Book Review List for April-May

by tigermanifesto

When I decided that I would post a book review every Sunday, I failed to grasp that that meant reading and finishing a whole book every seven days. To be honest, I wanted to do a short review of Badiou’s Theory of the Subject today, but I was unable to finish it in time. That review will go up next week, after another Bakshi retrospective and commentary post. Now that I’ve picked my ragged self off the floor and gotten used to the idea of weekly reviews, I wanted to publish a short preview of the books I’ll be reading and reviewing in the next several weeks. A-like-so.

April 17: Alain Badiou’s Theory of the Subject. A dense philosophical tome I’m reading to counterpoint the Deleuze and Guattari I’ve been reading for the last couple of months. I’m within sight of the end of the book, but will not have a real review until next week.

April 24: Minqi Li’s The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy. I initially gravitated to this book because it has a class analysis of the PRC, which will be useful in my historical and academic work. But it also looks to be a worthwhile interrogation of China’s effect on the international capitalist system as a whole. Come to think of it, the latter point is also useful when applied to its relations with Japan. Huh.

May 1: Hisila Yami’s People’s War and Women’s Liberation in Nepal. After I did a fair-sized study of the Peruvian Communist Party and the evolution of the Western historiography of it, I was interested in inside perspectives on other people’s wars being waged by Maoist parties. Nepal presents the most fascinating case, and luckily there is an English version of this book available.

May 8: Gavan McCormack’s The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence. Written in the mid-1990s, this book describes a Japan with all the puff and arrogance drained out of it. Vulnerable to earthquakes, trapped in economic decline, and beset with unresolved historical and political issues, the country was both affluent and, yes, empty. I’ve been putting this one off for some time, but I’m out of excuses.

May 15: Japan at Nature’s Edge. I’ve been tackling a couple of individual essays from the book, which I hope to do a couple more times before this review. But I also want to review the book as a whole as well as its contributions to a more general environmental historiography and my own research.

May 22: Jeff Vandermeer’s Authority. I read the first of this purportedly great trilogy of sci-fi novels last year, but haven’t dug into the sequels yet because of my tendency to push fiction onto the back burner and just watch movies or read comics for fun.

May 29: Tessa Morris-Suzuki’s Re-Inventing Japan. I’m not sure what to expect from this one. Like the McCormack book––which came from the same publisher––it covers a range of thematic topics that present certain political and historical problems for the Japanese state and its people. Should be a productive read, but it’s hard to tell this far out.

Well, I had better disconnect the wi-fi if I want to keep pace with this schedule! Happy reading everyone.