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nemobis's books

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The Price of Salt (Paperback, 2015, Dover Publications) 5 stars

THE PRICE OF SALT is the famous lesbian love story by Patricia Highsmith, written under …

Review of 'The Price of Salt' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

For the longest time I snobbed Patricia Highsmith thinking of her as a thriller author, but this novel is outrageously well written. It's incredible that she managed to get this published in 1952, almost 20 years before "Maurice" by E.M. Forster.

The character development, the masterful way we're made to perceive how the feelings develop between the character when they're still so hard to identify clearly... I know exactly what she's talking about, and I still have no idea how she managed to put it into words so well.

Un libro que llamara profundamente la atencion de cuantos se interesen por los problemas politicos …

Review of 'Crises of the Republic' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Hannah Arendt is spectacular in these four essays. After reading them, I keep going back to these concepts and I find we still have a huge need for them, for example when thinking about civil disobedience and the concepts of violence in the activism against the climate crisis.

Beyond Beliefs (Paperback, 2018, Lantern Books) 5 stars

Review of 'Beyond Beliefs' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I originally read this book in Thai Vegan Kitchen in Helsinki. It's ostensibly about communicating with carnists about veganism, but in reality I'd say it's a book about using direct non-violent communication in personal relations. You can find the same concepts in any book about attachment theory, but Melanie Joy presents it all in a more personal way. Useful also if you often find you have trouble communicating the importance of a belief of yours, for example (in my case) free software or privacy.

The Proust screenplay (1980, Eyre Methuen in association with Chatto & Windus) 4 stars

Review of 'The Proust screenplay' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Excellent work, but I'm not sure how enjoyable for someone who has not read the book. A good refresher if you have. It's also easy to realise how this screenplay would have been a nightmare for any film producer. Luchino Visconti might have been able to pull it off, but all those different highly visual scenes are a minefield.

The Ecology of Freedom (1982) 5 stars

The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy is a 1982 book by …

Review of 'The Ecology of Freedom' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Bookchin attempts to rewrite the history of humanity to prove that hierarchical structures aren't "natural" or "necessary". Paleosociology is inevitably hard and dubious, but Bookchin doesn't pretend to have the truth in his pocket. Every page challenges us to think differently and consider what we could do together as a society.

Bookchin is very aphorism-friendly so it would be easy to extract a myriad slogans. I've wondered about this passage on ecofascism: «To lecture society about its "insatiable" appetites, as our resource-conscious environmentalists are wont to do, is precisely what the modern consumer is not prepared to hear. And to impoverish society with contrived shortage, economic dislocations, and material deprivation is certain to shift the mystification of needs over to a more sinister social ethos, the mystification of scarcity. This ethos–already crystalllized into the "life-boat ethic", "triage", and a new bourgeois imagery of "claw-and-fang" called /survivalism/–marks the first steps towards …

Heat (2006, Allen Lane) 5 stars

Started to worry about just how hot our world is going to get, and whether …

Review of 'Heat' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

A classic, still very instructive. A few parts have not aged well, but most of it remains prescient. For example, Monbiot gave us a simple message: there's no way we can make fast travel environmentally sustainable, we just have to give it up: we can't replace the growth in air travel with an equal growth in trains going at 300+ km/h. Some people still don't get it, even in the environmental movement. And this is just one example which reminded me of this book the other day.

Lessico famigliare (Italian language, 2010) 4 stars

Family Sayings (Original title Lessico famigliare) is a novel by the Italian author Natalia Ginzburg, …

Review of 'Lessico famigliare' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Rileggere Lessico famigliare non è stata una delusione. Si può godere la pure bellezza linguistica, oppure assaporare l'immagine di una vita famigliare molto particolare eppure molto semplice, o ancora meravigliarsi della macrostoria di cui apprendiamo tramite questa microstoria, come l'episodio della fuga di Turati.

The forest ranger (1967, Resources for the Future) 5 stars

Review of 'The forest ranger' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

A classic of sociology and the study of the commons, which remains captivating and entertaining. Even though the forest ranger is nowadays a mere metaphor of the challenges of administration and regulation, particularly in the area of the commons, I've also learnt a lot about forest management in the USA. The book is packed with figures and concrete data but remains very enjoyable to read.

I'm a broken record on this, but one of my take aways was how important it is for a central bureaucracy to consider the cost of information when working on such a huge space. The passages on the importance of preserving records and local knowledge, and the difficulty of training new rangers, may sound trivial, but I believe they're crucial.

Review of 'End of Love' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

This book has a good premise, but the execution is catastrophically bad. Pages upon pages of bad and unremarkable prose are spent trying to convince us that capitalism doesn't help produce happy relationships: thank you very much. I understand that this might still be news to some people in the USA, but this filler completely destroys the book. A good editor would probably have cut the book in half without losing any substance. If the filler is necessary to give some air of academic value, it could be in endnotes.

The good part of the book is what comes from the author's qualitative research, namely the interviews with people after their relationships ended. There's a lot one can identify with, but which is seldom talked about.