The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain: Revised and Expanded

Review by Bo Richardson
I was first introduced to the Cold Mountain poems in college around 1972. The Gary Snyder translation showcased the outsider anti-materialist mild-anarchist version of Cold Mountain’s Buddhism and Daoism. Not many words, lots of fun. This more recent Red Pine version has more words, more scholarship. Everything about the approach of Red Pine is different from that of Gary Snyder. Vladimir Nabokov said that translating a poem is really writing a poem about a poem. Snyder’s poems and Red Pine’s poems are so different only sometimes does a casual reader recognize a previously loved poem. Red Pine’s scholarship and poetry are both very good. Red Pine is a self-financing scholar and in his dedication to his translation of the Dao De Ching he thanks DSHS and the Food Stamp people for their support rather than some university department chair. I thought this showed a lower Bohemian sensibility and humor. Gary Snyder grew up in Snohomish and has written about places in Whatcom County. Red Pine lives in Port Townsend.

Vladimir's Night

Review by Meg Duke
a delightful and fanciful bedtime story for all politicos

A Handbook on Hanging

Review by Bill Svoboda
The subject matter (not surprisingly!) is dark...and detailed. The impeccably sarcastic prose reads like a non-fictional (and subversive) JRR Tolkien crossed with a modern Jonathan Swift-this was actually NOT the kind of book Charles Duff (linguist, teacher, translator and best selling author) usually wrote. As a combination history of hanging, anti capital punishment satire and general send up of British arrogance and stuffiness it is perhaps overambitious. For best results, start by reading the list of chapters ... and then sip rather than guzzle.

Mammoths of the Great Plains

Review by Bill Svoboda
Another winner from PM Press's "Outspoken Authors" series. This has the same basic format as "The Lucky Strike Plus"- (Alternate History, Essay, Interview.) Ursula LeGuin gave "Mammoths Of The Great Plains" a big thumbs up. I just wish there could have been more mammoths-and that this was a real history instead of an alternate one.

Fledgling

Review by Bill Svoboda
The "pedophilia" isn't really pedophilia-but it's real enough to have triggered a number of readers- if you think you may be one of them, it might be a good idea to skip this book. Also, it's not "spooky".... in some ways it barely classifies as horror. The vampire protagonist/narrator isn't particularly evil and becomes too familiar to the reader to feel mysterious. All that being said, this is an outstanding book in it's own unique, provocative way. The writing is up to par with say, Anne Rice -too bad Octavia Butler passed before completing the sequel(s?). RIP

Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street

Review by Meg Duke
*filthy* satire. no matter what bullshit politics are distorting the time period you read this in, it'll still be horrifically applicable to the brutal boots of society and government that squash us.

Buda's Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb

Review by Meg Duke
Pretty interesting stuff. Not only did I learn about the history of the car bomb, but I also learned a bit more about war history in general. Be prepared for a ton of name drops and references, not all of which are essential to understanding what Davis is talking about. Spoiler: turns out the "poor man's air force" is often used by men not so poor --- the CIA as the primary example.

Clorofilia: Magazine of Plant Related Comics, Issue 1

Review by Meg Duke
the stories and art use plants' patience and persistence to explore the authors' existential musings

Science for the People

Review by Bill Svoboda
This is a fairly specialized book of Science History. For some, it may be TOO specific -and somewhat dated as well. There is a great deal of worthwhile content here however, and for some it may be just what they're looking for.

Dreaming the Future: Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature

Review by Bill Svoboda
"Science-y but not too Science-y." (And Highly Recommended) This book manages to say a tremendous amount in 190 pages- and does so in a very "read-able" way "Dreaming the Future" resonated in my mind with a good many other, previously read books - especially Charles Einsenstein's "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible"- ( If you read them both together, I think you'd probably levitate or something). Both books are very useful for those striving to imagine what a better world would be like (including various specific details)....and as an antidote to the dystopianism sweeping our current world like a pandemic.

Wanderground

Review by Meg Duke
A beautiful and necessary imagining of a wilderness world for women

The Word For World Is Forest

Review by Meg Duke
A real quick read. Some nasty yumans come to colonize a planet and enslave the natives, who had been traditionally peace loving until being brutalized and having their world devastated...

Critical Path

Review by Future Man
This is one of the critical tomes of 20th century utopianism, part eco-futurist manifesto and part autobiography. One of the final texts written before his death, Bucky Fuller's Critical Path covers an incredible scope in attempting to trace the development of human civilization up to 1980 and then make the case for a globalized and harmonious sustainable future for our species, and the path to get there. Fuller has a creative way of navigating English and often invents words or establishes new linguistic standards to frame things within his worldview. The style is funky, charming, heady, and personal; a nice tone for a text dealing with the necessary reorganization of the global economy to allow the survival of our species on "spaceship Earth".

The Lucky Strike Plus...

Review by Bill Svoboda
If you like "hard" sci-fi with an eco-leftist bent, and/ or smartly written alternate history then I strongly recommend Kim Stanly Robinson. (Also recommended to fans of Ursula LeGuin and Gary Snyder!) Because it's both short (107 pages) and varied (alternate history, essay, interview) this booklet is a good introduction to KSR's prolific writings- even though it's not his best work (that being said...it's still pretty good).

Our Band Could Be Your Life

Review by Bill Svoboda
First published in 2001, this/indie/punk history stands the test of time. At over 500 pages, it's not a quick read, and the quality varies from one chapter to another. But the best parts more than make up for the not-so-best. Chapter 8 (The Butthole Surfers) had me choking with laughter ... repeatedly. Someone wanting a weird but accurate portrait of the 1980s could read this book together with Susan Faludi's "BackLash".

King Warrior Magician Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine

Review by Bill Svoboda
If you are a Jungian New Ager you might actually like this. To me, it was run -of -the mill (the 1990 mill!) unconvincing and a little smug.

Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye

Review by Jessica Espy
Florence King is thought-provoking and controversial!

The Real Cost of Prisons Comix

Review by Meg Duke
READ IT and learn so many real hard truths.

Ecotopia Emerging

Review by Meg Duke
A prequal to the famous Ecotopia, this story goes into the specific actions taken by a variety of individuals that gradually lay the path toward Ecotopian independence. If Ecotopia's the finished product, this is the DIY step-by-step manual how to get there. (Go Ben!)

Ecotopia

Review by Meg Duke
Very needed complete re-imagining of society's structure... down to economic and waste disposal systems! The writing itself? Eh. The concept and execution? Yes!

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