Citizen — Claudia Rankine

A rather different way of saying the things that need to be said, containing a mixed bag of poetry, prose, vignettes, etc., detailing what it’s like to be perpetually on the receiving end of racism, from micro-agressions to extremely overt racism.

Maybe, instead of forcing children to read Shakespeare and Dickens at school, we should be encouraging them to read books like this and encouraging them to engage in constructive dialogue with each other about the issues raised and the experiences of those on the receiving end of racism and other bigotry.   Racist is not something people are born, it’s something people are taught, and its very clearly up to schools and educators to start stepping up and making much more effort with the young minds in their care.

In the UK “Citizenship” and “Relationship” education is not on the curriculum until after 11 years of age: this is far, far too late.   How our societies are peopled — our citizens — and how we relate to those other citizens within our societies should be permanently on the curriculum from the very first day of school, not be left in the hands of young people’s peers, bad television, bad websites, and ignorant parents who read nothing but vile, tabloid drivel.   A child who has been nurtured badly up to the age of 11 is highly unlikely to respond to positive nuturing by over-worked, underpaid, stressed-out teachers after the age of 11.

Claudia’s Page

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Walden — Henry David Thoreau

After reading Into the Wild, where this book gets a fair bit of mentioning, one just had to see what all the fuss was about.

It certainly starts off incredibly well with the first 25% of the book — being mostly one chapter titled, “Economy” — explaining the ins and outs of what leads Thoreau to Walden Pond and away from a normal life and the cost of doing so.   And it is very clear in this first quarter that Thoreau is a very capable writer who can get straight to the heart of the matter and keep the reader’s attention.

But then we begin the second chapter, “Where I Lived and What I Lived For”, and thus the tedium begins: word after word of pointless, boring tedium.   Was it so utterly dull for him sitting by the pond, day after day after day with no one to talk to, that he just sat and wrote words for hour upon hour and simply spewed them forth upon pages enough to make up a reasonable amount to call it a book in order to sell it so he didn’t have to get a real job?

I just found myself reading paragraph after paragraph with a totally numbed out mind, noticing only a few words of interest here and there but mostly it’s just babble: babble, babble, babble, babble, blah, blah, blah.   I tried, i really did, but i just cannot see why people so rave about this book.

Maybe chapter 3 onwards is back to the standard of chapter 1, but i simply could not get through chapter 2.

So, inevitably, it got …


Henry’s Page

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Revolution — William Manners

As a lifelong cyclist who has never owned a car i was so looking forward to reading this and i wasn’t disappointed.

Overall, simply an excellently researched book on the birth of cycling in the UK, especially focusing on the boom years of the 1890’s.

And as much as this should be in every cyclist’s book collection, it should also be in every feminist’s book collection.   The history of the bicycle would not be complete without it being placed, centre stage, in those early years of women’s freedom and suffrage.

All hail the humble bicycle: a true vehicle of freedom and the most efficient form of transport ever invented.   Nothing will propel you for so little watts per mile as a well manufactured and maintained bicycle can.   It has well and truly stood the test of time.

As H.G. Wells once remarked: Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.

Long live the bicycle.

William’s Page

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Learn to Lucid Dream — Kristen LaMarca PhD

A really well put together book detailing many techniques to improve your dream-time and begin to lucid dream.

Sleep is such an important part of living — sadly a most neglected part by many people.   Subsequently, our dream-time is even more neglected within that neglect.   You do the maths: neglect2 = seriously fucked up!

Our dreams are such an important part of our health and well being, so it’s no wonder so many people have become so sick, ill and on medications when sleep and dreaming is so utterly neglected.

Kristen’s Page

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Enchanted Britain — Marc Alexander

I thought this would be interesting, and the first chapter was certainly promising.   Then we get onto chapter 2 and it just bangs on and on and on and on and on and on and on about some fictional characters called Jesus and Joseph and the claims of the christians and about churches and abbots and abbeys and all this holy grail nonsense.

I could go on a rant here but i have no wish to read about the beliefs and nonsense of christianity.   The Pagan people of Britain have had the beliefs and nonsense of the christians forced down our throats for nearly 2000 years and i don’t buy books to read more of it.

Needless to say, i didn’t get to the end of the second chapter and i have no wish to read any more of this book.


Marc’s Page

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