Zabriskie Rewind 2023

Zabriskie Rewind 2023
[de] Das Zabriskie Rewind 2023: Die Lieblingsbücher von Autor*innen, Künstler*innen, Verleger*innen, Herausgeber*innen, Musiker*innen, Buchhändler*innen – aus dem Dunstkreis des Zabriskie-Buchladens. Texte sind auf englisch oder deutsch.
Wenn ihr Interesse an den Büchern habt: die meisten können wir bestellen! Schickt uns eine Nachricht und wir geben euch Bescheid zur Verfügbarkeit, und bestellen für euch. Damit unterstützt ihr uns - vielen Dank!

[en] The Zabriskie Rewind 2023: The favourite books of authors, artists, publishers, editors, musicians, booksellers – from the sphere of the Zabriskie Bookstore. Texts are in english or german.
If you are interested in the books: we can order most of them! Send us a message and we will let you know about availability and order for you. This way you support us - thank you very much!

Mit Beiträgen von / with contributions by:
Yasmine Ostendorf-Rodrìguez (Let's Become Fungal)
Stefan Schneider (TAL label)
Antonia Coenen & Philipp Juranek (Gut zu Vögeln Podcast)
Kirsty Bell (The Undercurrents)
Vida Rucli & Aljaž Škrlep (Robida)
Rosario Talevi (Floating University)
Heiko Gogolin (Pingipung Records)
David Chatton Barker (Folklore Tapes)
Frédéric Van de Velde & Nele Möller (Futura Resistenza label)
Kate Donovan & Monai de Paula Antunes (Radio Otherwise)

Florian Wüst (Berliner Hefte zu Geschichte und Gegenwart der Stadt)
Katie Holten (The Language of Trees)
Simone Böcker (Rewilding)
Lawrence Kumpf (Blank Forms)
Astrid Vorstermans (Valiz)
Dietrich Meyer (Et Al Press)
Sina Ribak (Between Us and Nature)
Joscha Creutzfeldt (
Luïza Luz (Planetary Embodiment)
Astarte Posch (Myths About My Fear)
Elisabeth Pieper (Hoops/ Zabriskie)
Lorena Carràs (Zabriskie)
Jean-Marie Dhur (Zabriskie).

Yasmine Ostendorf-Rodrìguez
curator, researcher and writer
author of Let's Become Fungal
founder of Green Art Lab Alliance

Conjuros de Agua, by Adriana Salazar Vélez
Pitzilein Books, 2022
I bought this book at the Index Art Book Fair in Mexico-City in January 2023 and it stuck with me throughout the year. I recommended it to many people. It's an extensive piece of research with many scientists and thinkers involved, elegantly glued together by Adriana Salazar Velez.The book consists of 7 small books, all in English and Spanish, diving into the watersystems of Mexico. Now this might not immediately sound super exciting, but once you learn how the waterways entangle with mythologies and ancient forms of urban planning on a lake by the Aztecs (lake Texcoco), the importance of Tlaloc, the watergod, and how this all influenced the modern day waterways of Mexico-City, - it unlocks a whole new interesting dimension to water that now comes back to me every time I open the tab.

Making Miso, by Erika Hirose
Twofold Press, 2022
This little book was gifted to me and ofcourse I thought it was about making miso. I started it and couldn't put it down. It was so unpretentious, personal and profound. I read it in one day, and even cried a little. It was a beautiful little surprise about how natural processes can support the healing of painful personal processes. Essentially, this book by Japanese born and Rotterdam based artist and miso-brewer Erika Hirose is about the process of transformation. So I guess it somehow is about making miso after all.

Against Purity - On Living Ethically in Compromised Times, by Alexis Shotwell
University of Minnesota Press, 2016
I had the enormous privilege this year to be in conversation with author Alexis Shotwell in October 2023 and so it triggered me to re-read her book Against Purity. I love it when you read a book for the second time and you still find new things in it.  The writings of Shotwell have been instrumental to my own thinking and writing. This book reveals the illusion of understanding purity as something desirable, possible even. Like Tsing she starts from the ruins, from toxicity and contamination, and proposes a new type of moral compass by which we navigate the horrors of this world simply by starting to understand that we are all implicated somehow. It's a painful but ever so helpful startingpoint for making sense of this fucked up world - excuse my French.

Saving Time - Discovering A Life Beyond the Clock, by Jenny Odell
Penguin Random House, 2023
As one of the chapters in my book 'Let's Become Fungal!'  is about 'how to move through different notion of time' I started reading more and more about the concept of time. I found this book particularly insightful, as she gives such great ideas how to emancipate our relationship with time; disconnect it from our obsession with productivity, the idea that 'time is money' or the idea that we don't have time. After all 'the clock we live by was built for profit, not people." I love her reminders of how to reconnect with the timings of natural processes; how plants grow, the seasons, or how skin heals for instance. It's so informative and full of references, but she maintains this lovely accessible writing style that makes it a real pleasure to read.

Eating NAFTA - Trade, Food Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico, by Alyshia Gálvez
University of California Press, 2018
Having moved to Mexico a few years ago it very quickly became shockingly clear how little I knew about Mexican food besides eating it and loving it. Whether you're into Mexican food or not - this is a must-read as it demonstrates so clearly what are the consequences of international trade agreements further down the line. The United States flooding Mexico with genetically modified corn, obesitas and diabetes type 2, bringing an end to traditional forms of agriculture and with that, biodiversity and food security. It's a book that makes you angry in a good way: a way in which you become aware of your agency through eating. How politically charged every bite is, how fragile foodsystems are that are based on monocultures and also, how much amazing ancestral agro-ecological food practices still exist in Mexico that are really worth fighting for.

Stefan Schneider
musician / operator of TAL label

Why I Make Documentaries, by Soda Kazuhiro
Viaindustriae, 2023
First ever publication in English language of this outstanding independent filmmaker from Japan. In six chapters Soda explains the reasons behind his artistic approach and his methods at the very root of his unique way of conceiving and making cinema. Commandments such as : No Research. No Scripts. Do not set up a theme before editing. No narration. might be valuable in other artistic fields as well.

Sawt, Bodies, Species. Sonic Pluralism in Morocco, by Gilles Aubry
Adocs Verlag, 2023
Despite the slight awkward title this publication offers an unique account on sound and listening in Morroco across a wide domain of activities, including musical expression, sound archives, healing practices, industrial soundscapes and  the human voice.

Huts, Temples, Castles, by Ursula Schulz Dornburg
Mack Books, 2022
A stunningly unique photographic account. In 1969 Ursula Schulz-Dornburg visited an adventure playground in Amsterdam where she took the photograohs collected in this book. On the semi-isolated site of the playground children were free to exist in a relatively autonomous manner, making bonfires, tending chicken and rabbits, and constructing ramshackle structures with revolutionary energy.  Much like any other book of this recently discovered photographer a huge recommendation.

Rumors of Noizu, by Kato David Hopkins
Public Bath Press, 2020
Probably by far the best publication on noise music in Japan by this american writer who used to live in Kobe since about 1980.  His perspective on underground music cultures in Japan oscillates brilliantly between the view of an curious outsider and a passionate and thoughtful researcher.

Vom Verschwinden der Rituale - Eine Topologie der Gegenwart, by Byung Chul Han
Ullstein Verlag, 2019
My first encounter by this admittedly over fashionable writer, has been a thoroughly interesting affair. His account on the crisis of community in neoliberal societies seems strikingly precise. He juxtaposes a community without communication to todays communication with community. Occasionally a bit too one - sided and predictable in his conclusions but genuinely sharp in his analysis. According to some reviews the english translation does not seem to be that well done.

Antonia Coenen
Filmemacherin, Co-Moderatorin des Gut-Zu-Vögeln-Podcasts

Ornis - Das Leben der Vögel, von Josef H. Reichholf
C.H. Beck Verlag, 2016
Ein super Buch, wenn das Interesse besteht ins Eingemachte zu gehen. Ausgewählte Vögel werden hier näher beschrieben und Verhalten und Biologie erklärt mit viel Ausdauer. Ich habe das Buch super gerne gelesen - allerdings nur, wenn ich auch die nötige Konzentration halten konnte. Es ist nichts für Vogelanfänger.

Vogel entdeckt - Herz verloren, Antonia Coenen und Philipp Juranek
Kosmos Verlag, 2023
Ja, das ist unser Buch aber ich möchte es nennen, da wir es 2023 rausgebracht haben und es im Gegensatz zu Ornis das perfekte Buch für Einsteiger der Vogelliebe ist. Meine Schwester nennt es Coffee Table Book und obwohl ich mich gegen diesen Sammelbegriff wehre, passt es doch ganz gut. Auch ich schaue immer wieder rein und lese ein wenig, lache, erfreue mich und schaue mir die Fotos an. Dann lege ich es weg und schaue ein paar Tage später wieder rein.

Zugvögel, von Charlotte McConaghy
Fischer Verlage, 2021
Als ich das Buch bei Zabriskie gekauft habe, dachte ich an eine schöne leichte Lektüre… Aber nein, ganz so entspannend ist die Geschichte von Charlotte McConaghy nicht. Die Protagonistin macht von Anfang an keinen Hehl daraus, dass sie ganz schön kaputt ist. Kaputt gemacht hat der Mensch auch die Natur und die Vogelwelt in der das Buch spielt. Hört sich deprimierend an, ist es auch - Wenn da nicht die lodernde Flamme der Liebe und Leidenschaft immer wieder durchscheinen würde. Liebe für einen Mann und Liebe für die Vögel.

Philipp Juranek
Filmemacher, Journalist, Co-Moderator des Gut-Zu-Vögeln-Podcasts

Von seltenen Vögeln, von Anita Albus
Fischer Verlage, 2005
Kaum ein anderes Vogelbuch hat mich in meinem Leben so bewegt und bewegt mich immer noch, wie dieses Kunstwerk von Anita Albus. Die Autorin ist von Hause aus Malerin - und ihre Gemälde durchziehen auch „Von seltenen Vögeln“. Sie beschreibt in einer eindrücklichen, ganz eigenen Sprache, wie der Mensch es vollbracht hat, schon so viele Vogelarten zum Aussterben zu bringen - und nichts daraus gelernt hat. Wenn man von Wandertaube, Riesenalk und Co. liest, gibt sie mit ihren würdevollen Worten diesen Arten noch einmal die Ehre, die nun unwiderruflich von unserem Erdball verschwunden sind. Man muss das Buch immer wieder weglegen, weil man sich fragt: wie konnten wir nur? Was sind wir Menschen nur für Leute? Anita Albus beschreibt auch Arten, die wir noch unter uns haben - besonders eindrücklich ist die Geschichte vom Wachtelkönig, fast wie einen Krimi beschreibt sie sein langsames Verschwinden. Kein Vogelbuch hat mich bisher so aufgewühlt - aber auch so sehr motiviert, mich mehr dür den Artenschutz einzusetzen, wie „Von seltenen Vögeln“.

Das Buch des Regenwurms, von Sally Coulthard
Harper Collins, 2022
Als Vogelfreund schaut man meist nach oben, man spitzt die Ohren, hat ein Auge für das Schöne, das Bunte, das offensichtlich Ästhetische. Dabei beginnt alles Leben im Boden. Geht es dem Boden schlecht, so geht es auch den Pflanzen schlecht, und so geht es auch den Vögeln schlecht - ohne einen gesunden Boden können wir alle einpacken!  Ich fand das Thema „Boden“ und Mikroorganismen usw. leider immer extrem langweilig, aber Sally Coulthards „Entdeckungsreise durch unsere Erde“, wie der Untertitel des Buchs lautet, habe ich gern gelesen. Es ist eine Hommage an das Unsichtbare, an das Kleine. An das, was keine große Bühne braucht - und auch oft keine bekommt. Dabei müssen wir unsere Böden schützen. Und wir behandeln sie schlecht; Landwirtschaft und Stadtplanung usw. haben aus unseren Böden in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten Wüsten gemacht; Flächen werden unwiderruflich versiegelt, Regenwasser kann nicht mehr ablaufen. Durch dieses Buch öffnet man das Herz für den Regenwurm, man lernt den Regenwurm als faszinierendes Tier kennen, das den Boden so bewohnt, wie Vögel die Luft und Fische das Wasser. Und es lässt einen sprachlos zurück. Es zeigt auf, wie vielfältig und komplex unser Planet doch aufgebaut ist - und wie zerstörerisch wir auf ihn einwirken.

Singt der Vogel, ruft er oder schlägt er? - Handwörterbuch der Vogellaute, von Peter Krauss
Matthes & Seitz Berlin, 2021
Ich mochte schon immer alte Wörter für Vogelarten, aus einer Zeit, in der es noch keine allgemeine wissenschaftlichen Bezeichnungen für die Arten gab. In denen das Landvolk je nach Region den Vögeln vor ihrer Nase Namen gaben. Manche setzten sich durch, andere nicht. Und genau so ist es mit den Worten für das, was wir hören. Dieses Buch ist eine Sammlung an Ausdrücken für den Gesang und die Rufe unserer Vögel. Es ist gewissermaßen eine Bestandsaufnahme eines aussterbenden Wortschatzes. Grasmücken klappern, schmätzen und gätzen. Kraniche können nicht nur trompeten, die schnarren und brausen ebenso. Und die Nachtschwalbe schreit, pinnt, schnurrt und faucht. In diesem Buch werden Ausdrücke gesammelt, die den einzelnen Vogelarten im Laufe der Geschichte zugeschrieben wurden, auch aus anderen Ländern. Es ist ein, zugegeben, nerdiges Lexikon der Vogellaute - aber genau für so etwas lieben wir doch die Ornithologie, für die Verbindungen zur Sprache, zum Menschen. Irgendwie lese ich darin auch immer eine Wertschätzung dessen, was uns umgibt, und zwar schon seit Jahrtausenden. Darüber hinaus sieht es wunderschön aus, es ist toll gestaltet mit meist alten Zeichnungen, u.ä. von John Gould und John James Audubon.

Kirsty Bell
writer and critic
author of The Undercurrents

After Sex, by Edna Bonhomme & Alice Spawls
Silver Press, 2023
A vital compendium that investigates the aftermath, consequence and responsibility that follow on from the sexual act. Through compelling writing by authors including Anne Enright, Ursula Le Guin, Jamaica Kincaid, Nell Dunn, Lauren Berlant, the arguments around reproductive rights are explicated, turned inside out, and one by one unravel. Most of the texts are from the 1970s to now, apart from one devastating, trenchant poem by Gwendolyn Brooks from 1945.

The Vast Extent - On Seeing and Not Seeing Further, by Lavinia Greenlaw,
Faber, 2024
I love reading poets writing prose, which Lavinia Greenlaw does regularly, publishing novels and essays alongside her poetry. This latest book is a series of mental perambulations concerned with the vagaries of perception that appear in artworks, music, literature, neuroscience and the natural world. Her interest is in “how we receive the world.” The contents page alone is enticing with its conjunctions such as ‘Caves, sleep, absence of light’; ‘Peering and noticing, flits and swerves’ or ‘Unanchoring, sinking, at sea’.

For Now, by Eileen Myles
Yale, 2020
This is one I’ve been returning too since it was published in 2020. A long-form essay written originally as a lecture for Yale’s Why I Write series, it is a meandering account of the writer’s life that couches the immateriality of their poetry practice within various hard material facts including a lost milkcrate full of first drafts of early poems; a rent-controlled New York apartment and the legal battle to keep it; and the invitation from Yale to write this piece, that happened to come with a fee that would exactly cover the lawyer’s fees. As with Myles’  poetry, there is barely a hair’s breadth between their daily experience and the words as they appear here on the page.

Grove, by Esther Kinsky
Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020
The subtitle of this book is “A Field Novel” and indeed it reads like a field recording, tuning in to the frequency of a place, here a small town in southern Italy. Interior thought-scapes (from childhood memories to the present-day process of grieving) find their reflections in the forms and movements of the natural world. I have been reading this book very slowly, enjoying the wealth of detail, sustained pace and elegiac emotional register on every page.

Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
First published in 1818
Penguin, 2003
Like After Sex, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein concerns itself with all that follows the split-second spark of creation. Though the seed of Shelley’s story has to do with the power of individual intellect harnessed to technology, it evolves into a story of pursuit through the landscapes of early 19th century Europe, whereby the scientist (artist) and his creation prove inseparable. Shelley began writing Frankenstein in 1816 when she was just 18 years old, but even now, over two hundred years later, the story still occupies a central place in the cultural imagination. It is as relevant as ever in our age of technological inventions that consider too little or too late the social and environmental consequences of unbridled human innovation.

Aljaž Škrlep and Vida Rucli
part of Robida collective
editors of Robida Magazine

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, by Gloria Anzaldúa
Aunt Lute Books, 1987
We grew up and came back to live on a borderland, that between Italy and Slovenia, in a small village surrounded by the wild forest. The border is visually invisible - no barriers, no border passages, no houses where once your documents would be checked. It is a leftover of history which heavily transformed this area throughout the whole 20th Century but which today makes itself evident just by some few red metal poles that you can encounter in the forest, some alien red signs in an infinite stretch of deep green. We grew up learning about the history of this border and understanding that we were survivors of its presence and consequences: but it wasn’t until I read two texts, written in the same years, that I understood the constructive and creative potentials of coming from here and having the border in my identity. One is bell hooks’ Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness from 1989 and the other is Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza from 1987.
The book explores - through poetry, auto-theory and history - the specific border between the US and Mexico, beautifully defining it as “a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary”. Borderlands is a text that digs into processes of identity formation, described as fluid, ambivalent, plural, unstable, ambiguous and contradictory and does so by letting them arise from the wilderness of tongues, many different ones that the author uses throughout the book. Starting as a topobiography, the book presents in its last chapter, before the poetic second half of the book, a new epistemology of borderlands, manifested in the mestiza consciousness, which is defined by “divergent thinking, characterised by movement away from set patterns and goals and toward a more whole perspective, one that includes rather than excludes”. This consciousness is set out to itself become a borderland, a crossroad, a crossing.

Affinities, by Brian Dillon
Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2023
I got ‘hooked’ on Brian Dillon’s writing the first time I read his essay on essays titled Essayism (2017) and was later struck by the way anyone can write such excellent texts on just a word, a sentence, or a small paragraph as he did in his Suppose a Sentence (2020). His books are toolboxes aspiring essayists must dig through, to gather new tools to write with. His Affinities is no different. It’s an inquiry into the concept of ‘affinity’ which Dillon defines as "something a little bit stupid", "a realm of the unthought, unthinkable, something unkillable by attitudes or arguments". The realm of inclinations towards something, the realm of love, you could, perhaps, also call it. This book can teach us how to create affinities, kinships, and connections between different bodies, human and non-human, and is interested in the wonderful ways in which things, images, photographs, ideas, entities – in fact, everything animate and inanimate – seduce each other. Such affinities usually surprise us. However, I believe that situations in which things ‘strike us’ can also be learned and turned into a practice. At least Dillon’s writing makes me think so.

Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life, by Michael Marder
Columbia University Press, 2013
I’m cheating a bit with this one. I reread this seminal text on vegetal philosophy on its tenth birthday. In it, Michael Marder maps the different aspects of phytophenomenology (phyto- coming from the Ancient Greek word phutón, meaning ‘plant’) and plant-thinking, which have  been, through the history of Western Metaphysics, placed into obscurity, in the metaphysical limbo, in between and in the middle of binary oppositions. Plant is an obscure non-object, writes Marder: “obscure, because it ineluctably withdraws, flees from sight and from rigorous interpretation; non-object, because it works outside, before, and beyond all subjective considerations and representations.” Plants are also more and less than the human I, all at the same time. More, because a plant is already a multitude of different parts and it also forms a unit with its environment, which is an integral part of the plant and from which it cannot really be distinguished. And less, precisely because of the same facts: a plant lacks a coherent self and central control system. How then to think of this non-object? And can our thinking of plant-thinking change the way we think, not just about plants, but about thinking and being itself? If we are determined to find this different way of thinking, a deconstruction of the great chain of being and of metaphysical violence is a good place to start.

The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study, by Stefano Harney and Fred Moten
Minor Compositions, 2013
When I read The Undercommons, I didn’t find it impressive. It was filled with vague terminology and ‘suggestive’ criticism. It promised that the concepts the authors worked with were like toys: it only matters that you put them to play. I simply could not imagine how the book and its ideas could be used. All of a sudden, something clicked. I keep returning to it and its concepts such as planning, governance, debt and study. These now help me to more precisely think about our own – Robida’s – practice of learning in, from and with a place such as Topolò/Topolove, where our collective is based. This learning means to be “committed to the idea that study is what you do with other people. It’s talking and walking around with other people, working, dancing, suffering, some irreducible convergence of all three, held under the name of speculative practice. […] The point of calling it ‘study’ is to mark that the incessant and irreversible intellectuality of these activities is already present.” This book made me see that education and learning, study in general, is “where people sort of take turns doing things for each other or for the others, and where you allow yourself to be possessed by others as they do something.” Study as process of forming new types of collective, non-individualistic subjectivities.

Curated Decay: Heritage Beyond Saving, by Caitlin DeSilvey
University of Minnesota Press, 2017
We live surrounded by ruins. Not only metaphorical ones, but also concrete ruins of houses, infrastructures, agricultural land and landscape. I observe daily, from the window where my working table is positioned, the becoming-rubble of a house which month after month loses tiles from the roof and stones from its walls. I hear - during windless days - the cracking sound of big trees breaking in the forest and falling down, because too much rain made the soil unable to sustain and hold their roots. We live surrounded by buildings and land that someone forgot and that no one took new responsibility for. But, as Anna Tsing reminds us in the prologue to her seminal book The Mushroom at the End of the World from 2015, “in a global state of precarity, we don’t have choices other than looking for life in this ruin”. The book Curated Decay by Caitlin DeSilvey gives us thinking tools to learn how to find meaning in the transition, transcience and uncertainty of (life in) ruins. Even if the book engages with debates specific for heritage practices and conservation work, the questions it opens are much wider and speak of what it means to “remember through transcience”, to understand “change not as loss but as a release into other states, unpredictable and open”, of how to be in the “tense place between abandonment and attention”. What to do with the collapsing house inhabited by ruderal plants which made roots in its roof? We embrace impermanence, we follow the growth of the roof-tree, we squat it’s garden by planting some vegetables which grow disturbed by roof tiles falling down, maybe practicing what DeSilvey defines as “modes of care that help us negotiate the transition between presence and absence”.

Rosario Talevi
architect, curator, editor and educator
member of Floating University & co-curator of Climate Care Festival |

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer 
Milkweed Editions, 2015
People of the Milpa, by Armando Bartra
Notebooks on Food Culture, Health, and the Environment #2.
Rosetta, 2022
After reading bits and pieces of “Braiding Sweetgrass” over the years, I was able to go back to it and read it page after page without interruptions. It was during a three month period of traveling in which I had several strangers approaching me with complicit eyes and saying:  “Oh, that book…”. This not only interrupted my lecture, but prompted a timid smile and gave me a weird sense of belonging to some kind of transient reading club or maybe more like a spiritual cult. One of the stories in the book that particularly caught my attention was “The Three Sisters”, in which Kimmerer recounts the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy myth of the corn, the bean and the squash. Coincidentally, I was introduced to the three sisters - an agro-ecological unit and pre-colonial subsistence system - at the Oaxacan botanical garden but with another name: Milpa. The term “Milpa” comes from the Nahuatl language (“milli,” sown field, and “pan,” on top of). Later on, in CDMX, I found Armando Bartra’s “People of the Milpa” on a notebook on food culture, health and environment. The text seem like an unavoidable follow up read: a historical account of the Milpa as a subsistence mean and as a way of living of the Meso-american peasant.

On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint, by Maggie Nelson
Graywolf Press, 2021
Death by Landscape, by Elvia Wilk
Soft Skull Press, 2022
Two books that I read parallel during the summer months were “On Freedom” by Maggie Nelson and Elvia Wilk’s “Death by Landscape”. Both books are a compilation of essays and both writers share the extraordinary skill of bringing many other voices into their writings. So in a sense, it felt like having a long intimate meditative dialogue with many interesting thinkers. At times, I found myself speaking out loud, asserting with ahas or enthusiastically underlining passages - which is something that I normally don’t do with books.

El Nervio Óptico, by María Gainza
Anagrama, 2017
The last one I read in 2023 was “El Nervio Óptico” (Optic Nerve) by María Gainza, an Argentinean art critic and writer, which I really never payed attention to. In her book she weaves western art history and her personal life while roaming through Buenos Aires’ cultural landscape. I enjoyed wondering through the city’s art galleries and museums, mainly learning about paintings and their stories, some of which I had either totally forgotten or never heard of. So I look forward to returning to Buenos Aires and revisit many of these works with a refreshed stance.

Books that I started but still did not finished:
* The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis, by Amitav Gosh
* Pollution is Colonialism, by Max Liboiron
* Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua

Heiko Gogolin
Mitgründer und -Betreiber von Pingipung Records

Morgen und Abend, von Jon Fosse
Rowohlt, 2003
Der Nobelpreis für Literatur bedeutet mir eigentlich wenig. Die Vergabe an Jon Fosse hat mich jedoch tief berührt. Einige Seiten seines Kurzromans „Morgen und Abend“ habe ich letztes Jahr vor Ort im Zabriskie gelesen. Der Beginn und das Ende des Lebens eines Fischers ist typischer Fosse. Seine Bücher haben weniger einen Inhalt, sondern vielmehr einen Sound. Kaum ein Schriftsteller schreibt so musikalisch: Die Worte tasten sich sanft voran. Sätze wiederholen sich, werden variiert und zu Motiven gebündelt. Das klingt zuweilen wie ein Gebet, wie eine religiöse Version von Thomas Bernhard. Was sich hier verkünstelt lesen mag, ist das genaue Gegenteil: Der spirituelle Minimalismus ist zutiefst menschlich. In seiner Repetition kommt Fosse unserem eigenen Denken und Fühlen näher als jeder andere.

The Music Mind Experience, von Karl Berger
Wolke Verlag, 2022
Das Schönste, was ich letztes Jahr über Musik gelesen habe, stammt vom Vibraphonisten Karl Berger. Der hat in seinem Leben mit vielen berühmten Jazz-Musikern wie Don Cherry oder Pharoah Sanders auf der Bühne gestanden. 1973 gründete Berger zusammen mit seiner Frau und Ornette Coleman das Creative Music Studio, eine Schule für freie Musik. Kurz vor seinem Tod schrieb Berger die Essenz seiner Lehre in diesem Buch auf. Hier lernen wir, Musik zu hören, zu fühlen und dadurch auch besser zu spielen. Wem „Kreativ. Die Art zu sein“ von Rick Rubin zu spirituell daherkam (ich mochte es), findet hier das Gegenstück. Auch wenn es hier ebenfalls um Deep Listening, Meditation und Flow geht, schreibt Berger praktisch und gibt konkrete Übungen. Ein Buch, an dem ich auch als Mensch gewachsen bin.

Die geheimste Erinnerung der Menschen, von Mohamed Mbougar Sarr
Hanser Verlag, 2022
Mein liebster, neu erschienener Roman stammt vom Senegalesen Mohamed Mbougar Sarr. Er erzählt von der Suche nach einem Autor, der in den dreißiger Jahren ein geniales Buch veröffentlicht hat, aber nach rassistischen Anfeindungen und einem Skandal um die Originalität des Werks verschollen ist. Ähnlich wie die letztes Jahr zu Recht gefeierte Tess Gunty („Der Kaninchenstall“), gehört Sarr zur Gruppe von jungen AutorInnen, bei der man sich fragt: Wie können die schon derart klug schreiben? Das Buch ist streckenweise so originell, so schlau und dabei gleichzeitig so voller Gefühl, dass man es kaum verarbeiten kann. Sarr vermengt hier die Weisheit eines gelebten Lebens mit der Verspieltheit eines Debütwerks. Das geniale Buch ist nicht verschollen, sondern liegt hier vor uns.

David Chatton Barker (aka David Orphan)
musician, operator of Folklore Tapes label

The Magus, by John Fowles
First published in 1965 by Little, Brown and Company
Wow! I read this book whilst visiting my partner Mary's father in Crete during the spring/summer of 2023. It completely bowled me over as a work of fiction and a Greek island was the perfect place to experience this incredible creation.

Doctor Syn, by Richard Thorndyke  (7 different books)
First published between 1915 and 1944
A bit of pulp fiction, pure escapism. My friend and collaborator Sam McLoughlin turned me onto this series of smuggling tales set in the heart of Dymchurch, which stars the mysterious and enigmatic Doctor Syn aka the scarecrow aka Captain Clegg!

The Mystical Moors, by Stephen Oldfield
Self Published, 2022
Stephen is the father of my friend, the poetess Emily Oldfield. He completed two extensive studies on the area of Rossendale, this book and another, ‘The Forgotten Forest’. The books explore, in staggering detail, the lore, legends, archaeology and topography of the valley - essential reading!

Folk Tales from Calderdale Vol.1, by John Billingsley
Northern Earth, 2007
I'm currently developing a puppet show which involves three local (Todmorden) tales. Each act/tale incorporates a different style of puppetry along with narration and live score. Billingsley’s book was a direct source for the three tales, which involve boggarts, witches and fairies.

Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue, by Robert Scotto
Process Media, 2013
One of my favourite musicians and a massive influence when it comes to instrument building, rhythms, beard growth and lifestyle! The book covers his entire life and offers up so much more than I already knew about the beautiful polymath ... humbling, heartwarming and essential!

Frédéric Van de Velde & Nele Möller
Nele is sound artist and researcher
Frédéric is curator
operators of the Futura Resistenza label

Abraum, schilfern, by Linn Penelope Micklitz (Nele's choice)
Trottoir Noir, 2022
A beautifully written book about the former Thuringian mining industry interwoven with family reflections, archive material and speculated historical expansions that show how much ‘landscape’ and ‘history’ determine each other and are constructs that cannot be considered separately. The words that Linn Penelope Micklitz finds to formulate the many different stories that she is interweaving with each other touched me deeply on many levels, not just because the text oscillates around my hometown Ilmenau and the many places and stories she describes are also closely connected to my own history, but also because she creates a language that speaks intensively, critical and not in a romanticised way about a natural space that is all too often sentimentalised but actually in the process of dying. The Thuringian Forest, interspersed with abandoned mining tunnels, is severely affected by the current bark beetle infestation and climate change due to centuries of spruce monoculture planting.

Decomposed - The Political Ecology of Music, by Kyle Devine (Frédéric's choice)
MIT Press, 2019
I would recommend this book for its critical examination of the environmental impact of the music industry, addressing timely concerns about resource extraction, manufacturing processes, and waste generation. In a year that, perhaps more than any other, was defined by its overwhelming 'too-muchness,' this book kept me pondering how we publish music and sound, and the media we use within the current music industry.

Sounds Wild and Broken, by David George Haskell (Nele's choice)
Faber, 2022
In Sounds Wild and Broken, biologist David George Haskell writes about the evolution of various animal songs and calls and the sonic fingerprint of different environments, such as forests, oceans and cities, and how each ‘soundscape’ can be a window into deep time. He states that the materiality and evolution of sounds are passed on in fragile DNA strands formed anew with each generation and also points to the entanglement of our acoustic environment with the evolution of human language and music. Reading the book opened me to numerous new perspectives on sound and listening – and reminded me again to consider more-than-human perception when relating to the world as every species has its own independently evolved mechanisms of “hearing”, and each lineage lives within its own construction of sound.

Junglist, by James T Kirk & Two Fingas (Frédéric's choice)
Repeater Books, 2021
Picked this one up during a visit to Good Press in Glasgow. Really entertaining with vivid storytelling — made me kinda wish Steve McQueen would turn it into a film. The book explores the vibrant world of the London Jungle music scene in the '90s. It took me back to my teenage years when I loved Jungle & Drum 'n' Bass music and used to DJ myself. Republished by the excellent Repeater imprint founded by Tariq Goddard and Mark Fisher (RIP).

Going Out – Walking, Listening, Soundmaking, edited by Elena Biserna (Nele's choice)
umland editions, 2022
An expansive anthology collecting historical and contemporary contributions from a manifold of artists, musicians and researchers that work at the intersection of walking, listening and soundmaking. It’s an incredibly rich collection of inspiring practices and interdisciplinary experimentations that I’m sure will resonate in this field for a very long time. It also got published by one of my favourite sound and listening places in Brussels, QO2!

Off-Centre and Out of Focus – Growing up ‘Coloured’ in South Africa, by Nadia Kamies (Nele's choice)
Fourthwall Books and ESI Press, 2023
I had the incredible privilege of visiting South Africa last spring as part of the ‘Fieldguides for a Preternaturlist’ project by Wendy Morris, published by K. Verlag in 2022. During the trip, we organised public readings and gatherings around two of the Fieldguides written by South African authors – one of them is Nadia Kamies, whom I am more than grateful to have met. Just when I left, Nadia’s first monograph got published, which shows what it meant to grow up ‘coloured’ in South Africa under Apartheid. She uses photographs from family albums to find complex layers of resistance, desires, absences, unspoken matters and self-making. Reading her book after returning to Belgium let me understand so much more about the complex history of South Africa and the cruel structures of Apartheid systems.

Monaí de Paula Antunes & Kate Donovan
artists and radio-makers of Radio Otherwise and Archipel e.V |

Galway’s Pirate Women. A Global Trawl, Compiled by Margaretta D’Arcy
Women’s Pirate Press, 1996
There are many aspects of this little-known jewel of feminist radio-making that resonate with us. In the late 1980s, D’Arcy set up a low-powered, unlicensed radio station “Galway’s Pirate Women” from her kitchen. Her project undid many of the dominant methods and practices of institutionalised radio-making, instead instilling radio as a site for collective play, a way to honour oral language and storytelling, and recognise the power of agency in taking technology and the airwaves into one’s own hands. Perhaps more relevant to us in Berlin right now, her work was also deeply intertwined with voicing and listening against censorship; by allowing women to speak freely and uninterrupted, it aimed to inspire others to do the same while also placing importance on the act of listening to differing perspectives. At that time, Article 19 of the UN Charter of Human Rights (Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression, Freedom to Impart Information) was undermined by local broadcasting regulations which prohibited information on abortion, “certain books and magazines dealing with sexuality” and included bans on voices or representatives of Sinn Féin in the Republic of Ireland and Britain. The book includes a history of the radio station, which transmitted intermittently between 1989 and around 2010, its political and activist impetus, connections with other international radio groups, and a great deal if the book is fittingly given over to the voices of those who participated. We can’t help noticing a similar energy to the activist publishing project “Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press” from around the same time, which also addresses the generative possibilities of the domestic sphere and suggests that if there is no infrastructure from which to make oneself heard (or read), we have to do it ourselves. [Artist and activist Margaretta D’Arcy’s energy is both infectious and inspirational; 10 years ago, at the age of 80, D’Arcy served a number of short sentences in prison for peaceful protests on the runway of Shannon airport, Ireland. She was opposing the US military use of the airport as a stopover that made Ireland complicit in torture and unjustified wars. While in prison, she abstained from food in solidarity with victims of war, especially people in Gaza.]

Voyager. Constellations of Memory, by Nona Fernández
Daunt Books, 2023
Originally published in 2020 by Penguin in Chile.
Although this is a book of non-fiction--actually a memoir--it reads like a beautifully poetic novel. Through the telling of an intergenerational relationship, it manages to bring together worlds of neuroscience, memory, political atrocities (and their remnants), belonging and trauma, within the extended scale of the universe. Chilean actress and writer Nona Fernández reminds us how it's possible to be situated--in our bodies, in our political realities--and planetary at the same time.

Angola Janga: Kingdom of Runaway Slaves, by Marcelo D’Salete
Fantagraphics Books, 2019
This graphic novel tells--in detail and from different perspectives--the story of the Palmares war, an episode in Brazilian history until recently only given eurocentric and superficial accounts in mainstream curriculum. D’Salete's beautiful stark black ink and chiaroscuro panel compositions bring extensive, complex and detailed nuances to narratives that, despite currently being fashionable, still need to fight against their silencing. The reading brought us not only valuable and rich stories of resistance against oppression, it also pointed out how this event that peaked 300 years ago is still very close nowadays. The Brazilian whitening project continues to be fully operational, killing a black person every 23 minutes, every day. And internationally we continue to watch history being told from a dominant angle, skilled and resourceful in penetrating reality above the lived experienced of most.

The Wolf Suit, by Sid Sharp
Annick Press, 2022
Honestly, reading an entire book is sometimes a luxury in the whirl of work, childcare and the domestic black hole, resulting in most of our readings in 2023 bein articles and children’s books (also explaining 2 graphic novels out of 5 picks). Bedtime books are the ones we are most sure we are going to finish, although this one was bought at Zabriskie looking for something a 7 year old would read alone for the first time. And she did, in 2 hours she devoured the experience, it became her favourite book, in her words: “because it's thrilling”. Clever and funny storytelling encircling fear, darkness, anxiety, trust and self-esteem issues in an honest and engaging tone that is fully sustained by the somewhat expressionist illustrations. Subverting the premise of evil in disguise, Sharp’s work welcomes the dark side and finds comfort in it, kind of.

Wet Dream, by Erin Robinsong
Brick Books, 2022
Our final text here was also the final text from our reading~listening group, which took place throughout 2023 as part of the Spree~Channelsea Radio Group, in collaboration with our dear Zabriskies. This juicy book of poetry questions and grapples with scale, borders, and the erotics of being moist and multitudinous, of being and belonging on this burning hot planet.

Florian Wüst
film curator, co-founder of Berliner Hefte zu Geschichte und Gegenwart der Stadt |

Die Experten, by Merle Kröger

Suhrkamp, 2021
I read Die Experten (The Experts) during our summer holidays traveling the Balkans. It is the kind of book you can’t stop with, but every once in a while you need to take pauses, because it’s so intense. Merle Kröger tells the strident history of West German-Egyptian relations in the 1960s when President Nasser tried in vain to develop an Egyptian military aircraft and missile industry. The secret program relied on the expertise of German engineers who were eager to resume the work they weren’t able to do in post-war West Germany. A thriller story that only reality can invent. Kröger calls her book a documentary novel. It is fascinating how she enmeshes factual information, press clippings and excerpts from archival materials with the fictionalized narrative threads created around her main protagonists. Die Experten is as suspenseful as pure joy to read thanks to the poignancy of its language.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
Vintage, 2020
„In a world myriad as ours, the gaze is a singular act: to look at something is to fill your whole life with it, if only briefly.“ This quote from Ocean Vuong’s beautiful first novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous represents the quintessence of how the author engages with what’s around him, how he puts feeling and sensation before thought. The autobiographical tale is conceived as a letter to Vuong’s mother who can’t read: Together with his family he exiled from Vietnam to the United States at very young age. The lasting impact of war, his mother’s tough work life in a nail salon, his complex otherness and coming-out as a gay man while earning money on a tobacco farm where he met his first love, and later lost it to drug abuse — all theses struggles, hardships and losses Vuong turns into a poetry of human life.

Als ich mit Hitler Schnapskirschen aß, by Manja Präkels
Verbrecher Verlag, 2017
Manja Präkels book is also a distinguished debut novel that fuses autobiography and fiction. Als ich mit Hitler Schnapskirschen aß (as yet untranslated, roughly When I ate brandied cherries with Hitler) documents the GDR’s long fade-out in an impressive manner, and describes how hate for any and everyone who looks different gradually permeates a small town in Brandenburg. „We’ve finally got Nazis again. Cheers!“, the first-person narrator Mimi recounts her friend Zottel. From a highly subjective point of view Präkels relates the proliferation of right-wing violence to the vanishing of social cohesion — without falling into the trap of generalization: Right-wing extremism is a problem not only of the East. For me, the novel perfectly complements Steffen Mau’s brilliant sociological take on the fundamental stuctural break following German reunification in Lütten Klein: Leben in der ostdeutschen Transformationsgesellschaft (Suhrkamp, 2020).

Katie Holten
artist, writer and environmental activist
author of About Trees and editor of The Language of Trees

Life is Not Useful, by Ailton Krenak
Polity Press, 2023
This lovely little book by indigenous leader and activist Ailton Krenak states simply that the ecological crisis is rooted in society’s flawed concept of humanity. Following his 2020 book “Ideas to Postpone the End of the World,” Krenak shares how their indigenous community in Brazil acts like a “nerve ending” to what we call “nature.” He hopes to crack open our colonial mindset and wake us up from sleepwalking into extinction. Krenak reminds us that indigenous peoples have faced the end of the world before. We need to listen to these stories from the forest.

Becoming Kin: An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future, by Patty Krawec
Broadleaf, 2022
One of the highlights of my book tour in 2023 was meeting many wonderful writers who joined me in conversation about my own book and their work. Patty Krawec was one of my favourites. Her beautiful book reminds us that we find our way forward by looking backward. It’s time to listen and learn from our indigenous colleagues.

Soil: A Black Mother’s Garden, by Camille Dungy
Simon & Schuster, 2023
I fell in love with Camille Dungy’s writing years ago when I came across a copy of her book Trophic Cascade. SOIL chronicles Camille’s adventure gardening while Black in a white world. It’s a joy to follow her journey as she weeds and makes mistakes and learns along the way how to cultivate diversity in her new garden. I feel the possibilities for nature writing are exploding now.

Uprooting: From the Caribbean to the Countryside. Finding Home in an English Country Garden, by Marchelle Farrell
Canongate, 2023
Chronicling her move to a new house and garden just as COVID swept the world, Marchelle Farrell explores the question “what is home?” I loved following her as she fell in love with her garden and all that it offers. It’s like a sister book to Camille Dungy’s SOIL.

Cacophony of Bone, by Kerri ní Dochartaigh
Canongate, 2023
Everything Kerri writes is utterly unique and bursting with love for this beautiful world. This, her second book, is about mothering, nurturing, learning, living, walking, swimming, writing, loving, hurting, being Irish, being human, and so much more.

Wild Girls: How the Outdoors Shaped the Women Who Challenged A Nation, by Tiya Miles
Norton, 2023
Tooting my own horn here a little—I was thrilled to learn about this book from the editor when she requested permission to use my Tree Alphabet. What an honour and delight to be a (tiny) part of Tiya Miles’s work. She has created a powerful little book that brings together (hi)stories of girls and women, like Harriet Tubman, who discovered themselves in their relationship with the natural world and grew stronger for it, changing the course of history.  

The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness, by Meghan O’Rourke
Riverhead Books, 2022
I was diagnosed with long COVID and dysautonomia in February 2022 by Dr. David Putrino. He recommended this book. It was a revelation. I have lived my whole life as an able-bodied person, but now suddenly find myself living with a disability. We need so much more awareness of so-called invisible illnesses.

Some of Us Just Fall: On Nature and Not Getting Better, by Polly Atkin
Sceptre, 2023
I read this book in one gulp while traveling home after my UK book tour. Polly was the first person I met who also has dysautonomia. It has been revelatory for me to learn from her about what it’s like to live with disability.

The Lichen Museum, by A. Laurie Palmer
University of Minnesota Press, 2023
If we could learn to live more like lichens, our species would be less violent and more thoughtful.

The Age of Insecurity: Coming Together as Things Fall Apart, by Astra Taylor
House of Anansi Press, 2023
I love everything that Astra Taylor does. She was home schooled and has a wonderfully wandering way of thinking about things, that pulls together tiny threads that most others don’t realise are connected. This book feels like a timely follow up to her film What is Democracy? She shows us how Democracy is the cure to Capitalism, which is really built on keeping us all feeling insecure.

How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures, by Sabrina Imbler
Little Brown, 2022
A beautiful, tender, and funny look at life through queer underwater creatures. If we spend more time contemplating the more-than-human, we might learn how to be better humans. I also loved their chapbook Dyke (Geology).

A Darker Wilderness: Black Nature Writing From Soil to Stars, Edited by Erin Sharkey
Milkweed Editions, 2023
I love that Erin was teaching nature writing in prison when she had the idea to create this book. These stories share a love for the natural world and offer voice to those often overlooked or ignored. I’m grateful for this generous gift of a book.   

Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua
Haymarket Books, 2023
Rebecca Solnit is a force for good and I have been a fan since I first came across her work decades ago. This little book is a compendium of voices from around the world sharing stories about what we can all do right now. It’s not too late to make a difference!

It’s Not that Radical: Climate Action to Transform Our World, by Mikaela Loach
DK, 2023
When Greta Thunberg cancelled her appearance at the 2023 Edinburgh International Book Festival I felt compelled to join her. But I also felt compelled to attend and share the story of my own book and the urgent need for climate action. Mikaela Loach led a movement for us authors to speak truth to power and call out the fossil fuel funding at the heart of the festival. Her book is an intersectional call to action and full of tips on how we can come together for climate justice.

The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics, by Roderick Frazier Nash
The University of Wisconsin Press, 1989
I wish I had discovered this book sooner! Would I be a different person if I had read this back in the 90’s when I was in college? Yes! I’m doing my best to catch up for lost time. I believe the Rights of Nature movement is our last best chance to deal with the Climate Emergency. We are quickly running out of time to prevent irreversible planetary climate and biological breakdown and the collapse of our societies. This important book follows Christopher Stone’s 1972 essay “Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects.”

Simone Böcker
Journalistin, Gastronomin, Wildpflanzenexpertin
Autorin von Rewilding

Alexander von Humboldt und die Erfindung der Natur, von Andrea Wulf
Penguin, 2015
Humboldt revisited. Und für mich ein ganz neuer Blick auf den Tausendsassa, der nicht nur einer der klügsten Universalwissenschaftler seiner Zeit war. Die unglaublich umfangreiche Recherchearbeit von Andrea Wulf über das Lebenswerk Humboldts legt nämlich den Fokus vor allem darauf, wie fortschrittlich und visionär sein Denken in jeder Hinsicht war. Ein Verständnis vom Zusammenhang der Ökosysteme hatte er schon weit vor seiner Zeit, und damit auch die Auswirkungen des menschlichen Eingreifens. Von daher ist „Die Erfindung der Natur“ hochaktuell, da es die Entwicklung unseres heutigen problematischen Naturverständnisses nachzeichnet. Ein Buch, das sich liest wie ein Abenteuerroman und auch ein spannendes Stück Zeitgeschichte ist, das dabei ganz en passant Wissen über die Anfänge der Ökologie vermittelt.

Kogi - Wie ein Naturvolk unsere moderne Welt inspiriert, von Lucas Buchholz
Neue Erde, 2019
Dieses Buch hat wirklich meinen Horizont erweitert. Lucas Buchholz hat einige Zeit bei den Kogi – einem kolumbianischen Naturvolk – verbracht und schreibt über seine Erlebnisse. Vor allem geht es um die Sichtweisen und Lebensprinzipien, nach denen die Menschen bereits seit Jahrtausenden leben. Ich habe schon viel über indigene Gemeinschaften gelesen, aber selten so in der Tiefe, anschaulich und inspirierend! Welche Rolle spielt der Ursprung der Dinge, wie wichtig sind die Gedanken, warum muss es immer einen Ausgleich geben? Am Ende offenbart die Weltsicht der Kogi so viel Sinn und Weisheit, das man sich in die kolumbianischen Berge wünscht! Dabei vermeidet Lucas Buchholz jegliche Romantik oder Kitsch. Im Gegenteil versucht er, das Wissen einzuordnen und stellt die entscheidende Frage, was wir in unserer westlichen Welt davon lernen und für uns anwenden können.

Die schönere Welt, die unser Herz kennt, ist möglich, von Charles Eisenstein
Scorpio Verlag, 2017
Nachdem ich mich im vergangenen Jahr viel mit Krisen und dem Blick in Abgründe beschäftigt habe, war dieses Buch ein wahrer Seelenbalsam. Denn Charles Eisenstein geht es um Visionen. Die aktuellen Krisen bieten für ihn eine Chance, das Zeitalter der Separation endlich hinter uns zu lassen und in ein neues Zeitalter zu starten. „Interbeing“ ist sein Schlüsselwort - der Grundstein für ein Miteinander in gegenseitiger Verbundenheit mit allen Lebewesen auf dem Planeten. Durch das Kollabieren der alten Muster und Narrative haben wir die Möglichkeit, eine neue Geschichte der Menschen zu erfinden, basierend auf der „Wiedervereinigung“ von Vernunft und Herz. Es wird einem bei der Lektüre warm ums Herz, und es taucht sowas wie Hoffnung angesichts des Kollapses auf. Was, wenn eine schönere Welt möglich wäre?

Nichts tun - Die Kunst, sich der Aufmerksamkeitsökonomie zu entziehen, von Jenny Odell
C.H. Beck Verlag, 2021
Um Nichts-Tun geht es auch in meinem Buch über Rewilding, deswegen war ich gespannt auf den Ansatz, den Jenny Odell in einem ganz anderen Kontext verfolgt. Die Künstlerin sagt Social Media und Selbstoptimierung den Kampf an und fordert auf zu Gelassenheit. Aber auch zu hinterfragen, und sich falls nötig zu verweigern. Im Innehalten und Nichts-Tun steckt für sie die Möglichkeit zu politischem Widerstand. Es ist in dem Sinne ein revolutionäres Buch, weil es Zeitgeistphänomene in den Zusammenhang kapitalistischer Verwertungslogik stellt und enthüllt, wie sehr wir in unserer Aufmerksamkeit und dem Handeln allgegenwärtig gesteuert werden. Es geht daher um eine Selbstermächtigung. Und um eine neue Ethik. Statt wie Pflanzen der industriellen Landwirtschaft monokulturell und ressourceneffizient gerade und hoch zu wachsen, plädiert sie für den Wildwuchs, für horizontale Netzwerke, für Solidarität und Gemeinschaft. Insofern ist es ähnlich wie beim Rewilding, das Nichts-Tun ist der Anfang von etwas revolutionärem, organischem Neuen!

Philosophie der Wildnis oder Die Kunst, vom Weg abzukommen, von Baptiste Morizot
Reclam Verlag, 2018
Was ist Wildnis? Was ist Natur? Mit diesen spannenden Fragen beschäftigt sich der französische Philosoph Baptiste Morizot, der gleichzeitig passionierter Spurenleser ist. Klug und inspirierend reflektiert er das Verhältnis verschiedener Lebensformen zwischen Zivilisation und Wildnis. Was erfordert die Kunst des Zusammenlebens? Wie versprochen kommt er dabei reichlich vom Weg ab. Dort wird es spannend, wo die ausgetretenen Pfade enden und plötzlich andere Prinzipien und Fähigkeiten gefragt sind. Morizot nimmt uns mit zu Grizzlies, Wölfen und Schneeleoparden und entspinnt seine Vision der lebendigen Territorien, in der es nicht um Beherrschung geht sondern um Respekt. Die Welt als ein gastlicher, abenteuerlicher Kosmos für alle Lebewesen. Auch sprachlich ganz groß!

Lawrence Kumpf
founder and artistic director of Blank Forms
editor of Blank Forms Editions

Lou Reed: The King of New York, by Will Hermes
Viking / Penguin, 2023
Hot on the heels of Jennifer Otter Bickerdike’s You Are Beautiful and You Are Alone: The Biography of Nico, Will Hermes’s Lou Reed: The King of New York (the title comes from Bowie’s lips) is the first biography of the Velvet’s front man to utilize his archive at NYPL, which was made public in 2019. While the book skews heavily towards the VU-era Reed it doesn’t diminish his late work by any means; one might even consider Hermes a Lulu-apologist. I might be walking away from reading The King of New York as a New Sensation apologist. A friend “nearly pissed himself” watching the video for “No Money Down,” I still laugh out loud just thinking of the animatronic Reed ripping flesh from gears; in fact I now think all of Reed’s 80’s albums are fantastic. The book is replete with great stories about Reed’s relationship with Delmore Schwartz, anecdotes about his college roommate Lincoln Swados (the subject of Elizabeth Swados’s The Four of Us), collaborations and feuds with Bowie and basically everything you could want from a biography of a complex personality who reached towering heights (“Heroin,” Transformer, Street Hassle) and staggering lows (taking 100% of the royalties from A Tribe Called Quest “Can I Kick It?”). Also Bruce Springsteen sang backup vocals on “Street Hassle,” who knew.

The Last Honest Man: The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia, and the Kennedys — and one Senator's Fight to Save Democracy, by James Risen
Little, Brown and Company, 2023
There has a been a proliferation of great podcasts (Who Killed JFK), television series (Wormwood), and books (Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties and Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control) in recent years documenting the US postwar covert operations which run the gamut from collaborating with and knowingly employing Nazi war criminals, experimenting with LSD on unsuspecting citizens, attempting (and sometimes succeeding in) assassinations of democratically elected leaders, to more run of the mill torture. A great deal of this information has been an open secret in large part thanks to Frank Church’s work in the 1970s, and James Risen’s book is the first biography detailing the Idaho politician's life and motivations. Church was one of the of the first Senators to come out against the war in Vietnam and the driving force in instituting congressional oversight on the previously unaccountable security agencies. The Church Committee (Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) held sensational public hearings that exposed CIA’s working relationship with the Mafia in order to assassinate Fidel Castro; the harassment and surveillance of Martin Luther King JR; MK Ultra and LSD mind control experiments, as well as the multiple failed attempts on the life of Patrice Lumumba (who was eventually assassinated by a coalition of Belgian and Katangan authorities). The biggest drop, I believe, is the story of Hoover blackmailing John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy after the FBI discovered that JFK was sharing a lover (Judith Campbell) with the notorious mobster Sam Giancana. Through this, Hoover got the OK to continue his relentless harassment of Martin Luther King Jr.  Spoiler Alert: While the Church committee was able to create some level of oversight for these previously rogue agencies; America has still successfully perpetrated its forever wars and unaccountable meddling through overt and covert operations in the 50 years since the Church Committee.    

Vengeance is Mine, by Marie NDiaye
Original publication in French by Gallimard in 2021
Knopf, 2023
NDiaye’s disquieting novels are like a cross between Patricia Highsmith and Gayl Jones with resolutions that rival Beckett. Vengeance is Mine is the latest in a series of English translations of French novelist and playwright’s work by Jordan Stump. Set in Bordeaux, the novel’s protagonist, Maître Susane, finds herself in a web made from the inner depths of her own paranoia casting her parents, former boyfriend (& his child), housekeeper (& her other clients) along with the husband of Marlyne Principaux, a woman accused of filicide (who’s case Susane has taken on at the behest of her husband Gilles Principaux), into her own psychodrama. As in much of NDiaye’s work, the first person solipsism puts the secondary characters' motivations and personalities just beyond our grasp. Reality is elusive and this is made more apparent when we try to pin it down or even understand it. NDiaye’s recent fascination with judicial systems, especially when they attempt to confront society’s most heinous crimes, such as filicide, (NDiaye also takes these themes up in the film Saint Omer) are a perfect backdrop to explore the babble of the ineffable as it eludes our understanding.

Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom, by Norman Finkelstein
University of California Press, 2018
Norman Finkelstein, author of the The Holocaust Industry, published Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom in 2021 and it continues to be one of the most indispensable documents for understanding Israeli policy and military actions in the occupied territory. Through a detailed analysis of reports from international human rights organizations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council; from Palestinian organizations Al Mezan Center for Human Rights as well as reports and press releases from the State of Israel and reporting from Haaretz, Finkelstein leads us through the maze of horrors perpetrated in Gaza over the last twenty years. Focusing on two Israeli military operations, Operation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge, the raid on the humanitarian flotilla Mavi Marmara, and finally the publication (and subsequent recantation) of the Goldstone Report Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom, the book reads like a court transcript. Finkelstein has said as much himself, that he hopes this book could be used to bolster an arraignment in the International Criminal Court for the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Palestinian people. Indispensable reading.

Astrid Vorstermans
publisher/editor at Valiz

The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, by Ursula K. Le Guin,
Introduced by Donna Haraway
Ignota, 2019. First published in 1986
Oftentimes there are classics that one way or another you have failed to read, such as this one for me. In February 2023 when I was travelling by train, my companion held this precious book in her folder of stuff that she was working on. I asked her if I could borrow it. It is a tiny book, that can easily be read in an hour or so. But it is so dense with ideas that one can chew on it for a lot longer. What I find very inspirational is that Le Guin uses the carrier bag as a metaphor for collecting, gleaning, combining, gestating threads of information, that unfold into stories, narratives entangled with one another, making new, diverting lines of meaning. It opposes the figure of the male Hero, who linearly tries to make sense of the world.
The book is charmingly published and not expensive. It can also be accessed online:

The Archipelago Conversations, by Édouard Glissant & Hans Ulrich Obrist
Isolarii, 2021
Another seminal book that I have failed to read is Poétique de la relation (1990) or Poetics of Relation by Édouard Glissant (1928–2011, poet, novelist and essayist from Martinique). In several Valiz’ anthologies Glissant’s ideas are referenced, which made me very curious to know more. When looking for Poetics of Relation, I stumbled upon this other small booklet The Archipelago Conversations: edited interviews that touch upon the most important concepts that Glissant developed. Obrist & Glissant talk about globalization (a term that Glissant opposes with ‘globality’), ‘creoleness’ (mixing and weaving together different aspects of culture), and how culture (language, music, architecture etc. etc.) can benefit from an open network of exchange. ‘I can change through exchanging with others, without losing or diluting my sense of self.’ Glissant/Obrist, p. 67. It is a beautiful stepping stone to other Glissant writings, so finally: the next read will be Poetics of Relation.

Let’s Become Fungal! Mycelium Teachings and the Arts, by Yasmine Ostendorf-Rodríguez
Valiz, 2023
Hopefully it is okay that I bring in a Valiz title. A super good read into the world of the mycelium, and how these rhizomatic networks can be seen as a metaphor for potentially new organizational, social systems and ways of thinking. Yasmine Ostendorf gathered her knowledge through extensive exchanges with Indigenous wisdom keepers, artists, curators, feminists, mycologists, anthropologists, change-makers, urbanists, activists, and gardeners. Yasmine digested this multitude of voices in a beautifully written book (illustrated by Rommy Gonzalez, designed by Andrea Spikker) in which every chapter is phrased as a question. These do not lead to answers, but to twelve teachings addressing for instance collaboration, decoloniality, non-linearity, toxicity, mobilization, biomimicry, death, and being non-binary.

Weaving as Open Source, by Teresa Lanceta
The World of Vibeke Klint, by Gitte-Annette Knudsen
Haslund, 2021
One way or another my old love for textile arts was revived during Covid time. These two books literally dive into entanglements, into threads or gathered pieces that are bound and stitched together: weaving, patchworking, overlaying. There is no link to my Valiz work, unless this might also be a metaphor ;-). I just fell strongly in love with these two books, and the work they display. I saw Teresa Lanceta’s (b. 1951) work in Valencia and was very taken by her big pieces (textile and paper), and by the way she includes Spanish and Moroccan craft’s women into many of her art processes. The book is a pleasure to read (evocative texts by the artist herself, and very good interviews and essays) and it’s a delight to navigate through the images (although the binding of the book is too stiff). 
Then Vibeke Klint (1927–2019), a name I had not heard of before, until my Danish neighbour showed me this book, full of drawings, watercolours and woven pieces. There are (implicit) links to Anni Albers and Bauhaus, but Klint was an artist in her own right, The book is mainly visual, that thread by thread can be read and weave into a wonderful, tactile and colourful world.

Dietrich Meyer

Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Pan Publishing, 2015
Some of the best sci-fi (not including Star Trek) I’ve come across. The way that Tchaikovsky plays with time and memory lends itself to some incredibly elaborate world-building (more like evolutionary-building). I learned after reading this that he had minored while in school as a zoologist, which combined with such a vivid imagination explains and makes believable the evolution of the protagonists. The alternating storylines that finally merge together after some nearly 600 pages also helps to have this story - that seemingly spans over a few millennia - remain captivating and concise. This was most definitely my favorite read of the year, and I can’t stop telling people about it.

Black Metal Rainbows, edited by Daniel Lukes & Stanimir Panayotov
PM Press, 2022
A collection of multiple essays on the complicated and messy space of Black Metal, and the attempts by many to queer it away from its notorious right wing, white, nationalistic history. From writings by Black Metal themed Onlyfans producers to Black Metal Theorists, the range of essays has so many different takes on the genre that it proves the accepted political positioning of Black Metal to be a farce. The essay by Margaret Killjoy, a trans feminine anarchist and lead singer of Feminazgul, is by far one of my favorites, her cutting remarks regarding Nazism in the scene is nearly impossible to not make you laugh. Nazi Black Metal Fvck Off!

Fatal Attraction, by Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo
Mousse Publishing, 2023
Full disclosure, Christa is a friend and arguably my dog Stumpy’s number 1 fan. That being said, Christa is an incredibly thoughtful, patient, and intense artist, and I am so happy for her to have had this monograph of her work published this year by Mousse. Working mainly in video, she creates large scale video installations focusing on various forms of hidden and/or explicit forms of violence in relationships. These relationships take on various forms and aggressors, be it a heteronormative and patriarchal romantic dynamic, or the violence of the state apparatus when it comes to issues of healthcare, immigration, and the like. Christa’s thoughtfulness is what (I believe) makes her such an amazing artist. Tackling difficult topics, such as access to HIV preventative drugs that Germany doesn’t believe that women of color need access to, Christa addresses these inequalities and the way that they are embedded in our actions. The book features 2 essays from Travis Jeppsen, Kathy-Ann Tan, and a conversation between the artist and Karina Griffith, and was beautifully designed by Martin Falck. The design incorporates much of Christa’s extensive sketch booking, combined with stills from her video works and various texts that I assume are from things she has read while researching said works. It’s an incredibly beautiful book, a massive triumph!

Sina Ribak
researcher for ecologies and the arts
co-founder of Between Us and Nature - A Reading Club

The Sphairos Journal - Marija Gimbutas in the 21st Century: Longing for Peaceful Civilisations, edited by Rita Repšienė
Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, 2022
The Language of the Goddess, by Marija Gimbutas
Harper & Row, 1989
Thousands of years before the Romans built any roads that we can continue to walk on (The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane), the Neolithic cultures left their traces in stone and clay. Little I knew about prehistoric cultures and their spiritual practices that archaeologist Marija Gimbutas had unearthed in a multidisciplinary approach. When a friend showed us her copy of “The Language of the Goddess'' (1989), I was fascinated by the huge diversity of figurines, recipients and symbols. I did not expect to spend the year 2023 to study hypotheses about artefacts made around 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. “The main theme of Goddess symbolism is the mystery of birth and death and the renewal of life, not only human but all life on earth and indeed the whole cosmos.” (Language of the Goddess, Marija Gimbuta). "Old Europe" (mainly southeastern Europe), as a place and time of peaceful societies based on a goddess culture, offers a worldview that interconnects with the concept of the Symbiotic Planet introduced by the biologist Lynn Margulis. Both scientists and writers were and are controversial and inspirational, and are more than relevant today while we stand at the tipping point of multiple ecological crises. You know this moment, when you are really hooked by a writer or a topic and it seems to pop up everywhere around you? An artist exhibition inspired by Gimbutas (Well Beings, by Valentina Karga, MK&G, 2023) that a friend had told me about intrigued me very much. And of course more reading material surfaced: A contemporary view of Gimbutas’ legacy got published in The Sphairos Journal - Marija Gimbutas in the 21st Century: Longing for Peaceful Civilisations (Rita Repšienė (ed.), Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, 2022). I became so attached to these multifaceted essays, I carried the magazine along most hikes and journeys.

Feeding on Light, by Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky
Roma Publications, 2023
A symbiotic relationship in the shape of a book:
„Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne“ is not a very original quote. Hermann Hesse’ famous poem „Stufen“, continues: “Der uns beschützt und der uns hilft, zu leben.” I felt that a special kind of magic helped me in my beginnings as a writer. I was convinced by Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky’s book project. I admire her artist work. Our collaboration is strong and important to me. The topic, photosynthesis, is magic in itself. Eva invited the essays by the Spohns, Hidde Bakker and myself, into her experimental light harvest photography. She let the images, words, trees, insects and the sun form relationships. It took them a while to grow, but then they became tangible in this form of an artistic field guide that is embodying its title: Feeding on Light. It was an almost surreal moment, when the book came out. The smell of the freshly printed pages comes to mind first. The brilliant design transformed the Dummy into a real book. I can  feel the smooth touch of the carefully chosen paper that ultimately exists thanks to photosynthesis.
The alders on the Havel’s banks, plants, algae and some bacteria, through autotrophic assimilation, produce food for themselves and all other living beings. They feed on light. Animals, including humans, do not symbiotically cooperate with chloroplasts (or photosynthetic bacteria). Humans are heterotroph beings, that is, they depend entirely on food generated by autotrophs.

Let’s Become Fungal! - Mycelium Teachings and the Arts, by Yasmine Ostendorf-Rodríguez
Valiz, 2023
With the author Yasmine Ostendorf, our relation goes back to the beginnings of the Between Us and Nature - A Reading Club, which was born in 2017 inspired by Yasmine’s practices. I have been lucky to follow the growth of Let’s Become Fungal at the gatherings of the green art lab alliance (gala). The gala network was founded by Yasmine and became the inspiration for her book. “mycelium as methodology” is not only a metaphor, but is impressively becoming alive in the fungal stories of the interviewees, the descriptions of the regenerative practices and in physical gatherings & workshops. True to the citation “The Personal is Political”, Yasmine’s writing is honest, engaging, relevant and visionary. This enchantingly illustrated book is re-shaping my understanding of mycology, arts and society.  “Climate conditions our memory.” Stumbling upon this quote from Teaching Four, asking “How to rethink Decay and Decomposition?”, it became evident that the Between Us and Nature - A Reading Club will start 2024 with Let’s Become Fungal.

Rhön - Die schönsten Wanderungen im Land der offenen Fernen, by Daniela Knor und Torsten Bieder
Rother Wanderführer, 2022
Among the more than 500 Rother Wanderführer I chose the Rhön region for 2023 - a triangle of a sparsely populated natureculture landscape in Bavaria, Hesse and Thuringia. During the months ahead of my travels this real pocket-sized guide takes up so little space on my night table, but it is transporting me very far. Reading the many tour descriptions, how often do I tell myself I will make walking my profession? In the meanwhile, for a city dweller and tourist walker like me, this hiking guide lets me easily find the trail adapted to my abilities, in terms of time and physical aptitude. Another plus is that mainly circular trails are featured with conveniently reachable Start/End points. The assortment of landscapes and views carefully curated by the authors is marvellous. Thanks to simple to read altitude profiles, reliable maps and fool proof route descriptions, I am equipped with insouciance, immensely enjoying walking through prairies, forests, and along river banks. Every page offers treasures of inspiration with notes on local myths, geology, ecology and history, every turn presents new perspectives that I’m happy to carry further.

Hospicing Modernity: Facing Humanity's Wrongs and the Implications for Social Activism, by Vanessa Machado De Oliveira
North Atlantic Books, 2021
My curiosity about the relation of people, organisms and landscapes existed long before I had heard of naturecultures or decolonisation. Unlearning the different types of education from school to natural science studies is an ongoing journey that I embarked on more than ten years ago. It is eye-opening to comprehend the end of an epoch and to find ways to deal with its Death. A book that holds that uncomfortable space for uncertainty and complexity, while at the same time offering context and recipes to respond to multiple social and ecological crises, is a highly welcomed tool. First, it requires quite some open mind and patience to go through the author’s disclaimers. The pleasure of this tough read comes at the “aha-moments”. Mainly the continuous insight, where and how I am always part of the disaster of killing the planet, is more startling than I had anticipated. At the same time Vanessa Machado De Oliveira’s offering makes clear the systemic causes of the era we live in and incorporates strategies for listening, communicating and for reimaginings and disinvestments.

Joscha Creutzfeldt
musician and radio maker
founder of the german branch of Dublab radio

coming soon!

Luïza Luz
transdisciplinary artist, researcher and cultural worker
co-editor of Planetary Embodiment

Aurality: Listening & Knowledge in 19th Century Colombia, by Ana Maria Ochoa Gautier
Duke University Press, 2019
Aurality has been my favorite research companion over the past year. In this book, the author contextualizes sound and knowledge production within the transition between colonialism and modernity, emphasizing how listening—and the lack of it —has played a central role in determining the politics of life and its mechanisms of oppression. Aurality provides an in-depth opportunity to understand how listening, sound and the voice have been rationalized throughout history and proposes the recovery of knowledge(s) excluded from hegemonic narratives. A significant portion of this book is dedicated to presenting Indigenous modes of articulation in 19th-century Colombia and the Caribbean, placing emphasis on the vital roles of listening and orality in these cultures and their relationships with the non-human. This research offers as a valuable complement to "Quantum Listening" by Pauline Oliveros, providing an in-depth approach to sound and listening practices across different cultural contexts.

Sounds Like Her: Gender, Sound & Sonic Cultures, by Christine Eyene
Beam Editions, 2019
A must-read for deep listeners, sonic creators, and enthusiasts alike, 'Sounds Like Her' is the culmination of the homonymous exhibition curated by Christine Eyene in 2017. Through a collection of essays contributed by various authors and artists, along with visual highlights from the group show, the book confronts Eurocentric and patriarchal paradigms that have historically defined sound art, persisting in shaping contemporary artistic practices. 'Sounds Like Her' boldly rebels against the confinements placed on women's voices by societal constructs. As I immerse myself in its pages, I am not only captivated by its reframing of sound and vocal complexities but also dream of the importance of continuing and expanding this research through a non-binary queer approach to gender in the sonic arts.

Quantum Listening, by Pauline Oliveros
Ignota, 2022
Not just a trendy read but an essential one, Quantum Listening shapes the pillars of a new era: the era of attentive listening. What strikes me most about this book is its meticulous differentiation between hearing and genuine listening. As suggested by the author and composer Pauline Oliveros, in the act of listening, the listener doesn't seek to control the narrative but, rather, opens spaces to receive it and embrace its content as it is. Its significance goes beyond the theoretical, presenting listening as a transformative practice that extends from the pages into the realms of subjective experience and the eco-social dimensions of life. What would change in ourselves and in the Planet if we would truly listen?

Ancestral Future, by Ailton Krenak
Campanhia das Letras, 2022
English edition coming in spring 2024
Ailton Krenak stands as a pivotal figure of our generation—an Indigenous author and activist who played a vital role in advocating for Indigenous rights in the Brazilian constitution during the 1980s. In recent years, he has continued to share his profound wisdom through various multimedia formats, including a trilogy of powerful and indispensable books. Having immersed myself in the thought- provoking content of 'Ideas to Postpone the End of The World' (2019), I strongly recommend readers and listeners to delve deeper into the narratives of continuity presented in 'Ancestral Future.' What valuable lessons about resilience and continuity can we learn from the age-old tales of the Earth and our ancestors? This book tells a compelling story that is not only easy to read but also written to awaken. After completing both, you can further explore "Life Is Not Useful" (2023) to nurture anti-capitalist ideals.

Astarte Posch
Mitgründerin von Hooops |

Die Wand, von Marlen Haushofer
1963 zuerst veröffentlicht
„Manchmal verwirren sich meine Gedanken, und es ist, als fange der Wald an, in mir Wurzeln zu schlagen und mit meinem Hirn seine alten, ewigen Gedanken zu denken“. Nachts wenn ich nicht schlafen kann, lese ich die Tagebucheinträge der Protagonistin aus dem Roman 'Die Wand'. Mein Zimmer verwandelt sich dann in eine Berghütte, das Feuer knisterst und ich fühle die Einsamkeit der einzigen menschlichen Person. Sie verbringt ihr Leben auf einer Jagdhütte in den Bergen, abgeschnitten von der Welt, durch eine mysteriöse, unsichtbare, undurchdringbare Wand. Nun lebt sie dort mit einer neuen Familie aus Tieren. Ein fesselnder, intensiver Bericht über Einsamkeit und spezienübergreifenden Beziehungen, der sprachlich auf tiefergehenden Ebenen berührt.

Queering Psychoanalysis, herausgegeben von Esther Hutfless, Barbara Zach
Edition Assemblage, 2022
„The unconscious constantly reveals the ‚failure‘ of identity. Because there is no continuity of psychic life, so there is no stability of sexual identity, no position for woman (or for men) which is ever simply achieved. Nor does psychoanalysis see such `failure’ as a special-case inability or an individual deviancy from the norm. […] Instead `failure` is something endlessly repeated and relived moment by moment throughout our individual histories.“ Dieses Buch lässt Funken in meinem Gehirn sprühen. Ein wuchtiges Nachschlagewerk, voll von Essays zu verschiedenen Themen die Psychoanalyse und Queer Theory zusammenbringen. Es ist nicht einfach zu verstehen, aber es sprengt Gedankenkonzepte und begeistert mich mit Versöhnung, dass die Psychoanalyse wertvolle Beiträge zu den Themen Identität, Geschlecht, Sexualität leistet. Freud selbst hat zB. auch (neben seinen fragwürdigen Beiträgen zur weiblichen Sexualität) über eine ursprüngliche Bisexualität und polymorphe Sexualität des Kindes geschrieben, die erst durch die Gesellschaft, Familie und persönliche Erfahrungen festgelegt, geformt wird.

Too Much of Life, von Clarice Lispector
Penguin, 2023
Ein wundervolles Buch, voller kleiner liebevoller Geschichten, lustigen Momenten, schlauen Gedanken, Fragen, eigensinnigen Betrachtungen, die die Autorin für eine Zeitung geschrieben hat. Ich mag die kurzen Gedankenfetzen und Weisheiten und versuche jeden Tag eine zu lesen und mich inspirieren zu lassen.

Freie Geister, von Ursula K. Le Guin
Fischer, 2017
Ein weiterer Klassiker, den ich endlich gelesen habe, "The Dispossessed" von Ursula K. Le Guin, in Form einer neuen, deutschen Übersetzung. Eine Outerbody Experience in Form einer Reise zu anderen Planeten, die gleichzeitig eine scharfsinnige Betrachtung menschlich geschaffener Systeme, Welten, Gefühle und Dilemma, ist. Der Sci-Fi Roman erzählt die Geschichte eines Physikers zwischen den Welten, zwischen seinem Heimatplanet Anarres, eine Art anarchistische Utopie auf einem kargen Planeten, die nach einer Revolution gegründet wurde. Und dem Mutterplaneten Urras, der wunderschön ist, aber von Kapitalismus und Klassismus zerfressen. Dazwischen ein einsamer Bewohner, der beiden Welten fremd ist und sich auf einer Spurensuche befindet ihre Schichten zu verstehen, ohne dabei seine Integrität zu verlieren. Dieses Buch ist ein wichtiges Buch. Ursula ist einfach grandios.

Herzschmerz, Anna Lena Wenzel
Textem, 2021
Cringy Herzschmerz. Dieses kleine Buch voll fragmentarischer Begegnungen, Intensitäten und Gedanken habe ich ganz schnell gelesen und irgendwie tat es gut, erinnert zu werden, dass andere in viel verrückteren, komplizierteren Beziehungen stecken, gerade wenn das eigene Herz gerade schmerzt, ist das Buch ein kleiner Trost. Ich halte es griffbereit bei Bedarf.

Elisabeth Pieper
Team Zabriskie
Mit-Gründerin von Hooops

coming soon

Lorena Carràs
co-founder of Zabriskie

Matrix, by Lauren Groff
Penguin, 2022
Matrix is an extraordinary historical novel that recreates the 12th century and more specifically the life of Marie de France, poet-nun-warrior, ambitious and wild, too rough and rebellious for the palace life, expelled from the court of Eleonor d 'Aquitaine and sent to be the prioress of an abbey in England, which is devastated by hunger and disease. Challenging the Catholic Church and the very foundations of patriarchy, while exploring femininity and unbridled sexuality, Marie will find peace among the sorority with the twenty nuns, while visions recommend her to transform the abbey into an "island of women". Sensual and wild, vital and powerful, Matrix is ​​a gripping and luminous, captivating novel that deals with issues such as sexuality and passion, the indestructible friendship between women and the power of the collective force. Lauren Groff has built a monument to powerful women, to loyalty between women, a strong female character fighting for a feminist utopia that is still valid.

Let’s Become Fungal! - Mycelium Teachings and the Arts, by Yasmine Ostendorf-Rodríguez
Valiz, 2023
This book is an unusual exploration of the realms of the fungi: In 12 teachings/questions Yasmine Ostendorf-Rodriguez interviews diverse people, including mycologists, artists, activists and community organizers from Latin America and the Caribbean. Each chapter is dedicated to a question, which may remain unanswered but leads us to reflect on a teaching of the mushroom world. These teachings relate to topics as multi-species collaboration, symbiosis, alliances, non-monetary exchange of resources, decentralization, bottom-up methods and mutual dependency. Let’s Become Fungal! is a mycelial work in both content and form and a source of inspiration for people who are trying to live and relate in a more ecological, feminist and solidary way with their environment.

Space Crone, Ursula K. Le Guin
Silver Press, 2023
From the science fiction/ speculative fiction and fantasy writer, Ursula K. Le Guin, "Space Crone“ brings together essays, lectures on feminism and gender, on literary theory (her relationship with language and writing), on the value of women’s work, on motherhood and ageing and also includes three pieces of short fiction inspired by her interest in alternative ways of living. The collection is named after the essay "Space Crone“, this was published in 1976 when Le Guin was in her early forties, and is a response to her experience of menopause and how older women are not valued. Her voice is subtle, precise and honest, and often full of humor. If you're new to Le Guin and want to read about her thoughts on gender and feminism, this might be for you.

Jean-Marie Dhur
co-founder of Zabriskie

Mumbo Jumbo, by Ishmael Reed
Doubleday, 1972
The USA in the 1920s. Starting in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, a virus called "Jes Grew" slowly spreads northwards. People infected by the virus have an irrepressible desire to dance, express their feelings and generally behave like liberated people. The Atonists, a kind of anti-pleasure white-supremacist organization that controls the American government, want to prevent the spread of the virus at all costs. However, there are people who are on the side of the virus and feel  its power as a liberating force: one of them is PaPa LaBas, the priest of a voodoo community in Harlem, NYC. In 1972, Ishmael Reed wrote this book, an Afrofuturist parable on the oppression of black culture by an elite white ruling caste that is still relevant today - and offers us various new readings of ancient myths, from Egyptian cosmology to the Bible. Alongside Amiri Baraka, Audre Lorde, Archie Shepp and Nikki Giovanni, the now 85-year-old Reed is one of the important protagonists of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, and has also worked with musicians and composers Sun Ra and Albert Ayler, among others. Reed anticipates Thomas Pynchon's style with this book, and also the insertion of photos and newspaper clippings, as we know it from W.G. Sebald, for example.

The Healing Wisdom of Africa - Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community, by Malidoma Patrice Somé
Putnam, 1998
In his native language, Malidoma means "he who makes friends with the stranger/ enemy". The moving life story of the Dagara shaman Malidoma Patrice Somé can be read in another book (Of Water and the Spirit). Here he gives us (people with a Western-European background) some basic wisdom and rituals that can help us to overcome crises and deal with painful situations in life. He discusses the enormous importance of community (the solution to many of the problems and the isolation caused by the individualism of "western" cultures), explains the workings and mechanisms of rituals, and shows why the reintroduction of rituals is an answer to the challenges we face. Malidoma also has a big heart and a very compassionate way of passing knowledge. I discovered him through Michael Meade's great Living Myth podcast.

Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy, by Robert Farris Thompson
Vintage Books, 1984
A book that shows that art (and crafts) can carry deep spiritual wisdom in encoded form. A book that also shows that the various African cultures (the book features the Yoruba, Kongo, Vodun, Mande and Ejagham) had/ have complex cosmologies and interpretations of the world (quite the opposite of the racist colonizers' claim). Filled with many photos and illustrations, Thompson's book shows how the cultures and spiritualities coming from the African continent have changed over the course of the dreadful transatlantic slave trade, but core themes and core ideas were passed on through art forms and artifacts, helping people in the diaspora to remember and keep their roots. Flash of the Spirit was one of Jean-Michel Basquiat's favorite books, and helped Paul Gilroy formulate his idea of the Black Atlantic. An exciting introduction to the history of African and African-American arts and cosmologies. Thanks to Alberto for recommending me this book.

Being a Human - Adventures in 40,000 Years of Consciousness, by Charles Foster
Profile Books, 2022
For his book Being a Beast, Charles Foster slipped into the role of a badger, otter, fox, red deer and swift, in an attempt to gain a more immediate relationship with these wild relatives of ours. The literary result of his second experiment is now available with Being a Human. This time the author tried to get close to the lives of our ancestors: of a human at the time of the Upper Palaeolithic ("hunter-gatherers"), the Neolithic (sedentarization, beginning of agriculture), and the Enlightenment (triumph of mind over body - the beginning of modern human hubris). Foster shows full love to the first mentioned period, the so-called Stone Age: when people had a better understanding of the cyclical processes of life and the transience of all existence, when there was a deep, magical connection to many other creatures and entities, and when an over-abstraction of reality had not obstructed any real relationship to the world. Perhaps I should mention that this amazing book is not a grumpy affair, but full of humor, and with a great bibliography for further reading:  cave art, mythology, shamanism, consciousness, etc.

As Serious As Your Life - Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution, 1957-1977, by Val Wilmer
Allison & Busby 1977. New edition by Serpent's Tail 2018.
One of the good things about the pandemic and lockdowns was that I developed a deeper interest in the music that most of us people call jazz. I started to approach this vast universe through people as Don Cherry, Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, and groups like the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble. But still: (emotional) access to the music of some artists as Albert Ayler or Ornette Coleman was not there. But then I found out about As Serious As Your Life, a great book by music journalist, photographer and author Val Wilmer. In the 50s, 60s and 70s, she was closely experiencing the genesis of the thing that is now called free jazz (although the musicians themselves often call it "the music" or "the sound"), and enjoyed the trust of the performers of this new thing, about whom she wrote with great respect. These encounters gave rise to this book, which introduces both well-known and less well-known protagonists of the scene and explains the musicians' motivations, world views, and spiritual ideas. A great book that helps to better understand (or rather: feel) the sometimes somewhat inaccessible, complex art of free jazz.

The Dark Is Rising Sequence, by Susan Cooper (5 books)
Published by Penguin / Puffin between 1965 and 1977. New edition by Penguin / Puffin from 2019.
Quite unknown over here, Susan Cooper has a large and devoted following in the English-speaking world, mainly because of her 5-volume Dark Is Rising book sequence. The series begins with a narrative style reminiscent of Enid Blyton's "The Famous Five": a group of children embark on adventures and solve mysteries. Then the mood slowly shifts, it gets weirder, and Cooper begins to create a fantastical cosmos involving Arthurian and Celtic legends and mythological figures such as Herne the Hunter and Wayland the Smith, folkloric rituals with dances around leafy figures reminding of the Wicker Man, motifs such as the Hunt of the Wren, and this all happens in England and Wales in the 1970s. The characters of the children are caught up in an ancient conflict between light and darkness that is never fully resolved (darkness, just as light, is part of the human condition). The books are also an allegory of the rites of passage, the transition of a human being from one stage to another. Captivatingly told, Cooper has given us with this series a beautiful example of a re-enchantment of the world.

Also loved these: Let's Become Fungal! by Yasmine Ostendorf-Rodríguez; English Pastoral by James Rebanks; A Strange Celestial Road by Ahmed Abdullah; Revolutionary Letters by Diane di Prima

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