Tuesday, November 07, 2017

From Flavor and Soul to Muslim Cool On UAA's New Book Shelf

I thought this was going to be a quick post.  Just some pictures of books I saw at the library.  A reminder to me and others of how much we don't know and all the wondrous books out there that will fill in some of the gaps.  This has taken much longer than I expected as I got engrossed in finding out more about these books.

These books were in the new book section of the library.  But then I realized some of these were hardly 'new' books.  So I went back to find the publication dates of all of them.  I have question for the acquisition office of the library about how some of these were chosen.  I know when I've asked that question in the past, there were some that were gifts which might explain a few.

Nahid Aslanbeigui and GuyArthur Oakes,  Cecil Pigou (2015)

"The British economist Arthur Cecil Pigou (1877-59) reconceptualized economics as a theory of economic welfare and a logic of policy analysis. Misconceptions of his work abound. This book, an essay in demystification and the first reading of the entire Pigouvian oeuvre, stresses his pragmatic and historicist premises." From Palsgrave (the publisher.)

Karen Tei Yamashita, Brazil-Maru (2010)

"A range of characters, male and female, tell about a particular group of Japanese who emigrated to Brazil in the first decades of this century. Christian, well-educated, and reasonably affluent, they sought to establish communities where Christian and Japanese values could flourish. The group prospered, though not without cost, and it is this cost that's a major theme here. A secondary theme, suggested by the quotes from the philosopher Rousseau that precede each section, is the nature of education in a new world where emigrants' children often have only 'natural and purely physical knowledge.''' From Kirkus Reviews.

'New' at the UAA library means new to the library.  The review quoted above was published in 2010.

James Hinton, The Mass Observers (2013)

Even after reading the book cover flap, I still wasn't sure what 'mass observers' meant.  I guess in UK people know what this is.  From Google Books:

"This is the first full-scale history of Mass-Observation, the independent social research organisation which, between 1937 and 1949, set out to document the attitudes, opinions, and every-day lives of the British people. Through a combination of anthropological fieldwork, opinion surveys, and written testimony solicited from hundreds of volunteers, Mass-Observation created a huge archive of popular life during a tumultuous decade which remains central to British national identity. The social history of these years has been immeasurably enriched by the archive, and extracts from the writings of M-O's volunteers have won a wide and admiring audience. Now James Hinton, whose acclaimed Nine Wartime Lives demonstrated how the intensely personal writing of some of M-O's volunteers could be used to shed light on broader historical issues, has written a wonderfully vivid and evocative account which does justice not only to the two founders whose tempestuous relationship dominated the early years of Mass-Observation, but also to the dozens of creative and imaginative, and until now largely unknown, young enthusiasts whose work helped to keep the show on the road. The history of the organisation itself - the staff, the research methods, the struggle for funding, M-O's characteristic 'voice', and its role in the cultural and political life of the period - are themselves as interesting as any of the themes that the founders set out to document. This long-awaited and deeply researched history corrects and revises much of our existing knowledge of Mass-Observation, opens up new and important perspectives on the organisation, and will be seen as the authoritative account for years to come."

Anthea Taylor  Celebrity and the Feminist Blockbuster (2016)

"In the first book-length study of celebrity feminism, Anthea Taylor convincingly argues that the most visible feminists in the mediasphere have been authors of bestselling works of non-fiction: feminist ‘blockbusters’. Celebrity and The Feminist Blockbuster explores how the authors of these popular feminist books have shaped the public identity of modern feminism, in some cases over many decades. Maintaining a distinction between women who are famous because of their feminism and those who later add feminism to their ‘brand’, Taylor contends that Western celebrity feminism, as a political mode of public subjectivity, cannot in any simple way be seen as homologous with other forms of stardom. " Again, from Palgrave

W. G. Sebald  Die Ringe des Saturn (1995 German, 1998 English according to Wikipedia)

This is one of those cases where the similarities between English and German are so close that I don't have to translate the title.

It's not science fiction, or even science from what I could tell.   It's a travel book of Seabed's walking trip through the  rural Suffolk heath and coast where he finds traces of past glories and scandals.

Since people who can't read German won't read this book, I'll post a German description:

"Einer geht zu Fuß. Er wandert durch die Grafschaft Suffolk, eine spärlich besiedelte Gegend an der englischen Ostküste, und dort findet er, in den Heidelandschaften und abgelegenen Küstenorten, die ganze Welt wieder. Überall stößt er auf die Spuren vergangener Herrlichkeit und vergangener Schande."

John Gennari  Flavor and Soul (2017)

Another interesting looking book - this one looks at the overlap of American Italian and Black cultures.  See more at the University of Chicago Press.

Joel C. Rosenberg Inside the Revolution

This is listed as a non-fiction book and Rosenberg's cached website says it's based on hundreds of interviews including former CIA chief Porter Goss, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, and "more than 150 Christian pastors and ministry leaders operating deep inside the Islamic world."  The website also has a link to books on biblical prophecy.  I can't tell if that's part of this book or not.

Elliot's Blog ("Generally Christian Book Reviews") tells us more about the book:

"Inside the Revolution takes the reader on a journey through the histories and present-day mindsets of three distinct religious groups in the Middle East: the radical, fundamentalist Muslims; the peace-loving, open-minded mainstream Muslims; and the Christ-following Christian converts (former-Muslims and non-). What drove Osama Bin Laden to become the man he was and relish the things he did? What do the Muslims in your town really think of Al Qaeda and jihad? How many Christians are worshiping in Iran, and how does the government treat them? The answers to all these questions (and so many more ) are developed throughout this book, a well-researched and beautifully arranged masterpiece on the roots of what has recently brought our world into its nervous instability."
   From Wikipedia:
"Rosenberg was born in 1967 near Rochester, New York. He has stated that his father is of Jewish descent and his mother was born into a Methodist family of English descent.  His parents were agnostic and became born-again Christians when he was a child in 1973. At the age of 17, he became a born-again Christian and now identifies as a Jewish believer in Jesus. He graduated in 1988 from Syracuse University, after which he worked for Rush Limbaugh as a research assistant. Later, he worked for U.S. Presidential candidate Steve Forbes as a campaign advisor. Rosenberg opened a political consultancy business which he ran until 2000, and claims to have consulted for former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where he says that he garnered much of his information on the Middle East that he uses in his books."

Rafe Blaufarb The Great Demarcation (2016)

"The French Revolution remade the system of property-holding that had existed in France before 1789. This book engages with this historical process not from an economic or social perspective, but from the perspective of the laws and institutions of property. The revolutionary changes aimed at two fundamental goals: the removal of formal public power from the sphere of property and the excision of property from the realm of sovereignty. The revolutionaries accomplished these two aims by abolishing privately owned forms of power, such as feudalism, seigneurialism, and venal public office, and by dismantling the Crown domain, thus making the state purely sovereign. This brought about a Great Demarcation: a radical distinction between property and power from which flowed the critical distinctions between the political and the social, state and society, sovereignty and ownership, the public and private. This destroyed the conceptual basis of the Old Regime, laid the foundation of France’s new constitutional order, and crystallized modern ways of thinking about polities and societies. . . "  From Oxford Scholarship.

Jan Brandt  Against the World (2011 German, 2016 English)

When I opened the book, I was surprised that someone had already made notes in the first few pages.  Then I realized these notes were part of the book.  The dust jacket reviews were sensational, something like these from the German publisher Dumont:

“Jan Brandt’s outstanding debut novel. (…) Brandt changes perspectives and times with the utmost of ease, and his novel is consequently a grandiose 360 degree view of a small world where more of the larger world outside is reflected than its inhabitants themselves can recognise at times.”
SPIEGEL online
“A stunning, wonderfully presumptuous book, triumphant in its obsession for details and lexical richness, that is aimed a world of hindrance and oppression. (…) The result is an expansive mediation on friendship, the power of music, love and other cruelties. (…) It is splendid how the 37-year old is capable of driving on his complex and multifaceted story about a handful of characters over hundreds of pages with-out ever boring the reader – and it leads one to hope for more from the pen of this manic realist.”
Rolling Stone
A still admiring, but also critical review, that would have Brandt taking advice from Robert Frost to keep it concise comes from Dialog International:
". . . What's frustrating is that Gegen die Welt contains several excellent sections and strands that could be crafted into terrific novellas or novels.  I especially liked the character Bernhard "Hard" Kupers, Daniel's father, a funny and energetic small businessman who does whatever it takes - including arson - keep his drug store afloat, even as he indulges in gambling and adulterous affairs. The dialogue between Hard and his wife "Biggi" is pure comedy.  The strongest piece of writing is the story of the locomotive driver who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome after two young people throw themselves in front of his train.  His story goes on for over 150 pages - the bottom half the page, while the top half continues the saga of Daniel Kupers.
Jan Brandt has many such "techniques" for tormenting his readers, and I confess I put the book down for weeks at a time. But, to the author's credit, I did decide to finish Gegen die Welt, and, reading the last third of the novel, I realized Brandt's true achievement.  Gegen die Welt was published in 2011, three years before Pegida  or AfD (Alternative for Germany), yet Brandt predicted the wave of right-wing populism that today is washing over the provinces.  The citizens of Jericho are no different from those in Sachsen or Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. They see their world threatened by globalization, big box stores, automation, immigration - and are attracted to any rhetoric that promises to 'make Germany great again. . .'"  

Joseph René Bellot, Memoirs of Lieutenant Joseph René Bellot : with his Journal of a voyage in the polar seas, in search of Sir John Franklin (1855 originally, not sure of this edition)

Here's a look at a great engraving in the original.

Patrick Jory Thailand's Theory of Monarchy (2017)

"Since the 2006 coup d’état, Thailand has been riven by two opposing political visions: one which aspires to a modern democracy and the rule of law, and another which holds to the traditional conception of a kingdom ruled by an exemplary Buddhist monarch. Thailand has one of the world’s largest populations of observant Buddhists and one of its last politically active monarchies. This book examines the Theravada Buddhist foundations of Thailand’s longstanding institution of monarchy. Patrick Jory states that the storehouse of monarchical ideology is to be found in the popular literary genre known as the Jātakas, tales of the Buddha’s past lives. The best-known of these, the Vessantara Jātaka, disseminated an ideal of an infinitely generous prince as a bodhisatta or future Buddha—an ideal which remains influential in Thailand today. Using primary and secondary source materials largely unknown in Western scholarship, Jory traces the history of the Vessantara Jātaka and its political-cultural importance from the ancient to the modern period. Although pressures from European colonial powers and Buddhist reformers led eventually to a revised political conception of the monarchy, the older Buddhist ideal of kingship has yet endured."  From SUNY Press

Su'ad Abdul Khabeer  Muslim Cool (2016)

"Muslim Cool is a way of being an American Muslim—displayed in ideas, dress, social activism in the ’hood, and in complex relationships to state power. Constructed through hip hop and the performance of Blackness, Muslim Cool is a way of engaging with the Black American experience by both Black and non-Black young Muslims that challenges racist norms in the U.S. as well as dominant ethnic and religious structures within American Muslim communities.  
Drawing on over two years of ethnographic research, Su'ad Abdul Khabeer illuminates the ways in which young and multiethnic U.S. Muslims draw on Blackness to construct their identities as Muslims. This is a form of critical Muslim self-making that builds on interconnections and intersections, rather than divisions between 'Black' and 'Muslim.'”  . . . From NYU Press

1 comment:

  1. You might like this one: An Excess Male



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