The opening of the little rad book shop in the County – Diggers Books & Zines at #2568 County Road 13 – is only two days away!
As promised in my previous post, this time around I’ll explain why the shop is being called Diggers, and I’ll also highlight a few of the titles I’ve been putting on the shelves. Other books and zines will be featured here regularly so if you’re interested in seeing more of what’s in-store, follow the blog or come on down to the shop sometime and browse.
Though I dig digging around bookstores, that’s not why I chose the name. The reason is that it seemed fitting because The Diggers were a group of radicals in England in the 1700s associated with agrarian socialism and sometimes seen as forerunners of modern anarchism. If you want to hear a great song that explains what they were about, check this out by Billy Bragg.
Further, the Diggers were originally known as True Levellers and later became known as Diggers because of their attempts to farm on common land. Their original name came from their belief in economic equality. The Diggers tried “leveling” land to reform the existing social order with an agrarian lifestyle based on their ideas for the creation of small egalitarian rural communities. They were one of a number of nonconformist dissenting groups that emerged around that time. From the Norman Conquest in 1066 on, the Diggers argued that the “common people of England had been robbed of their birthrights and exploited by the ruling-class.”
This is also a good song based on the old English Rebel song The Diggers. This version is by Chumbawamba.
On to the books…Here are a few of the titles we’ll have on hand when we open Saturday.
If you’ve been looking for The Big Gay Alphabet Colouring Book – and who hasn’t? – we’ve got it. We’ve also got Girls Aren’t Chicks and the Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon colouring books.
Staying on the family theme, there’s Rad Dads, and also Rad Families – A Celebration. Here’s a bit of a description from PM Press:
“This book honours the messy, the painful, the playful, the beautiful, the myriad ways we create families. This is not an anthology of experts, or how-to articles on perfect parenting; it often doesn’t even try to provide answers. Instead, the writers strive to be honest and vulnerable in sharing their stories and experiences.
Some contributors are recognizable authors and activists but most are everyday parents working and loving and trying to build a better world one diaper change at a time. It’s a book that reminds us all that we are not alone, that community can help us get through the difficulties, can, in fact, make us better people.”
If the environment is something you’re interested in, The Line in the Tar Sands provides a critical analysis of the impact of the tar sands and the challenges opponents face in their efforts to organize effective resistance. Yet, despite the formidable political and economic power behind the tar sands, the book shows how people are actively building international networks of resistance, challenging pipeline plans while resisting threats to Indigenous sovereignty and democratic participation. The book is written by leading voices involved in the struggle including, among others, Angela Carter, Bill McKibben, Brian Tokar, Clayton Thomas-Muller, Crystal Lameman, , Emily Coats, Eriel Deranger, Greg Albo, , Jesse Cardinal, Joshua Kahn Russell, Lilian Yap, Linda Capato, Macdonald Stainsby, Rex Weyler, Ryan Katz-Rosene, Sâkihitowin Awâsis, Sonia Grant, Tony Weis, Tyler McCreary, Winona LaDuke, and Yves Engler. The editors’ proceeds from the book are being donated to frontline grassroots environmental justice groups and campaigns.
Looking for fiction? Aside from some excellent books in our used fiction section, there are some new titles as well. Clandestine Occupations by Diana Block is fiction but the author has first hand experience from which to draw on for her character Luba Gold.
Luba makes the difficult decision to go underground to support the Puerto Rican independence movement. When her collective is targeted by an FBI sting, she escapes with her baby but leaves behind a sensitive envelope that is being safeguarded by a friend. Ten years later, when Luba emerges again, a discovery is made that means even more difficult decisions.
Told from the points of view of five different women who cross paths with Luba over four decades, Clandestine Occupations‘s refreshingly puts the emphasis on social relationships in difficult times rather than spy plots.
Unfree Labour? Struggles of Migrant and Immigrant Workers in Canada by Aziz Choudry and Adrian A. Smith
An informative book, engaging, moving and especially relevant if you live in the County. I’m really hoping to have a discussion night at Diggers on this one.
Ideas for Action by Cynthia Kaufman is one of my favourites in the shop because of the accessible and engaging writing and how it gives the intellectual tools we need to, as the jacket says, “turn discontent into a plan of action.” In fact, check out the Goodreads reviews. People rave about it.
I love food and cooking, especially dishes from other parts of the world, so I wanted to include a couple of copies in the shop of Mango and Mint – Arabian, Indian, and North African Inspired Vegan Cuisine by Nicky Garratt.
It’s not only pretty to look at but has menus for both buffet style and formal sit-down meals and there’s a section about Recycled section has recipes for wild plants , and things like watermelon rinds and leftovers. And yes, this is Nicky Garratt of U.K. Subs.
Lastly, because I have friends who are into comics, I thought I should bring in a copy of Anarchy Comics. This was a series produced by the San Francisco based publisher Last Gasp, between 1978 and 1987. There were 4 anthologies and they’re together in this one volume. It includes a mixture of fiction, history, commentary, and artwork, with wide ranges in style and format. You can check out the contributors list here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchy_Comics
Well, that’s it but I will post again tomorrow with the mayhem of getting ready for opening day and a peak at a few zines.
Until then, thanks for taking the time to read this.