Wednesday, May 5, 2010


i was recently asked to come up with a book list for a friend. so here is what i have:

lost mountain by eric reese

a nonfiction account of the life and death of a mountain. it starts with a mountain who has just been permitted for MTR mining and follows it through that process- to its death. It also has some great naratives about folks living with that mountain. this book is why i care about mtr if that tells you anything.

assatta by assatta shakur
an insanely amazing book about assata shakur- who was a black revolutionary and was involved with the black panthers. it is one of those books that makes you question everything you ever read in a history text book and really opens the door to black struggles, especially within the 'justice system.' it's really accessible and easy to read, it's written like someone talking to you, not someone writing you a manifesto.

the monkey wrench gang by edward abbey
this one is fictional and about a group of folks out west who pick up monkey wrenching (sabatage) in the name of environmental protection. its good stuff, not 'educational' but a fun read and one that sort of lets you delve into issues of justification of our actions.

doris (anthology) by cindy crabb
a complication of zines and its so great. the way its written is frank and lets you think about things alot and reflect on your own life while hearing adventures and trials of someone elses life. really good (and an easy one to read a few pages at a a time, or read all night long with a cup of coffee).

nonviolent communication by marshall b rosenberg
this one is sort of akward to start reading. its written in a 'self help' way (or so i imagine) and at first was a little much for me. but the content is really great and i think i took a lot out of it. i think it would be best to read with housemates or friends so you could all practice together, because its such a different way of communicating i feel like i would have benefited from doing that. but even with that sort of awkward not very positive sounding note, i really do suggest reading it.

fighting back in appalachia edited by stephen l fisher

this one is a compilation of essays/articles about resistance in appalachia. i haven't read all of it, but have really enjoyed some of them and feel like its really applicabale and there are lessons to be learned from it. my favorite so far was Racism and Organizing in Appalachia which brought up some really powerful ideas of never avoiding hard topics and always confronting and working against things like racism, even when the cause we're working towards might seem unconnected (because really- it's not).

strange as this weather has been by ann pancake
a really wonderful fictional story that feel very based in reality (and i'm pretty positive it is). a story of a wv family dealing with mtr, and the personal struggles that take place in that process. this book for real made me cry, like really hard.

soil not oil by vandana shiva
vandana shiva is one of those people put into the hero category, so i'm a little prejudice. but, this book takes the time to connect issues of food production with climate change while focusing on environmental justice and the solutions to both climate change, food security, and poverty.

the vulneravle planet by john bellamy foster and the bridge at the end of the world by james speth
both of these books look at the global economic system and how that is leading us towards an ecological collapse beyond our control. ultimately, they both make the case for drastic overhauls of the world as we know it, in order to preseve the possibility of life in the future. they're both really good, and i couldn't decide which one to focus on, so i just went for both. (vulnerable plant is shorter and maybe more accessible)

democracy matters by cornell west
i find cornell west's language a little hard to digest and had to take some time reading this one. but he's an insanely smart guy and really lays out the need to go back to a better and more real democratic way. when i read it, i was also reading assatta, which was a great counter balance.

making things and doing stuff edited by kyle bravo
this isn't really a 'reading' book but a compilation of diy guides. in a way, these are things you can probably find online- but some of them i would never think to look up- and its nice to have things in print. everything from making beer, book binding, shoe repair, dildos and tips for traveling.

there are a lot of things here that are missing. you can see a pretty clear theme- environmental issues- which means that many things are missing. I feel like women/gender, native american and latin american issues are big holes not being addressed at all here. hopefully i'll get better at educating myself, and my post graduation reading list (which is still in the works) can be a good resource to delve into some readings on those issues.

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