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Beautiful Trouble: Murray Dobbin reviews new book looking at creative tools for social change

rabble senior contributing editor, Murray Dobbin, reviews Murray Dobbin reviews a new book looking at creative tools for social change

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Join us today for the Babble Book Club with Kevin Chong

Join us for a conversation with Kevin Chong on his novel Beauty Plus Pity. (Photo: Jeff Vinnick, Globe and Mail)

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Babble Book Club discusses The Antagonist with author Lynn Coady

Photo: Chad Pelley/saltyink.com
Lynn Coady joins the Babble Book Club this Sunday, March 4, 12 p.m. PST/3 p.m. EST, to discuss her book!

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A celebration of Black Canadian authors

Photo: carmichaellibrary/Flickr
A listing of powerful Black Canadian writers who inspire Canadian writing and literature.

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Gore Vidal in Montreal

Summer is just around the corner in Montreal; springtime is here, and with it the annual literary gathering known as the Blue Metropolis Festival, which recently welcomed to its stage renowned author, essayist and liberal activist Gore Vidal to set the tone for the literary happenings to come.

As the octogenarian was wheeled on to the dais, he paused, as if to announce himself to the crowd, and was overcome by the appreciative applause from the 600-plus crowd.

Before the night was over he was labelled as "cantankerous" by one young student, held up as the greatest U.S. president they never had by another, and would thoroughly entertain, if not enlighten, the congregated mass, though a dozen or so walked out before his talk had concluded.

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What people believe: How three books shaped my view of 'truth'

A couple of years ago I read a fabulous book by James Scott called Seeing like a State. Rather than portraying an in-depth look at the unique complexities of one failed (or floundering) state, he took a refreshingly more contextualized approach.

By widening his gaze and looking at the commonalities across the globe and over time, Scott makes some similarities among them embarrassingly apparent. In doing so, he suggests that the failures which have been historically noted as disastrous examples of poor decision making are anything but exceptional.

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Finkelstein's hope for Gaza

Norman Finkelstein: This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences in the Gaza Invasion

This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences in the Gaza Invasion

by Norman G. Finkelstein
(Or Books,
2010;
$20.00)

On one level Norman Finkelstein's new book, This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences in the Gaza Invasion, on Israel's 2008 invasion of Gaza does not reveal much new. It consists of information that has made its way to the public realm over the past year. Yet he brings together the disparate pieces of the event to sharp effect. There is a clear sense that the story has been insulted by the casualness of attention to it.

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Amy Goodman detained at border services

Breaking The Sound Barrier

by Amy Goodman
(Haymarket Books,
2009;
$16.00)
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! launched her new book Breaking The Sound Barrier at an event co-hosted by community radio stations CJSF, Co-op Radio and CiTR in Vancouver, B.C. last night. Despite being detained by Canadian border services delaying her book launch by over an hour Amy Goodman delivered an impassioned lecture to a standing room only audience.

Goodman's 90-minute lecture touched on topics including the U.S. health care debate, the recent death of her mother, her arrest at the Republican National Convention, the importance of independent media, the upcoming summit in Copenhagen and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Immigrant workers fight back

Fight Back: Workplace Justice for Immigrants

by Aziz Choudry and Jill Hanley et al.
(Fernwood Publishing,
2009;
$17.02)
"A lot of Filipinos and others are silent in their jobs....They are scared that if they do something for change, they will be deported....They feel held at the blade between life and death."

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Norman Bethune: Stepping forward to revolution

Extraordinary Canadians: Norman Bethune

by Adrienne Clarkson
(Penguin Canada,
2009;
$26.00)
When Norman Bethune left Montreal for Spain in 1936 to help the Republicans in their doomed effort to hold back Franco's fascists, he spoke no foreign languages and had no fixed role waiting for him. But he was among a group of determined individuals who believed "if fascism could be stopped in Spain, a larger war would not break out," and he wasted no time making himself useful. When Bethune left Madrid less than a year later, he had created and implemented a mobile blood transfusion unit, the first of its kind, that treated soldiers right at the front and drastically reduced fatalities. He was also on the verge of collapse, drinking heavily and making enemies on all sides.

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