Heather Mallick’s favourite books of 2012

Heather Mallick’s favourite books of 2012 by Heather Mallick, December 24, 2012, Toronto Star
It was not a splendid year for books, as the great publishing shakeout began. Digital publishing began to overtake ink and paper, publishers went under and authors were poor, no change there. Great fiction was thin on the ground and most of my choices for Best Books of 2012 are non-fiction, many Canadian. But they were wonderful. Take a bow, Andrew Nikiforuk, whose The Energy of Slaves broke new ground. … Physical labour was once done by slaves. Post-abolition, it was done by coal and oil. Fossil fuels are mankind’s new slaves, worked to such an extent that our need of them has made slaves of us. Try doing without electricity for 10 minutes. Try 12. Andrew Nikiforuk, Canada’s greatest journalist, has written a stunning book that approaches the coming disaster in a startling way. We are the plantation slaveowners of the planet. The average North American consumes 23.6 barrels of oil a year, the equivalent of the work of 89 human slaves. As the era of cheap energy reaches its end, what will we do without our slaves? I have never read a better book on the way we live now, on the plain fact that the Industrial Revolution did us in. The fact that The Energy of Slaves has received little attention is proof of the chaos of the publishing industry, journalism and our own self-love. But it sure is nice here on the plantation, 50 appliances sweating away for my personal comfort as I type this. [Emphasis added]

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