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Joined 1 year, 6 months ago

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Meron Mendel: Über Israel reden (EBook, Deutsch language, Kiepenheuer & Witsch) 5 stars

Über kaum ein anderes Land wird in Deutschland so viel geredet und Zu Israel hat …

Zeitgemäß und seit Veröffentlichung noch zutreffender geworden

5 stars

„Viele Deutsche fühlen zwei Herzen in ihrer Brust schlagen: Wie lässt sich der Widerspruch auflösen zwischen der Verpflichtung gegenüber den Opfern der Shoah, ihren Nachkommen und ihrem Staat Israel auf der einen Seite – und einer modernen linken, postkolonial inspirierten Identität, die sich für die Nachkommen der Kolonisierten in Afrika genauso einsetzen möchte wie für die unterdrückten Palästinenser?“

Mit genau diesem Gefühl und auf der Suche nach einer Antwort auf genau diese Frage habe ich dieses Buch ausgesucht. "Terminally online" höre ich dem internationalen Diskurs auf der einen und den deutschen Diskurs auf der anderen Seite zu, ausgelöst durch den erneuten Krieg in Gaza. Und habe das Gefühl, dass beide Seiten über Strohmänner reden. Und jeweils die von der anderen Seite genannten Positionen beiseite wischen, als Genozidverteidigung auf der einen und Antisemitismus auf der anderen Seite. Und ich möchte diese offen gelassenen Fragen stellen, aber ich weiß nicht, wie.

Mendel …

Derek Wall: Elinor Ostrom's rules for radicals (2017) 4 stars

Excellent overview over Ostrom's work

5 stars

The only criticism I have is the title. It seems to me that most people who would consider themselves “radicals” will (unjustly) consider Elinor Ostrom's positions to be too reformist and moderate, while many moderates will be turned off by what sounds like leftist rhetoric.

But I really think the book has much to offer to anyone. For leftists, I do think that Ostrom's focus on practical problem solving and application can be very helpful to apply to their own thinking. And being written from a leftist perspective, it is a good starting point for moderates who wish to go beyond the caricatures, when it comes to understanding anarchist ideas - precisely because Ostrom was not a leftist herself.

Ostrom built a case that not being regulated by the state does not imply there are no institutions and no enforcement of rules. And by being empirical and practical and moderate …

finished reading Artemis by Andy Weir

Andy Weir: Artemis (2017, Ebury Publishing) 4 stars

"Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only …

A rare example of the genre of Cyber-Anti-Punk: Set in a dystopian corpocracy, all about a quest to preserve the status quo of lawless capitalism.

It's good Sci-Fi and a fun plot, though, if you can look past the themes.

finished reading Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (Earthseed, #1)

Octavia E. Butler: Parable of the Sower (EBook, 2012, Open Road Media Sci-Fi Fantasy) 4 stars

The Nebula Award–winning author of Kindred presents a “gripping” dystopian novel about a woman fleeing …

Gut-wrenching. I think what broke me most is that even though the book already starts in a post-apocalyptic world, with societies institutions pretty much completely broken down, Lauren (the protagonist) spends the first half of the book talking about having to prepare "in case it gets bad". As another character puts it: "We haven't hit bottom yet". But as bad as it gets, the story provides at least a glimmer of hope, in teaching the merits of mutual aid.

It's too bad Butler didn't get to continue and finish the series past the first two books. She clearly put down the seeds (no pun intended) for a pretty epic, millenia-spanning story. I wish we'd get to read it.

Octavia E. Butler: Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1) (1997) 4 stars

Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth—the last …

This was the first book by Octavia Butler I read and her ability to speak in allegory is uncanny. It's an absolute page-turner, a gripping story. While also being a scathing indictment of the colonialist mindset and asking some of the most uncomfortable questions about free will and the human condition. I have rarely enjoyed being thrown into an existential crisis this much.

Suzanne Segal: Collision With the Infinite (Paperback, 1996, Blue Dove Press) No rating

A mind bending book. The way Segal perceived the world is a fascinating glimpse into the complexity of human consciousness.

From the description, this might turn you away from leaning too much into esoteric and meta-physics. But the actual truth is surprisingly nuanced. Segal has strong backgrounds both in spiritual movements and psychology and she doesn't shy away from using or critizising either lens. I found her descriptions mostly compatible with my own atheist world view. She doesn't seem to try to indoctrinate the reader. So I recommend approaching her story with an open mind.

Kim Stanley Robinson: The Ministry for the Future (Paperback, 2021, Orbit) 4 stars

Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organization was simple: To advocate for the …

This was one of the wildest books I've read this year. A great mix of novel, non-fiction essays and almost poetic chapters. It makes for an interesting read and every other chapter gave me a new inspiration to read up on a new concept I've never heard of.

It's also eco-socialist wish-fulfillment. What if we could just convince some of the most central powerful institutions to just try? To actually implement the systemic changes needed to get through the climate crisis? And do away with capitalism in the process?

I really liked it. It's not all rosy glasses, it's actually pretty brutal. But at the end of it all, it's hopeful. I think we need that right now - I certainly do.

Charles Dickens, James Gibson: A Tale of Two Cities (Paperback, 2003, Penguin Books) 4 stars

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is …

This is the first thing I've read from Dickens. His prose is unbearable. But the writing overall is surprisingly good. The characters are interesting, the plot is well constructed, the themes are well represented. Probably shouldn't be as surprised, given how successful he was, but yes, well deserved.