Stink Helmet

Review by Cody Harder
Filth porn barf bling, laced with hallucinogens. GROSS!! . . . I like it.

Arsene Schrauwen

Review by Cody Harder
I have read "Arsene" three times over the course of several years, and it's just as enjoyable each time. In it, the author, Olivier Schrauwen, relates to us a (very) colorful tale of how his grandfather, Arsene, came from Belgium to "the colony," and his venturous time there. A delightfully heady blend of absurdism, abstract art, and surreal story-telling almost reminiscent of Don Quixote, "Arsene" is full of dry wit, thoughtful prose, and downright outrageous instances of bullshit artistry. I laugh like a lunatic whenever I read it! Beware . . . the lEoPaRd MeN . . . :0

Quarter Vomit: "Gets Day Drunk"

Review by Cody Harder
Pretty decent filth. It kind of reads like watching 15-20min Ren and Stimpy cartoon set in Ner Arlnz; that said, you may find this funnier if you have experienced the crusty side of New Orleans (??) yourself. As the author suggests in the "foreword" (?), expect to get mo stupider after reading this. Hey, feels good man...

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible

Review by Bill Svoboda
What a wonderful and healing book. Enjoy.

Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Dispora

Review by Bill Svoboda
An especially good title! . Some minor quibbles about what WASN'T included-but this is still a great book. Four and a half stars.

Imaginary Communties: Utopia, The Nation, and the Spatial Histories of Modernity

Review by Nathaniel Kidd
Wegner's learned study of utopic geography and attempt at mapping modernity through spatial history falls squarely within the "outside of the box" box of contemporary critical theory, charting a trajectory through a canon of utopian literature that helps us to name the historical and philosophical freight of these fantasies. Wegner might be better read in dialogue with Radical Orthodoxy, and the recent insights developed by Milbank and Taylor, viz., that the "secular" in its medieval and classical conceptualization is not so much a space as a time, such that the the attempt to spatialize imaginary communities actually involves a violent expulsion of any notion of sacral space in the service of a progressive vision. The absence of engagement with this insight, in my view, makes Wegner's work insufficiently critical as a critical perspective. Nevertheless, it is a valuable member of the library collection in speaking to the structure of a variety of imagined alternatives to existing sociocultural spaces and structures.

Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism

Review by Nathaniel Kidd
Carrier might well be congratulated for offering a comprehensive and systematic account of his personal worldview: an ambitious book that is, on the whole, lively and comprehensible. Indeed, such a production is no small achievement. But while the system Carrier lays out is (presumably) satisfying to him, the extent to which it would satisfy anyone not already disposed to agree with him is another question altogether. Perhaps the fact that this book is self-published, and receives its reception and acclamation from the diffusive atheistic humanist community of "infidels.org" rather than an established channel of research, review, and reflection, offers some indication. Carrier's project rests, somewhat comically, on a giant circular argument: assuming both (1) a universe utterly free of any supernatural substance of any kind and (2) the intrinsic meaningfulness of such a universe, Carrier goes on to defend these propositions by ... well, he doesn't defend them, actually, he just lays them out with bravado, and unshakable confidence that any other way of approaching the questions is either inferior to his own, or irrelevant to the conversation. Carrier might be forgiven for this: certainly, to some extent, most worldviews can be reduced to hermeneutical circles of this sort. But the concurrent assertion that he and his small band of atheist friends have alone mounted on the wings of Reason to arrive at Ultimate Truth reflects a rather staggering hubris, and leaves little wonder as to why atheists are often regarded as among the most aggravating and antisocial of subcultures. The tone, indeed, is reminiscent of the apologist who comforts the faithful by patiently explaining how the apparent contradictions within their Scriptures are not, in fact, contradictory. While such arguments have a place within the community, they are not especially impressive to those outside of it. Such failings are, perhaps, to be expected. Without question (and by his own admission, no less) Carrier is a True Believer -- he is determined to believe only that which is True (with a capital "T.") Within this pursuit, he is utterly untroubled by any doubt as to whether there is such a thing as Truth, nor does not give a thorough contemplation of the limitations on the human mind that would reach out for it. The end result may work as a catechism for modern atheists -- and it seems, generally, to be representative of the movement -- but in broader perspective, the work is more sophomoric than philosophical. Carrier evidently loves to read and argue and think, but he has not yet had an encounter the kind of careful, disciplined, sustained criticism that could help him name and question some of his own driving assumptions. For these reasons, it may be advisable even for the confirmed atheist to pass on Carrier, and look for a work that is more carefully wrought, deeply thought, and characterized by epistemic humility rather than Carrier's insuperable swagger. Still, the breadth and brevity of "Sense & Goodness" is not without is commendable qualities, and those attracted to (rather than repulsed by) the Carrier's sweeping approach and the pugnaciousness of his brand of atheism may find plenty to admire in its pages.

Mental Territories: Mapping the Inland Empire

Review by Nathaniel Kidd
Methodologically and historically thought-provoking -- and of intrinsic interest to our region -- Morrissey's book lacks a clear structure and compelling argument. Moreover, the library copy has been very heavily annotated in sections, making it less than compelling as a reading experience. If worthy of thoughtful perusal, then, a better presentation of the subject remains a desiderium.

To the Indomitable Hearts: The Prison Letters of Luciano

Review by Meg Duke
Absolutely incendiary. Tortuga's letters ignite the fire within and remind us why we fight; letters to Tortuga and a compilation of subsequent anarchist actions weave a web of solidarity that defies the isolation of our age and unites international struggles for freedom against systemic oppression.

The Real Work: Interviews & Talks, 1964-1979 Paperback

Review by Bill Svoboda
It is both amazing and heartbreaking that practically all of this is so completely current. Highly recommended.

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability

Review by Bill Svoboda
Reviewing a book about porn is safe and easy compared to reviewing a book about food & dietary habits. This book is a fierce crusade against vegetarianism in general and especially veganism. In my case, Lierre Keith was pretty much preaching to the choir- and NOT to the audience she's especially trying to reach (girls up to their middle teens). Even so, I felt she went overboard with some of her arguments -especially in the "Nutritional Vegetarian" section-I almost expected to look out my window and see malnourished, dead and dying vegetarian/vegans littering the landscape. The Vegetarian Myth is full of passionate and/or well documented arguments- but I'm not certain how effective arguments are against Myths-or if the way to a better world is through denouncing what others do or don't eat.

We Did Porn

Review by Bill Svoboda
Another "three and a half stars", actually. If you skim this, it might seem like a combination of Thomas Pynchon, Hunter S. Thompson, and Susie Bright- and you'll be impressed by what a perceptive and insightful guy Zak Smith is. If you read it word by word, sentence by sentence, it becomes tedious- I started wondering who the editor was-or if there WAS an editor. In case you're wondering- much (most?) of both text and illustrations aren't especially sexually explicit and /or "pornographic"-most of the latter ARE however very punk-often with obsessive/surrealistic/psychedelic elements as well. The best part of We Did Porn is the "we" part- the stories of & about the people in the porn industry- too often the book was "I Did Porn".

Your Black Friend and Other Strangers

Review by Meg Duke
Current and culturally relevant, this collection of Passmore's short comix is simultaneously hilarious and wicked serious. You'll be laughing... with furrowed brow... Recommend.

Vile and Miserable

Review by Meg Duke
2.5 stars. The title had me in a second -- as did a freaky dream scene I had glimpsed while flipping through the pages. Upon finishing, I can say I was a little bummed out; the concept of a demon with deep-seated sex problems running a used bookstore in a car dealership tickled me, but the overall plot arc was disappointing.

Everything is Illuminated

Review by N8R Witham
HELLA REVIEW

Black Hole

Review by Sana Witham
once you go in there’s no going back

The Dispossessed

Review by Kyle Chastain
Fucking epic. There's so much cool shit in here: descriptions of an anarcho-syndicalist world in a scarce environment, conflict and questions over the nature and definition of freedom, existential dread, romance and interesting thought experiments around romantic relationship dynamics on an anarchist world, all in all just a fantastic story.

Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact

Review by Nathaniel Kidd
Deloria is well regarded as one the great pioneers in giving the indigenous voice credibility, and this book -- which he identifies as one of his most enjoyable to write -- certainly does not disappoint as a classic example of his thought and method. Throughout critical of the modern western institutions of religion, law, education, politics, and science, Deloria in this volume takes particular aim at scientistic narratives, uncovering some of the tacitly racist motivations in the formulation of evolutionary theories, and anthropological theses regarding the population of the Americas, but throughout he traces the interweaving of different techniques of dominating power woven through the dogmatic articulation of modern common sense. Ever the iconoclast, Deloria proposes that common truths are not, by virtue of being commonly held, therefore true, and challenges the hegemonic systems of contemporary knowledge to make way for additional ways of being and knowing. In all, it is a lively and enjoyable read; although his argument might have been strengthened by being more reflexively self-aware -- viz., tracing the parallel with other liberationist moving, and asking the question whether the convergence of liberationist voices might itself be a shadow of the dominant systems in need of an alternative.

The Cloud of Unknowing

Review by Nathaniel Kidd
This short and powerful 14th C text is one of the foundational classics of medieval English spirituality. Drawing on the tradition of symbolic and apophatic theology of Dionysius the Areopagite, the Cloud brings into the English language and idiom the deep riches of the Eastern Christian mysticism of late antiquity.

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