Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen

35171984Title: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History

Author: Kurt Andersen

Pub Date: 2017

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The single most important explanation, and the fullest explanation, of how Donald Trump became president of the United States . . . nothing less than the most important book that I have read this year.”—Lawrence O’Donnell

How did we get here?

In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what’s happening in our country today—this post-factual, “fake news” moment we’re all living through—is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Over the course of five centuries—from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials—our love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we’ve never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies—every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

Fantasyland could not appear at a more perfect moment. If you want to understand Donald Trump and the culture of twenty-first-century America, if you want to know how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you must read this book.

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My Year In Non-fiction Books

I read 12 non-fiction books this year. This number seriously surprised me, it’s a big chunk of all the books I read in 2017. I didn’t realize that I chosen so many non-fiction books this year. Topic of those books are really diverse, there’s book about Japanese art of getting rid of stuff (instead of cleaning and nicely storing stuff), book about last year’s elections in USA, books about faeries, polish immigrants in UK, Isle of Man, body image, shame and many others. Wow, I definitely learned a lot of new stuff thanks to those books. Here comes the list of all the non-fiction books I read this year sorted by rating I gave them.

– 1 star –

Non of the non fiction books I read this year was so bad that it deserved one start rating, at least in my opinion.

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Fat Is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach

12689566Title: Fat is a Feminist Issue

Author: Susie Orbach

Pub Date: first published 1978

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

This is the original anti-diet book is back – in one volume together with its best-selling sequel. When it was first published, Fat Is A Feminist Issue became an instant classic and it is as relevant today as it was then. Updated throughout, it includes a frank new introduction by Susie Orbach that brings this book to a new generation of readers whilst offering a current perspective for its original fans. With an increasingly dominant diet industry, costing the consumer millions of pounds each year, Susie Orbach’s best-selling classic is as important as ever in helping women to love their own body and face the demands of 21st-century living with confidence.

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Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

33585392Title: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pub Date: March 7th, 2017

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today–written as a letter to a friend.

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.

Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

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The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit

Title: The Mother of All Questions: Further Reports from the Feminist Revolutions

Author: Rebecca Solnit

Pub Date: March 14th, 2017

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Synopis from Goodreads:

In a timely and incisive follow-up to her national bestseller Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit offers sharp commentary on women who refuse to be silenced, misogynistic violence, the fragile masculinity of the literary canon, the gender binary, the recent history of rape jokes, and much more.

In characteristic style, Solnit mixes humor, keen analysis, and sharp insight in these eleven essays.

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Insane Clown President by Matt Taibbi

33516776Title: Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus

Author: Matt Taibbi

Pub Date: January 17th 2017

My Rating: ★★★★☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – Dispatches from the 2016 election that provide an eerily prescient take on our democracy’s uncertain future, by the country’s most perceptive and fearless political journalist.
In twenty-five pieces from Rolling Stone–plus two original essays–Matt Taibbi tells the story of Western civilization’s very own train wreck, from its tragicomic beginnings to its apocalyptic conclusion. Years before the clown car of candidates was fully loaded, Taibbi grasped the essential themes of the story: the power of spectacle over substance, or even truth; the absence of a shared reality; the nihilistic rebellion of the white working class; the death of the political establishment; and the emergence of a new, explicit form of white nationalism that would destroy what was left of the Kingian dream of a successful pluralistic society.
Taibbi captures, with dead-on, real-time analysis, the failures of the right and the left, from the thwarted Bernie Sanders insurgency to the flawed and aimless Hillary Clinton campaign; the rise of the “dangerously bright” alt-right with its wall-loving identity politics and its rapturous view of the “Racial Holy War” to come; and the giant fail of a flailing, reactive political media that fed a ravenous news cycle not with reporting on political ideology, but with undigested propaganda served straight from the campaign bubble. At the center of it all stands Donald J. Trump, leading a historic revolt against his own party, “bloviating and farting his way” through the campaign, “saying outrageous things, acting like Hitler one minute and Andrew Dice Clay the next.” For Taibbi, the stunning rise of Trump marks the apotheosis of the new postfactual movement.
Taibbi frames the reporting with original essays that explore the seismic shift in how we perceive our national institutions, the democratic process, and the future of the country. Insane Clown President is not just a postmortem on the collapse and failure of American democracy. It offers the riveting, surreal, unique, and essential experience of seeing the future in hindsight.

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Birds Art Life Death: A Field Guide to the Small and Significant by Kyo Maclear

32321197Title: Birds Art Life Death: A Field Guide o the Small and Significant

Author: Kyo Maclear

Pub Date: February 9th, 2017

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A writer’s search for inspiration, beauty, and solace leads her to birds in this intimate and exuberant meditation on creativity and life – a field guide to things small and significant.

In 2012, Kyo Maclear met a musician with a passion for birds. Curious about what had prompted a young urban artist to suddenly embrace nature she decided to follow him for a year to find out.

Observing two artists through seasonal shifts and migrations, Birds Art Life Death celebrates the particular madness of chasing after birds in a big city, and explores what happens when the principles of birdwatching are applied to other aspects of art and life. It looks at the ecology of urban spaces and the creative and liberating effects of keeping your eyes and ears wide open. Far from seeking the exotic, Kyo discovers joy in the birds she spots in city parks and harbours, along eaves and on wires. In a world that values big and fast, Kyo begins to look to the small, steady, slow accumulations of knowledge, and the lulls that give way to contemplation.

Moving between the granular and the grand, peering into the inner landscape as much as the outer one, Birds Art Life Death asks how we are shaped and nurtured by our passions, and how we might come to love and protect not only the world’s natural places but also the challenging urban spaces where so many of us live.

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