June 02, 2006
# Memory Augementation Unit

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.

posted by dru
December 15, 2004
# Shadow Cities

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:

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.
And understanding how a full tenth of the world's population lives is, y'know, important.

posted by dru
March 30, 2004
# Recent Books

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

posted by dru
by evan

wow, you're reading a lot these days. Sometimes i wish i could just sit down and read books and not doing anything else. I just get so caught up in projects i have to stick my reading in here and there.

I recently read a collection of essays by Edward Said, "Reflections on Exile," in someways it was most interesting for how it presented a less political side of Said. Instead of only reading the stuff about the middle east and palestine i got more of a sense of him as an intellectual. Quite interesting. For one because he rips in to George Orwell for not being working class, when Said himself is as upper class as anything.


by dru

I should emphasize that in most of the above cases, I only read a few dozen pages. Time that I might have used to read more went to projects, or reading online.

November 11, 2003
# Recent books

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

posted by dru
by kellan

Especially if you're reading much D&G who, for all their insights, are definitely guilty of conflating the other, the irrational and the woman into a single entity.

by dru

I should probably mutter something about how this is not the status quo, and Arundhati Roy, Andrea Dworkin and Chantalle Mouffe are on the 'read soon' list.

I haven't been looking much at D&G, though my roommate and I are reading the Logic of Sense ever so slowly.

by roop aka adam

oh, walden is excellent. an awe-inspiring line like:while civilisation has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them.or:the lawyer had only to weave arguments, and my some magic wealth and standing followed...every other sentence. why don't people write like that any more?

by dru

One of my favourites from Walden: "...as if one could kill time without wounding eternity."

by evan

If you like Arundhati Roy and haven't read her Talk "come september" you should. it's here, http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/WO0211/S00035.htm
Howard Zinn introduces her. also 'the god of small things' is a great novel.

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June 28, 2003
# Books I've Read

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

posted by dru
by smj

I'd like to kniw the name of the iIntellectual Feudalism book - is it here without my knowing it? smj

by dru

No, I overlooked it because it wasn't in my stack of books. Strange, as it's a very important one. It's at the top of the list now.

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March 18, 2003
# Many Books

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:

The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization by Josh Karliner

And right now, I'm reading:

People before Profit: Globalization in an Age of Terror, Big Money, and Economic Crisis, by Charles Derber

Empire, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

Steps to and Ecology of Mind, by Gregory Bateson

Prometheus Wired: The Hope for Democracy in the Age of Network Technology, by Darin Barney

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.

posted by dru
by Russil Wvong

I've been recommending William Polk's The Arab World Today.

by smj

I am reading The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History by J.R McNeill & William H. McNeill, father and son, both professors. It's not just the history of the region, obviously, but it's a good synopsis of the human being throughout our earthly existence including pre-historical times. It's good to remind ourselves from whence we have sprung and how.

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March 14, 2003
# Iraq Background

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.

posted by dru
January 09, 2003
# The reading binge continues

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.

posted by dru
December 28, 2002
# La Manzanilla

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.

posted by dru
by rabble

I thought years of rice and salt was out a while ago? Well perhaps kellan reads too fast and just talked about it in the past tense even though it just came out. It's susposed to be really good.

by Kendall

I read YoR&S earlier this year; it was pretty good, though I found it a bit annoying, stylistically, at times. The really clever fictive device is to structure the drama around 3 central characters who keep dying and then being reborn to encounter each other again -- using the general karmic-reincarnation framework of several eastern religions as the deus et machina.

It's a fun book and a salve in these troubled, anti-islamic times.