Reading project, week ending 11 Apr 2021

What have I read this week? Just one.

Loki by Mackenzi Lee

This is a fantasy novel about the Asgardian god Loki. I enjoyed this; it’s an interesting take on Loki’s story, looking at how he became the trickster we know him as. I also really liked the Victorian setting; it made a nice contrast. I’d definitely read more by this author.

© bardofupton 2021

Reading project, week ending 21 Mar 2021

What have I read this week? Just one.

A Libertarian Walks Into A Bear: The Utopian Plot To Liberate An American Town (And Some Bears) by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetlin

This is a nonfiction book about an attempt by libertarians to take over the town of Grafton, New Hampshire. I found it really interesting, although I could have done without some of the humour. It was a fascinating look at how selfishness undermines the social contract.

© bardofupton 2021

Reading project, week ending 14 Mar 2021

What have I read this week? Just one.

Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology by David Graeber

This is a nonfiction book about anarchism and anthropology, and how anthropologists could theorise anarchism, and also, why they haven’t. I liked this; it was really interesting. I’m not sure I totally understood it, but it definitely have me things to think about.

Favourite quotes:

Such a theoretical emphasis opens the way to a theory of the relation of power not with knowledge, but with ignorance and stupidity. Because violence, particularly structural violence, where all the power is on one side, creates ignorance. If you have the power to hit people over the head whenever you want, you don’t have to trouble yourself too much figuring out what they think is going on, and therefore, generally speaking, you don’t. Hence the sure-fire way to simplify social arrangements, to ignore the incredibly complex play of perspectives, passions, insights, desires, and mutual understandings that human life is really made of, is to make a rule and threaten to attack anyone who breaks it. This is why violence has always been the favored recourse of the stupid: it is the one form of stupidity to which it is almost impossible to come up with an intelligent response. It is also of course the basis of the state.
Contrary to popular belief, bureaucracies do not create stupidity. They are ways of managing situations that are already inherently stupid because they are, ultimately, based on the arbitrariness of force.

p. 72-3

This is what I mean by “liberation in the imaginary.” To think about what it would take to live in a world in which everyone really did have the power to decide for themselves, individually and collectively, what sort of communities they wished to belong to and what sort of identities they wanted to take on—that’s really difficult. To bring about such a world would be almost unimaginably difficult. It would require changing almost everything. It also would meet with stubborn, and ultimately violent, opposition from those who benefit the most from existing arrangements. To instead write as if these identities are already freely created—or largely so—is easy, and it lets one entirely off the hook for the intri-
cate and intractable problems of the degree to which one’s own work is part of this very identity machine.
But it no more makes it true than talking about “late capitalism” will itself bring about industrial collapse or further social revolution.

p. 102-3
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Reading project, week ending 14 Feb 2021

What have I read this week?

The Joy of Leaving Your Shit All Over the Place: The Art of Being Messy by Jennifer McCartney

This is a nonfiction humour book about being messy. The humour didn’t quite work for me, so I didn’t really like it.

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Last Interview and Other Conversations edited by David Streitfield

This is a collection of interviews with Ursula K. Le Guin. I found this really interesting; I’m a fan of Le Guin’s work, so I liked finding out more about her and how she wrote.

© bardofupton 2021

Reading project, week ending 7 Feb 2021

What have I read this week?

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

This is a fantasy novel about Linus Baker, a man who is a caseworker looking after magical children. I really liked this. The characters are wonderful and varied, and the story was sweet and charming. I liked seeing Linus change throughout the story and the ending was lovely. I would definitely read more by this author.

The Dog & the Sailor by Pete Jordi Wood

This is a fairytale about a young man named Ruan who goes to sea to find his fortune. I really liked this; it’s not a fairytale I’d come across before, and I absolutely loved the ending. I’d definitely read more by this author.

The Wind’s Twelve Quarters by Ursula Le Guin

This is a collection of science fiction short stories. I enjoyed these; they were nearly all new to me and it was good to see the development of the author’s writing.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee

This is a novella about a young man named Monty who is trying to sleep with his boyfriend for the first time. I really liked it; it was sweet and funny, and I really like the characters. I’d definitely read more in this series.

The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin

This is a short essay about writing. I’m still not sure I entirely understand what she’s getting at here, but it was interesting.

© bardofupton 2021