Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer reading

A quick run-down of the books being read this summer in the generalpraxis household:

Fantasy Island, by Larry Elliot and Dan Atkinson: pretty raw explosion of some of the economic mythologies around the New Labour bubble. You don't have to agree with all of it to be pretty concerned about some of the underlying economic trends we're facing at the moment.

The Postmodern Condition: a report on knowledge, by Jean-Francois Lyotard; even nearly thirty years after it was first published, it's still really fresh and relevant: particularly the sections on the 'knowledge economy' and performativity.

Marie Stopes: a biography by Ruth Hall. Fascinating portrait of one of the iconic pathbreaking, British women of the early 20th century.

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner; forensic and detailed history of the formative ideologies which converged in the creation of the so-called 'new economy'. Particularly good on how 'new communalism' of the late 1960s and early 1970s morphed and blended with the individualism and libertarianism of the new right, and also, just below the surface, you can see just how (unconsciously) elitist and white the high priests of the knowledge revolution were (and are?).

The Kindness of Women by JG Ballard; part elegaic memoir, part male fantasy, part futuristic romp through the hinterland of the late 20th century.