Jolabokaflod

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Society, politics and philosophy

risewarriorcopRise of the Warrior Cop
Radley Balko
(UK: PublicAffairs, 2014; USA: PublicAffairs, 2014)

The last days of colonialism taught America’s revolutionaries that soldiers in the streets bring conflict and tyranny. As a result, the USA has generally worked to keep the military out of law enforcement. But according to investigative reporter Radley Balko, over the last several decades, America’s cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an other – an enemy.

Recommended by:
Ian Winn, Author and Podcaster, Octopus Messiah (author website) and Litopia After Dark (podcast website)

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Rise of the Warrior Cop)
Available in the USA via Amazon (Rise of the Warrior Cop)

Ian’s debut novel will be republished soon (3rd edition)
The Techno Pagan Octopus Messiah

happyHappy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine
Derren Brown
(UK: Bantam Press, 2016)

Everyone says they want to be happy. But that’s much more easily said than done. What does being happy actually mean? And how do you even know when you feel it? Across the millennia, philosophers have thought long and hard about happiness. They have defined it in many different ways and come up with myriad strategies for living the good life.

Drawing on this vast body of work, in Happy Derren Brown explores changing concepts of happiness – from the surprisingly modern wisdom of the Stoics and Epicureans in classical times right up until today, when the self-help industry has attempted to claim happiness as its own. He shows how many of self-help’s suggested routes to happiness and success – such as positive thinking, self-belief and setting goals – can be disastrous to follow and, indeed, actually cause anxiety.

This brilliant, candid and deeply entertaining book exposes the flaws in these ways of thinking, and in return poses challenging but stimulating questions about how we choose to live and the way we think about death.

Happy aims to reclaim happiness and to enable us to appreciate the good things in life, in all their transient glory. By taking control of the stories we tell ourselves, by remembering that ‘everything’s fine’ even when it might not feel that way, we can allow ourselves to flourish and to live more happily.

Recommended by:
Christopher NorrisJolabokaflod Book Campaign

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine)

headscarveshymensHeadscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution
Mona Eltahawy
(UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2016; USA: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016)

This book explodes the myth that we should stand back and watch while women are disempowered and abused in the name of religion.

In this laceratingly honest account, Eltahawy takes aim both at attitudes in the Middle East and at the western liberals who mistake misogyny for cultural difference. Her argument is clear: unless political revolution in the Arab world is accompanied by social and sexual revolution, no progress will be made.

Headscarves and Hymens is the book the world has been crying out for: a powerful, fearless account of what it really means to be a woman in the Muslim world.

Recommended by:
Ian Winn, Author and Podcaster, Octopus Messiah (author website) and Litopia After Dark (podcast website)

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution)
Available in the USA via Amazon (Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution)

Ian’s debut novel will be republished soon (3rd edition)
The Techno Pagan Octopus Messiah

nudgeNudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness
Cass R Sunstein and Richard H Thaler
(UK: Penguin, 2009; USA: Penguin, 2009)

Every day we make decisions: about the things that we buy or the meals we eat; about the investments we make or our children’s health and education; even the causes that we champion or the planet itself. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly.

We are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions that make us poorer, less healthy and less happy. And, as Thaler and Sunstein show, no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way. By knowing how people think, we can make it easier for them to choose what is best for them, their families and society. Using dozens of eye-opening examples the authors demonstrate how to nudge us in the right directions, without restricting our freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new way of looking at the world for individuals and governments alike.

Recommended by:
Liz Fay

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness)
Available in the USA via Amazon (Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness)

fearandloathingFear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Hunter S Thompson
(UK: Harper Perennial, 2005; USA: Vintage, 1998)

This book is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page.  It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.

Recommended by:
Ian Winn, Author and Podcaster, Octopus Messiah (author website) and Litopia After Dark (podcast website)

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
Available in the USA via Amazon (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)

Ian’s debut novel will be republished soon (3rd edition)
The Techno Pagan Octopus Messiah