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never always Locked account

Joined 4 months, 1 week ago

i mainly read non-fiction of a "trying to understand/overthrow capitalism" type, usually histories. in terms of fiction, my heart is primarily with sf (octavia butler and kim stanley robinson being my tops, i'd say).

perpetually frustrated i don't read more.

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never always's books

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Babel (2022, HarperCollins Publishers) 4 stars

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History …

Historical, anti-imperialist romp with an unsubtle tendency

4 stars

Content warning pretty general description of the premise with some non-specific discussion of the themes of the ending

The Origin of Capitalism (2002, Verso) 3 stars

Defining capitalism is hard.

3 stars

This book had a really dramatic fall off for me. For the first couple chapters I was super into it, partly because it did that way of laying out a debate I can sort of situate myself in but don't entirely understand the history of (the debate about the role of imperialism in the birth of capitalism), and then making the opposite camp's argument (capitalism came about due to class relations internal to England, and only after developed imperialism) very compelling.

But then it fell off for me pretty hard, because it seems she has a very pure idea of what capitalism is that is in her brain but not very much given to us and then historical examples are tested against it. When she starts saying the Dutch Republic not being capitalist because so much of their wealth was buying basic necessities from eastern europe where labour was cheaper, …

Where Reasons End (Paperback, 2021, Random House Trade Paperbacks) 3 stars

Interesting to chew through, not very enjoyable to read

3 stars

This book was hard to read! Predictable, since it's mostly about a parent grieving the loss of a child who chose to die. But also, being a book about a Chinese immigrant to the u.s. writer whose son killed himself at 16, written by a Chinese immigrant to the u.s. writer whose son killed himself at 16, made it all the more difficult to read. Since Li is quite explicit about it being a novel, I found myself constantly wondering what was fictional, if anything beyond the basic conceit: the book takes place entirely in the mind of the mother, who maintains a conversation with her now dead son, with the conversation being the bulk of the text of the book. That is, I assume that Li didn't maintain this kind of formal conversation for months following her son's death, other than in the form of writing the novel, but …