1. Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca SolnitA writer of astonishing power and insight, Solnit offers the notion that hope can be radical. And these days, we need as much hope, and as many radicals, as we can get.
2. Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard KapuscinskiThis book collects Kapuscinski’s writings on Africa into one stunning read. He is one of my favourite writers of all-time because of his wit, intelligence, and compassion. A master story-teller and exquisite journalist.
3. Burmese Days by George OrwellOrwell is my hero. This book details his days as a police officer in Burma (now Myanmar) under the British Empire. Way ahead of its time in its scathing and unabashed indictment of imperialism and colonialism. As relevant as ever.
4. Is This Guy For Real?: The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman by Box BrownA completely fascinating graphic exploration of Kaufman’s wrestling obsession and the grey areas where performance and real life mingle. Hilarious and heavy.
5. Dark Age Ahead by Jane JacobsJacobs is an absolute legend and if we all followed her recommendations we’d be in great shape right now. Dark Age was her last book before she died and she wasn’t feeling hopeful. Cautiously optimistic but realistic Jacobs called it on a number of fronts. A must read for today’s moment.
6. The Shock Doctrine by Naomi KleinSee above. Klein can say “nailed it.” Her analysis of neoliberalism strategies and goals is more pertinent now than ever before. Covid is the global shock capitalists have been waiting for.
7. Far Out Isn’t Far Enough by Tomi UngererThe famed children’s book (and erotic) illustrator from France and Germany actual lived in Nova Scotia for a while. This book is his diary from that time. Complete with incredible and hilarious stories and drawings about life in rural Maritimes it’s fascinating, entertaining and life-affirming.
8. The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas KingVisceral and unapologetic this book is crucial reading for any settler. It should be required reading for each and every white Canadian and American. King is at the height of his powers when he tackles non-fiction. This book is a classic for the ages.
9. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang3 generations of women in China, Wild Swans is a sweeping epic that centres women in the tumultuous transition from feudal China through the revolution to Mao’s Communist China and the Cultural Revolution. Devastating and mindblowing.
10. Repeated Takes: A Short History of Recording and its Effect on Music by Michael ChananThis book completely blew my mind. It’s an exploration of how the way we listen to music affects the music itself. Definitely relevant in these days of pervasive online streaming and Zoom concerts.
‘Apocalypse Marshmallow‘ Single: https://soundcloud.com/nathan_lawr/apocalypse-marshmallow