I’ve been reading a lot again, so theres a list of the books of this month with writings by Salvatore, Houellebecq, Kinna and Reynolds. Really good stuff, so yeah.
R.A. Salvatore – The Sundering: The Companions
I am not yet certain what my thoughts are on the tragic deaths of the companions of the hall, the long journey of Drizzt Do’Urden to find peace in Irruladoon in the following books and then the strange turn of events where they are all revived. Certainly, I hated saying goodbye to this group of characters from the D&D universe, but the story had ended after the Neverwinter Saga, a journey I started ironically here where it all ended. So this is the book where we start again, once more onto the breach! The characters start their journeys in new body’s after a gift from Miellikki to adulthood for a new and greater challenge at the sides of Drizzt. A fascinating look into the soul of these figures.
The Sundering is a series of novels, preparing the world for the next edition of D&D, which has become the 5th edition. Since that is the one I play, I did really enjoy this shift in the realms. The great part is that the foundations are layed for the 5th edition campaigns, where the companions play a minor role in the shaping of the world. It’s a well written story, and again Salvatore shows to be more than just a bread writer when he delves into the characters of Catti-Brie, Bruenor and Regis. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and now I’m keen to start my first great campaign.
Michel Houellebecq – Whatever
Somewhere in the past I might have read this descent into madness by French writer Hoellebecq. What I like about his writing is the dark edges, the grimy worldview and the inhumanity of humanity. In this book, his debut I should add, he really displays all of that. The book is mostly written in a monologue of the main character, who is experiencing… well… Very little perhaps? Life is a drag filled with mediocrity and the cynicism of the protagonist is all that keeps him afloat. No other human really seems to touch him or get involved with him on any real level. Life becomes very, very gray.
It all changes when the protagonist becomes ill and has to drop out of the tour of France, to train people in the new software the company sells. After a short introspective period in the hospital he joins his colleague again, who desperately tries to seduce some girl in a disco. In a brutal, sick plan he tries to convince his colleague to murder the girl. The colleague fails and dies on his way home in a car crash. The protagonist sinks away even deeper after this. The defeatist story illustrates the view that the sexual revolution has not brought us more freedom on that front, but a system of capitalism. Of offer and demand, where some win and some lose in the tragical desire for contact.
Ruth Kinna – Anarchism: A Beginner’s Guide
Anarchism is a vast political movement, stretching years, but rarely properly analysed. Usually the concept is simply translated into ‘chaos’ or ‘rebellion’. Anarchism is so much more though, but surprisingly hard to understand thanks to our connotations with it ánd our rather brainwashed state of mind. I use that term lightly, because the brainwashing is simply the state of the world we live in. What you know is easily the normal thing, what is new is harder to grasp. In this book Kinna captures the history of anarchism as a political idea, it’s development and its core principles in an elaborate but very clear cut way.
Tracing a route from Proudhon andThoreau to Tolstoj, Bakunin and Kropotkin, Kinna outlines the great thinkers in the context of their time, moving on to the likes of Nestor Makhhno, Errico Malatesta, Emma Goldman and so fort all the way to Chomsky. Illuminating is the successtory’s of early anarchism in the period from the 1850’s to the 1930’s, where it was fighting over heavily contested terrain with the communists. All in all, this is a great read to get yourself acquainted with anarchism and what it means, can be and how it it shapes the world. That’s a whole lot more informed than posting Rote Armee Fraction pictures on your facebook timeline and calling yourself a rebel…
Simon Reynolds – Bring The Noise
I’ve really enjoyed the book Reynolds made his debut with, ‘Rip it up and start again’. The powerful title really sums up the postpunk movement. In this book Reynolds sort of picks up at the end of that book, but instead of steady chapters we find a collection of the journalistic writings of Reynolds, who lived through the described period as a music journalist. The pieces are journalistic pieces on certain key moments, albums and movements as Reynolds perceived them. The articles also have some current-day commentary added to them, allowing the author to add a modern day look to the equasion.
To me the fascinating thing is how Reynolds weaves together articles about rock music, grunge, hiphop and the growing techno/drum’n’bass scene. The need for noise, rebellion and urban narrative is woven through all these aspects, which Reynolds translates to cultural terms and clarifiers. The link between hiphops lyrical matter, beat and ideology is related to punk, but also to the roots of the movement, it’s location and predecessors in a clear and complete manner. It’s interesting how the author really writes as if he’s the chronicler of the music scene. A worthy read