Monday, June 8, 2020

The Scene That Became Cities: What Burning Man Philosophy can Teach Us About Building Better Communities, by Caveat Magister (Benjamin Wachs). North Atlantic Books, 2019

Burning Man has gone from two families on a beach to a huge annual gathering of artists, spiritual seekers, partiers, sex-positive groups, volunteers, and much, much more. I don’t think you could possibly call it any one thing; it contains multitudes. I wanted to know more about it, so when this book was offered, I grabbed at it.

Sadly, I was disappointed. I figured that anything about an event that sounds as fascinating as Burning Man does would be extremely interesting, but I didn’t find this book to be interesting at all. It was not totally uninteresting; I did learn some things, but I suspect that it’s one of those things that is hard to describe.

The philosophy of Burning Man could help us build better communities, where everyone can follow their passion- but they also have to help pick up the trash. It requires some really heavy volunteerism and participation. Which is really how I wish the world was run. But I suspect that the event has to be experienced, not described.  I had to force myself to finish the book.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Tall Tales and Wee Stories, by Billy Connolly. Two Roads, 2019

There is no plot to this book, but that’s okay. Connolly is one of the funniest people I know of, and his style of funny is not jokes or terse anecdotes; he starts talking about one subject, veers off in a Grandpa Simpson way (except the detour actually has a point), goes back to the main thread, veers again, finally gets to the end, in the process saying “f***” about 500 times and bringing sex into the story at least once. By the time I get to the end of the story, I’m lying on my side, tears running down, gasping and wheezing and trying not to wake my husband, because I stayed up  a good deal of the night reading, unable to quit. So, yeah, I liked the book. I wish I could have seen Connolly perform live, but at least I’ve seen him on TV enough that, as I read the book, I heard it being told in his voice.