Librarian’s Picks
A collection of media that's shaped the way I see the world.

Articles

Baudrillard, Jean. “The Animals: Territory and Metamorphoses”. Simulacra and Simulation. ✒︎

"Animals have thus preceded us on the path of liberal extermination. All the aspects of the modern treatment of animals retrace the vicissitudes of the manipulation of humans, from experimentation to industrial pressure in breeding."

Borges, Jorge Luis. “On Exactitude in Science”. ✒︎

"In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars..."

Borges, Jorge Luis. “The Library of Babel”. ✒︎

Gould, Stephen Jay. 1992. “The Median Isn't the Message”. Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History. W. W. Norton & Company. ✒︎

You are not a statistic.

Hine, Dougald, and Paul Kingsnorth. 2009. “Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto”. The Dark Mountain Project. 𝔘 ✒︎

"The end of the world as we know it, is not the end of the world full stop."

Nietzsche, Friedrich. “On Truth and Lies in a Non-moral Sense”. ✒︎

"What is truth? a mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, anthropomorphisms ... coins which have lost their image and now can be used only as metal, and no longer as coins."

Orwell, George. 1946. “Politics and the English Language”. Horizon. 𝔘 ✒︎

Orwell, George. “The Principles of Newspeak”. ✒︎

Robinson, Nathan J. 2020. “The Truth Is Paywalled but the Lies Are Free”. Current Affairs. 𝔘 ✒︎

Schwindt, Oriana. 2019. “Semantic Drain and the Meaninglessness of Modern Work”. Schwindterwonderland. 𝔘 ✒︎

'"Late-capitalistic semantic drain" sounds like its own uniquely hellish bullshit neologism. But I swear it does mean something: the lack of meaning spreading through English, driven by a corporate monoculture devoted solely to profit.'

Thompson, Derek. 2018. “The Media's Post-advertising Future Is Also Its Past”. The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company. 𝔘 ✒︎

Books

Baudrillard, Jean. 1994. Simulacra and Simulation. University of Michigan Press. ✒︎

An influential (if stylistically grating) accounting of the virtual and untethered nature of our mediated reality—we're tilting at windmills here, folks!

Borges, Jorge Luis. 1998. Collected Fictions. Translated by Andrew Hurley. Penguin Classics. ✒︎

Cayley, David. 1992. Ivan Illich in Conversation. House of Anansi Press. ✒︎

Ivan Illich is the excommunicated(?) Catholic priest all we post-moderns need.

Chiang, Ted. 2019. Exhalation: Stories. Vintage. ✒︎

Chiang, Ted. Stories of Your Life and Others. ✒︎

Christian, Brian. 2011. The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive. Doubleday. ✒︎

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. ✒︎

Foucault, Michel. 2012. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. ✒︎

The monastery, the penitentiary, the military, the school, the asylum. A history of punishment and its shift from public spectacle "pour décourager les autres" to omniscient institutional discipline for controlling massified society (i.e. wielding "biopower").

Ghosh, Amitav. The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable. ✒︎

Empire vs. the climate

Graeber, David. 2018. Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. Penguin UK. ✒︎

Why are we working longer hours than medieval peasants amidst all this technological innovation that was supposed to save us time?

Graeber, David. 2014. Debt, Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years. Melville House. ✒︎

Perhaps Graeber's magnum opus, Debt sets the record straight on money, exchange, and what we owe to one another.

Graeber, David, and David Wengrow. 2021. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Signal. ✒︎

"Was agriculture a mistake?"

Herman, Edward Samuel, and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. ✒︎

The story of how propaganda becomes the inevitable product of the mass media system.

Hofstadter, Douglas R. 1999. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. Basic Books. ✒︎

A rollicking adventure through the self-referential bends of life—and at times, perhaps a little too clever for its own good.

Huxley, Aldous Leonard. Brave New World. ✒︎

Illich, Ivan. Deschooling Society. ✒︎

School as the modern institution in charge of rubber-stamping privilege, and a critical look at the unquestioned refrain of education as a universal good.

Illich, Ivan. 1973. Tools for Conviviality. Fontana. ✒︎

One of my favourite books, about our broken and unchecked relationship with technology in the modern industrial world, where the operator has become the operated.

Kimmerer, Robin Wall. 2013. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. ✒︎

I'd come to America to further my education. But it was not until I encountered Robin Wall Kimmerer, long after graduation, that I finally could see what this beautiful land had been trying to teach me all along.

Kinzer, Stephen. All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. ✒︎

Klein, Naomi. No Logo. ✒︎

An unflinching look at consumerism, how brands make us think we can shop our way into becoming newer, better persons, and the hidden and violent toll this all takes on workers around the globe.

Klein, Naomi. On Fire: The (burning) Case for a Green New Deal. ✒︎

Klein, Naomi. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. ✒︎

The obverse side of disaster capitalism, Klein details just how profitable the business of wrecking havoc can be.

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate. ✒︎

Kohr, Leopold. 1978. The Breakdown of Nations. Dutton. ✒︎

Mercier, Hugo, and Dan Sperber. The Enigma of Reason. ✒︎

O'Neil, Cathy. Weapons of Math Destruction. ✒︎

Pulling back the curtains on the black-box algorithms that shape our lives and perpetuate hidden systemic biases under the cover of "technology of superior intelligence". (Hint: they're really not.)

Orwell, George. 1984. ✒︎

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. ✒︎

Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. ✒︎

Rahnema, Majid, and Victoria Bawtree. 1997. The Post-development Reader. Zed Books. ✒︎

After the ravages of colonialism, after the conceits of development, where do we go?

Scott, James C. 2017. Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. ✒︎

"Agriculture was a mistake."

Scott, James C. 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press. ✒︎

Scott, James C. 2009. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. Yale University Press. ✒︎

"Run for the hills!" Tactics for evading the tax-collecting, slave-driving, and military-conscripting state, as practised by the peoples of upland SEA.

Simard, Suzanne. 2021. Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ✒︎

Solnit, Rebecca. 2009. A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disasters. Viking. ✒︎

The reverse side of disaster capitalism, Solnit sings in sanguine praise of the extraordinary sense of community and solidarity that ordinary people find in one another after disaster strikes.

Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. ✒︎

Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. 2015. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton University Press. ✒︎

This book has woven its mycelia into my mental substrate. Its themes have a habit of mushrooming up where you least expect them.

Vonnegut, Kurt. 2006. Cat's Cradle. Dial Press Trade Paperbacks. ✒︎

Yurchak, Alexei. Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation. ✒︎

老子. 道德经. ✒︎

The Taoist Classic, and perhaps the closest thing to a religious text I live by.

Broadcasts

Curtis, Adam. 2002. “The Century of the Self”. BBC. ✒︎

Encyclopedia Entries

Contributors of Wikipedia. 2021. “Map–territory Relation”. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. ✒︎