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2021 Reviews in Review

I read somewhat more books in 2021 than in previous years. The pandemic was certainly a factor. Be that as it may, I read 156 books, watched 44 films, and watched an additional 41 documentaries. Here, then, is my list of the best of the best, the worst of the worst, and everything else in between.

The Books: The Best of the Best

Starting with the best of the best books, instead of picking a single book, I want to pick a group of picks focused on a specific theme: neoliberalism. What is neoliberalism? How does it work? Where does it come from and how has it changed? Why does it persist after various crises occur? To me, these are highly relevant questions. Questions that are critical to understanding our contemporary context. And I read some excellent books that have profoundly reshaped how I understand our contemporary context both materially and theoretically, locally and globally.

In terms of overviews of neoliberalism, overviews that provide a summary of the history of neoliberalism up until the present time, as well as breaking down what neoliberalism means both as a rationality and as a way of structuring societies, the collaborative works of Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, as well as the work done by Wendy Brown are absolutely outstanding. Both parties produced books that explained neoliberalism prior to the economic crisis that occurred in 2008 (The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society by Dardot and Laval and Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution by Brown), and then both parties went on write books after the crisis that demonstrate why neoliberalism continues to thrive after the disaster(s) it creates (Never-Ending Nightmare: The Neoliberal Assault on Democracy by Dardot and Laval and In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Anti-Democratic Politics in the West by Brown). David Harvey’s quick overview of neoliberalism is often recommended for a primer on the subject, but I think these books will provide the reader with an excellent starting point for understanding the world in which they live and what can be done in that world.

Another outstanding contextualization of neoliberalism, one that is critical for understanding how the marketization of everything goes hand-in-hand with social conservatism, is Melinda Cooper’s Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism. Cooper demonstrates how neoliberalism requires a socially conservative ethics, especially in relation to family values, because it removes the social safety net liberal States provided as it enforced an ethics of personal responsibility that extends from one’s self to one’s family members.

As I read these various histories, I also began to see neoliberalism as an increasingly expansive and intensive rule of law. Neoliberalism extends the rule of law (especially property and contract law) into ever larger and ever smaller spaces. Neoliberalism isn’t just an economic system (as per the political economists) and a rationality (as per the post-Foucauldians). It is, above all else, the ultimate triumph of the rule of law over every area of life. My thoughts in this regard led me to the collection of essays compiled by Honor Brabazon, Neoliberal Legality: Understanding the rule of law in the neoliberal project. It’s an excellent book.

However, while neoliberalism is a global economic system, rationality, and rule, it also plays out in various specific and distinctive ways in different localities. This prompts unique modes of rule and also unique modes of resistance and Between Realism and Revolt: Governing Cities in the Crisis of Neoliberal Globalism by Jonathan S. Davies is an outstanding overview of what this actually means on the ground in several large cities around the world. Closer to home, as I seek to understand my own specific context and how neoliberalism and resistance to it, plays out in my part of the world, I found the volume Divided Province: Ontario Politics in the Age of Neoliberalism, edited by Greg Albo and Bryan M. Evans to be essential reading.

So, for my best of the best of 2021, I offer this collection of books on neoliberalism.

The Books: Honourable Mentions

That said, there were a number of other books that stood out to me this year. In the domain of theory, Jill Stauffer’s book, Ethical Loneliness: The injustice of not being heard, stood out above the others, quickly followed by Foucault’s lectures on Security, Territory, Population, and Alfred Whitehead’s challenging but transformative Process and Reality.

In sex and gender theory, Jane Ward’s The Tragedy of Heterosexuality was absolutely outstanding and was very close to being my choice for book of the year. I think it is essential reading for any cis-gendered heterosexual man. Koa Beck’s White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to the Influencers and Who They Leave Behind as well as Rafia Zakaria’s Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption were also outstanding overviews of the problems with feminism that is wedded to White supremacy and neoliberalism. Understanding the problems with White feminism is important for understanding the problems with White liberalism more generally. That said, in terms of feminism more generally, I though the essays about sex produced by Katherine Angel (Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent) and Amia Srnivasan (The Right to Sex: Feminism in the 21st-Century) were both excellent.

In terms of the psy-disciplines, I continue to find psychoanalytic theorists who complicate our psychiatric categories and who engage with creative and caution to be important grounding points. Darian Leader’s book, The New Black: Mourning, Melancholia and Depression, made him an instant new favourite author, and it’s impossible not to mention Lacan’s lectures on Desires and Its Interpretation. However, the book the really hit me hard in this category, another contender for book of the year, was Cynthia Cruz’s The Melancholy of Class: A Manifesto for the Working Class. An intimate exploration of what it means to move from poverty to a higher level of material comfort or privilege and what this does to the psyches of those who make this move—especially as that pertains to those who still want to be loyal to their roots—hit me in all my feels. Given my own journey from homeless youth to homeowner, I probably returned to thinking about this book more than any other over the course of the year. Thank you, Cruz, for this work.

More generally, in the domain of history and politics, Andreas Malm and the Zetkin Collective have offered us an excellent examination of the ways in which resource extraction, especially the fossil fuel industry, in intimately linked with White supremacy in their book White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Dangers of Fossil Fascism. Malm’s independent work, How to Blow Up a Pipeline, is about how we might or might not go about resisting this and I found it to be thoughtful and inspiring. Speaking of racism, I’ve been studying the enduring and widespread history of White supremacy in my own city and this led me to Allan Bartley’s study, The Ku Klux Klan in Canada: A Century of Promoting Racism and Hate in the Peaceable Kingdom. It’s an important part of Canadian history that never shows up in the curriculum of public schools. Not surprisingly, it turns out that the region of the country I am in has always been a hotbed of White supremacist organizing. Beyond my little corner of the world, I found Walter Rodney’s classic How Europe Underdeveloped Africa and Ludo De Witte’s The Assassination of Lumumba to be excellent contributions to understanding African history and the ways in which European and North American superpowers have been invested in the ongoing production of violence and poverty across that continent.

In the category of Science and Nature, Carlo Rovelli’s mindfuck, The Order of Time, is a wonderful examination of the non-linear, immateriality of time. It’s a very readable book by a very smart fellow and the kind of thing that makes less-smart people like me say, “WOW” a lot. I like that kind of book.  Other books that made me say “WOW” in this category are Carl Zimmer’s Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive, Peter Ward’s Lamarck’s Revenge: How Epigenetics is Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Evolution’s Past and Present, and Genome Editing and Engineering: From TALENs, ZFNs, and CRISPERs to Molecular Surgery, edited by Appasani, Krishnarao. I also found Magnason, Andri Snær Magnason’s On Time and Water, which is a meditation on the climate disaster unfolding around us, to be deeply moving.

In the domain of Indigenous studies, I read a lot of memoirs and poetry, and I thought Elissa Washuta’s White Magic was the stand-out offering from what I read. For Indigenous history on Turtle Island, I thought Paulette Steeve’s The Indigenous Paleolithic of the Western Hemisphere, wherein she demonstrates that Indigenous people have actually been on Turtle Island for at least 120,000 years to be an essential work of decolonizing scholarship. Finally, moving to an international scale, Elizabeth Povinelli’s The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism to be an important work highlighting the ways in which Eurocentric definitions of authentic indigeneity (from those created by settler colonial States like Australia and Canada to the definition deployed in the UN Declaration the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) are deployed in acts of Indigenous erasure. Pathways to Indigenous liberation created by colonial or so-called post-colonial powers end up being a “Heads we win, tails you lose” situation for those powers.

On, then, to the fiction and literature. My very favourite new author I discovered in 2021, and also a contender for best of the year, is Daša Drndić. I read both EEG and Belladonna last year and look forward to reading her other novels next year. She is one of the very best fiction writers I have read and her way of blending history and fact with fiction is very much a precursor to the works of other favourites of mine like W. G. Sebald, Robert MacFarlane, and Maggie Nelson. He refusal to forget the history of fascist violence in central Europe, her refusal to get over it, and her recognition of the ways in which these violent histories persist in the present, pulls the reader deeper into her stories and, in fact, into the real  world. Absolutely outstanding.

My other favourite new-to-me author of 2021, and the other contender for best of the best, is George Saunders. My friend Justin put me onto Saunder’s short stories and I read three different collections—Tenth of December, Pastoralia, and The Brain-Dead Megaphone—but my favourite of his books that I’ve read was A Swim in the Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Masters Class in Writing, Reading, and Life. It’s impossible not to become a better reader and writer after reading that book. And it also demonstrates why Saunders is such a technically good writer. He is a master of his craft and it is a delight to read him.

Other honourable mentions in the category of fiction include: The Society of Reluctant Dreamers by José Eduardo Agualusa, The Black Cathedral by Marcial Gala, The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanovna, and On Freedom: Four Songs on Care and Constraint by Maggie Nelson (I will read everything Maggie Nelson writes on any topic). Two poetry collections deserve special mention: The Hammer of Witches by Kelly Rose Pflug-Back (whose poetry reminded me of Cynthia Cruz’s prose and who also felt like a soulmate to me) and Collected Poems by William Carlos Williams. My favourite graphic novel I read this year was Becoming Unbecoming by Una.

The Books: The Worst of the Worst

In terms of my least favourite books, I’ve discovered that I really can’t get into epic length poems, so that means that Patterson by William Carlos Williams and Feed by Tommy Pico were teeth-gritting grinds for me. The Romanian Poems of Paul Celan also passed me by like a ship in the night. Benjamin Bratton’s The Revenge of the Real: Politics for a Post-Pandemic World was laughably bad for what it overlooked. Yves Enger’s Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation was a real missed opportunity (and I’ll probably not read anything else by him given his anti-Semitism). Tomorrow’s Battlefield by Nick Turse and From Stardust to Stardust by Erik Olin Wright were disappointing to me because I didn’t realize they were just collections of blog posts. Catherine Liu’s Virtue Hoarders was a crappy polemic and could have really benefited from a little more careful definition of categories instead of thinking writing a good polemic amounts to doing nothing more than crafting a clever burn like one would use in a rap battle. Michael Pollen’s How To Change Your Mind suffered from way too much filler content. Jenny Hval’s Girls Against God was trying too hard to be something other than what it is (i.e. boring) and, finally, Peter Nadás’s massive tome, Parallel Lives, while brilliantly structured, suffered from way too many pages devoted to male characters thinking about, touching, looking at, and otherwise obsessively focusing upon, their cocks.

The Films: The Best of the Best

I was very happy with a number of movies I watched this year but a few stood out as the best of the best. The one that burrowed into my mind more than any other was Aniara (2018) directed by Pella Kågerman and Huga Lilja. The ways in which it turns our gaze upon the intricate connections hope, survival, functionality, distraction, respite, and doom is truly brilliant. It is, hands down, the best science fiction movie I have ever watched and it can compete with any film in any other genre. I wish everyone who watched Don’t Look Up would now go and watch and discuss this film.

The second best of the best film, is Identifying Features (2020) directed by Fernanda Valadez. Valadez examines the plight of impoverished families in Mexico and the ways in which border imperialism (and the underground economies birthed by that imperialism) affect some of those families. It’s hard to describe what Valadez shows. There is so much that is understated to great effect, but there are also moments of intense revelation, like when elderly relatives look through a freezer truck of bodies to try and identify loved ones. Valadez is like a guide touring a very large mountain, knowing that the whole thing can never be viewed all at once, sometimes leading the traveler through immense woods, sometimes pausing at staggering lookouts, always traveling on. A deeply moving, profoundly beautiful and sad film.

My third pick for best of the best may be a bit of a surprise. It is Zola (2020) directed by Janicza Bravo. It’s a rollicking and terrifying (mostly true) tale about a stripper out to make some money and everything that goes wrong along the way. A lot of complicated things overlap in presentations of sex work, but the fact that a stripper was the one who told this story clearly adds to the way in which Bravo navigates this fraught terrain so well. There are themes of entrepreneurialism, exploitation, fucking good times, very serious dangers, choice, power, disempowerment, absurdity, and the very real humanity of those involved. It was hilarious and scary and amazing and sad and captured something about why I love the company of sex workers so much.

The Films: Honourable Mentions

There were many films that deserve an honourable mention. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) by Ken Loach, The Green Knight (2021) by David Lowery, About Endlessness (2019) by Roy Anderson, Elena (2011) by Andrei Zvyagintsev, and The French Dispatch (2021) by Wes Anderson, are all excellent—as one would expect them to be. Pig (2021), Michael Sarnoski’s meditation on grief and loss was a fun surprise, as was Anders Tomas Jensen’s Riders of Justice (2020) which explored similar themes in a very different context (I swear the Scandinavians do comedy better than anyone else).

However, three less-well known films deserve to be singled out. First, Pedro Costa’s Vitalena Varela (2019) which is a semi-documentary look at the plight of migrant workers living in a slum in Lisbon. Every shot looks like a Rembrandt painting. Second, Joaquin Cociña and Cristóbal León’s The Wolf House (2018) is a stop-motion animation that tells the story of people who try and flee from a Nazi-Christian commune that was formed in Chile after World War Two (that’s actually a true story and there is now a documentary on Netflix about it although I haven’t watched it yet). Again, the artistry of this film is outstanding. Third, Jayro Bustamante’s La Llorana (2019) takes a South American horror trope and transforms it into a meditation on the lasting effect of the American-backed genocide and military dictatorship in Honduras. Bustamante always draws attention to the ways in which Indigenous people are treated in his home country and this made me even more excited to finally get around to watching his earlier film, Ixcanul, which is flimed in Kaqchikel, a Honduran Mayan Indigenous language, and uses a largely non-professional cast.

The Films: Worst of the Worst

From the good to the bummers, the films I enjoyed the least this year were the few mainstream horror movies I watched. I cannot believe how shitty they are. No character development. No plot. No creativity. Incredible leaps in logic. Ugh. They were awful and Halloween Kills (2021) by David Gordon Green, and The Grudge (2020) directed by Nicolas Pesce have to be among the worst movies I’ve ever watched. I also though the horror series, Them (2021) by Little Marvin was little more than blaxploitation mixed with torture porn. Sion Sono’s Prisoners of Ghostland (2021) had more potential due to the creative artistry but also fell flat due to campy acting and the absence of anything to ultimately draw the viewer in and make them care about what they were watching. Lastly, while Queer and feminist critics were divided on what to make of Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog (2021), I mostly found it to be a snooze fest. Imagine There Will be Blood but just the boring parts for two plus hours.

The Documentaries: The Best of the Best

I was also happy with many of the documentaries I watched this year. There are seven that stand-out above the others. I mention them in no particular order.

The Mole Agent (2020) by Maite Alberdi is a film that begins with a somewhat humourous premise (an elderly widower moves into a Seniors’ Home to see of residents are being abused) but it ends up being a tender little piece, largely because the mole agent is such a kind-hearted and caring fellow.

On the other end of the affective spectrum, Welcome to Chechnya (2020) directed by David France is a nail-biting and genuinely terrifying piece focused on victims and survivors fleeing recent waves of State-backed homicidal violence directed at gay folx in Chechnya.

Remaining in that neck of the woods, Collective (2019) directed by Alexander Nanau focuses on corruption in the healthcare system in Romania that came to light after a number of young people died from preventable infections acquired while staying in hospital after a concert fire. The twists and turns in this true story had watching with my jaw on the floor most of the time.

David Osit’s Mayor (2020) looks at a not corrupt, and very well-intentioned but exhausted politician, Musa Hadid, the mayor of Ramhallah, as he does his best to care for his people during the Israeli military occupation of his land. Trying to create change via bureaucratic channels is a monumental challenge in any context. When you had a military invasion and occupation to the mix, the weight seems utterly overwhelming and the very-weary Hadid also ends up becoming a protagonist the viewer cannot help but deeply respect.

The same respect cannot be given to the owner and designers of New Jersey’s Action Park, the focus of Seth Porges’s Class Action Park (2020) documentary. Action Park was eventually closed down due to the deadly nature of its rides. To the twenty-first century viewer, it’s hard to believe what was okay in the 1980s because, damn, that shit was outrageous.

Meanwhile, in Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (2020) Bill Ross the Fourth and Turner Ross take a subject that could be presented as outrageous—the regulars at a dive bar on its last night in business in Las Vegas—and present us with a tender, loving, sometimes very sad, sometimes very funny, sometimes very romantic, and sometimes utterly hopeless, glimpse into the lives of those who found themselves there.

Finally, Benjamin Ree takes a news story that could be gimmicky—a painter who befriends a thief who stole (and claims to have lost) a very large and expensive painting of theirs from a gallery while high on who knows what—and ends up with a biopic, The Painter and the Thief (2020), that offers us a well balanced picture of the complexity of human emotions, motivations, desires, needs, and limits, possessed by both the thief and the painter as we see one through the others of the other and then the gaze is reversed.

The Docunentaries: Honourable Mentions

A few docuseries deserve honourable mention: Cheer (2020) by Greg Whiteley was a fascinating look at the workings of a championship level college cheer team and the people who are driven to compete at that level. Sasquatch (2021) by Joshua Rofé is a classic big fish (or should I say big feet?) tale that starts hilarious and ends up being sad with some moments of real suspense in the middle. And Allen v. Farrow (2021) by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering is one of the best post-#MeToo docuseries I have watched and is utterly damning. Fuck Woody Allen.

Other honourable mentions go to Acasa, My Home (2021) by Radu Ciorniciuc, which looks at a Roma family living free in a marsh outside of Bucharest. However, the State cannot permit this to occur and using a mixture of family values, and environmentalism-as-gentrification tactics, the family is eventually driven from the swamp with not the best results for them (despite the proclaimed best intentions and outcomes measured by the agents of the State). Speaking of agents of the State (in this case American cops not Romanian social workers), Theo Anthony’s All Light Everywhere (2021) is a create look at ways in which supposedly objective technologies, like body cameras on police officers, are designed in order to assist the police with gaining evidence that can be used to back their version of events. Finally, Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Earth (2019) looks at the massive ways in which humans are reshaping the earth (from flattening mountains in California to tunneling through mountains in Switzerland to mining marble in Italy and so on), but does so through spectacular footage of the workplaces and through interviews with the workers themselves.

The Documentaries: The Worst of the Worst

Three documenataries stand out for how shitty they are. Patricia Marcoccia’s The Rise of Jordan Peterson (2019) is a pro-Peterson documentary that tries to present itself as objective and unbiased but which really doesn’t get into the details of criticisms of Peterson and always favours J. Pizzle’s version of events. Meanwhile, Thomas Burstyn’s This Way of Life (2009) presents itself as a look at a family in New Zealand trying to live off the grid, but one gets the sense that what we are actually viewing is an abusive, controlling, and mentally ill man dragging his partner and children through all kinds of shit due to his commitment to himself. Finally, the very worst of the worst, is Josh Sabe’s American Tragedy (2019) which is a movie about Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold (who was one of the Columbine shooters). It presents Sue as a victim, as a pure and loving mother, but what becomes clear through the subtext of the film (and, I think, despite Sabey’s intention) is that Sue was actually a very abusive mother who is pathologically unable to take any responsibility for the person Dylan became and who is obsessively-focused on getting the whole world to believe that she is a good person. Along the way, for example, Sue says that she felt convinced from the day Dylan was born that a dark shadow had passed over her and that he would bring her great sorrow (although no mention is made of how this “premonition” might have influenced how Sue raised Dylan; see also: the Pygmalion Effect). Sue also admits to physically assaulting Dylan because he forgot, as teenagers are wont to do, to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day (see saw this as evidence of how self-absorbed he was, but it seems to me to be evidence of how self-absorbed she is). Also significant is the fact that Dylan’s father and brother never appear or speak in to Sabey over the course of the documentary. This is Sue Klebold, the narcissist and abuser, trying to make the world think she’s a saint who found that “love is not enough” because she wasn’t adequately aware of mental illness in children who now nobly dedicates her life to educating others on that subject. Barf.

Here, then, is the complete list of what I read and viewed in 2021.

Books (156)

Theory (12)

Behar, Ruth. The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Will Break Your Heart.

Bratton, Benjamin. The Revenge of the Real: Politics for a Post-pandemic World.

Foucault, Michel. Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College de France 1977-1978.

________. The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979.

________. On the Government of the Living and Oedipal Knowledge: Lectures at the College de France 1979-1980.

________. Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures at the College de France 1981-1982.

Horkheimer, Max and Theodor W. Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments.

Jaspers, Karl. The Question of German Guilt.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception.

Santner, Eric L. On Creaturely Life: Rilke, Benjamin, Sebald.

Stauffer, Jill. Ethical Loneliness: the injustice of not being heard.

Whitehead, Alfred. Process and Reality.

Sex and Gender (6)

Angel, Katherine. Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent.

Beck, Koa. White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind.

Manne, Kate. Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women.

Srnivasan, Amia. The Right to Sex: Feminism in the 21st-Century.

Ward, Jane. The Tragedy of Heterosexuality.

Zakaria, Rafia. Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption.

Psy Disciplines (8)

Berlant, Lauren. Desire/Love.

Boym, Svetlana. The Future of Nostalgia.

Cruz, Cynthia. The Melancholia of Class: A Manifesto for the Working Class.

Lacan, Jacques. Desire and Its Interpretation: The Seminars of Jacques Lacan Book VI (edited by Jacques-Alain Miller).

Leader, Darian. The New Black: Mourning, Melancholia and Depression.

________. Jouissance: Sexuality, Suffering and Satisfaction.

Rose, Jacqueline. On Violence and On Violence Against Women.

Theweleit, Klaus. Object-Choice (All you need is love …).

Theology (1)

Isasi- Díaz, Ada María. En la Lucha/In the Struggle: A Hispanic Women’s Liberation Theology.

History & Politics (26)

Bartley, Allan. The Ku Klux Klan in Canada: A Century of Promoting Racism and Hate in the Peaceable Kingdom.

Bey, Marquis. Anarcho-Blackness: Notes Toward a Black Anarchism.

brown, adrienne maree. We Will Not Cancel Us: And Other Dreams of Transformative Justice.

Collier, Cheryl N. and Jonathan Malloy (eds.). The Politics of Ontario.

De Witte, Ludo. The Assassination of Lumumba.

Engler, Yves. Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation.

Gordon, Todd. Cops, Crime and Capitalism: The Law-and-Order Agenda in Canada.

Hartman, Saidiya. Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals.

Jaffe, Sarah. Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone.

Kaba, Mariame. We Do This ‘Til We Free Us.

Lavin, Talia. Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy.

Maher, Geo. A World Without Police: How Strong Communities Make Cops Obsolete.

Malm, Andreas. How to Blow Up a Pipeline.

Malm, Andreas and the Zetkin Collective. White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism.

Mann, Michael. The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing.

Mueller, Gavin. Breaking Things at Work: The Luddites Were Right About Why You Hate Your Job.

Nuhanović, Hasan. The Last Refuge: A True Story of War, Survival, and Life under Siege in Srebrenica.

Pitsula, James M. Keeping Canada British: The Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Saskatchewan.

Rankine, Claudia. Just Us: An American Conversation.

Renton, David. The New Authoritarians: Convergence on the Right.

________. No Free Speech for Fascists: Exploring ‘No Platform’ in History, Law and Politics.

Rodney, Walter. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.

Spade, Dean. Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next).

Tidrick, Kathryn. Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life.

Turse, Nick. Tomorrow’s Battlefield: US Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa.

Walia, Harsha. Border & Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism.

Neoliberalism (15)

Abdelal, Rawi. Capital Rules: The Construction of Global Finance.

Albo, Greg and Bryan M. Evans (eds.). Divided Province: Ontario Politics in the Age of Neoliberalism.

Brabazon, Honor (ed.). Neoliberal Legality: Understanding the role of law in the neoliberal project.

Brown, Wendy. In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West.

________. Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution.

Cooper, Melinda. Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism.

Crouch, Colin. The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism.

Dardot, Pierre and Christian Laval. Never-Ending Nightmare: The Neoliberal Assault on Democracy.

________. The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society.

Davies, Jonathan S. Between Realism and Revolt: Governing Cities in the Crisis of Neoliberal Globalism.

George, Susan. Shadow Sovereigns: How Global Corporations are Seizing Power.

Liu, Catherine. Virtue Hoarders: The Case against the Professional Managerial Class.

Locke, Robert R. and J.-C. Spender. Confronting Mangerialism: How the Business Elite and Their Schools Threw Our Lives Out of Balance.

Rolnik, Raquel. Urban Warfare: Housing Under the Empire of Finance.

Wacquant, Loïc. Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity.

Indigenous Studies (15)

Belcourt ,Billy-Ray. A History of My Brief Body.

Benaway, Giles. Ceremonies for the Dead.

Campbell, Tenille C. Good Medicine.

Crosby, Andrew and Jeffrey Monaghan. Policing Indigenous Movements: Dissent and the Security State.

Diaz, Natalie. Postcolonial Love Poems.

________. When My Brother Was an Aztec.

Howard, Liz. Letters in a Bruised Cosmos.

Mailhot, Terese Marie. Heart Berries: A Memoir.

Pico, Tommy. Feed.

Povinelli, Elizabeth A. The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism.

Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies.

Steeves, Paulette F. C. The Indigenous Paleolithic of the Western Hemisphere.

Wagamese, Richard. For Joshua.

________. Embers: One Ojibwe’s Meditations.

Washuta, Elissa. White Magic.

Science and Nature (15)

Abrams, David. The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More than Human World.

Appasani, Krishnarao (ed.). Genome Editing and Engineering: From TALENs, ZFNs and CRISPRs to Molecular Surgery.

Damasio, Antonio. Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain.

Deakin, Roger. Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey through Britain.

deBuys, William. The Trail to Kanjiroba: Rediscovering Earth in an Age of Loss.

Hrdy, Sarah Blaffer. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding.

Louridas, Panos. Algorithms.

MacFarlane, Robert. The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane.

________. Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit.

Magnason, Andri Snær. On Time and Water.

Pollan, Michael. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.

Rovelli, Carlo. The Order of Time.

Sheldrake, Merlin. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures.

Strogatz, Steven. Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life.

Ward, Peter. Lamarck’s Revenge: How Epigenetics Is Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Evolution’s Past and Present.

Zimmer, Carl. Life’s Edge: The Search For What It Means To Be Alive.

Literature (57)

Abulhawa, Susan. Against the Loveless World.

Agualusa, José Eduardo. The Society of Reluctant Dreamers.

Angier, Carole. Speak, Silence: In Search of W. G. Sebald.

Badr, Ahmed M. (ed.). While the Earth Sleeps We Travel: Stories, Poetry, and Art from Young Refugees Around the World.

Baltasar, Eva. Permafrost.

Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood.

Bernhard, Thomas. Extinction.

Bernofsky, Susan. Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser.

Biss, Eula. Having and Being Had.

Bukowski, Charles. You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense.

________. The Pleasures of the Damned: Poems 1951-1993.

Butler, Octavia E. The Parable of the Sower.

Carver, Raymond. No Heroics, Please: Uncollected Writings.

Celan, Paul. Romanian Poems.

Coleman, Wanda. Wicked Enchantment: selected poems.

Cruz, Cynthia. How the End Begins.

Drndić, Daša. EEG.

________. Belladonna.

Emezi, Awkaeke. The Death of Vivek Oji.

Felix, Camonghne. Build Yourself a Boat.

Gala, Marcial. The Black Cathedral.

Garza, Cristina Rivera. The Taiga Syndrome.

Hayes, Terrence. American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin.

Hermans, Frederik. An Untouched House.

Hughes, Langston. Selected Poems.

Hval, Jenny. Girls Against God.

Kaminsky, Ilya. Dancing in Odessa.

Kanazi, Remi. Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up From Brooklyn to Palestine.

Kapil, Bhanu. Ban En Banlieue.

Kertész, Imre. Fatelessness.

Kiš, Danilo. The Encyclopedia of the Dead.

Konrád, George. The Case Worker.

Lao-Tzu. Tao Te Ching.

Lubrin, Canisia. Voodoo Hypothesis: poems.

Mengiste, Maaza. The Shadow King.

Morgan, Jen. A Touch of Jen.

Nabokov, Vladimir. Lectures on Russian Literature.

Nádas, Peter. Parallel Stories.

Negarestani, Reza. Cyclonopedia: complicity with anonymous materials.

Nelson, Maggie. On Freedom: Four Songs on Care and Constraint.

Okri, Ben. An African Elegy.

O`Neill, Heather. The Lonely Hearts Hotel.

Panahi, Hiva. Secrets of the Snow: Kurdish Poetry.

Parks, Tim. The Hero’s Way: A Walk with Garibaldi from Rome to Ravenna.

Pflug-Back, Kelly Rose. The Hammer of Witches: poems.

Saunders, George. Tenth of December.

________. A Swim in the Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life.

________. Pastoralia.

________. The Brain-Dead Megaphone.

Simic, Charles. Scribbled in the Dark.

Stepanova, Maria. In Memory of Memory.

Suzuki, Isumi. Terminal Boredom: Stories.

Van Dyck, Karen (ed.). Austerity Measures: The New Greek Poetry.

Vodlazkin, Eugene. Laurus.

Williams, William Carlos. Selected Poems.

________. Patterson.

Wright, Erik Olin. From Stardust to Stardust: Reflections on Living and Dying.

Graphic Novels (3)

Takei, George, Justin Eisenger, and Steven Scott. Art by Harmony Becker. They Called Us Enemy.

Ulinich, Anya. Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel.

Una. Becoming Unbecoming.

Movies (44)

Anderson, Wes. The French Dispatch (2021).

Andersson, Roy. About Endlessness (2019).

Aster, Ari. Midsommar (2019).

Balabanov, Aleksei. Cargo 200 (2007).

Barnaby, Jeff. Blood Quantum (2019).

Biberman, Herbert. Salt of the Earth (1954).

Bravo, Janicza. Zola (2020).

Bustamante, Jayro. La Llorona (2019).

Campion, Jane. The Power of the Dog (2021).

Cociña, Joaquin and Cristóbal León. The Wolf House (2018).

Coppola, Sofia. Somewhere (2010).

Costa, Pedro. Vitalena Varela (2019).

DaCosta, Nia. Candyman (2021).

Dovzhenko, Alexander. Earth (1930).

Ducournau, Julia. Titane (2021).

Feigelfeld, Lukas. Hagazussa (2017).

Glass, Rose. Saint Maud (2019).

Green, David Gordon. Halloween Kills (2021).

Herzog, Werner. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979).

James, Natalie Erica. Relic (2020).

Jensen, Anders Thomas. Riders of Justice (2020).

Kågerman, Pella and Huga Lilja. Aniara (2018).

Kiarostami, Abbas. 24 Frames (2017).

Little Marvin. Them (2021).

Loach, Ken. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006).

Lowery, David. The Green Knight (2021).

McGregor, William. Gwen (2018).

McKay, Adam. Don’t Look Up (2021).

Park Chan-wook. The Handmaiden (2016).

Perkins, Osgood. Gretel and Hansel (2020).

Pesce, Nicolas. The Grudge (2020).

Prior, David. The Empty Man (2020).

Ramsay, Lynne. You Were Never Really Here (2018).

Sarnoski, Michael. Pig (2021).

Satō, Tatsuo. Cat Soup (2001).

Saulnier, Jeremy. The Green Room (2015).

Smoczyńska, Agnieszka. Fugue (2018).

Sono, Sion. Prisoners of Ghostland (2021).

Tarkovsky, Andrei. The Sacrifice (1986).

Tarr, Béla. The Turin Horse (2011).

Valadez, Fernanda. Identifying Features (2020).

Villeneuve, Denis. Dune (2021).

Whannel, Leigh. The Invisible Man (2020).

Zvyagintsev, Andrei. Elena (2011).

Documentaries (41)

Alberdi, Maite. The Mole Agent (2020).

Anthony, Theo. All Light Everywhere (2021).

Ascher, Rodney. A Glitch in the Matrix (2021).

Barbini, Codi. The New Normal (2020).

Bloch, Yossi and Daniel Sivan. The Devil Next Door (2019).

Boundaoui, Assia. That Feeling of Being Watched (2018).

Burstyn Thomas. This Way of Life (2009).

Ciorniciuc, Radu. Acasa, My Home (2020).

Cohen, Bonni and Jon Shenk. Athlete A (2020).

Cooke, Matthew. A Survivor’s Guide to Prison (2018).

Cowperthwaite, Gabriela. Blackfish (2013).

Davis, Kate and David Heilbroner. Stonewall Uprising (2010).

Dick, Kirby and Amy Ziering. Allen v. Farrow (2021).

Dore, Mary. She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014).

France, David. Welcome to Chechnya (2020).

Garbus, Liz, Myles Kane, Josh Koury, and Elizabeth Wolff. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (2020).

Geyrhalter, Nikolaus. Earth (2019).

Heise, Thomas. Heimat is a Space in Time (2020).

Hernandez, James Lee and Brian Lazarte. McMillion$ (2020).

Junge, Daniel and Steven Leckart. Challenger: The Final Flight (2020).

Ibarra, Cristina. Las Marthas (2014).

Jones, Arthur. Feels Good Man (2020).

Jones, Torquil. 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible (2021).

Marcoccia, Patricia. The Rise of Jordan Peterson (2019).

Maysles, Albert and David, Ellen Hovde, and Muffie Meyer. Grey Gardens (1975).

McDermott, Geno. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez (2020).

Mortimer, Peter and Nick Rosen. The Alpinist (2020).

Nanau, Alexander. Collective (2019).

Osit, David. Mayor (2020).

Peck, Raoul. Exterminate All the Brutes (2021).

Porges, Seth. Class Action Park (2020).

Ree, Benjamin. The Painter and the Thief (2020).

Rofé, Joshua. Sasquatch (2021).

Rogosin, Lionel. On the Bowery (1956).

Ross IV, Bill and Turner Ross. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (2020).

Sabey, Josh. American Tragedy (2019).

Schwartzman, Nancy. Roll Red Roll (2018).

Stark, Samantha. Framing Britney Spears (2021).

Steiner, Nicholas. Above and Below (2015).

Wallis, C. J. Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much (2017).

Whiteley, Greg. Cheer (2020).

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  1. Much obliged. Perhaps you would consider doing longer (deeper but fewer?) streaming reviews of movies and books? For example, I would appreciate a more comprehensive critique of “neo-liberalism” based on your reading with some insights and conclusions, applications? I wish you had your own show on Jacobin like Zizek and could do a 10 min video review etc? Blessings and be well.