If you know the two of us you know that we both read a lot, across a wide range of disciplines, seeking out books that enrich our understanding of the more-than-human world, books that shed light on how we as a species got into the mess we are in, books that offer frameworks for comprehension of and resistance to the forces that are destroying Life here on Earth.
And so, after years of requests, we are making a podcast based around the books we read. Most of you come here to read about herbal medicine, and this podcast is not about herbs, although plants and healing do come up in our conversations. Instead, we chose to pan out, to take in the hawk’s-eye view of the world, to discuss the broader systems and forces that affect our lives, our health, and yes, our healing work.
For the podcast, which is called The Book on Fire we choose books that challenge us, that alter our perceptions, that benefit from collective reading. We choose books that you may wish you had read, but haven’t had time or energy. Or maybe you have read them but wish you had someone to talk over the content with. While we discuss a particular book or essay, you can either read along with us or just listen to our discussion.
The first book we are reading together is Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Cthulucene by Donna J. Haraway. We chose this book because it is an imaginative and playful response to these troubled times. In it, Haraway urges us to reject the two dominant approaches to the catastrophe we inhabit, either waiting for a techno-fix to arrive and save us all, or declaring Game Over: it’s too late, there is nothing to be done. She explores ways to stay in the present, to bear witness to the ongoing atrocity without succumbing to despair, to work across species and kingdom to find solutions and ways to co-operate and co-evolve.
The world of academia at its best provides space for people to come together to generate ideas and solutions. At its worst, it is an ivory tower that only some can access. We want to include everyone in the conversation as we read and discuss books that illuminate these troubled times. Consider this your formal invitation. Join our invisible college.
You can find The Book on Fire podcast on iTunes, Google Play and most places where podcasts are found. The home page for the show is here, where you can download or stream all the episodes, and find a link to our feed.
Hope you’ll join us!