Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk

In the Anarchist Library

Where to start? This book is deeply affecting and touched on so many of my passions, it is difficult to know where to start.

First, it is another entry in the large (and still growing) list of what my friend Hobo Lee used to call Northern California Post-Apocalyptic fiction. Do we in Northern California have a cataclysm fetish? Or do we here in this beautiful and fragile place just wisely wish for an end to this society as we know it before it kills us all?

In any case, Starhawk has taken all that she knows from her work as a pagan, anarchist, activist, nonviolent organizer, and created a world that may be our near future.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston by Ernest Callenbach

In the Anarchist Library

The story as told by a reporter from the remaining United States visiting Ecotopia -- the seceded northwest bio-region of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington -- after 20 years of isolationism. His objective skepticism is quickly eroded by this new green world in which respect for living things is the society's primary value.

A bit naive. It is like Callenbach paved the way for our current silly belief in green capitalism. The message: We can do everything we do now in more or less the same way, but we can do it differently and sustainably and green.

Underworld by Don DeLillo

In the Anarchist Library

Possibly the best book I've ever read. I would stick my nose in this book and hours later I would emerge completely disoriented. Where am I? Where have I been? I began to suspect that DeLillo was using the language itself to hypnotize me. I could feel myself falling as I read, losing full awareness.

What is it about?  I'm not sure I can say exactly.  Growing up in the mean streets of Brooklyn?  Our society as seen through its garbage (a theme of DeLillo's)?   Love and art and literature and history?  Or all these things.  Though it is told through many voices and points-of-view, the story is about Nick trying to to suburban middle age.

The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks

In the Anarchist Library

A strangely haunting and affecting book that lingered with me long after the last page. The story of a town in the aftermath of a tragedy that takes most of their children (as did the Piper to Hamlin) seen through the eyes of an outsider, an insurance adjuster in town to assign responsibility for the calamity.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Letters Of Insurgents by Freddy Perlman

For sale at SubRosa and in the Anarchist Library.

One-time lovers who share anarchist ideals find themselves on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain having lived through a composite of many of the 20th century's major revolutions and uprisings. 

Other reviewers here may do this book more justice. But yes, the reviews are effusively glowing and for good reason. A complicated story with even more complicated ideas beneath it. Again and again, the characters reject dogma in their search for truth and question the very nature of their beliefs, loves, and ideals.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making by Sam Kaner

On wish list. Consider donating for Anarchist Library.

You know how sometimes meetings are awesome and sometimes meeting suck?  Usually we blame it on the people who happened to be at the meeting, "Gee, that guy was disruptive or dominating," or "Everybody seemed scattered and disorganized."  However, it is seldom recognized that the facilitator of a meeting makes the difference between successful and sucktastic.  For those of us who lead meetings often or occasionally, this book comes to the rescue!

The Facilitators Guide to Participatory Decision Making is a highly-accessible and concise manual to running successful meetings that feel good.  As a member of numerous consensus-based collectives, I quickly saw how our meetings and decision-making could be vastly improved by reading this book.

Wobblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World

On wish list. Consider donating for Anarchist Library.

This is one of the best illustrated histories, that is, a graphic novel dealing with the subject of history, I've discovered. Lots of writers, lots of artists. Emma Goldman, Big Bill Haywood, Joe Hill.  A reminder that anarchists helped bring you the eight hour day and the weekend.  Full of variety and stories of everyone over 100 years of IWW history. Essential reading. (Review by Wes)

Paperback, 305 pages
Published April 17th 2005 by Verso