LJDC June Book and Film Recommendations

This Month’s Book and Movie Recommendation
By Marcia Bookstein

Why You Should Be A Socialist
by Nathan J. Robinson
All Points Books (December 10, 2019)336 pages

I finished Capital in the 21st Century on Wednesday the 13th, at 11:03 a.m.  I celebrated in my head–it took three and a half years, and what a slog!  If you’re into equations and minutiae this would be the book for you. Instead I would suggest Why YOU Should Be a Socialist, by Nathan Robinson, founder and editor of Current Affairs. I’ve always loved his articles in The Guardian, and adore his nerdiness and English accent, but his ideas and writing are clear and engaging.  

But why bring up both books in one paragraph? Thomas Piketty makes it a point of saying why growing wealth inequality is bad and may bring on a bloody revolution, and, yes, he does use those words. And wealth inequality has a habit of just keep on growing until it is stopped, and usually it has to be stopped violently as the people with vast wealth are not about to give it up because we ask nicely. Robinson takes a different tack by telling us, first of all, we are probably already socialists, and that society will be better and we will be happier if we just admit this to ourselves and work towards a society that works for everyone. It is more worthwhile to see the destitute among us, get angry, and do something to change it than to pretend that it doesn’t exist or that it can’t be helped.

Right now I’m reading about the exercise he did with his friends and Current Affairs readers on what would make this country a utopia. People came up with the strangest suggestions, but we are invited to think outside the box. For instance, “As many butterflies and parrots in the average city as there currently are pigeons.”  Or, “glass-bottomed airplanes.” He invites us to imagine our own utopia. Mine would be, “The life, thinking, and music of Beethoven would be studied in every high school.” He also tells us what socialism is not: The Soviet Union, China, Venezuela, of course. And he explains why.

But mostly I recommend this book because it is an immensely fun read, highly engaging and entertaining, and you will, as you read, relish your own intelligence by noticing that your thoughts are reinforced and clarified.


Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Directed by Justin Pemberton
Written by Thomas Piketty (based on the book by), Matthew Metcalfe (adapted by)
1h 43min | Documentary
So the moment I finished the book Capital in the 21st Century they come out with the movie! It’s called, Capital in the 21st Century, and it’s highly recommended. Yes, it’s all there, even some of the graphs!  And Thomas Piketty speaks in French with English subtitles, so he can actually be understood!  There is original footage from both World Wars, plus movie footage that gives you a picture of what wealth looked like through the ages. The movie was released by a New Zealand company and is available for twelve dollars for five days of viewing, since it was expected to be shown in theaters. Well worth it!
Enjoy your sequester!