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Book Club: Summer reading? July 18, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Any recommendations for the Summer for leftists, or indeed for leftists who want to relax?


1. Dr. Nightdub - July 18, 2017

Just back from holiday in Valencia and surrounds, where I read “Spain In Our Hearts” by Adam Hotchkiss. Based on interviews, letters and diaries, it looks at the experiences of American volunteers in the International Brigade. Unashamedly pro-Republican but also (surprising, given the CP background of many of those he features) very critical of the role of Moscow.


2. GW - July 18, 2017

Really enjoying Didier Eribon’s Returning to Reims which took the German left by storm last year. I’m always at least a year behind the fashion.

Concerned with class identities and injuries growing from his autobiography as a gay intellectual who cut him self off from his small-town working-class roots in northern France – partly about why some of his class abandoned the Communist partly in favour of the Front National, it’s beautifully and written, even in the fine German translation.

I’m told that the English translation is as good.


GW - July 18, 2017

partly -> Party


Michael Carley - July 19, 2017

Some mention of it here in a Colm Toibin review:


3. Liberius - July 18, 2017

It won’t be everyone’s view of a relaxing summer read, but I’ve got Owen Hatherley’s Landscapes of Communism pencilled in for August, been looking forward to reading it for a while now.

On the lighter front I’ve been reading Mona Lisa Overdrive, which in my view is quicker to get itself going compared to Count Zero, but not as engrossing as Neuromancer.. Still, entertaining none the less.

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4. Starkadder - July 19, 2017

“The ABCs of Socialism” edited by Bhaskar Sunkara and illustrated by Phil Wrigglesworth. I think this may be the ideal book to offer someone interested in finding out about socialism. There’s a particularly good chapter by Erik Olin Wright about how little
“individual liberty” most workers have under capitalism.


5. Aengus Millen - July 19, 2017

On a completely different note I’ve been reading Ann Leckie’s Ancillary series. It deals with a future human civilization where human bodies controlled by AI’s are a common feature of society. Beside being an interesting tale itself it also deals interestingly with questions of Language, Gender and what constitutes conciseness.


WorldbyStorm - July 19, 2017

I’ve never read the novels but read a short story of hers recently and really liked it, weirdly though she very much has her own style there was a sort of echo of Jack Vance


EWI - July 26, 2017

It reminded me a lot of Iain M. Banks.


6. Lamentreat - July 19, 2017

Adam Tooze’s “The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931” is a very interesting take on that period.

It is real global history, thinking imaginatively of how the war changed the world economy and geopolitics, leading to the emergence of the US as the dominant force in world politics, not in 1941 or 1945, but in 1916. It manages to be extremely detailed – diplomatic history of what Wilson or Trotsky said when and why it mattered; what Japan is doing and why it matters to Europe and to India, etc. – but also give a sense of how events fit together in an intensified way.

It’s not a left-wing book: if they had to be pinned down, his views are somewhere sort of liberalish, although his sympathies are much wider. So he devotes some time to thinking about Kerensky and what would have happened if he had won out against Lenin in a way some people here would dislike. But worth checking out all the same.


7. FergusD - July 19, 2017

Michael Roberts “The Long Depression: How it Happened, Why it Happened and What Happens Next”. Haymarket Books. The Long Depression is this economic depression we are still in. A Marxist analysis which restores the declining rate of profit argument. Critiques the post-keynesians and under-consumptionists. A bit of a tough read, but worth it IMHO. In a similar vein are Andrew Kliman’s “The Failure of Capitalist Production” and Tony Norfield’s “The City”. Norfield’s book concentrates on the financial sector and the City of London in particular, but puts it in the wider context, and argues against the “It was just due to greedy bankers” view. Of course bankers are greedy, but there is more to it (the depression) than that. He is a Marxist who worked for 20 years in The City.


8. Joe - July 19, 2017

I’m reading Mr God, this is Anna. It’s odd and a little unsettling.


9. Alibaba - July 19, 2017

‘This year will see an avalanche of reactionary bullshit written by the patrician chroniclers of Soviet Russia. You can get your retaliation in by flaunting …’ China Mieville’s October: The Story of the Russian Revolution … on the beach as the yatching fraternity sashays by’. That’s according to Paul Mason. 

I’ve just dipped into this book and am impressed by its depth of knowledge and captivating writing style. Even the minor insights shed some light. When Lenin and other Bolsheviks took the sealed train back to Russia, it was Lenin who organised the queuing system to the loo.

For anybody interested in the role of the Presybterians who founded the United Irishmen and those forgotten figures who participated in early republicanism, here’s a book: The Star Man by Conor O’Cleary (2017).

For a book that gave me many belly laughs, even though it covers rural life in melancholic times: The Thing About December by Donal Ryan (2014) .


10. ar scáth a chéile - July 21, 2017

Am off to Tuscany soon. so thinking of finally tackling A Civil War
A History of the Italian Resistance
by Claudio Pavone [ https://www.versobooks.com/books/1733-a-civil-war%5D -Anyone read it-? or anyone got any suggestions for a good history of Italy. There’ll be some hills to cycle and and Chianti to sample so maybe I need a smaller tome.


11. Starkadder - July 26, 2017

I have started on “Kill All Normies” by Angela Nagle-there was one copy left in Books Upstairs, Dublin, which I purchased last weekend.

It provides a helpful classification of the various alt-right factions (Men’s rights groups, white nationalists, neo-reactionary philosophers, “sh*tposter” troublemakers and the PR-friendly “alt-light” types like Milo Yiannopoulos) and how it percolated in an online culture of irony hosted by websites like 4chan. In this culture, jokes about raping women or murdering ethnic minorities could be gotten away by claiming they were “ironic” – but it got to the point where it is impossible to know whether such comments are ironic, serious, or a mix of both.


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