So here we are again, wrapping up the reading. In this case, the non-fiction reading done over the course of Non-Fiction November. I read eight books this month, three of which were non-fiction. I am halfway through another one, but still I’m quite disappointed with that number because I was originally planning to use this project for some more research reading for school, which kinda failed spectacularly…
Nonetheless, let’s look at the non-fiction I did finish, starting with The No-Nonsense guide to Indigenous Peoples by Lotte Hughes.
This one is so straightforward what it says on the cover, I feel a bit weird even giving you a blurb, but here goes nothing. You’re looking at a very short, very comprehensive introduction to the different aspects of indigenous existence around the world, covering all the aspects from defining indigenous and relating key characteristics of indigenous culture over recounting the endless chain of colonisation and oppression that was indigenous peoples’ life the past few centuries to painting a picture of indigenous life today.
I find this hard to rate, because it was literally a let’s-get-a-vague-idea-of-this-kind of read, me trying to educate myself. Still, I feel like she handled that task very well, touching on a lot of things and always keeping a critical view of her own writing and position.
To make up for the fact that this was written by an outsider, the text was always accompanied by short writings of indigenous people themselves and short case studies to build a base for the theoretical exploration, and while that may sound like a good concept, it ended up making the text feel slightly choppy at places because you had to constantly jump.
Still, I’m glad to have read this to get a very first insight into something I didn’t and don’t know enough about.
Next, I read a book so incredibly unaesthetic that I didn’t even try taking a picture. Occupy- Räume des Protests by Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer is a book on Occupy Wallstreet and related movements, I read it for research purposes only and it annoyed me a lot. So much interesting thinking going on, and still such a boring book. That’s quite an achievement in itself.
Let’s quickly move on to some funnerer stuff: Protest by Srdja Popovic and Matthew Miller.
This I enjoyed, I think. Popovic is a political activist from Serbia who, after cofounding a very successful political movement in Serbia, he went on to found CANVAS, a consultation organisation for nonviolent protest. And now, he wrote a book containing all his ideas about the dynamics and strategies of successful peaceful protest. This is it.
It’s very much what you would probably call a popular non-fiction, it’s very accessible and anecdotal, full of stories of different movements around the world and the author’s life, and while I wasn’t sure about that flippant presentation at first, it made his book very readable and stopped it from ever dragging. All in all I ended up enjoying his style, only ever finding it slightly inappropriate when talking about the Civil Rights Movement in the US, but that might be me.
Also, while the tone was very offhand and humorous, that completely worked with his views on politics and how protest should work, so that was actually quite interesting.
His ideas were fascinating to me as someone who’s still growing into a political position and gave me some perspective for the thesis I’m writing on protest and social media at the moment, which takes up so much of my brainspace, while also very much inspiring participation… would recommend.
Finishing with the book I’ve kind of started a bit this month and will definitely be continuously reading: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson.
There’s definitely a complete review of this coming your way, but so far I’m very much enjoying the way Winterson weaves together her experiences (never really following any chronological line), quotes from and reactions to her novel Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (which shamefully, I haven’t read yet) and bigger ideas and themes. She does sometimes seem to go off on a bit of a digression, talking about literature or sociology, but I’m liking it friends, I’m liking it a lot.
So there you go. That’s november neatly wrapped up for you, and also, that’s the first day of #bookmas right here. I’m really freakin’ excited, which is good, because somebody has to be, amirite? Happy december everyone!