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Joined 4 months, 1 week ago

Lots of non-fiction with a smattering of often speculative fiction.

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ekes's books

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The Power (EBook, 2017, Little Brown and Company) 4 stars

What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?

In THE POWER, the …

Good but

3 stars

Content warning Kind of hard to discuss the 'but' without giving something of the plot of the book away

Light From Uncommon Stars (Hardcover, 2021, Tor Books) 4 stars

Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in this defiantly joyful …


5 stars

A book driven by its characters. I think it would be hard not to empathise with Katrina. The momentum keeps going and you want it to keep going for the characters. Leap of faith in the storyline, no problem, I want this to happen for them.

Written with the narrators view it was able to weave the stories of several people together, but with a strong emphasis on a couple of characters. The narration was also used to skip some of the exacting detail about Katrina's early life while explaining it. For sure a content warning for some of that though.

Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe (2021, Oxford University Press, Incorporated) 4 stars

Detailed history of the Muslims in the Balkans and the development of the modern Nation State.

4 stars

The title of the book might be stretching what it covers a bit far, or alternatively not far enough. Emily Greble has been researching Muslims in the Balkans, in particular the lands that were in Yugoslavia, for years, this is where the focus of the book lies. The historical dynamic there could be the making of modern Europe, or the even the development of the modern nation state around the world. The period covered is from the later years of the Ottoman Empire, with the Congress of Berlin, where Muslims became citizens of Balkan countries, including the new concept of minority rights. Through the World Wars, into Tito’s Yugoslavia. With the impressive knowledge and research, the book is able to be more of a people’s history. Engaging with the diversity of the communities giving plenty of real life stories of ordinary folk, as well as important and influential people. To …

A Country of Ghosts (Paperback, 2021, AK Press) 5 stars

Dimos Horacki is a Borolian journalist and a cynical patriot, his muckraking days behind him. …

An enjoyable utopia

4 stars

At times a bit didactic, and certainly anachronistic - it's set in the past, in an anarchist community, with a very present sensibility - the story keeps everything going nicely. If you've ever been involved in non-hierarchical, and anarchist, spaces or groups you'll recognise a lot of the underlying organisation and discussions. There's a fair focus on the different ways of doing things, and social verses individualism. Less so some of the other complex interpersonal situations that arise. All more easily solved, and enjoyable to read, with the outside enemy of the expansionist imperialist state.

Street Rebellion (2022, AK Press Distribution) 5 stars

Non-violent action is proven to be the most effective? Right?

5 stars

Movement goals are reached more effectively with strict adherence to non-violent principles, it’s a position that has existed for sometime, but it has taken on a life of its own since XR used it in their seriously fact-light introduction talk. The selective reading of history and creation of data from Chenoweth’s misuse of her own work to create the myth of the 3.5% and all that. Strict enforcement of this rule, rather than strengthening movements, can be divisive and harmful. This is the point where Case, clearly an activist and academic, comes in with this book. Refreshingly for a work coming out of the contentious politics corner it is aimed at activists.

The book has two parts. The first quantitative, the second qualitative, book-ended with clear, but very honest “I say what I’m going to say”, “I say what I said”, introduction and conclusion. The appendix is also important, highlighting …

Against the Loveless World (2020, Atria Books) 4 stars

A sweeping and lyrical novel that follows a young Palestinian refugee as she slowly becomes …

Cleverly woven tale, at the same time very human, set with the politics of now for a Palestinian

5 stars

Content warning Impossible to write anything without revealing at least some of the content and the reveal is part of the book. Read the book, it's worth it. Then read this.

reviewed Edge City by Sin Soracco

Edge City (2012, PM Press) No rating

"atmosphere is dark and flows out of the writing"

No rating

I'd started reading this some time ago, having read Low Bite which was excellent. Low Bite is prison noir, Edge City is I guess parole noir. It's interesting, but didn't capture me so much as Low Bite, I'd given up about half way through. Now I'd just read Snitch World, there I also lost it reading through the scene setting (see my review) so I figured I'd return to finish this one too. The characters in this book completely work, though whether you actually empathize with the (lack of) decisions of Reno the main protagonist is another matter. The atmosphere is dark and flows out of the writing. Once you're through the development of the situation it's fast to an abrupt conclusion.

Snitch World (2013, PM Press) No rating

SF Noir vs. SF Tech bubble

No rating

I'm not sure I'd have got past the long classic Noir scene-setting if I hadn't been looking for a easier read and there was the promise of how these two worlds would collide. Wasn't overly convinced by the twists either, maybe felt a bit like Klinger the lead character. But if you like a bit of gentrification politics mixed into your Noir it might be for you.

Gentrification Is Inevitable and Other Lies (Hardcover, 2022, Verso Books) 5 stars

How Gentrification is killing our cities, and what we can do about it

What does …

An intersectional understanding of Gentrification. Highly accessible if somewhat academic in approach.

5 stars

Kern looks at the study of Gentrification and how it has changed since the 60s. Breaking away from a class basis to see the wider power relations at play: an extension of settler colonialism, patriarchy, racism, hetreronormativity. The book also challenges the idea that Gentrification is an inevitable part of the development of the city. In this it’s successful, suggesting that Gentrification is displacement, and that displacement can be challenged. It questions if part of the conflict is over the 'taste' for different communities. The suggested approaches to challenging Gentrification are tied to the intersectional understanding. Not being a book written by a campaigner it doesn’t avoid the complexity to offer comfortable solutions. They also at times feel like they risk being individually framed, but would support diversity in shared space, and challenge the underlying power that makes Gentrification happen.