Welcome to Emerging Futures -- Vol 47 - Summer Reading...
Good Morning drifting words on the winds of summer worlds!
It is summer — it has been summer for quite a while. And depending where you are on so many differing levels, summer could mean any number of things.
It is time when hopefully we get to take a break. To go on adventures. To do nothing.
To see friends. To catch up on things. To be experimental and lose track of time and identity.
To take naps and be unproductive — even if only for an hour.
And interwoven in all of these activities is the strange and wondrous joy of reading books. Of earmarking pages, underlining, doodling in the margins, jumping from one book to the next, of not being able to stop, or having to put the book down and go for a walk, of talking with everyone you meet about it, of not understanding anything, of changing everything about your life because of a phrase…
Now, you have your own pile of books awaiting your attention. Each vying to carry you off in a differing direction, plunging you into experimentations, and opening up new possible futures.
So we get it — no one needs another crazy long list that is produced to prove erudition or whatever — we will leave that to the corporates and all those Swedes (and any others) who claim they can absurdly judge the best or most deserving.
Us? We are just muddling through — excited by experimenting and reading…
We simply have a motley collection of books. Some read and reread others very aspirational…
Our summer reading is those books that have piled up in the corners of the apartment — accumulating over the last year of sleuthing the corners of bookstores, the tables of book fairs, the gifts from friends, and the ‘occasional’ arrival on the doorstep of a box, and random ebook purchases that have never seen the screen of day.
We would like to share this with you. It is only books, not articles or other great things you can find online and read on a device. These are books that are made of paper, bound on one edge and take up their own unique space in proximity to you. Of course there are studies that we could cite why reading books is ‘better’ than digital devices, we don’t disagree — but for us it is just about love — we love these objects and the adventures we have with them — and that is enough.
Part of our list is by category of books that we feel are important to the reinvention of creativity and innovation — a lot of the books we keep rereading and discovering new things to experiment with.
And a handful of books that we are looking forward to reading for the sheer pleasure of what they offer.
Plus, a shout out to some amazing magazines, zines, and obscure bookstores worth getting to know.
A last word before we begin:
On getting a hold of books — let's skip the big monopolies when we buy things — and you don’t need to buy every book: support your local libraries, + just share books with your friends — you know your friends and they know you — exchange things!
If you are buying, support your local bookstores (they can get anything you want) or if you need to go online go directly to publishers (if buying new) or even better find it used (just wait a week) — we like biblio for used books, but there are many others. NOTE: for our list we put links to amazon — they allow you to read a few pages which we find to be helpful, but we would rather buy from others.
These are the books we are looking forward to reading or rereading this summer. These are mainly books by authors we love, or recommendations from friends we love or simply books we love and feel the compulsion to read again. A large part of these are speculative fictions — powerful acts of worldmaking to experiment with alternative ways of enacting subjectivities, politics, and the ecology of life. We picked out a handful of our favorites that feel right for summer.
The Baudelaire Fractal, Lisa Robertson. In the eighties I would visit her books store (Proprioception Books) on a third floor walk up (it might have been more) in downtown Vancouver and it changed my life. Robertsons work, mainly as a poet and essayist, is a baroque explosion of language, and now we have their first novel.
Fred Moten: Moten’s work ‘the under commons’ had a big impact on our practice. We have had these three books beside the bed for too long:
Dense Magazine — they are worth subscribing to — it's a brilliant magazine connecting all the pieces on big picture design and innovation. Take a look — makes for great summer reading: many short articles and a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Follow on instagram: @densemagazine.
Charlie Jane Anders, has been writing some astonishing books:
Even Greater Mistakes is just out and is a collection of Anders short stories. If you are interested in something longer take a look at:
Anders just wrote two YA novels — we have not read these but they look pretty good and our friend Steven Shaviro gave them a great review. We will read these and if you have any YAs in your life — perhaps they will find them binge worthy: Victories Greater than Death, Dreams bigger than heartbreak
These are a selection of the books that we have read and reread this year as we have done workshops, consulting, and written blog posts.
The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Steven Jay Gould
Being in Flux, Rein Raud
Culture and the Course of Human Evolution, Gary Tomlinson
Nature as Event: The Lure of the Possible, Didier Debase
Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation
Dynamics in Action, Alicia Juarrero
Here is a selection of books we are curious about reading or returning to this summer because we never got to finish them despite wanting to (you know how it goes):
Under a White Sky, Elizabeth Kolbert
Tomorrow’s Economy: A Guide to Creating Healthy Green Growth, Per Espen Stoknes
The Green New Deal and Beyond, Stan Cox
Degrowth: A vocabulary for a new era
Free Fair and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons, Bollier & Silke Helfrich
The Dawn of Everything, Graber & Wengrow
Another Science is Possible: A Manifesto for a Slow Science, Isabelle Stengers
Go to real bookstores and book fairs! If you are in the NYC area check out Wendy’s Subway -- great bookstore. They also just published JJJJerome Ellis The Clearing — amazing work.
And if curious — take a look at our book: Innovating Emergent Futures - The Innovation Design Approach to change and worldmaking.
Enjoy your summer reading — please share what you are up to!
Have an astonishing week!
Till Volume 48,
Jason and Iain
Emergent Futures Lab
We’re How You Innovate
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