Skip to main content

Good morning, and welcome to the weekend.

Grab your cup of coffee or tea, and sit down with a selection of this week’s great reads from The Globe.

In this issue, James Griffiths examines the big gamble Qatar is making in its pursuit of World Cup hosting duties. A jet-lagged Griffiths arrived in Doha a few days before the official start, and found it strangely quiet and empty for a city that’s about to be a magnet for soccer fans around the world. Qatar’s whole gambit is aimed at attracting millions of tourists and positioning itself as a hub for international events, Griffiths says. But it’s come at the expense of drawing a spotlight on its treatment of migrant workers and criminalization of homosexuality. In spending billions for its makeover, and risking scrutiny over its record on human rights, Griffiths says Qatar is betting it can pull off its soft-power play to reinvent and diversify its economy.

Tim Kiladze looks at why FTX’s descent into bankruptcy has ignited fears of a crypto contagion. And national food reporter Ann Hui chats with Toronto chefs and restaurateurs about what’s next after Michelin vaulted them into new heights.

If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for Great Reads and more than 20 other Globe newsletters on our newsletter sign-up page. If you have questions or feedback, drop us a line at

Foreign correspondent James Griffiths will be in Qatar reporting on the tournament, including how foreign fans are experiencing the World Cup. If you have a story and want to get in touch, e-mail James at

For Qatar, World Cup 2022 has been a costly headache and a magnet for unwanted attention. What’s in it for Qatar?

Open this photo in gallery:

A view of the Khalifa stadium and the Torch Tower at sunset ahead of the Qatar World Cup on Nov. 16 in Doha.Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

All eyes will be on the Persian Gulf state at the World Cup kickoff on Sunday, a debut that Qatar has poured billions into to prove the worth of its soft power, tourism trade and the monarchy that oversees it all. The tournament’s hefty price tag goes beyond that, James Griffiths reports, with Qatar undertaking an enormous human and environment cost to ensure it goes off as smoothly as possible. But from the moment Qatar won the honour of hosting, he writes, the attention it has invited upon itself has been nothing but a headache.

As B.C. government touts reconstruction of flood-damaged Highway 8, many who live along it are still struggling to rebuild

Open this photo in gallery:

A washed out portion of the former Highway 8, right, is seen along the Nicola River near Spences Bridge, B.C., on Nov. 9, 2022.DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

More than one year after the devastating floods that took out highways, killed six people and thousands of animals, Highway 8 has reopened. After washing out in 25 places, the highway, which snakes along the Nicola River from Merritt to Spences Bridge, underwent an almost wholesale rebuild. But while the winding, cliff-hugging road itself may be back, many of the people who once lived along it are gone, hurting or struggling to rebuild.

Staff at Kherson children’s hospital used guile and grit to keep patients safe from Russian occupiers

Open this photo in gallery:

At a children's hospital in Kherson, a nurse checks on orphaned children on Nov. 17, days after the withdrawal of occupying forces from the city.Anton Skyba/The Globe and Mail

The head doctor became a fugitive, spending months on the lam rather than submit to Russian occupiers’ demands. Her replacement became an alleged collaborator. But health-care workers risked their lives and “used every trick they knew” to protect them and stop retreating Russians from spiriting them away.

Why FTX’s collapse conjures nightmares from 2008′s global financial crisis

Open this photo in gallery:

Sam Bankman-Fried was the face of FTX until its demise. FTX is the third crypto exchange to formally file for bankruptcy protection in the past six months, following Celsius Network and Voyager Digital.ERIKA P. RODRIGUEZ/The New York Times News Service

Like a forest fire that has jumped a highway, Tim Kiladze writes, FTX’s sudden collapse has the potential to amplify contagion across the crypto sector. The cryptocurrency exchange’s demise is nowhere near the scale of Lehman Brothers’ in September, 2008, because crypto has largely operated outside the traditional financial network. But one thing has come into focus as crypto companies have fallen: they’re interconnected in ways few people realize – and the extent of their exposure to one another bears eerie similarities to 2008.

Opinion: The digital future, we’re assured, is only a matter of time. But at what cost?

Open this photo in gallery:

The Globe and Mail

Somehow, over the years, we confused our ability to communicate across distances with the need for face-to-face conversation. Many of us happily click and wait until the refrigerated truck pulls up outside, depositing its bounty by the door without having to speak with, see, or be in physical proximity to another human being. This is the future many of us are heading toward, if not eagerly embracing. But digital communication is not the same as having a conversation, and we may lose ourselves by trying to replace humanity, David Sax explains.

The U.S. can build LNG plants. Why can’t we?

Open this photo in gallery:

The pier at Dominion's Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Maryland's Chesapeake Bay is seen in this picture taken Feb. 5, 2014.Timothy Gardner/Reuters

The war in Ukraine has reshaped the world’s energy markets. The United States quickly emerged as a global leader in LNG, with export capacity of about 90 million tonnes a year and proponents of nearly 30 new projects in the U.S. jockeying for position to get their terminals built. But Canada hasn’t kept up. There still aren’t any LNG export terminals operating in Canada, even though the country is the world’s sixth-largest producer of natural gas. Brent Jang examines why.

Artemis I launch reignites dreams of human presence on the moon

Open this photo in gallery:

NASA's next-generation moon rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral on Nov. 16, setting course for a 26-day mission to the moon.JOSEPH RIMKUS/Reuters

Artemis I’s crewless trip set course for a 26-day mission to the moon, carrying with it NASA’s dreams of kicking off a new era of human space flight. The program’s ultimate plan? Human missions to Mars, a still-distant goal that hinges on the performance of a spacecraft that’s hurtling toward the moon at more than 36,000 kilometres an hour.

Essay: Hiking in Bhutan brought me a whole lot closer to Shangri-la

Open this photo in gallery:

Taktsang Monastery hangs precipitously off a mountain cliff over Paro, Bhutan.G Adventures/The Globe and Mail

Amid threats from Bengal tigers and under the gaze of monkeys from treetops, Catherine Dawson March takes in the staggering beauty of the newly opened Trans Bhutan Trail, one of the greatest long-distance trails in the world. As envisioned by the country’s king, the trail is a way to connect Bhutanese back to their history in the face of outside influences. She quickly discovers that the Himalayan country is about as close to the mythical kingdom of Shangri-la as you can get.

Michelin came calling for these Canadian restaurants – now the real pressure is on

Open this photo in gallery:

A dish from restaurant iDen & QuanJuDe Beijing Duck House, one of eight Vancouver restaurants to receive a coveted one-star rating from the Michelin Guide, is shown in this undated handout photo.Ken Huang/The Canadian Press

Mystery has always been a part of the Michelin appeal. Little is known about the identity of the inspectors, the amount of knowledge they have of local cultures or, ultimately, how they make their selections. That secrecy has only added to its prestige. Michelin stars have become the highest symbol of excellence in the food industry, akin to a culinary Olympic gold medal. But, as Ann Hui writes, that recognition also comes with heightened new expectations.

Related stories:

Thanks for reading this week’s issue of Great Reads! Let us know what you think by e-mailing, and see you next weekend.

– Beatrice Paez and Emerald Bensadoun