October’s Reading List ~ What’s On & What’s Not

20071010TaschenGreatEscapesBook About 20 minutes after the post about Shanghai selling for $28 million, a package came with new Rapidsea reading material, including a book with a picture of Dubai on the front cover.  The first of the books is called Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of NeoLiberalism edited by Mike Davis and Daniel Bertrand Monk, and the other is The Almanac of Political Corruption, Scandals & Dirty Politics by Kim Long.

I would have also liked to buy Great Escapes Around the World edited by Dr. Angelika Taschen.  This one popped up after I had already ordered the other two, so I can’t really justify getting it at the moment.  Plus I think it’s mostly a picture book, so I can’t exactly put it on the reading list (Taschen publishes visually stimulating books that I usually love though).  Unfortunately, there’s just not enough time or money to get them all, and this is going to be a busy month with work I’m doing for a small island.

First impressions of the two books I did buy are good.  From a quick glance, the Almanac of Political Corruption, Scandals & Dirty Politics really has the look of an old almanac, so that made me happy.  The paper also has an interesting smooth feel to it, which was remarkable enough to feel like I should mention it here.  I bought the book to begin exploring the time period around which escape and paradise really became key elements of scandal and corruption in American society.  I have no idea if it will take us there.

The book I’m really excited about is Evil Paradises.  When I bought it I thought that it would have a lot of lot of examples of the topics it discusses in color photographs, but it’s purely a collection of essays.  Only the cover has a picture of Sheikh Zayed road in Dubai, which is basically a traffic-intense highway tunneled in by skyscrapers.

The slant of the book will likely offend anyone who lives in a gated golf community at first, but ultimately the book’s premise that unbridled consumption of land and resources as a model for living for all of mankind is completely unsustainable — if due to nothing other than the physical constraint of not having enough earth for all the islands and exotic hardwood floors.  It’s an argument that they make in the introduction that is hard to argue with, especially without reading everything the authors have to say.

I will write a full review of both books later.  Feel free to read along and provide comments here or in the upcoming posts.

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Posted on October 12, 2007
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