The Dispossessed: what resonates on re-reading

The Dispossessed cover art

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin is book of the month. We will be discussing this book at our next Utopian Book Collective meeting on Monday 6th May.

I re-read The Dispossessed this month in anticipation of our upcoming book group meeting. I can’t wait to discuss it. In this post I simply want to highlight a few quotations that stood out for me on re-reading. I’m sure other people will have their own moments in the novel that carry meaning for them. It’s such a rich text. Please let me know in the comments or at book group if you happen to be able to make it.

Continue reading “The Dispossessed: what resonates on re-reading”

Just Utopias New Year news!

As we start 2024 I have Just Utopias New Year news for you. News of a new publication, a new start behind the scenes for this website, and a new book of the month.

Continue reading “Just Utopias New Year news!”

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress: Book of the Month October 2023

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress cover art against a bold geometrical background

This month’s book of the month is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein.

Many of us are drawn to utopia because of problems we see with the prevailing consumer capitalist culture. As a result, many utopias (and utopians) are left-leaning. They explore societies that function without capital, without traditional family structures and within ecological boundaries. This bias has been noted, and as a corrective this month’s book is a right wing utopia.

Continue reading “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress: Book of the Month October 2023”

Triton: Book of the Month September 2023

Bartleby, the co-op member who had been there the longest, loaned him books, weird books he had never heard of, that spoke of other realities, other times, stranger than this one. Joanna Russ, Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler’

‘And The World Was New’, Chana Porter
Continue reading “Triton: Book of the Month September 2023”

The Seep: Book of the Month August 2023

Cover art from The Seep: a still life painting of flowers against a dark background that distorts and smears at the bottom of the picture

In The Seep by Chana Porter, utopia has been brought about by means of an alien invasion. What follows in this novella is a loving pastiche of contemporary utopian tropes. The emotional processing, sensitivity to ecological connections, and community-mindedness. Its diversity in terms of race, gender and sexuality. The abolition of money and the police. And the complete mitigation of human-induced climate change.

Continue reading “The Seep: Book of the Month August 2023”

Walden: Book of the Month July 2023

Photograph of a replica of Thoreau's cabin near Walden pond
A replica of Thoreau’s cabin near Walden Pond in Massachussets, US.

Back in the 1850s, Henry David Thoreau was finding modern life a bit too much. He wanted a simple life, and to be in touch with nature. So, he decided to cut himself off from society and live in the woods. He set up home by Walden Pond, just outside of Concord, Massachussets, the town in which he lived.

Thoreau spent two years, two months and two days in the woods. Walden is his account of this time. The book is a condensed version of events, retold over the span of one year, going through each of the seasons.

Continue reading “Walden: Book of the Month July 2023”

Everything for Everyone: Book of the Month June 2023

So I had to abbreviate the title for this one, it’s on the long side. To give it its full due, June’s book of the month is ‘Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune 2052-2072’ by M. E. O’Brien and Eman Abdelhadi.

Continue reading “Everything for Everyone: Book of the Month June 2023”

The Fifth Sacred Thing: Book of the Month April 2023

Detail from The Fifth Sacred Thing cover art

The Four Sacred Things are earth, air, fire, and water. Nobody can own them or profit from them, and it’s our responsibility to heal them and take care of them. That’s the basis of our politics and our economy.”

Such is the basis of this New Age-y eco-utopia set in the near future in San Francisco. The fifth sacred thing of the title is”spirit”, and it can only flourish when the first four sacred things are taken care of.

Continue reading “The Fifth Sacred Thing: Book of the Month April 2023”