Reading in 2015: a One-year Plan

by tigermanifesto

books

Hopefully, this will become an annual tradition: mapping out a year of reading in advance and reporting on it as I go. Last year, I sunk my teeth into structural Marxism and find myself greatly enlightened on how history marches forward. This year, I want to strike a slightly different chord, reading more concrete history, doing my own local investigations, and reading more literature proper. With that in mind, the one-tiger education committee that runs this blog has formulated the following list, in no particular order.

Historical Books:

  • Class Struggles in the USSR by Charles Bettelheim
    • I have been told this is an essential work exploring the way that the party-state of the Soviet Union formed and became distorted by its internal and external situation.
  • Japan’s Capitalism: Creative Defeat and Beyond by Shigeto Tsuru
    • Japan is my preferred area of study for history, and Tsuru was pals with an author I rather like, Paul Sweezy, so I will give this a shot.
  • Shinohata: A Portrait of a Japanese Village by Ronakld P. Dore
    • It will make a good companion for Hinton’s book, further down the list.
  • The Ashio Riot of 1907: A Social History of Mining in Japan by Kazuo Nimura, Andrew Gordon, Terry Boardman
    • More social and economic history of Japan to whet my appetite for the incoming grad school deluge––assuming I get in.
  • Fanshen by William Hinton
    • I have been looking for some more informative micro-level “history from below” of the Cultural Revolution, and this looks like a good place to start.
  • Rise of the Red Engineers by Joel Andreas
    • Similar to Class Struggles in the USSR, it’s a document of the rise of a new class of educated and politically connected party officials who became the social basis for revisionism in China.
  • Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Chile by Paul Sweezy
    • I seem to be very interested in the vicissitudes of revolution this year.
  • The American Film Industry by Tino Balio
    • Film economy is a subject about which I know precious little, and this seems like a good starting point for learning about it.
  • Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West by William Cronon
    • A reputed masterpiece that I have to get around to eventually given my interest in environmental and social history.
  • Lineages of the Absolutist State by Perry Anderson
    • I’m already reading this book and finding it immensely helpful and informative.
  • Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History by Sidney Mintz
    • Recommended by David Harvey in one of his Capital lectures, it has a sweet and painful subject matter and appears to be fairly short.

Literature:

  • Various Bertolt Brecht Plays
    • Not sure how I’ve avoided reading any of this prominent communist’s plays up to this point. It’s unnatural!
  • Human Landscapes from my Country and other poetry by Nazım Hikmet
    • Another communist poet, this time from Turkey, who died in exile from his beloved country because of the Cold War.
  • The Captain’s Verses by Pablo Neruda
    • I already wrote about Neruda earlier, but have only begun to dig into the author’s multitudinous poems.
  • The Aesthetics of Resistance, Volume 1 by Peter Weiss and Joachim Neugrosche
    • An intriguing novel about radical politics.
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
    • Reputed to be excellent science fiction, and not from the usual white male source.
  • A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar
    • Something about a society that considers the printing press to be magical. Sounds good.
  • Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio
    • Beautiful manga written for girls from a master mangaka.

Theory and Philosophy:

  • The Possibility of Naturalism by Roy Bhaskar
  • Rationality and Irrationality in Economics by Maurice Godelier
  • An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory by Ernest Mandel
  • Meditations on Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth by James Yaki Sayles
  • Theory of the Subject by Alain Badiou
  • Machiavelli and Us by Louis Althusser
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