2011's best in rabble book lounge reviews

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Holiday reading picks and highlights.

It's been a busy year in the lounge! This year's highlights include comedy for contrarians, vegan dieting, dissent deconstructed, revolutionary memoirs and books that undermine Harper's omnibus crime bill.

Here is a month by month look at rabble's top reviews from 2011. Click the book titles to view the full review.

January

Harper's Team by Tom Flanagan

Harperland by Lawrence Martin

Reviewed by Am Johal

Am Johal dissects two books on Stephen Harper, Harper's Team by Tom Flanagan and Harperland by Lawrence Martin, that tackle the rise of the Conservative Party in Canada and how our country can begin to envision and rebuild a social democratic vision that will inspire the country.

February

Other Tongues edited by Adebe De Rango-Adem and Andrea Thompson

Reviewed by May Lui

May Lui reflects on the personal essays, poetry and visual art in Other Tongues edited by Adebe De Rango-Adem and Andrea Thompson, a collection that brings to light the heartening and frustrating experiences and issues of women of mixed race identities.

March

Satiristas by Paul Provenza and Dan Dion

Reviewed by Charles Demers

Charles Demers delves into his own experiences and those of writer Dan Dion -- along with Paul Provenza -- of Comedians, Contrarians, Raconteurs & Vulgarians, and celebrates those comedians who choose to straddle the line between politically minded satire and wise-cracking blows and their engaging critiques.

April

The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman

Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World by Bob Torres and Jenna Torres

May of Mud Creek by Caitlin Black

Generation V: The Complete Guide to Going, Being, and Staying Vegan as a Teenager by Claire Askew

Reviewed by Jessica Rose

In part one of a two-part review Jessica Rose glimpses into the book lounge's second instalment of rabble.ca's vegan challenge with four books with different approaches on veganism. The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman provides easy and go-to solutions for vegan eaters looking to substitute old family recipes and learn fun facts about veganism.

Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World by Bob Torres and Jenna Torres provides an at times abrasive stance on local, organic, free-range and so-called ethical farming practices and useful information on life with a non-vegan partner, raising vegan children and how to deal with vegetarians and ex-vegans.

May of Mud Creek by Caitlin Black graphically illustrates the Canadian factory farming industry as told through the eyes of young protagonist Mary and provides useful notes about agribusiness and animal rights.

Generation V: The Complete Guide to Going, Being, and Staying Vegan as a Teenager by Claire Askew is part personal insight to the issues of being a vegan while young and still living at home and part well-researched facts on staying healthy, vegan activism and insight into factory farming.

Ripe from Around Here by jae steele

Reviewed by Jessica Rose

Rose again provides her insights into the world of veganism reviewing Ripe from Around Here by jae steele, a collection of recipes combining the vegan and local food movements and thought-provoking texts that encourage readers to savour food and value its characteristics and joys.

May

Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism: On the Road To Economic, Social and Ecological Decay by Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler

Reviewed by Stefan Christoff

Stefan Christoff travels the narrative of car culture and capitalism with Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism: On the Road To Economic, Social and Ecological Decay by Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler, a book that fuses hard facts and history of the car industry with North America's dirty relationship with cars.

June

Black Bloc, White Riot: Anti-Globalization and the Genealogy of Dissent by AK Thompson

Reviewed by Dave Mitchell

David Mitchell adds personal colour to his review of Black Bloc, White Riot: Anti-Globalization and the Genealogy of Dissent by AK Thompson recounting the first day of demonstrations at the Summit of Americas protests in Quebec City, foreshadowing the uncrossed threshold that is the anti-globalization movement and the limitations and possibilities of street protests as critical to revolutionary transformation.

June

The Next Eco Warriors: 22 Young Women and Men Who are Saving the Planet edited by Emily Hunter

Reviewed by Derrick O'Keefe

Derrick O'Keefe passionately sides with Emily Hunter and the collection of short stories she has assembled in The Next Eco Warriors: 22 Young Women and Men Who are Saving the Planet, with the notion that hope is not a distant dream and this generation of environmental activists can create an opportunity for a stronger and more inclusive global environmental movement.

August

Come Hell or High Water: A Handbook on Collective Process Gone Awry by Delfina Vannucci and Richard Singer

Reviewed by Sonia Edworthy

Sonia Edworthy champions Come Hell or High Water: A Handbook on Collective Process Gone Awry by Delfina Vannucci and Richard Singer as a necessary critical analysis of the egalitarian collective process because it provides refreshing clarifications, critiques and deconstructions of this process for those already immersed in it.

September

Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre

Reviewed by Noreen Mae Ritsema

Noreen Ritsema relates the courage and bravery of Carmen Aguirre expressed in memoir Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, a story of both Aguirre's personal involvement in the Chilean resistance movement from the age of 11 and Chilean history, which Aguirre insists is an important part of Canadian history because of the Canadian involvement in the resistance.

October

The Antagonist by Lynn Coady

Reviewed by Nathaniel G. Moore

Nathaniel G. Moore imagines visions of Oscar Wilde and business executives luncheons during his review of The Antagonist by Lynn Coady, a revealing dissection of the male psyche nestled in cultural stereotypes and male entitlement.

November

What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety

Reviewed by Joanna Chiu

Joanna Chiu takes an honest look at Jaclyn Friedman's What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety, revealing that the interactive guide's dismantling of insidious ideas about sex and dating is not only possible, but fun and transformative.

December

Fearmonger: Stephen Harper's Tough on Crime Agenda by Paula Mallea

Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney

Reviewed by Matthew Behrens

Matthew Behrens compares two drastically different books and their outlooks on the Harper government's omnibus crime bill: Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney and Fearmonger: Stephen Harper's Tough on Crime Agenda by Paula Mallea. Moroney's account of her convicted husband's journey through the court systems and now prison, advocates a need for support for those in the system to address the root causes of their crimes, but also for the families left behind by the court system. Mallea's in-depth analysis dissects each of the crime agenda's proposals based on her own extensive background in criminal law, expert voices and common sense arguments to conclude that punishment for punishment's sake will only result in costly billions and a less safe society.

Kaitlin McNabb is a Vancouver-based writer and intern at rabble.ca.

Dear rabble.ca reader... Can you support rabble.ca by matching your mainstream media costs? Will you donate a month's charges for newspaper subscription, cable, satellite, mobile or Internet costs to our independent media site?

related items

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.