BOOK CLUB

The Holland Book Club is an informal selection of what we’re currently reading, digging, and thinking about – as it relates to some of Holland’s core tenets – art, music, culture, community, social justice, and youth. We update our recs every few months, and will be offering additional programming and resources for the selections along the way, so stay tuned for talks, meet-ups, interviews and more!


MIRROR SOUND

A Look Into the People and Processes Behind Self-Recorded Music

Recording music: expensive, arcane ritual or weekend bedroom hobby? Both! Does a song produced in the hallowed, high-ceilinged hallways of Abbey Road Studios belong in the same playlist as a song recorded via VoiceMemo in grandma’s hallway closet? Of course!

Mirror Sound is an articulate and beautiful counterpoint to the endless catalogue of books about the famous, big-time studios of the world. With the computer age, many barriers to recording, financial, technical and others, have come toppling down, but self-recording musicians like Emmitt Rhodes – who released Beatles-quality albums from his home studio in the early 70s – have been proving for decades that you can do it yourself.

Spencer Tweedy explores the diversity and raw creative energy of self-recording through natural dialogues with Rhodes and the many musicians that comprise the book, Jay Som, Phil Elverum, Vagabon, R.A.P Ferreira and more. They talk about home-studio histories, gear and the lack thereof, recording techniques, and the magic/terror of being your own engineer. Daniel Topete’s photos are just as candid, in their own way: unmade beds, tape machines, personal computers, teeming webs of cables – everything is an invitation to come on in, check out the studio, and maybe record a little something yourself. –Ilya Arbatman

Additional exploration:
Holland’s Introduction to Home Recording Workshop!
The Current – Mirror Sound Talk
Vulture – Spencer Tweedy Interview
Rolling Stone – Home Recording


MUTATIONS

The many strange faces of hardcore punk

In what feels like an altogether new take on the late-century American underground punk music worlds, noted enfant terrible Sam McPheeters earnestly and curiously inquires and reflects on the culture and his deep time within as another type of fandom, not unlike Dungeons and Dragons, Star Trek, or stamp collecting. This angle isn’t dismissive, however–McPheeters is a consummate geek; critical, self-aware, and yet still possessing the cool that owes to rocknroll. Now in his early fifties (!), novelist and once acerbic hardcore vocalist of wild and outlier punk projects Born Against, Mens Recovery Project, and Wrangler Brutes, now softens slightly to show up and give his story, already much publicly mythologized, but now-so less aggrandized and with much more connective tissue to unexpected territories of punk.

In “Mutations”, McPheeters writes to wrangle some huge lasso around this great big world and network, community, culture or whatever anthropologists may already call it; beginning (perhaps) in the late 1960s and (perhaps) continuing today. Aware of the difficulties of nomenclature, McPheeters insists on something, landing “hardcore punk” as the most proximate. Using select (and wildly disparate) individual bands and even venues as chapter essays, the book feels much like Michael Azerrad’s excellent “Our Band Could Be Your Life”, with a more personal memoir approach–each band defining “hardcore punk” through McPheeters by way of distinct genres, annecdotes, and even decades. 

Find an in-depth audio interview from December with McPheeters on “Turned Out A Punk”, the excellent podcast hosted by Damian Abraham, vocalist for the progressive-art-hardcore-punk band Fucked Up, and geeky punk historian. McPheeters’ instagram/stories are also hilarious and incredible. 

For fans of “Please Kill Me”, “Girl in a Band”, “Just Like Kids”, “Our Band Could Be Your Life” –Austin Pratt


BLACK FUTURES


Organized by curator Kimberly Drew and journalist Jenna Wortham, Black Futures is a powerful collection of artworks, essays, lyrics, memes, screenshots, film stills, social media posts, recipes, interviews, and more from over 150 black creators, brought together with the aim to answer the question “What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?”

Flipping through Black Futures, it feels like a massive achievement and it’s not the kind of book you pick up to absorb cover to cover in a single day. Certainly, you could try, but that would be missing the point. Everything about the design enables the reader to start and end where they like at any time, offering the opportunity for discovery and re-discovery in the long term – something you will return to for years!

Maybe read a few sections, put the book down, then search for the artists on social media, read an interview, watch a video. The editors encourage lots and lots of outside exploration, as these projects are happening in real-time. They are also clear to state that their intention is not to create the end-all-be-all document, but to instead capture a moment and “to nod to those who we admire who are making history”.  Black Futures is evidence of the work of a generation and part of a lineage of important archival work that will continue on, so take your time to be inspired by it and to imagine the future you want. 

Additional exploration:
@museummammy & @jennydeluxe on Instagram
Stay tuned: Black Futures Insta Guide and Blog, Parts 1-2


ALL WE CAN SAVE

Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Climate change. Two words that, when put together, evoke all kinds of emotional responses– sadness, anger, fear, or maybe even deep and desolate confusion. No matter where you fall along the spectrum of human reactions, this book is for you.  All We Can Save dives deep into the nuance of what, exactly, “climate change” means for us, those with the power to change climate change itself. Staring down existential threat with a collection of sincerely curated essays, poems, and art, this is a powerful read that centers the voices and visions of the women & non-binary feminists who are leading the movement toward climate solutions. Described as “both a balm and a guide,” this book is designed to prepare us for the most essential survival work of the next decade — learning to harness our strength and collective power to radically transform our society into one that is just, fair, compassionate, equitable, healing, creative, and rooted in solutions. If you feel inspired, or if you feel intimidated, hop on board. No matter who you are or what skills you feel you have, you are essential– “to change everything, we need everyone.” –Sierra Jickling

Additional exploration (locally focused):
@sunrisemvmtreno, @nvclimate.alliance, @patagoniareno


MEDIOCRE

The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

Tackling everything from problematic family members, to the roots of Western cowboy mythology, to politics, to the NFL, to housing and labor, to women in the workplace, education, and much more – this book is a journey. Familiar terrain for the huge percentage of us that are not men, or are non-white men specifically –  this book is an important and illuminating read, packing known emotions and experiences with bits of history, vital details, current events and critical, but accessible, commentary and critique. White supremacy and certainly the patriarchy are nothing new – we’ve been here before (we’ve always been here…), but reading this book as the pandemic rages on, as white supremacists attack the Capitol and our neighborhoods and occupy seats of power (political or otherwise), as more than 5 million women (mostly women of color and mothers) have lost their jobs – setting them back decades, as the wealth gap only gets wider and wider, as social media companies sow division and hate, as opportunities for young people evaporate, as survival just gets harder….we quickly see how the patriarchy and upholding sexist/racist systems hurts everyone, including the white men who believe they benefit. This book is restorative, in a sense, for those who want to put voice or evidence to their frustrations and pain, and a call for us to collectively be better. 

Additional exploration:
@ijeomaoluo on Instagram
Brooklyn Library Book Talk (peep upcoming and past programs too, for related themes/threads)
The Cut – All Work and No Pay


MUTUAL AID

Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the next)

Mutual aid is the radical act of caring for each other while working to change the world.

Around the globe, people are faced with a spiralling succession of crises, from the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change-induced fires, floods, and storms to the ongoing horrors of mass incarceration, racist policing, brutal immigration enforcement, endemic gender violence, and severe wealth inequality. As governments fail to respond to—or actively engineer—each crisis, ordinary people are finding bold and innovative ways to share resources and support the vulnerable.
 
Survival work, when done alongside social movement demands for transformative change, is called mutual aid.

This book is about mutual aid: why it is so important, what it looks like, and how to do it. It provides a grassroots theory of mutual aid, describes how mutual aid is a crucial part of powerful movements for social justice, and offers concrete tools for organizing, such as how to work in groups, how to foster a collective decision-making process, how to prevent and address conflict, and how to deal with burnout.  
 
Writing for those new to activism as well as those who have been in social movements for a long time, Dean Spade draws on years of organizing to offer a radical vision of community mobilization, social transformation, compassionate activism, and solidarity.

Additional exploration (locally focused!):
@unitedfederationoftheuniverse, @renoburritoproject, @renoinitiative, @renosparksactivism, @renoactivist, @natty9toes, & @fianevada on Instagram
@PLANevada & @renofreedomaid on Twitter


Where can I find these books?
You can reserve books at our local library for pick-up or can purchase any of the above selections from Sundance Books. PLUS! Sundance Books offers 20% off book club selections if you tell them you’re in the Holland Book Club!

Events + Additional Resources
Peep back here for more virtual discussions and programs, workshops, guides, articles, resources, and more! Items, events, and opps added weekly. <3

Previous HP Book Club Selections
Fall/Winter 2020 – Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong, Begin Again by Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Making Spaces Safer by Shawna Potter, Pocket Change Collective Series, and Make Time For Creativity by Brandon Stousy.