not a pretty girl


a new person with each new experience

Monday, January 08, 2007

End of Trip mini book review

Taking back control. A journey through Argentina's Popular Uprising
by Natasha Gordon and Paul Chatterton

This booklet was put together by two activists, who spent time in Argentina in 2003. They are a couple from Britain, Natasha though is Argentinian and during her youth ignored this part of her identity. Her experience of her family and her culture did not relate to what she was reading in the news about the popular uprising and she is there not only to learn and report but to rectify her disregard of the country. I had read this booklet before, but reread it with a more appreciation this time as I was standing in the places that they were talking about. I also found it useful as a resource when try to find out what had changed since the popular uprising.

Naked Cities - Struggle in the Global Slums
Mute Vol 2 #3

This is the latest issues of Mute's Culture and Politics after the web. I highly recommend that you check them out. For those who are adapt with reading articles online you will be pleased to know that all of there articles are online and you can get to them via the link above. Mute is always theme based, and this particular issue was inspired by the recent book Planet of the Slums by Mike Davis. The first few articles deal with this book specifically and they are non to happy with Davis' analysis. the magazine continues with articles written by people living in slums rather then academics like Davis who look from the outside.

Bash the Rich: The True Life confessions of an anarchist in the UK

by Ian Bone

Ian Bone was the founder of the UK based anarchist group class war. This is both Ian Bones story and the history of the group class war that is still around today, at least in the form of there paper. I know a few people in Ireland who read it, mainly a guy who wears a "I still hate Thatcher" t-day daily. It does have something going for it and has been around for years. But if you are not in the mood for a class war, working class, nothing else matters type of book, just put this one done like I did.

Clandestines: The Pirate Journals of an Irish Exile
by Ramon Ryan

Hands down this book is great. Ramon is a fantastic story teller, one of the quotes on the back says something like if there were a hundred more Ramons out there the revolution would happen. The problem is that there are hundreds like him and the revolution is no where insight, but the thing they have missing is the ability to tell a story and not just make a political statement. He was a summit hopper before there were summits, Berlin 1988, Nicaragua 1990, Mexico 1994 etc. He was there witnessing and/or reporting and he brings it to life. This book is not a history lesson but rather uses historial events as a back drop for an Irish man abroad.

Fortress of Solitude
by Jonathan Letham

This book I would have to say is brilliant. As my first novel of the trip, it did the job and when I say another book by this author I grabbed it quickly and looked forward to another chance to enter his world. This book is about a loner white kid growing up in Brooklyn surrounded by black families. Although it is mainly his story the protagonist does change to include his best friend, who is black and can only help him so much, both of there fathers who are famous and eccentrics in there own specialties. It a book about never quite coming of age due to an obsession with race, comic books, tagging and music.

We need to talk about Kevin
by Lionel Shriver

I picked up this book because a mate of my had raved about it back in Dublin. Its a retelling of a family life from the mothers perspective. She is writing letters to her husband trying to explain herself and her side of how she say there lives and he son growing up that got to the point where he goes into his school and kids seven people. Its an interesting novel, the worst part about it is that you can't separate it from an Opera type book. Even the novel itself has discussion questions on nature and nurture. Are we to blame the mother for never really wanting the child or was kevin born evil kinda deal. If you can oversee all that then its a good read.

Porno

by Irvine Walsh

While reading this book I was in this cafe that let you watch movie on a big screen if you spent a certain amount of money. we got a few beers and headed in to watch trainspotting. With so many of the same characters in the two books it was great to put a face to the personality. In this book sick boy is up to his old tricks of money making schemes and hooks up with a few characters form glue and his dear friend Renton that screwed him over in trainspotting to make a porno. The Chapters are split by five of the characters; Renton, Sick Boy, and Nikki's chapters are written almost entirely in "standard" English while Begbie and Spud's chapters are in Scots. A good read altogether, but you do feel a need for something wholesome after reading this.

Wild Swans: Three daughters of China
by Jung Chang

Why is this not a movie yet? That was the question that lingered with me when reading this. This is a true story where the author is the youngest of the three generations that she covers. The Japaneses occupation, The communists and Maoist regime and the cultural revolution. Both her grandmother and her mother have amazing stories and are really strong characters. The author herself actually gets boring, the amount of pain her parents went through during the cultural revolution is shocking but there is only so many times you can hear about there oppression. If they do make it into a film, I'm sure the last third will be highly edited. For those who don't know that much about china's history this is a easy way to expose yourself to the generalities.

Death in the Andes
by Mario Vargas Llosa

This is the first quick review that I don't link to a picture of the cover, partly because I can't find a picture of the cover that I have and the other cover seems too childish. Although that is not the only reason, I was upset not to find a picture of the fortress of solitude cover and I hate the one I linked to. But also I have linked to a review that I think is good. This book spooked me. Reddy described it as Whickerman (in Peru). It is well written and captivating, fantasy yet thriller. I can't do it justice in this short review so click on the link and if you wanna borrow this book just let me know.

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