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I Wanna Be Literated #274
BOOKS

Six Weeks in Russia, 1919by Arthur Ransome I look at Arthur Ransome’s Six Weeks in Russia, 1919 with both awe and disdain. It’s a thin book, definitely, and it’s also probably the last book I’ll be completing for a long time. After getting sick to the point of hospitalization and realizing I’ve taken on a new job which has very little interest in providing work/life balance, I’ve come to the realization that any opportunities to relax and “read a book”...

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Wednesday, 21 February 2024
I Wanna Be Literated #271
BOOKS

The Case of Leon Trotsky: Report of Hearings on the Charges Made against Him in the Moscow Trialsby Leon Trotsky I knew I was a fan of the life of Leon Trotsky but reading The Case of Leon Trotsky really made me realize that I might just be a Trotsky-head (no pun intended). There, I wanted to see how many times I could fit Trotsky in a single sentence. Way back in the 1930s, it wasn’t as clear to everyone...

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Friday, 27 October 2023
I Wanna be Literated #270
BOOKS

Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crashby Brendan Mullen (Editor), Don Bolles (Collaborator), Adam Parfrey (Collaborator) Are the Germs the best worst punk band of all time? Their album G.I. had some absolute bangers on them, but unfortunately, the band was led by a narcissistic art student who was more interested in manipulating people than actually making music. Also, the only good live show they played was their last one. Does that negate itself? I don’t...

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Friday, 13 October 2023
I Wanna Be Literated #268
BOOKS

From Lenin to Stalinby Victor Serge There are great figures in the history of Soviet Russia (and by “great” I mean popular) and great journalists on the history of Soviet Russia. David Remnick isn’t one of them. Victor Serge maybe is one. I’ve read a lot on Soviet Russia and particularly the Lenin/Stalin years, but never Victor Serge. He’s important enough that people still speak of him, and even the New York Times covers his books but what about his...

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Wednesday, 02 August 2023
I Wanna Be Literated #267
BOOKS

Random Acts of Medicine: The Hidden Forces That Sway Doctors, Impact Patients, and Shape Our Healthby Anupam B Jena & Chris Worsham There’s nothing like a good summer book, and there’s no reason why a summer book shouldn’t be fun AND informative. Random Acts of Medicine is one of those rare books because it deals with a pretty complicated topic, but it’s also very accessible. I cannot stress this enough: there are plenty of informative and enlightening books out there,...

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Tuesday, 11 July 2023
I Wanna Be Literated #266
BOOKS

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sandsby Kate Beaton Like many, I was completely smitten by Kate Beaton after being exposed to Hark! A Vagrant. Like many, I was also very intrigued by whatever project she had been working on since moving back to Nova Scotia and starting a family (what’s she building up there?). The answer is putting the finishing touches on Ducks: an autobiographical graphic novel about Beaton’s two years working in the oil sands of Canada. The...

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Monday, 26 June 2023
I Wanna Be Literated #263
BOOKS

Permanent DistortionHow the Financial Markets Abandoned the Real Economy Forever Let the record show that reading the “Books and Arts” section of a newspaper can actually be worth your time. Not that arts and books aren’t important. I love books. I love art. But, who has the time? If I hadn’t read the recommendation for Nomi Prins’ book in the Nation, I would have been worse off for it. And quite honestly, financial markets are a topic I have a...

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Friday, 12 May 2023
I Wanna Be Literated #220
BOOKS

Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilizationby Neil deGrasse Tyson I know Neil deGrasse Tyson is often the victim of ridicule, but I can’t help but like the guy. At the very least he’s considered annoying because he likes to challenge our understanding of things, and people don’t like that. He can sometimes be that guy at parties who likes to correct people, so of course that’s annoying. It’s just that NGT (those who know him personally call him that, or...

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198
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Thursday, 23 February 2023
I Wanna Be Literated #219
BOOKS

The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginariesby Kathi Weeks The struggle of the proletariat against Capitalism is hard and real. So is the struggle against this book. I should know better than to commit to a book with such an enchanting title, because the subject matter sounds interesting and relevant. However, the reality is that The Problem with Work is damn-near unreadable for the entirety of its 230 pages. I’ve had a long academic career and...

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Tuesday, 24 January 2023
I Wanna Be Literated 218
BOOKS

I Went Down to St. James Infirmary By Robert W. Harwood A Pig’s Tale By Ralph Sutherland and Harold Sherrick At first glance, these two books have little in common other than being about popular music. The first traces the evolution of a classic blues song, the other the birth and life of a bootleg record company. In the end though, they both involve the quirks of American copyright law, especially as it applies (or doesn’t) to music and the...

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Monday, 16 January 2023