| |

Craxme.com

 Forgot password?
 Join
View: 57|Reply: 0
Collapse the left

[Articles & Opinions] The book that changed my mind: Matt Haig, Emily Maitlis and more share their picks.

[Copy link]
Post time: 12-6-2019 11:59:22 Posted From Mobile Phone
| Show all posts |Read mode
Editado por Pedro_P en 12-6-2019 01:34 AM

━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━


Image
Clockwise from top left: David Olusoga, Emily Maitlis, Elif Shafak, Matt Haig, Steven Pinker and Sara Pascoe. Composite: Rex, Alamy, Alex Lake for the Observer, Murdo Murdo Macleod for the Guardian, Andy Hall for the Observer
▼  MATT HAIG
The Uninhabitable Earthby David Wallace-Wells. This is, unfortunately, non-fiction. If only it were fiction. In crystalline prose, Wallace-Wells provides a devastating overview of where we are in terms of climate crisis and ecological destruction, and what the future will hold if we keep on going down the same path. Urgently readable, this is as much an epoch-defining book as Naomi Klein’s No Logowas two decades ago. However much you think you might know about climate crisis, Wallace-Wells’s exhaustive but compelling study will open your eyes even wider. The crisis is so much more than sea level rises and isolated terrifying incidents, and this book is brilliant at showing how everything connects.Matt Haig is author of Notes on a Nervous  Planetand Evie and the Animals, published by Canongate.
DEBORAH LIPSTADT
When I teach courses on the history of the Holocaust, my lectures may stimulate the students intellectually and challenge them personally. Nothing, however, that I impart has the impact of a lecture given by a Holocaust survivor. She or he can say: “This is my story. This is what happened to me.” And so it is with memoirs. They too possess the distinct attribute of being able to speak in the first person singular. Ruth Kluger’sStill Aliveleaves me and my students dumbfounded. Beginning with her childhood in Vienna and continuing with her “sojourns” in Terezin and Birkenau through to her life in America, Kluger writes with a unique honesty and forthrightness. Full of “piss and vinegar”, she is unafraid to speak the truth as she sees it. For memoirs of the Holocaust, there is Primo Levi’s If This Is a Manand Kluger’sStill Alive.
Deborah Lipstadt’s Antisemitism: Here and Now is published by Scribe.
CAROLINE CRIADO PEREZ
It is no exaggeration to say thatFeminism and Linguistic Theoryby Deborah Cameron changed my life. Before I picked it up I was not a feminist. Men and women were equal now, and there was nothing holding us back but ourselves: our irrational, trivial, overemotional, jealous and unintellectual selves. (Except, of course, my self wasn’t like that. I was more like one of the guys. And I had a sense of humour.) But Cameron’s book made me realise that words and language were not just simple tools I used to shape my thoughts. Grammatical rules such as the use of the generic male pronoun were not meaningless standards; they had taught me to unconsciously, reflexively, think of men as the default human. These tools were shaping my views – and I somehow hadn’t even noticed. It was quite the wakeup call.
Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible  Womenis published by Chatto.
DAVID OLUSOGA
Lots of people have been turning to James Baldwin recently and, you have to hope, many of them have had their minds changed by his stark analysis of racial politics and history. The Fire Next Time, an essay Baldwin wrote for his nephew, is not an easy read and there’s little comfort to be found in the thought that it was written for another age, the early 1960s. It has been rediscovered, reassessed and reprinted now because it speaks powerfully to our historical moment. If, today, you want to understand what people mean when they talk about systemic inequality, and if you’re seeking to understand how racism damages and in some cases destroys lives, it is all laid out here, plainly and painfully. “One of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly,” Baldwin writes, “is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” In the politics of 2019 hatred and divisions founded on hatred have become distractions, designed to draw attention away from the real and legitimate pain of economic exploitation and social marginalisation.
David Olusoga’s Black and  British: A Forgotten Historyis published byPan.
SIRI HUSTVEDT
The Restless Clock: A History of  the Centuries Old Argument Over  What Makes Living Things Tickby Jessica Riskin explores the history of ideas about agency – the capacity of living organisms to act in the world – and its connection to mechanistic thought, nature as machine. Riskin’s fascinating and lively book reframes the conventional narrative of the scientific revolution by tracing the passive and active strains in mechanistic philosophy. She convincingly demonstrates how the view of nature as inert passive matter was theologically based and that it contrasted with the view of nature as mechanical and active. The book made me rethink several assumptions I had about the history of what we now call biology and brought further nuance to contemporary debates about machine and organic intelligence.
Siri Hustvedt’s Memories of the  Futureis published by Sceptre.
MAX PORTER
I felt profoundly and gratefully changed on finishing Nathan Filer’s The Heartland. He is such a good storyteller, such a rigorous and careful handler of other people’s narratives, that by the end of the book I felt I had truly met and listened to them. He had taught me to listen more attentively, to interrogate and rely less on pre-existing formulations for understanding others’ pain. His book is about language. I realised I had been complicit in a system of linguistic entrapment whereby diagnostic language, the language of medicine and madness, the othering function of our deeply flawed system for helping and speaking about people with psychiatric illnesses, is causing great harm. He shows us how this harm is enacted, from individual gestures to governmental ideology. I therefore finished the book politically enlightened and personally inspired, not just in the context of mental healthcare, but in all my encounters with people, in the words I choose to use.
Max Porter’s Lannyis published by Faber.
SARA PASCOE
Reading books I always fold the corners on pages that I want to return to, the pages that contain lines I need to revisit – want to redigest. FinishingKing Kong Theoryby Virginie Despentes, translated by Stéphanie Benson, I realised my system was useless as I had folded down every single page. It’s worth saying that Despentes is an incredible writer, but her thinking – her insight – is lightning. Scalding and illuminating. I’ve been bringing her up in every conversation. She is brilliant on ugliness, on anarchism and rebellion, but especially important on porn. On her experiences selling sex, transactional sex in general. Women and money, women and their pleasure. She writes near the end about how powerful women have to ally with men – have to “smile in subjugation” and dress attractively as “pledges of obedience”. She says the women “we hear speaking are those who know how to get on with men”. Despentes’s experiences will lead you to question your own: you’ll be moved and agitated.
Sara Pascoe’s SexPowerMoneywill be published by Faber on 29 August.
MIA COUTO
The Lies That Bind: Rethinking  Identityby Kwame Anthony Appiah is a book I would recommend at a time when identities are presented as absolute and definitive truths. Appiah focuses on deconstructing these truths on the basis of brief family stories, his own personal experiences, or experiences that he was told about. The book analyses our ideas about race, gender, culture, religion, nationality and social class, and suggests that all these categories are lies that serve to unite us against those who are declared different in an age of extreme polarisation. What Appiah does is to debate such concepts, seeking out their histories and exploring their ambiguities. The author deals with the complex subject of ideas about identity – possibly the most important issue of the modern age – in a way that is vivid and appealing.
Mia Couto’s Women of the Ashes, translated by David Brooksaw, is published by Picador.
BERNARDINE EVARISTO
The African American lesbian-feminist poet and essayist Audre Lorde (1934-1992) is enjoying a renaissance. I first encountered her books in the 1980s when she was hugely influential in validating my desire to write as a young black feminist who felt like an outsider in British society. Her stirring 1984 essay collection, Sister Outsider,is a passionate, personal and political offering on the intersections of identities, and she articulates strategies of resistance to marginalisation and subjugation. This kind of book is often only read by those directly affected by the issues it explores but we are all part of a network of individuals who impact on each other. The inheritors of patriarchal power and privilege would do well to read this book. At a time when we’re experiencing a backlash against egalitarian social advances, Lorde’s voice remains as pertinent and prescient as ever.
Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl,  Woman, Otheris published by Hamish Hamilton.
JESSIE BURTON
I have thought about Richard Powers’s novel The Overstoryever since reading it last year. It is ambitious, meditative, fundamentally quite weird, and both sprawling and specific. Nine very contrasting characters come to inhabit a world of trees, as Powers examines our interdependence with these natural miracles, our need for them, and how their beauty and strength need to be protected at all costs. For me, what was so radical and exciting about this novel was the fact that the trees are probably more important than the human beings who trundle around them causing chaos. It was the first “eco-lit” novel I’ve read that made me stop and truly realise how sophisticated trees are, how magisterially brilliant. And, in a world where finally, collectively, we are acknoweldging the threat of climate crisis, it reminded me of how important they are to the planet’s survival.
Jessie Burton’s The Restless Girlsis published by Bloomsbury.
ELIF SHAFAK
Thomas Page McBee’s Amateuris a fascinating book that stayed with me. It is brave, honest and touchingly human. The author, a trans man, tells the story of how he got into amateur boxing and what happened afterwards. At first glance, this is a story about manhood, fighting, power, survival ... but the book is so much more than that. His voice is remarkably candid, compassionate, calm, thoughtful. “Why do men fight?” he asks. “I tried to look at masculinity with a beginner’s mind, and I asked questions even when I was embarrassed, or when my mouth was full of blood, or when I was afraid of looking stupid, or lost, or weak. Especially then.” McBee takes us on a journey of many transformations – physical, mental and even spiritual. From myths about testosterone to the construct of masculinity, from the stereotypes we internalise to the judgments we pass in life, it raises important and timely questions, such as how to be a man without being like your father. This is a beautiful book that will resonate not only with young men struggling with the pressures and social expectations of masculinity, or with women dealing with limitations due to patriarchy, but with anyone anywhere in the world who is determined to become a better, kinder human being.
Elif Shafak’s My Last 10 Minutes  38 Seconds in This Strange Worldwill be published byViking on 6 June.
STEVEN PINKER
In his American countercultural magazine Whole Earth Catalog, Stewart Brand changed the image of technology from corporate and malevolent to human and cool. In his more recentWhole Earth Discipline, he has exploded our understanding of how to protect the environment. The subtitle tossed one grenade after another: “Why dense cities, nuclear power, transgenic crops, restored wildlands, and geoengineering are necessary.” Before you rage, consider whether orthodox environmentalism – with its romantic, luddite, apocalyptic , and sometimes misanthropic streaks – is succeeding in safeguarding the planet, and open your mind to Brand’s “ecomodernist” alternative.
Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now: The Case for Science, Reason, Humanism and Progress is published byPenguin.
EMILY MAITLIS
Back to Blackby Kehinde Andrews has made me reassess my view of reparations for slavery. I used to think the idea of compensation seemed bizarre, undeliverable and risked reinforcing victimhood. It has become a live issue in the US among democrats in the 2020 presidential race, and through Kehinde I’ve started thinking about it more dispassionately and with greater openness and curiosity. I actually felt the shift happening.
Emily Maitlis is a broadcaster and author of Airhead: The Imperfect Art of Making News (Michael Joseph).
MICHAEL ROSEN
While we’ve been talking about Britain in Europe, our role in relation to the rest of the world – historically and present – is becoming urgently scrutinised. One book that changed my perspective on this was Eric Williams’sCapitalism and Slavery, originally published in 1944. I was lucky to have been at university with Trevor Munro, who went on to become a politician in Jamaica. He quietly put this book in my direction as a way of making student radicals like me reframe our economic and political history. I instantly found it to be a book that made demands on me to take slavery and slave labour beyond the realm of cruelty (terrible though that was) and see it as a vast international process of wealth production. What’s more, Williams, a Trinidadian, asks readers in Britain to inspect the material means that enabled so much of what we neutrally call “culture” to have come into being.
Michael Rosen’s Uncle Gobb and  the Plot Plotis published by Bloomsbury.
SERHII PLOKHY
As a historian, I have always been on the lookout for the events and processes in our everyday lives that are truly historic and have a lasting impact. I was surprised to find a hint to what I am supposed to look for in a recent work not by a historian, but by two scientists, Simon L Lewis and Mark A Maslin, co‑authors of The Human Planet:  How We Created the  Anthropocene. It turns out that our age will be remembered in the most distant future not for its wars, dictators or heroes, but for the nuclear tests we conducted and the nuclear accidents we allowed to happen. The traces of isotopes released during the atmospheric nuclear tests of the 1950s and early 60s and the Chernobyl accident of 1986 will be detected hundreds of years from now. The half-life of one of those, Plutonium-239, is 24,000 years. That is of course if we do not blow up our planet before that.
Serhii Plokhy’s Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy(Allen Lane) won the 2018 Baillie Gifford prize for non‑fiction.
DAMIAN BARR
So many people now live with pain that cannot be diagnosed conventionally but that nevertheless feels cripplingly real to them – back pain is most common. It afflicts sufferers, their families and our society and economy. The NHS estimates medically unexplained symptoms cost £3bn annually. It’s All in  Your Head: True Stories of  Imaginary Illnessby neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan brought this very real pain home to me when I read it as a judge for the 2016 Wellcome book prize. It gave me greater empathy for my own mother who endured inexplicable agony through most of my childhood, and made me rethink what illness and wellness are. It made me understand that we must take a holistic view of mental and physical health if we are to free individuals and avert a full-scale health crisis. Reading this book made me kinder.
Damian Barr’s You Will Be Safe  Hereis published by Bloomsbury.

This article was originally published here: Source
.
.
.

And  what was the book that changed your mind?

Reply

Use magic Report

You have to log in before you can reply Login | Join

Points Rules

Mobile|Dark room|CraxMe UA-106553710-1

19-9-2019 10:16 AM GMT+5.5

Powered by Discuz! X3

Release 20130801, © 2001-2019 Comsenz Inc.

MultiLingual version, Rev. 259, © 2009-2019 codersclub.org

Quick Reply To Top Return to the list