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Joined 1 year, 7 months ago

Queer goth lady in Berlin, buying more books than I find time to read

Some leanings: political philosophy, psychology, queer lit, sci-fi, fantasy, horror

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2024 Reading Goal

33% complete! Esther has read 2 of 6 books.

Sarah Schulman: Conflict is not abuse (2016) 1 star

Conflict is not Abuse, reviewed Apr 2022

1 star

(Copied from an old twitter thread, Apr 2022)

Oof, this book is a slog to get through. Not to mention the many fundamental flaws.

For example: the whole chapter about how she believes communication is overly restrictive today is written from a place of deep fear of messing up and an inability to read social queues. Thereby doing the thing she warns about in the book: overstating harm.

I can’t say the book is written from a neurotypical perspective because I don’t know that about the author. I would say though it is written assuming a neurotypical perspective and audience.

A lot of the difficulties she describes are common among various neurodivergencies but instead of exploring that she denies these perspectives as overly sensitive.

Her insistence of in-person talking over text communication also shows a generational divide. It’s understandable that she’s not super fluent in asynchronous communication but she doesn’t …

Rebecca Stringer: Knowing Victims (Paperback, 2014, Routledge) No rating

It carries a powerful and interesting message about reclaiming concepts of victimhood that neoliberalism has tried to strip of their useful content, but sadly buries it in a lot of repetition and at times overly dense academic language. This could have been a sharp and condensed paper of 20 pages instead of a rather sluggish book of 160.

Andreas Malm: How to Blow up a Pipeline (2020, Verso Books) 3 stars

Why resisting climate change means combatting the fossil fuel industry

The science on climate change …

Energizing, brutally honest, and aggressively hopeful

5 stars

How to Blow Up a Pipeline is probably the most thought-provoking and crucial piece of political philosophy that I’ve read since Social Death by Lisa Marie Cacho.

In three long essays Malm fist dismantles the myths and extremely selective histories told by strategically pacifist climate movements like XR (Extinction Rebellion), then describes specific material actions and practical examples on how to disrupt fossil fuel combustion effectively and towards the end takes climate fatalism to task in a radically hopeful finale.

This book is as important as it is approachable, not at all a dense academic work but a pragmatic guide for the real world.

Tamsyn Muir: Harrow the Ninth (Hardcover, 2020, 4 stars

Madness and grief

4 stars

I never expected a book to successfully gaslight me and I would have expected even less that I would enjoy that.

This book manages not only to describe someones descent into madness from intense grief but it makes you feel it yourself. It fractured so many things you thought you knew from the previous book that you constantly doubt your own memory of those past event, but brings everything together towards the end only to leave you with questions again.

It is also repeatedly hilarious and features one of the best dad jokes of all time.

Dossie Easton, Janet W. Hardy: The New Bottoming Book (Paperback, 2001, Greenery Press (CA)) 2 stars

Two books that fell out of time

2 stars

Just like The New Topping Book by the same authors, which came out after this but I read first, this book very much shows its age. It is from a time when online resources like Fetlife were far more scarce than today and someone coming newly into kink would have had real difficulty finding any useful material. That is no longer the case and these books today read like someone did maybe a week’s worth of internet research to compile them.

They cover a lot of the basics quite well, but if you already have some experience, even just a little, and especially if you had even just a halfway decent mentor who introduced you to kink, they don’t offer much new insight.

I’m sure they were useful 20 years ago but I wouldn’t recommend them today.

They also have a few issues that you’d expect to see in books …