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I know how to read, probably

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christa's books

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Finding Mezcal (Penguin Randomhouse) 4 stars

In 1990, artist Ron Cooper was collaborating with craftspeople in Oaxaca, Mexico, when he found …

70s LA + commercialization of mezcal

4 stars

LA art world in the 70s -> life crisis -> drinking mezcal in small towns in Oaxaca -> growing del maguey mezcal. a brand promo book for sure, but I also learned a lot about mezcal production and some about small town Mexico across the years. plus has a real LA / artist freewheeling memoir feel that I'm a sucker for

Heaven No Hell (2021, Drawn and Quarterly) 5 stars

"One of the most inventive and prolific cartoonists working today."—Vulture

In the past ten years, …

a very deforge collection of shorts

5 stars

like everything michael deforge writes I love it. this one’s a collection of shorts, all delightful. I want to share the last one with my team at work (at some point protagonist falls in and out of love with “the public”) but I’ll probably not

Very Important People (2020, Princeton University Press) 4 stars

Million-dollar birthday parties, megayachts on the French Riviera, and $40,000 bottles of champagne. In today’s …

exploitation works best when it feels good

4 stars

interesting and multifaceted sociological study of the social dynamics and labor that goes into NYC VIP clubs, including motivations of each of the actors (girls/models, promoters, and to a more limited extent clients). reminds me of tressie mcmillan cottom’s writing on the hustle economy, in that it digs into why “girls” would want to participate in such a clearly exploitative system, which I think is both more satisfying and says something about all of our lives under late capitalism. four stars because it gets a little repetitive in that common academic way, but recommend

White Magic (2021, Tin House Books) 5 stars

Throughout her life, Elissa Washuta has been surrounded by cheap facsimiles of Native spiritual tools …


5 stars

a collection of essays weaving together magic, whiteness, indigeneity and colonization, the pacific northwest, domestic violence and living and loving through ptsd, alcohol and sobriety, red dead redemption 2. beautiful, excited to dig into some of the footnotes (esp about indigenous stories and their relationship to natural phenomena, like the Salish stories of historic Seattle earthquakes along a fault caused by serpent a'yahos:

Work Won't Love You Back (2021, PublicAffairs) 4 stars

for the burntout

4 stars

this book delivers what it promises but was more deeply researched and expansive than I expected—rolls in labor history, ones relationship to work, social programs, etc, to paint a picture of a cultivated and toxic modern relationship to work. was a concrete way to tie in theory, history, and work malaise, though I lost a bit of interest toward the end and petered out about 3/4 of the way through

Predict and Surveil (2020, Oxford University Press, Incorporated) 4 stars

The scope of criminal justice surveillance, from the police to the prisons, has expanded rapidly …

a real view of how police adopt surveillance technology

5 stars

this is a must read if you're interested in policing and surveillance technologies, and how to think about technology adoption within hierarchical and bureaucratic institutions. I think a particularly fascinating focus of this book that isn't as present in other similar ones on the topic is the look at police as workers with their own set of motivations: resistance to deskilling and wanting to be valued for craft, a resistance to surveillance of their own work product, of the role of the police union in resisting surveillance technologies (at least in certain applications) because of fear of loss of agency and power. while highlighting this dynamic, brayne does not fall into the trap of portraying police as mere workers struggling for power under an oppressive management structure (a trap that some leftists still fall into). accurately, there is never a point at which that protection of self-interest is described as …

We Do This 'Til We Free Us (2021, Haymarket Books) 5 stars

A reflection on prison industrial complex abolition and a vision for collective liberation from organizer …

excellent texts on abolitionist organizing, and organizing generally

5 stars

really useful and varied collection of texts about organizing and abolition. I believe these texts are all available elsewhere, but it was really nice to have in one place, curated, and grouped by theme. I found the collection to be personally useful and inspiring, as well as a great entrypoint to talk about abolition in practice with coworkers and friends interested in the topic but without (yet!) experience with organizing around it.

here's a great reading & discussion guide for use with groups:

Girls Against God (Paperback, 2020, Verso Fiction) 3 stars

At once a time-travelling horror story and a fugue-like feminist manifesto, this is a singular, …

anger, sure, but also frustration

3 stars

I really struggled to get through this book despite the fact that it had some resonant parts and beautiful passages. Women. Hatred. Rebelling against god, because god surrounds you and is suffocating. Understanding that you've crafted yourself as something against, but not for. Music as community and lifeblood. But I couldn't get past the editing—it sagged for me in the middle, took me months to finish despite being fairly short, and I ended up getting angry at how hard it was for me to move from page to page. There were bits that were all in the same world, but never felt like they added up. I can't tell if the difficulty came from where I'm at reading/focus-wise, the expectation I had that it would be more linear, or just the strong need for a heavy editor. Probably all three.