In between everything that happened this year – as well as all the great articles published in 2018 – grabbing a book and getting lost in the narrative has practically become a luxury.
However, some of Malta’s top politicians and entertainers were still able to escape into the pages of a good read, and their fave books from 2018 are listed below.
1. Adrian Delia and Francis Zammit Dimech: 21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Naoh Harari
Francis Zammit Dimech – “I had already read his former two books. ‘Homo Sapiens’ and ‘Homo Deus’ which means I could enjoy the book in the context of his former works. I think it is a must read especially for all people in public office! A close second would be Francis Fukuyama’s new book “Identity – Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition.”
In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis? Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading.
2. David Casa, Rosianne Cutajar and Jo Caruana – Becoming by Michelle Obama
Jo Caruana – “Tough one! Overall, I would have to say I am really enjoying Michelle Obama’s Becoming – what a woman! From a business perspective, I enjoyed The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, which is all about strengthening your organisations – and I have loved taking some tips forward into my own small businesses. Finally, I also loved my good friend Jon Shaw’s book Forty. It was a project I had helped him on in the early stages, and I think the result is fabulous.”
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
3. Ira Losco – Girls Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
“Stumbled across Girls Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, thought it was humorous and tongue in cheek. Loved it.”
As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore. With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.
4. Chris Fearne – The Naked And The Dead by Norman Mailer
“The horror of war can never be emphasised enough.”
Hailed as one of the finest novels to come out of the Second World War, The Naked and the Dead received unprecedented critical acclaim upon its publication and has since become part of the American canon. This fiftieth anniversary edition features a new introduction created especially for the occasion by Norman Mailer. Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows an army platoon of foot soldiers who are fighting for the possession of the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948, The Naked and the Dead is representative of the best in twentieth-century American writing.
5. Chris Cardona – Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionise the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work. A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.
6. Joseph Muscat – Educated by Tara Westover
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
7. Roberta Metsola – Forty Be The Change by Jonathan Shaw
“Reading is how I relax so it’s hard to pinpoint just one but Jonathan Shaw’s Forty Be the Change was an excellent compilation of life lessons. James Vella Bardon’s debut novel The Sheriff’s Catch – is also right up there, it is great to see a Maltese novelist break international barriers. I also loved Madeline Albright’s “Fascism A Warning”.”
It’s not every day that we wake up and decide to put life on hold and start living. This is what Jonathan did after turning forty. Having realized that probably he had already lived half his life he decided to embark on a sabbatical to enjoy time off, reflect about his life and make sure he was living life on his terms and not on someone else’s. Coming from a small Mediterranean island, culture and circumstance often dictate our actions, behaviors, and next steps. Jonathan broke with this norm and is calling on us to re-evaluate what really makes us tick. #Forty is a journey which questions the way we have done things and assists us in answering the ‘what next?’. It is our journey – one of self-discovery. A thought provoking, easy to use hand book of a few of the life lessons Jonathan has picked up along the years and others which he is still working on. Pick it up, put it down. Read a chapter or two and reflect. Use it whichever way you wish – there is a lesson for each and every one of us. Most of all – enjoy the journey.
8. Ben Camille – Andre Schembri’s Autobiogrophy
“First of its kind.”
9. Miriam Dalli – The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern
A box of possessions. A father with no memory. A daughter with just one day to piece together the past.When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her father’s belongings, her seemingly uneventful life suddenly alters and shifts. In the single day she has to search for answers about the man she thought she knew, a man who can no longer remember his own story, Sabrina uncovers far bigger secrets than she could have imagined. And discovers that sometimes it’s the people closest to us that we know the least.
10. Gaia Cauchi – Young Love by Karen Rosetzsky
A new exploration of an age-old topic: Young Love seamlessly merges high- and low-brow art. A visual project from an A-list photographer, which no coffee table should be withoutYoung Love is an exciting debut book from the acclaimed photographer Karen Rosetzsky. As the title suggests, it explores the magical world of ‘young love’ – that overwhelming surge of tenderness and desire, where nothing else matters and you love to the point of madness. Brimming with photographs taken over the course of three years in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, New Orleans, Willemstad, Prague, Cape Town and Paris, this glossy coffee table book features an eclectic mix of stories and people. These fragments are arranged in a unique pattern, joined by Karen’s incomparably raw and emotional photography. Picture after picture opens an intimate window into a topic that has entranced artists and poets for millennia. Young love is an ephemeral moment that stretches into infinity: a moment we all dream of capturing and, once gone, we strive forever to relive. Read this book and come a little closer to grabbing that moment, as you fall in love with Karen’s luscious photography, again and again and again.
11. Cyrus Engerer – The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple
“Unfortunately, I haven’t read many books this year since the EP campaign has taken over most of my free time. That said, I managed to squeeze in The Gatekeepers – a book written after Donald Trump won the US Presidential election and before he actually took office. Basically, it is a collection of interviews with all the previous Presidents’ Chiefs of Staff, where they speak of what works and what doesn’t and what they were faced with during their tenure. It’s a good read and gives you an interesting insight to the way each one tackled different crises and the results (or lack of) achieved.”
12. Maxine Pace – Confidence by Katie Piper
“Probably the only book I had time to read this year was ‘Confidence’ by Katie Piper. It’s a beautiful book which helped me relax a bit in summer by the beach!”
Britain’s most inspiring young woman shares her secrets to finding deep-down resilience, strength and confidence.
BONUS: Valentina Rossi still hasn’t read a book
“No comment. I had to read many this year imma. I read a lot of Lovin Malta articles, does that count?”