Friday, May 23, 2008

Book Review - Nowtopia!!!

Hello Dear Readers,

Come in, sit down, and tell me, how
are you, really? I don't care about what you're supposed to say, what is really on your mind these days? Don't you wish our bookstore was like that? If you know us, it probably is, and if you don't, well, come back and start chattin'. It's quiet right now, and I would love to hear about what opera Mr. X saw with his lady friend, or how Mr. Y's alumnae cruise went, or how Mrs. Z's dilly-beans from last summer turned out. I understand wanting to find your books and get outa Dodge, but I especially love chatting over the counter about the weather and the local high school's plays and the pancake breakfast fundraisers and the local anti-war pro-gardens anti-walmart pro-union actions. This is a special sort of small town, indeed.

In honor of the special Pioneer Valley blend of small town agriculture and strong liberal movements, I'm writing to tell
you about Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-Lot Gardeners Are Inventing the Future Today! by Chris Carlsson (read more about it here, here, here, and this one's by Carlsson himself!)

This book knocked my socks off. It is an amazing summary of deeper social movements that are changing lives and living philosophies all around us. Forget political campaigns and policy changes (for a minute), this book is about movements that are directly addressing the fundamentals of how we live. From our food sources (community/vacant-lot gardens can feed many) to transportation methods (biofuels are covered, but aren't you wondering what makes an 'outlaw bicyclist'?) to employment choices (how does work become valued, and what role does unpaid work play in your life?) even down to software options (learn how the internet's creators fought to keep it an 'open commons', and how 'open source' works in practice) this book is an enthusiastic exploration of somewhat radical movements aimed at changing the way we live for the better in immediate, concrete ways. Even more than 'changing XYZ' it is about shifting your perspective on what choices are possible in your life. I feel like I've found my community-gardening Ubuntu-using bicycle-riding biofuel blending philosophical social revolutionary people! I love this book.

Oh, right, and therefore, you should too. (Have you guys noticed that I have given up on slyly convincing you to want to read what I want you to read? Seriously, just read everything I tell you to, the best way to start a revolution is to do exactly what someone else says. This works best if you follow the instructions of a mildly eccentric stranger.)

Chris Carlsson was at Food for Thought books last week, too! Sadly, I had to miss it, and maybe y'all did too, but you can probably still pick up signed copies there, and you can definitely pick up unsigned copies here.

All right, I've got to get out of this place and get into the last of the sunshine. Take Care, everyone!


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