Holiday Reading Summer 2013

Summer is almost over and after an end-of-season sojourn in Corfu to soak up our brief allotment of solar rays, I find myself back in Blighty a little less pasty and having consumed a few more books. I’ve been trying to travel light and stick with carry on only when travelling, having one bag is much easier for flying but is an official pain if you don’t want to use a Kindle or other eReader. That aside, there were a few books from those I carried across that I’m recommending:

  • The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. This has been in my reading box for a year or so and finally managed to get through it. Very interesting sci-fi thriller set in a post-oil world. Loved the look at Thai culture dealing with the influx of destructive genetic modifications to their biomass. Definitely worth reading, and I can see why it was so well received.
  • The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. From the author of No Logo, shows the direction the military industrial complex has moved in with Disaster Capitalism ruling the roost across our culture for the last few years. Enumerates how Hayek and Friedman were used as tools to hollow out and take over the world. This is our unfortunate present and whilst not really a holiday read should be a standard text for everyone.
  • Divine Invasion by Philip K Dick written after the author started seeing visions and drills into his belief system centred on an intuition of life as a simulation and contact with an intelligent computer entity VALIS. This system tied his waking dreams into some odd Gnostic and Abrahamic visions of God. The story reads like an unmedicated schizophrenic let loose with a typewriter, captivating prose but uncomfortable when you realise the state the author was in when he wrote it. Check out some info on Philip

Punk Rock Enforced By Law

Years ago, in the Pre-Torrent age there was an amazing piece in the Baffler from the record producer Steve Albini who ran some numbers showing how a band can sell hundreds of thousands of records but not make any money for themselves. We now find ourselves in the Post-Torrent age where the nominal cost of production and distribution of music is asymptotically approaching zero and competition for eyeballs and ears is so stiff that the current crop of musicians are matched against their peers and every other medium floating in our cultural soup. Rocknerd have posted an interesting piece framing the current trend of Creative Destruction here.