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Fanning the Flames: Fans & Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan - Edited by William W. Kelly. So much interesting stuff here! This book contains 8 articles about different aspects of fans & fandom in Japan, & one thing I liked is that, for the most part, each article covers a different type of fandom (there is slight overlap between in the 3 articles that refer to music fandom, but not too much). Some things will be familiar to those who've got any sort of background in the related fandoms (Matt Thorn's article on gender & doujinshi is important -- & probably more so back in 2004 when the book came out -- but mostly not news to me). Since I knew (& know!) v. little about sumo or Japanese rap fandoms, for example, that wasn't a problem. I read this book over a month ago, so details are mostly faded from my brain, but yeah, this was a great read. & I hate that I feel the need to praise academic writing for not being overly obtuse, & yet I have certainly read enough academic writing that seems to delight in obscuration that I'll continue to celebrate the stuff that doesn't.

Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti - Genevieve Valentine. A delicious & disturbing novel: circus steampunk, I guess? The titular Circus Tresaulti wanders through a post-apocalyptic world, offering some amusement to people whose lives are still v. much at danger of exploding back into war. Their acts aren't simple & cheerful, though; their acrobats are a bit too dextrous, & they climb a living ladder during their performance. Most of the performers are cyborgs in one way or another: bones light as air or other modifications that make them uncanny & disturbing to watch. The book is full of the tension of knowing not only that war is going to return, as it always does, but that simply being who they are marks the performers for undesirable attention from whoever is currently in power.

Zen to Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System - Leo Babauta. A quick read, & inspiring as far as getting organized -- I'm w/Leo, in that I like David Allen's Getting to Done system, but it seems v. complicated & overwhelming to me. So this more focused, streamlined approach seems useful. I've found Leo's productivity blog, Zen Habits, to be useful as well, so this is more of the same. Because it's an ebook, I can also click on various links to resources & articles he finds useful. There are some caveats about this book, as with any other productivity/organization book I've read: it doesn't seem to be geared towards people who don't have a lot of autonomy at work regarding their own management of tasks & interaction with coworkers; it is difficult to imagine carrying out some of this stuff when in a bad stage of depression; & this increased focus on what you, you, you want, & individual habit change, is unnerving in its implications for social justice (Leo says, for example, that he doesn't read or watch the news, because it has no value for him. This is a common tactic among simplicity advocates, but I don't think we should encourage people to turtle up away from the concerns of the world). Anyway, one thing I find very encouraging about this system is that it's simple to implement (& Leo recommends only implementing a piece of it at a time so it sticks), but also Leo explains how you can strip it down even further if you want. Which makes it all seem within reach. We'll see if I do anything about this, though: I love reading these types of books, but changing my behavior is harder!

Date: 2011-12-18 11:07 pm (UTC)
torachan: anime-style me ver. 2.0 (Default)
From: [personal profile] torachan
Are any essays in Fanning the Flames by Japanese people? I'm not really interested in Americans writing about Japanese culture for Americans...

Date: 2011-12-18 11:22 pm (UTC)
torachan: anime-style me ver. 2.0 (Default)
From: [personal profile] torachan
Yeah, that's definitely a problem. >_<

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