Howl and Other Poems

Review by Nick Vassallo
True soul and poetry, Howl is Ginsberg's famous sounding point that cried out "truth!" to a loaded audience of fellow writers and so called beats and rough lifers in Frisco. I read it in a poetry class in high school and immediately felt like I could see and feel his point of view and like I knew how his brain worked, like a long lost friend, the way he inspiredly streamed out all of his observations of life and friends and the country and just existence at large was like how I imagined every human I'd relate to feels when in a revved up corner of clarity feeling life's crackling spark and feeling like, "man, I've just GOT to express this!!" And what beautiful expressions they are. There should be a Ginsberg temperature taker for every generation, someone who can really speak to and get at the feeling of a point in time. A good spiritual guide too, makes you feel like there's power in the fearlessness to speak your mind about something that you know really matters. Amen, angel-headed Allen!

On the Road

Review by Nick Vassallo
Kerouac has a lyrical style like no other--the man's writing is all soul, and heart, and swells of great mixed energy tumbling out with the spirit of Coltrane, taking a true gift and miraculous eye and feel for the heartbeat of one's place in time and working like a possessed person to harken his craft to the point where he could sit down after years and years of experience and deep deep rued up thoughts and stories and bang out this novel in a legendarily feverish 3 week explosion of coiled observations expressed through his vicarious intensity for living. When I read this book, I feel a kindred spirit and a man looking for honesty and who's mix of emotions, true love , optimistic idealisms and godly sympathy for every walking creature and moment of life in this planet smashes like an atom into a deeply thoughtful attempt at something great. His earnestness and sincerity make attempting seem worthwhile, even as much that he takes in makes him and you weep and feel a blue sad poet's eyes looking out at the world as a place with tremendous sadness and beauty simultaneously. An inspiration to travel and see your country and live with your true friends and aim for honesty, this book has a heartbeat that resonates like a sweet song from some place very special. Thank you, Jack!

A Guide to Marx's Capital

Review by Sam Swicord
Probably best concise overview of Marx's 'Capital'. There's very little about historical context and controversies, so I wouldn't read it as an introduction to Marx's work.

The Functions of Social Conflict

Review by Sam Swicord
A timeless concise explanation of how social conflict functions.

Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives

Review by Sam Swicord
A spectacularly prescient book. While it may seem outdated, the truly remarkable thing about it is that these 'megatrends' are all continuing to this day (with, perhaps, the exception of globalization).

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Review by Sam Swicord
One of those rare books you can't understand wasn't written a long time ago.

Systemantics

Review by Sam Swicord
A great short read on how people misunderstand systems (especially how they overestimate their ability to solve problems).

Understanding Capital: Marx's Economic Theory

Review by Sam Swicord
Probably the best concise summary of Marx's economic theory.

Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution

Review by Sam Swicord
An excellent book on how corporations embraced a holistic approach to doing business in the 1980s and forever changed how corporations are run. The way corporations were, and changed, is remarkably applicable to how societies and governments are currently mired in problems and could change by making a similar transition (a good example is 'The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government' by Phillip K. Howard.

The Great Anarchists: Ideas and Teachings of Seven Major Thinkers

Review by Sam Swicord
An excellent summary of the classical anarchist theorists. The prose of the book (written in the early 20th century) is strange at times, but the issues it covers (the differences between the thinkers) remain relevant to debates among anarchists over what anarchism is and strategy for change.

Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition is Reshaping Global Markets

Review by Sam Swicord
A good book on a neglected topic--the role of time in economic competition. The early part of the book is by far the best--it explains in theoretical terms why being able to create and sell goods and services quickly is valuable in market competition (despite the conventional obsession with cost-efficiency).

Promethea Vol. 1

Review by Ani Banani
This book was recommended to me many times before I finally picked it up, and I'm glad I did. The art is amazing and diverse, the story is complex and entertaining. Set in a bizarre, flying-car futuristic version of 1999 NYC where science heroes and villains are celebrities and the mayor has 42 personalities, the main character, Sophie Bangs, finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure as she transforms into a science heroine and battles forces of evil as well as "good."

The Wrenchies

Review by Spencer "Spenny" Holmes
This book is fantastic! A gang of misfit children called the Wrenchies travel through a post-apocalyptic future full of evil, magic, and monsters, guided by a mysterious cyborg named the Scientist and a boy from another, simpler world who was pulled into their story through a portal. The illustrations are detailed and totally drew me into the crumbling, wicked setting and the desperate characters trying to fix a world they've only ever known as broken.

Slaughterhouse Five

Review by Kyle Beckhorn
Beautiful. Traveling through time and space, you get a peculiar/scattered view of a man's experiences in World War 2, his abduction by extra terrestrials, and other general life happenings. Told from the point of view of a consciousness no longer bound to life's seemingly linear progression through time.

Crazy Clouds: Zen Radicals, Rebels & Reformers

Review by Pi
This is an awesome book about some of the weirdo Zen masters who got enlightened by being crazy in love with women, getting drunk all the time, or being radically rebellious to the cultural status quo. Many of the masters in the book inspired entirely new schools of Zen and it is surely an in-depth look at the history/folklore of the people and times. Some of the historical background is hard to get through because it really sets the stage for the life and times of each person, but is worth digging into.

Hagelbarger and That Nightmare Goat

Review by Future Man
Hilarious, creepy, wonderful! Takes just a moment to read, but will continue to fascinate and enchant for days if not weeks afterwards.

Spent.

Review by Jasmine Koster
Engaging and witty, I was at first enamored with this critique of consumerism as seen through the lens of evolutionary psychology. The scholar leading the discussion, Geoffry Miller, leads into his proposal for a new view on capitalism...not one of either extremes (it's excellent! per the rapturous 1% , it sucks, frowns most everyone else not utterly resigned and ambivalent to its plethora of disastrious yet enigmatically appealing facets), but that combines the best attributes of today's life enhancing innovations and yesterday's tight-knit, easy going social constructs. I would tread lightly, though, because the author takes a heteronormative stance on all humanity as well as assuming all humans have embraced consumerism (like it or not) and none still live in said "primitive" Cro-magnon manners of 30-thou years past (this is ethnocentric--the globe is full of diverse cultures that, if ignorance rather than respect and recognition persists, will die in vain). Despite assuming we are all heterosexual, capitalistic and resemble the elephant seal in our attention to needs, the book attempts to engage capitalistic discourse in an intelligent and provacative manner--it did manage to raise my shackles a bit, and succeeded in generating debate and critical thought on the way our world seems to work these days. I give it a 4. As with all discourses including the tome that is this review, read it but take it with a grain of your own critique.

Escapo

Review by Spencer "Spenny" Holmes
Escapo was fantastic. My only complaint is that there wasn't enough of it, as often happens with graphic novels, the art and plot draw you in and when you've finished the story you suddenly feel locked out of a world you were just beginning to see. I particularly liked the heavy amount of detail in the design of Escapo's performances and traps.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Review by Jasmine Koster
I grew up Native American in Alaska, in territory which is amoeaba'd by delayed-arrival waves of second hand American culture. It's the forefront of environmentally and culturally destructive but lucrative industries, and was an alcohol drenched experience that happened far too fast and many times was bleak. The author somehow takes all that bleakness of which I too well know and offers, through humble honesty, a somehow humorous perspective that doesn't apologize or condemn the way life is but simply explores a young boy's desperate and courageous struggle to avoid misery and find a nugget of happiness-as universal as finding a girlfriend and making it on the basketball team, as making friends and avoiding bullies and risking everything to get into a better school. He sheds a kinder light on Western society than one would expect, but this coin is double sided as he remains baffled by his own uncertain identity. I couldn't put it down.

Haikus From A Poet 1

Review by Ryan Welch
Similar to Ted L. Nancy's "Letters From A Nut" series. The author wrote a series of books of haikus, together with their reviews. Some people might consider this fan art. Some people might consider this a homage.

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