As 2018 comes to a tinsel-wrapped close, tis the season once again for lovers of the written word to share the contents of their year’s reading lists. I wouldn’t recommend all of the below books for my dear readers but I’m happy to report that I found something of value in each and every one of them.
Sometimes, I disagreed with the author’s conclusions. On occasion, I found the writing shit. Often though, I found myself nodding and acceding – awed by a particular turn of phrase and wishing I’d written it first.
I scribbled enough notes in side columns (connected with bedlamite arrows) to create a lengthy Word document – which I did, for scholarly purposes. The resulting annotated bibliography currently runs at 67 pages – which seems impressive but is not even enough words to passably analyse a Roman Quaedvlieg Tweet.
Some of these yellowing piles of paper were even re-reads, plucked and dusted from the bookshelf. The books that were “second-time-rounds” now bear the graffiti of two different pen nibs.
For better or worse, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut was the only novel I read this year (I confess I only did so upon learning that Vonnegut was a trained anthropologist).
That said, my better half informs me that we’re celebrating Christmas this year Icelandic-style with a tradition called Jólabókaflóð. Preliminary research indicates that it basically consists of drinking lots of hot cocoa and reading books. This I can live with. Perhaps the Jólasveinn will leave a novel or two in my stocking.
Here it is. The list of 2018.
Politics & Society:
- We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Democratization in the Maghreb, JNC Hill
- Bandits, Eric Hobsbawm
- On Anarchy, Noam Chomsky
- On Kings, David Graeber & Marshall Sahlins
- The Revenge of Geography, Robert Kaplan
- Earning the Rockies, Robert Kaplan
- Algerian Sketches, Pierre Bourdieu
- The Line Becomes A River, Francisco Cantu
- Tribe, Sebastian Junger
- The War is in the Mountains, Judith Matloff
- War in the Tribal Zone: Expanding States & Indigenous Warfare, R. Brian Ferguson & Neil Whitehead
- Why We Fight: The Cognitive Basis for War, Mike Martin
- On Aggression, Konrad Lorenz
- On Violence, Hannah Arendt
- On Killing, Lt. Col. David Grossman
- Storm of Steel, Ernst Junger
- Goodbye to All That, Robert Graves
Biology & Evolution:
- Unto Others: The Evolution & Psychology of Unselfish Behaviour, Elliott Sober & David Sloan Wilson
- The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins
- The Theory of Island Biogeography, David McArthur & E.O Wilson
- The Social System, Talcott Parsons
- The Social Conquest of the Earth, E.O Wilson
- Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution, Peter Kropotkin
Novels & Sports Writing:
- Barbarian Days, William Finnegan
- True Story, Michael Finkel
- The Art of Freedom, Bernadette McDonald
- The Push, Tommy Caldwell
- Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut