Posts in: Books

Finished reading: Citizen Cash: The Political Life and Times of Johnny Cash by Michael Stewart Foley 📚

I enjoyed this book, particularly the chapter on Cash’s prison concerts and about his opposition to the death penalty and activism for prison reform. The epilogue, on the American recordings (produced by Rick Rubin) and the end of Cash’s life around the beginning of the Iraq war, was also quite good.

Finished reading: Freedom of Choice by Evie Nagy 📚

This is (I’m pretty sure) the only authorized book about the band DEVO (or Devo), published by Bloomsbury in the 33 and 1/3 series, 35 years after the album Freedom of Choice came out.

The thesis of this book, backed up by interviews with members of DEVO, is that the recording of Freedom of Choice represented the creative and collaborative pinnacle of the band. The album’s success spelled the beginning of the end though, which is also ironic since they released six LPs after this one, never officially broke up, and are still touring today.

The book is a solid history of the band, the album and a meditation on what it means to be a Devotee.

Finished reading: Worn: A People’s History of Clothing by Sofi Thanhauser 📚

Fascinating global examination of the social and labor history of clothing production, told through five fabrics: Linen, Cotton, Silk, Synthetics, and Wool.

In many ways this could have been a much more expansive book—This is not an anthropological look at the meaning of clothing or history of fashion as status marker. Still, I thought it was a great read (or in my case audiobook) for what it is.

Finished reading: Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin 📚

I laughed and cringed my way through this memoir of growing up in an eccentric family in a disappearing (or disappeared) NYC.

Want to read: Whole Earth: The Many Lives of Stewart Brand by John Markoff 📚

Told by one of our greatest chroniclers of technology and society, the definitive biography of iconic serial visionary Stewart Brand, from the Merry Pranksters and the generation-defining Whole Earth Catalog to the marriage of environmental consciousness and hacker capitalism and the rise of a new planetary culture…

Discovered via online book event: A Conversation with John Markoff, hosted by the Internet Archive.