I tend to forget (or: not store in memory as a referenceable list) what books I've read, or picked up. So here's the incomplete list.
But before I start, a musical recommendation for all five people that still have this RSS feed somewhere (and the six that will stumble upon this via Google, including one Jooneed Khan, who teases me about the blog post of a few weeks ago every time I see hime): listen to the New Pornographers. As in, I listen to them, far, far too often. Enough hooks, as they say, to fill my grandfather's tacklebox. Resonant lyrics just vague enough to keep you on your toes. So catchy. But who am I kidding? This is just a pathetic attempt to quell my addiction to their music in the same way that I externalize, mediate and mechanize my memory with this machine.
Underworld, Don Delillo
Stone Junction, Jim Dodge
Fup, Jim Dodge
Wisdom and Metaphor, Jan Zwicky
Beyond the Promised Land: The movement and the myth, David Noble
Communication Technology, Darin Barney
Lenin, Christopher Read
Thinking the Difference: For a Peaceful Revolution, Luce Irigaray
Multitude, Hardt and Negri
Empire, Hardt and Negri
Playing Left Wing: From rink rat to student radical, Yves Engler
Canada in Haiti: Waging war on the poor majority, Anthony Fenton and Yves Engler
Gary Benchley, Rock Star, Paul Ford
The Dream of a Common Language, Adrienne Rich
The Toughest Indian in the World, Sherman Alexie
A Brief History of Progress, Ronald Wright
Son of a Smaller Hero, Mordechai Richler
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Mordechai Richler
Pussy, King of the Pirates, Cathy Acker
Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship, Uncle Noam
Death of a Nation: The attack on Yugoslavia, Michael Parenti
History as Mystery, Michael Parenti
Maailma Mõte, Fred Jüssi
Päts, Martti Turtolla
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
Reading, Talking, Writing, Cyril Welch
Full-Spectrum Disorder: The Military in the New American Century, Stan Goff
Economy of the Unlost, Anne Carson
That's all I can remember from the last two years or so. If I was really on the ball, I would write a bit about each one.
I'm excited to pick up a copy of Robert Neuwirth's Shadow Cities. Neuwirth spent time living in "slums" in Rio, Bombay, and Nairobi, and documents the outside-the-system systems of self governance and organization that get developed there. Apparently, it's pretty interesting.
From the publishers' description:
And understanding how a full tenth of the world's population lives is, y'know, important.
In almost every country of the developing world, the most active builders are squatters, creating complex local economies with high rises, shopping strips, banks, and self-government. As they invent new social structures, Neuwirth argues, squatters are at the forefront of the worldwide movement to develop new visions of what constitutes property and community.
Books I've picked up, read completely, or something in between in the past few months. Posted here mostly for my future reference, but they're all pretty interesting books.
Oh, and feel free to start a discussion about any of these, or tangental topics.
Politics of Reality: essays in feminist theory, by Marilyn Frye
Vernon God Little, by DBC Pierre
In Search of Islamic Feminism, by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
The Social Shaping of Technology, Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman, eds.
Information Feudalism, by Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite (essential stuff if you have any interest in the politics of IP law)
The Uses of Haiti, by Paul Farmer
Mind in Society, by L.S. Vygotsky
History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
Barney's Version, by Mordechai Richler
The Art of Art Works, by Cyril Welch
Basic Writings, Martin Heidegger
St. Urbain's Horseman, by Mordechai Richler
Safe Area Gorazde, by Joe Sacco
On History, Immanuel Kant
Modern Sociological Theory, by George Ritzer (old textbook; a high-level hack job that still manages to be worthwhile as an overview)
When Words Deny the World, by Stephen Henighan
Upheavals of Thought, by Martha Nussbaum
Discipline and Punish, by Michel Foucault
History of Sexuality, vol. I, by Michel Foucault
Aesthetics, Epistemology, Method, Michel Foucault (collection)
"Society Must be Defended": Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-1976, Michel Foucault
Titans: How the new Canadian establishment siezed power, by Peter C. Newman. (Former T-Star editor fetishizes power from a distance.)
The End of the Peace Process, by Edward Said
Antarctica, by Kim Stanley Robinson
Walden, by Henry David Thoreau (still plucking out pages here and there and dwelling)
The Great Fires, poems by Jack Gilbert
Some books I've been reading recently. I've completed very few of these.
(Something of a gender bias emerging here, which is probably worth paying attention to.)
John Metcalf, An Aesthetic Underground: A Literary Memoir
John Metcalf, Shooting the Stars
David Macey, The Lives of Michel Foucault
Isaac Saney, Cuba: A Revolution in Motion
Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense
Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus
Paul Virillio, Speed and Politics
Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Some books I've read, or read parts of, in the past month or so. I feel confident in recommending all of them, for reasons that vary by book.
Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy?, by Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite
Shooting the Stars, by John Metcalf
Making it New: Contemporary Canadian Stories, edited by John Metcalf
Facsimilies of Time: Essays on Poetry and Translation, by Eric Ormsby
Social Torment: Globalization in Atlantic Canada, by Thom Workman
Strong Motion, by Jonathan Franzen
How to be Alone, by Jonathan Franzen
Taft, by Ann Patchett
The Unconscious Civilization, by John Ralston Saul
Difference and Repetition, by Gilles Deleuze
Foucault, by Gilles Deleuze
Difference and Repetition, by Gilles Deleuze
Essays Critical and Clinical, by Gilles Deleuze
Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke
Representations of the Intellectual, by Edward Said
I've heard the following books recommended as good starting points for understanding the history and context of the Middle East by a scholar who recently visited the Mount Allison campus (I forget his name!) and by Edward Said (in a Harper's review last summer). In other words, consider these before picking up anything by Bernard Lewis:
Colonising Egypt, by Timothy Mitchell
The Call from Algeria: Third Worldism, Revolution, and the Turn to Islam, by Robert Malley
The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in a World Civilization, by Marshall Hodgson
Islam and Modernities, by Aziz Al-Azmeh
Classical Arab Islam: The Culture and Heritage of the Golden Age, by Tarif Khalidi
And Ken Wiwa (one of a very small number of decent Globe and Mail columnists and son of Ken Saro Wiwa, the Nigerian activist murdered by the Nigerian government at the behest of Shell) mentioned this book when he gave a talk here the other night:
And right now, I'm reading:
Empire, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
Steps to and Ecology of Mind, by Gregory Bateson
Phenomenology of Spirit, by G W F Hegel
Foucault, by Gilles Deleuze
The SCUM Manifesto, by Valerie Solanas
Development as Freedom, by Amartya Sen
And here's a review of Friedman's Lexus and the Olive Tree, just for fun.
Much of a book entitled Behind the Invasion of Iraq is online, and contains much essential historical background reading on western involvement in the Middle East since WWI.
Books of which I plan to read at least a chapter (more in most cases) in the month of January (in no particular order):
Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgement
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish
Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women
Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, In Search of Islamic Feminism
Claire Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition
Naomi Klein, Fences and Windows
Desmond Rochfort, Mexican Muralists
Martin Heidegger, Letter on Humanism
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time
Thomas Frank, The Conquest of Cool
Various, Gender Politics in Global Governance
For a bigger list of books that look interesting to me, see my Amazon.com wishlist. Amazon wishlists are a convenient way to keep track of books that I plan to read at some point, though it doesn't hurt that people can (easily) buy books for me if they want to.
I'm in La Manzanilla, a tiny village on the west coast of Mexico, on vacation with my folks. I don't speak much Spanish, and don't expect to learn much in the next few days, so I've been reading a lot of books:
How to be Alone, essays by Jonathan Franzen
Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
The Gold Coast, by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Man Who Knew Charlie Chaplin, a novel about the Weimar Republic, by Eric Koch
Spinoza, Practical Philosophy, by Gilles Deleuze
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Franzen's essays were thoughtful, Patchett's novel was comfortably improbable but and quite engaging, and Robinson was technologically off the mark but existentially more tuned in, vernacular and flowing than he usually is, and at least as politically interesting as he usually is. Eric Koch was historically fascinating and for that reason worthwhile, but rhetorically inadequate, Deleuze was dense yet clear, and orders of magnitude more enjoyable than most commentaries on philosophy that I've read. I still can't decide what or how to think about Marquez, which is probably a good sign.
I just noticed that Robinson has a new book out (The Years of Rice and Salt) in which he apparently attempts to rewrite world history as if Europe has never existed. Apparently, imagining an entirely new civilization on Mars and squeezing it into three novels wasn't ambitious enough.