledge.
From the publisher: "A brilliant and brave investigation into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs–and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences."
Coming off a hypnotically stylish Netflix documentary series based on his book, Cooked, Michael Pollan's next step after years of examining food and our relationship to it is a first- and third-person examination of mind-altering drugs and human consciousness.
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