A good book day
Remember how I was bemoaning the massive pile of unread books I have? Yeah... about that.
I stumbled across this amazing pile of ebooks courtesy of Cambridge University which had a number of fascinating ebook pdfs available for download. The post that sent me to it said the downloads would only be available until January 11th. But I went ahead and downloaded them all, I don't expect to read the majority of them but there were a few which genuinely seemed interesting.
Emotions and Temporalities by Margrit Pernau
This Element brings together the history of emotions and temporalities, offering a new perspective on both. Time was often imagined as a movement from the past to the future: the past is gone and the future not yet here. Only present-day subjects could establish relations to other times, recovering history as well as imagining and anticipating the future. In a movement paralleling the emphasis on the porous self, constituted by emotions situated not inside but between subjects, this Element argues for a porous present, which is open to the intervention of ghosts coming from the past and from the future. What needs investigating is the flow between times as much as the creation of boundaries between them, which first banishes the ghosts and then denies their existence. Emotions are the most important way through which subjects situate and understand themselves in time.
It sounds like a brain bender, but I think that can be very good for us.
Violence and the Sikhs by Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
Violence and the Sikhs interrogates conventional typologies of violence and non-violence in Sikhism by rethinking the dominant narrative of Sikhism as a deviation from the ostensibly original pacifist-religious intentions and practices of its founders. This Element highlights competing logics of violence drawn from primary sources of Sikh literature, thereby complicating our understanding of the relationship between spirituality and violence, connecting it to issues of sovereignty and the relationship between Sikhism and the State during the five centuries of its history. By cultivating a non-oppositional understanding of violence and spirituality, this Element provides an innovative method for interpreting events of 'religious violence'. In doing so it provides a novel perspective on familiar themes such as martyrdom, Martial Race theory, warfare and (post)colonial conflicts in the Sikh context.
Given the prominant Sikh community around where I live, I'm always curious to learn more about them. I don't think a book like this should be my initial introduction to Sikh history and faith, but it did jump out at me.
Global Medievalism: An Introduction by Helen Young and Kavita Mudan Finn
"The typical vision of the Middle Ages western popular culture represents to its global audience is deeply Eurocentric. The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones imagined entire medievalist worlds, but we see only a fraction of them through the stories and travels of the characters. Organised around the theme of mobility, this Element seeks to deconstruct the Eurocentric orientations of western popular medievalisms which typically position Europe as either the whole world or the centre of it, by making them visible and offering alternative perspectives. How does popular culture represent medievalist worlds as global - connected by the movement of people and objects? How do imagined mobilities allow us to create counterstories that resist Eurocentric norms? This study represents the start of what will hopefully be a fruitful and inclusive conversation of what the Middle Ages did, and should, look like"
Too true, the eurocentricity to the history I have been exposed to is a thing I constantly want to overcome and I look forward to delving into this.
Tibetan Demonology by Christopher Bell
Tibetan Demonology discusses the rich taxonomy of gods and demons encountered in Tibet. These spirits are often the cause of, and exhorted for, diverse violent and wrathful activities. This Element consists of four thematic sections. The first section, 'Spirits and the Body', explores oracular possession and spirit-induced illnesses. The second section, 'Spirits and Time', discusses the role of gods in Tibetan astrology and ritual calendars. The third section, 'Spirits and Space', examines the relationship between divinities and the Tibetan landscape. The final section, 'Spirits and Doctrine', explores how certain deities act as fierce protectors of religious and political institutions.
I have always loved mythology. I remember being fascinated by Greek and Roman mythology and dipping my toe into what I could learn about others. I can still remember visiting Pantheon.org back in middle school and high school reading about mythology around the world. I'm very excited to delve into this one.
Beyond those (and the others I downloaded), I decided to spend some Christmas Amazon credit on two books from MIT Press:
Uneven Futures: Strategies for Community Survival from Speculative Fiction
Essays on speculative/science fiction explore the futures that feed our most cherished fantasies and terrifying nightmares, while helping diverse communities devise new survival strategies for a tough millennium.
In this edited collection, more than forty writers, critics, game designers, scholars, and activists explore core SF texts, with an eye toward a future in which corporations dominate both the means of production and the means of distribution and governments rely on powerful surveillance and carceral technologies.
Unboxed: Board Game Experience & Design by Gordon Calleja
An in-depth exploration of the experience of playing board games and how game designers shape that experience.
In Unboxed, Gordon Calleja explores the experience of playing board games and how game designers shape that experience. Calleja examines key aspects of board game experience—the nature of play, attention, rules, sociality, imagination, narrative, materiality, and immersion—to offer a theory of board game experience and a model for understanding game involvement that is relevant to the analysis, criticism, and design of board games. Drawing on interviews with thirty-two leading board game designers and critics, Calleja—himself a board game designer—provides the set of conceptual tools that board game design has thus far lacked.
Both just sound like interesting reads. I'll get to them eventually. For now, I'm off to bed where I'll read a bit more of Africa Rising's short stories.