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Recommended Reading: March 2010

BookgenericBe inspired, motivated, challenged and intrigued by this month's selection of books.








Persistent Voices: An Anthology of Poets Lost to AIDS
Edited by Philip Clark and David Groff
Alyson Books Distributed in Australia by Bulldog Books

persistent_voicesFrom Reinaldo Arenas, Tory Dent, and James Merrill to Paul Monette, Essex Hemphill, and Joe Brainard, Persistent Voices memorializes these poets and many others by presenting their work—often dealing with AIDS but also about other enduring topics—in the context of an unending epidemic that has profoundly affected our literature.

Philip Clark is a writer and teacher from the Washington, D.C. area. David Groff is a poet, editor, and teacher in New York City.









Compromised Jurisprudence
Native Title cases since Mabo
Fully updated, 2nd Edition by Lisa Strelein
Published by: Aboriginal Studies Press 

Compromised_JurisprudenceNative title was meant to bring a measure of land justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. For many, it has failed to deliver on this promise. With yet another round of amendments currently before Parliament, governments and claimants are looking at alternatives to the native title process.

Even judges have joined the chorus of calls for reforms that can break the gridlock of claims in the system. How did the situation reach this point? In this book Strelein investigates, case by case, the trajectory of native title in the courts since Mabo to reveal just how the law has twisted itself into a quagmire of tests and technical definitions. What emerges from this assessment is a discriminatory and compromised law.

This updated and revised edition is the most up-to-date and informative book on the subject. It includes new chapters on the recent High Court case, and the most controversial Federal Court case of the lat three years, Bennell, the Perth native title case.




The Hidden Brain
Shankar Vedantam
Scribe Publications 

Hidden_BrainMost of us would agree that there’s a clear — and even obvious — connection between the things we believe and the way we behave. But what if our actions are driven not by our conscious values and beliefs but by hidden motivations we’re not even aware of?

‘The hidden brain’ is Shankar Vedantam’s shorthand for a host of brain functions, emotional responses, and cognitive processes that happen outside our conscious awareness, but that have a decisive effect on how we behave. ?

The hidden brain has its finger on the scale when we make all of our most complex and important decisions — it decides whom we fall in love with, whether we should convict someone of murder, or which way to run when someone yells ‘fire!’

It explains why we can become riveted by the story of a single puppy adrift on an ocean but are quickly bored by a story of genocide.? The hidden brain can also be deliberately manipulated to vote against its interest, or even to become a suicide terrorist. But the most disturbing thing is that it does all of this without our knowing.

Shankar Vedantam, author of The Washington Post’s popular ‘Department of Human Behavior’ column, takes us on a tour of this phenomenon and explores its consequences.

His original reporting combines the latest scientific research with compulsively readable narratives that take readers from the American campaign trail to terrorist indoctrination camps, from the World Trade Center on 9/11 to, yes, a puppy adrift in the Pacific Ocean. ?

Vedantam illuminates the dark recesses of our minds while making an original argument about how we can compensate for our blind spots — and what happens when we don’t.



Iraqi Girl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq
Palgrave Macmillan

Iraqi_girlThe need for accurate reporting on the situation in Iraq continues as the world's major media shift their focus to the "other" U.S. occupation in Afghanistan.

Courageous independent journalists have shed light on many of the major events and turning-points under-reported or entirely ignored by big media outlets. Yet the day to day reality of life under occupation remains difficult to understand for many in America.

For several crucial months in 2004, a young Iraqi woman, calling herself HNK dispatched moving and engaging descriptions of her life in Mosul through her blog, IraqiGirlBlog. Her riveting account of the disruption of life as she and her family and friends knew it presents an image of the human cost of the war seldom seen in any reporting on the situation there.

And as a young writer, her reflections on life under occupation offer special significance for young readers who want to understand the conflict in human terms.

HNK was fifteen years old at the time she wrote IraqiGirlBlog, from July to November, 2004. Presently, she attends college, and continues to struggle for a better life for herself, her country, and the world.



What is Radical Politics Today?
Edited by Jonathan Pugh
Palgrave Macmillan

radical_politicsA crisis makes you re-think your life. The recent economic crisis is no exception. All of us are now thinking how the world could be run differently.

Despite this, a radical alternative has hardly emerged to mobilise the masses, which begs the question: What is radical politics today? In this book, leading academics, politicians, journalists and activists attempt to pinpoint an answer, debating the issues facing radical politics in the 21st Century.

Rarely united in their opinions, they collectively interogate the character and spirit of being radical in our times.

Including original contributions from Zygmunt Bauman, Will Hutton, Frank Furedi, Clare Short, Nick Cohen, Hilary Wainwright, Paul Kingsnorth, Chantal Mouffe, Terrell Carver, Edward W. Soja, David Chandler, Dora Apel, Doreen Massey, Jason Toynbee, James Martin, Michael J. Watts, Jeremy Gilbert and Jo Littler, Gregor McLennan, Tariq Modood, Amir Saeed & David Bates, Alastair Bonnett, Ken Worpole, Nigel Thrift, Sheila Jasanoff, Saul Newman, David Featherstone, James Heartfield, Alejandro Colás and Jason Edwards, David Boyle, Saskia Sassen.



Sensitive Permaculture
Alanna Moore
Python Press, available from

sensitive_permaculturePermaculture is the ethical design of sustainable culture and it's mostly associated with eco-smart food gardening. For the past 22 years author Alanna Moore has been a keen permaculture practitioner and promoter, while for 26 years she has also worked as a geomancer, assessing and balancing the subtle energies of places.

Through combining her two fields of expertise she has discovered that implementing a geomantic permaculture design for sustainable food production and living helps to alleviate environmental problems on many levels, as well as the negativity and unsustainability of today's society. In this book she describes how to undertake a sensitive analysis of land capability in order to co-creatively develop a harmonious permaculture plan.

Alanna has been dividing her time between Australia and Ireland, both places where knowledge of geomancy ­ the Earth's subtle, energetic dimensions - has survived relatively well, in understated undercurrents at the least. The Australian Aborigines and native Irish are highly intuitive peoples. Like other animist societies, the Irish believed that fairy beings help to care for their crops and livestock and that the 'Good People' must always be thanked, and their homes and pathways respected.

Nature spirits continue to be a dynamic force in the landscape, Alanna has discovered in her life of professional dowsing experience, travel and international teaching. By pendulum dowsing and meditative attunement she finds exactly where these beings are stationed and can thus avoid disturbing them. In this book she explains how eliciting nature's help in the garden and co-operating with the resident fairies can foster harmonious feng shui and the growth of giant juicy vegetables, as well as nourish our own inner, spiritual gardens.

"Sensitive Permaculture focuses on an energetic, loving approach to sustainable land planning, " says Alanna, who has three permaculture diplomas, "and when we connect to the sacred dimensions of life our activities become positively life-affirming and joyful."


Books selected by Katrina Fox, Editor-in Chief.

For details of where to send review copies, click on the Contact menu.




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