This week, every participant gets to choose one of the previous Weekly Geeks themes to repeat. I think it’ll be a lot of fun seeing what everyone chooses. It’ll give me an idea of what the most popular themes have been, and it’ll give everyone else a break from seeing almost identical posts on the blog of all the WG participants. And of course it gives you the flexibility of choice.
I chose Weekly Geeks #4: "Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. Find several books addressing that issue; they don’t have to books you’ve read, just books you might like to read." Blog blog blog.
Well. I guess you know by now the election is a couple days away. And I think, if you've read any of my blog, you know how I feel about the outgoing administration. So I won't belabor it. I've spent a lot of my reading time the last eight years on anti-Bush, anti-imperialist, anti-war tomes and some of it is pretty bleak stuff. I got so burned out on it that after awhile I quit reading nonfiction altogether.
There are a few books, though, that have a more hopeful tone and these are the ones I'll focus on here. I find them more useful than the Hell-in-a-Handbasket books - which is an actual title of a very funny Tom Tomorrow book. And, after all, it is important to laugh about the total destruction of our democracy, economy and reputation in the world.
But I digress. The books I've found most helpful in the last several years are:
- Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit - a pep talk for activists. Stories and anecdotes for AAA (Activists' Attitude Adjustment). The very first story in this book gave me a boost when I was having doubts about my effectiveness as an activist. Solnit is a wonderful writer who shows up in all sorts of publications, including Orion magazine, The Nation, Harpers and on AlterNet.
- The Impossible Will Take a Little While edited by Paul Rogat Loeb. This is a fabulous collection of stories and poetry. Contributors include Howard Zinn, Nelson Mandela, Arundhati Roy, Joanna Macy, Alice Walker. Truly inspiring.
- How to Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism edited by Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, co-founders of Code Pink. I'm a founding member of Portland's Code Pink. We've done some pretty crazy actions over the last 5 years, including a mock arrest of Karl Rove; a Mother's Day parade where we marched through downtown with shopping carts filled with "bombs" and handed out receipts to passersby detailing how much the Iraq invasion had cost per month up to that point; and inserting ourselves into the annual Portland Rose Parade as the Peace Fleet.
This book is filled with much needed inspiration and some practical information on how to keep the peace movement alive and well.
My greatest hope is that, after Tuesday, we will be witness to - and active participants in - the turning of the tide; that our country will turn from the ill-fated destructive path it's on and, with new leadership, move forward into a peaceful and sustainable future.