Editor’s Note: If you’re anything like me, you’re interested in intoxication and, perhaps ironically, have precious little time for entertainment. So, why not get your fix for both at once? We asked some of our contributing editors what made their best-of lists this year in books, TV, movies, music, and Web content. Not all are explicitly related to substances, but hopefully you find enough media to keep you occupied through the New Year. Points returns from its holiday hiatus on January 3. Enjoy!
Emily Dufton: There’s “Brave New Weed,” a book which claims to be “an adventure into the uncharted world of cannabis,” i.e. the author “traveling around and smoking his brains out,” as reviewer Matt Taibbi puts it. This is one of a wave of new books about pot which emphasizes the fun of the new industry, even as it outlines its pitfalls. I find many of these books a little too celebratory with Jeff Sessions as the potential new attorney general, but it’s always interesting to watch the arsenal grow.
There’s also “Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany,” which looks very good. Written by the German novelist Norman Ohler in his first dip into history, it seems accomplished: well-written, incisive, and able to shed new light on an old topic. Well, old to ADHS historians anyway; we’ve long known about the Nazis interest in uppers.
Michael Durfee: For timely work by a powerful, honest new voice from Baltimore not-named Ta-Nehisi Coates, turn to D. Watkins. His first work, The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America is a much-needed meditation in a post-Freddie Gray Baltimore. His second work—more germane to our interests—is entitled the Cookup: A Crack Rock Memoir—a first-person drug trade ethnography explaining what happens when a young man tracked for higher education suffers the loss of his older brother who left behind the kind of accrued wealth one might find in East Baltimore, a “starter kit” to enter the drug game.