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Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism

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From artist, activist, and Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova, a guerilla guide to radical protest and joyful political resistance. The face of modern protest is wearing a brightly colored ski mask. Nadya Tolokonnikova, founding member of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot, is a creative activist, professional protestor, brazen feminist, shocking visual artist, and fo From artist, activist, and Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova, a guerilla guide to radical protest and joyful political resistance. The face of modern protest is wearing a brightly colored ski mask. Nadya Tolokonnikova, founding member of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot, is a creative activist, professional protestor, brazen feminist, shocking visual artist, and force to be reckoned with. Her spontaneous, explosive approach to political action has involved jumping over barbed wire, kissing police officers, giving guerilla performances in crowded subway cars, and going on a hunger strike to protest the abuse of prisoners. She’s been horse-whipped by police in Sochi, temporarily blinded when officers threw green paint in her eyes, and monitored by the Russian government. But what made Nadya an activist icon overnight happened on February 21, 2012, when she was arrested for performing an anti-Putin protest song in a Moscow church. She was sent to a Russian prison for 18 months and emerged as an international symbol of radical resistance, as calls to “Free Pussy Riot” resounded around the world. With her emblematic ski mask, black lipstick, and unwavering bravery, Nadya has become an emissary of hope and optimism despite overwhelming and ugly political corruption. Read & Riot is structured around Nadya’s ten rules for revolution (Be a pirate! Make your government shit its pants! Take back the joy!) and illustrated throughout with stunning examples from her extraordinary life and the philosophies of other revolutionary rebels throughout history. Rooted in action and going beyond the typical “call your senator” guidelines, Read & Riot gives us a refreshing model for civil disobedience, and encourages our right to question every status quo and make political action exciting—even joyful.


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From artist, activist, and Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova, a guerilla guide to radical protest and joyful political resistance. The face of modern protest is wearing a brightly colored ski mask. Nadya Tolokonnikova, founding member of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot, is a creative activist, professional protestor, brazen feminist, shocking visual artist, and fo From artist, activist, and Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova, a guerilla guide to radical protest and joyful political resistance. The face of modern protest is wearing a brightly colored ski mask. Nadya Tolokonnikova, founding member of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot, is a creative activist, professional protestor, brazen feminist, shocking visual artist, and force to be reckoned with. Her spontaneous, explosive approach to political action has involved jumping over barbed wire, kissing police officers, giving guerilla performances in crowded subway cars, and going on a hunger strike to protest the abuse of prisoners. She’s been horse-whipped by police in Sochi, temporarily blinded when officers threw green paint in her eyes, and monitored by the Russian government. But what made Nadya an activist icon overnight happened on February 21, 2012, when she was arrested for performing an anti-Putin protest song in a Moscow church. She was sent to a Russian prison for 18 months and emerged as an international symbol of radical resistance, as calls to “Free Pussy Riot” resounded around the world. With her emblematic ski mask, black lipstick, and unwavering bravery, Nadya has become an emissary of hope and optimism despite overwhelming and ugly political corruption. Read & Riot is structured around Nadya’s ten rules for revolution (Be a pirate! Make your government shit its pants! Take back the joy!) and illustrated throughout with stunning examples from her extraordinary life and the philosophies of other revolutionary rebels throughout history. Rooted in action and going beyond the typical “call your senator” guidelines, Read & Riot gives us a refreshing model for civil disobedience, and encourages our right to question every status quo and make political action exciting—even joyful.

30 review for Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Vivian

    Q. Fuck you, dear government. Q. You cannot buy the revolution, you can only be the revolution. Tolokonnikova provides a good insiders' view to protest from the guerrilla artist perspective. There's pep talks, real speak, and no sugar coating--there are consequences to confronting power and the state. As an anarchist, I think she has more faith and love for humanity than I do. Q. The future has never promised to be bright, or progressive, or whatever. Things may get worse. Q. The DIY ethos is the Q. Fuck you, dear government. Q. You cannot buy the revolution, you can only be the revolution. Tolokonnikova provides a good insiders' view to protest from the guerrilla artist perspective. There's pep talks, real speak, and no sugar coating--there are consequences to confronting power and the state. As an anarchist, I think she has more faith and love for humanity than I do. Q. The future has never promised to be bright, or progressive, or whatever. Things may get worse. Q. The DIY ethos is the decorporatization of the way you perceive reality. Q. So if you're thinking of starting a punk band or art collective, never allow yourself to be stopped by the imperfection of your craft. I don't see eye to eye with everything Tolokonnikova said, but I respect her. Q. Gender roles are my palette, not my chains.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    This is a great book! Tolokonnikova lays out 10 types of actions one can take to protest against an authority (yes, mainly the government) and gives personal examples of each. Some actions & the thinking behind them are more radical than others - radical as in revolutionary radical, but that may be what we need in the US.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    Everyone needs to read this for the #Resistance.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy DePoy

    Hilarious and thoughtful, Tolokonnikova is obviously a revolutionary in this guide to activism. Can't wait for more people to learn about this incredible woman. Hilarious and thoughtful, Tolokonnikova is obviously a revolutionary in this guide to activism. Can't wait for more people to learn about this incredible woman.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Amar

    Clean, dis-orienting oxygen shot straight into my lungs. Dizzy, but smiling.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Garrett

    Nadya's personal story is enough to get you to read this, and she has a pugilistic narrative style befitting her role in Pussy Riot. There's also a great deal of pathos and honesty and detail in this you won't find anywhere else. On top of all that, this is a manifesto and a guidebook that will be useful for younger resisters moving forward, especially since, like a good lefty, she cites and quotes and provides a reading list. Enjoyable and motivating and not a little bit sad. But there's tools Nadya's personal story is enough to get you to read this, and she has a pugilistic narrative style befitting her role in Pussy Riot. There's also a great deal of pathos and honesty and detail in this you won't find anywhere else. On top of all that, this is a manifesto and a guidebook that will be useful for younger resisters moving forward, especially since, like a good lefty, she cites and quotes and provides a reading list. Enjoyable and motivating and not a little bit sad. But there's tools for that. Thanks, Nadya.

  7. 5 out of 5

    K.m.

    Received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway----------------------------------------- Part punk-inspired guide to political resistance, part memoir, part inspirational asides, this book had a lot going on. I found the 'rules', or suggestions for guerrilla protest a little too abstract. 'Be A Pirate' sounds pretty vague, and while I can see how Tolokonnikova is going for broadly inspiring rules, letting the reader build off them, this didn't quite work for me. Overall the structure of the book Received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway----------------------------------------- Part punk-inspired guide to political resistance, part memoir, part inspirational asides, this book had a lot going on. I found the 'rules', or suggestions for guerrilla protest a little too abstract. 'Be A Pirate' sounds pretty vague, and while I can see how Tolokonnikova is going for broadly inspiring rules, letting the reader build off them, this didn't quite work for me. Overall the structure of the book was a little muddy, going in and out of topics. The more autobiographical parts, where she writes about Pussy Riot's performance/protests, or her experiences in jail, were more concrete and contained a lot on her political beliefs and musings. While I'm not particularly thrilled by Pussy Riot, and I by no means agree with all os Tolokonnikova's beliefs, it's interesting to see behind the scenes of an activist group, how they think and turn those thoughts into protest. The book draws on a range of political thinkers, activists, philosophers, artists, etc and includes an extensive reading list at the end, all of which make a really great inspirational toolbox. Overall I'd say this book hit the joyful/playful and inspiring notes, but was less elucidating as a guide to political resistance. And while this book didn't do it for me, I think it's more a matter of taste.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John

    Written as a stream of consciousness, Nadya shares her experiences and thoughts on the state of things and how we as individuals can still have our say and try to make a difference in the world. It's a fast read and easy to digest, with each chapter (aka Rules) broken into three segments: Words, Deeds & Heroes. Words covers various topics like Questioning the Status Quo, the Prison Industrial Complex and What Putin Has to Do with Trump. Deeds encompasses things we can all do- Dadaism, If the Kids Written as a stream of consciousness, Nadya shares her experiences and thoughts on the state of things and how we as individuals can still have our say and try to make a difference in the world. It's a fast read and easy to digest, with each chapter (aka Rules) broken into three segments: Words, Deeds & Heroes. Words covers various topics like Questioning the Status Quo, the Prison Industrial Complex and What Putin Has to Do with Trump. Deeds encompasses things we can all do- Dadaism, If the Kids are United, Art in Action and Pussy Riot Church (a Russian church that was more like a mini-mart or a venue hall). Heroes explores the figures who've influenced Nadya's life and outlook- King, the Berrigan Brothers, Bell Hooks, Emmeline Pankhurst and Aleksandra Kollontai. Equally intriguing is the recommended reading list at the end of the book, which offers up some pretty good stuff to feed your head and free your mind.  If nothing else, you'll end up with a crash course on activist ideas and a view from the front lines delivered by a person who's still there. 4/5 stars

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lenn

    Read and Riot: a Pussy Riot guide to activism is a guide on how to keep a society democratic and the responsibilities we have to take as citizens, vowen together with Nadya Tolokonnikovas' personal life experiences, as well as short stories about her heroes, people as vastly different as ancient philosophers, authors from the 19th century, and modern musicians. It's so very good and I highly recommend it! (Except maybe the chapter about not trusting doctors... Which I get, but it can also be a b Read and Riot: a Pussy Riot guide to activism is a guide on how to keep a society democratic and the responsibilities we have to take as citizens, vowen together with Nadya Tolokonnikovas' personal life experiences, as well as short stories about her heroes, people as vastly different as ancient philosophers, authors from the 19th century, and modern musicians. It's so very good and I highly recommend it! (Except maybe the chapter about not trusting doctors... Which I get, but it can also be a bit dangerous considering the spread of the anti-vaxx movement and similar groups). It's pretty USA-centic and even though it's interesting to read comparisons of the political climate in USA and Russia, it's a bit too obvious that it's written for an American audience.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

    Absolutely perfect. Review to come.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Simon Robinson

    I had seen the show trial of these courageous kids on TV years ago. I had even preached about their modern, contextual cover version of The Magnificat one advent, when they had a chop at Putin and the Orthodox hierarchy at Christ the Saviour Cathedral. So when i saw a copy of Read and Riot at Readings, i had to know what this riot grrrl had to say! Earthy. Salty. Blunt. Honest. This is part autobiography, part manifesto, part philosophy/theology, part how-to, all-awesome. Behind the pink balacla I had seen the show trial of these courageous kids on TV years ago. I had even preached about their modern, contextual cover version of The Magnificat one advent, when they had a chop at Putin and the Orthodox hierarchy at Christ the Saviour Cathedral. So when i saw a copy of Read and Riot at Readings, i had to know what this riot grrrl had to say! Earthy. Salty. Blunt. Honest. This is part autobiography, part manifesto, part philosophy/theology, part how-to, all-awesome. Behind the pink balaclava lies a far-sighted, formidable intellect that is truly open, well-read, and, surprisingly, deeply informed by the Biblical narrative and Christian faith [that was totally unexpected!]. 'Putin condemned Pussy Riot for dancing in a church and protecting women's rights, saying that he'll save Christianity from devilish witches like us. it seems that Putin has no clue about early Christianity; otherwise he would know that Christ and his followers were rebels and not Caesars.' This self-confessed nerd girl's insights about the state of the world are well worth a look, even if you aren't attempting to effect change in the body politic. From lugging a car battery to power the guitar, to dumpster-diving to escape the cops, to quoting Wittgenstein and Socrates, you will find this book gripping.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    "Feminism is a liberating tool that can be used by male, female, transgender, transsexual, queer, agender, anybody. Feminism allows me to say: I behave how I like and how I feel, I deconstruct gender roles and play with them, I mix them up voluntarily. Gender roles are my palette, not my chains." "One of the biggest challenges in resisting abusive power is that you constantly have to look for more inspiration and motivation. They beat you, and you don't just bear it, but you find in yourself enou "Feminism is a liberating tool that can be used by male, female, transgender, transsexual, queer, agender, anybody. Feminism allows me to say: I behave how I like and how I feel, I deconstruct gender roles and play with them, I mix them up voluntarily. Gender roles are my palette, not my chains." "One of the biggest challenges in resisting abusive power is that you constantly have to look for more inspiration and motivation. They beat you, and you don't just bear it, but you find in yourself enough courage and mischievous energy to laugh. The key is consistency. Power is abusive pretty consistently. We should be consistent in spotting it and building alternative futures." "Those who lack imagination cannot imagine what is lacking." - slogan in Paris 1968 protests "Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light." - Frida Kahlo

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Christiansen

    I think the challenge with this review is that should not be written in comparison to norms. However, we don't exist in a world without norms. I think as a piece of art work the book is intriguing and memorable. As a book with autobiographical bits and opinions and history and sociology and music and it is also interesting and at times inspiring though the messages are sometimes buried in clunky commentary. The writing style is punk-trains of thought clash with another set or random and or bolde I think the challenge with this review is that should not be written in comparison to norms. However, we don't exist in a world without norms. I think as a piece of art work the book is intriguing and memorable. As a book with autobiographical bits and opinions and history and sociology and music and it is also interesting and at times inspiring though the messages are sometimes buried in clunky commentary. The writing style is punk-trains of thought clash with another set or random and or bolded statements and there is supposed to be power.in that but I find it to be the opposite and a bit flighty. I found I dog-earred pages with Martin Luther King and Chris Hedges beginning quoted or interviewed. I think the author and her fellow activists are inspiring and challenging the neoliberal, globalization world order that isn't really working for most people or the future is important.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joey Lee

    Nadya’s story and political ideas are fascinating. I had some issues with the book however - first, it made bold, general statements that would have been much better delivered together with factual basis; second, its focus on US and Russian political figures was a bit odd, felt like it would have been better to include other examples which were begging to be mentioned; and third, some of the statements were only workable when put in a certain context. I felt like the book could have benefited fr Nadya’s story and political ideas are fascinating. I had some issues with the book however - first, it made bold, general statements that would have been much better delivered together with factual basis; second, its focus on US and Russian political figures was a bit odd, felt like it would have been better to include other examples which were begging to be mentioned; and third, some of the statements were only workable when put in a certain context. I felt like the book could have benefited from more of that.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Davis

    Very motivational. I would consider it a “must-read”, especially in these times

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mel Luna

    Engaging and vulnerable, inspiring and empowering. Definitely glad I picked it up.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Raghad AlKanhal

    Revolution is a state of being, I enjoyed reading this book, NADYA IS AN ACTIVIST, an icon to activism Impressed with her resilience and determination loved her revolutionary spirit, I can relate to this book...... we need this inspiration every now and then to keep ourselves motivated for a better world, where we could live without labeling everything that's different than what we have been told/taught, where we won't live under oppression and fear where we could experience liberation at its core s Revolution is a state of being, I enjoyed reading this book, NADYA IS AN ACTIVIST, an icon to activism Impressed with her resilience and determination loved her revolutionary spirit, I can relate to this book...... we need this inspiration every now and then to keep ourselves motivated for a better world, where we could live without labeling everything that's different than what we have been told/taught, where we won't live under oppression and fear where we could experience liberation at its core she gave me hope, And I thank her for that!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sheixwho

    Great for the start of a new year.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gayle

    I have followed Amy Siskind’s “The Weekly List” https://theweeklylist.org/ blog since she began to warn us that all the chaos and change is not normal, should be recorded, and remembered. Tolokonnikova reminds us that when things happen every day we stop reacting to them. If you think Pussy Riot is just a Russian girl band, think again. The band is purposed to use art to dissent and joins a long, long history of both protests by not only Russian artists, but humanity’s enduring quest to present t I have followed Amy Siskind’s “The Weekly List” https://theweeklylist.org/ blog since she began to warn us that all the chaos and change is not normal, should be recorded, and remembered. Tolokonnikova reminds us that when things happen every day we stop reacting to them. If you think Pussy Riot is just a Russian girl band, think again. The band is purposed to use art to dissent and joins a long, long history of both protests by not only Russian artists, but humanity’s enduring quest to present the reality beside the imagined in art. Pussy Riot plans and executes their dissenting performances to draw attention to these not-normal things and ask us to join in resistance—react. Tolokonnikova’s down-to-earth and common sense statements throughout, I, as a child of the 60s, found familiar and refreshing at the same time. Think “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and turn that into “Absolute power turns everybody in to an absolute shit.” She sees finding joy in acts of subversion simply living by radically different values, and admonishes us that this is not heroism, but will set people and even governments against you—it requires a special kind of determination, belief in your actions, persistence, and courage. I remember the Cold War vividly but never accepted that the Russian people were enemies, so hearing that people are not their governments by a young Russian, especially during Cold War 2.0, is encouraging. The author also points out propaganda the US government is willingly handing over to Putin and his enforcers for free…shitty laws? Look at the US…crappy prisons? Have you seen the for-profit dumps in the US ?...violence against protesters? Seen Ferguson, or Charlottsville? Police killings? Count them in the US. No prisoner right to safety or legal representation? Seen Guantanamo or Abu Ghriab? It’s as if the government is addicted to shooting itself in the foot when it comes to Russia, no different than using violence against countries in the ME expecting to lessen the amount of people who hate us. Until they were arrested for “performing” at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral I knew nothing about them, but in typical American fashion, still thought “Oh, how cool is that?” and still wrote them off as just a Russian girl band. I did not have very high expectations of a manual on resistance. Wow, was I wrong! Tolokonnikova is a very well-read, and intelligent woman, who, unlike a lot of supposed “non-fiction” account writers, actually sources the many expert theories and timeless quotes interspersed throughout the book to back up her points. As a researcher/librarian I am totally impressed with that and the six pages of a Suggested Reading list at the end. Whoa, keep me busy for years!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jason Brown (Toastx2)

    Read & Riot- enthusiasm in the face of political-WTFness Nadya Tolokonnikova (Nadya Tolokno) has been in the news for several years as the band femenist punk band Pussy Riot created memorable disruptions. Eventually arrested for Hooliganism while singing Anti-Putin songs, Tolokno was locked up in a long chain of rights crushing prisons. In her book, Tolokno tells a compelling story of how persistance and resistance are unarguably intertwined. Quote: What happens to different things when they are p Read & Riot- enthusiasm in the face of political-WTFness Nadya Tolokonnikova (Nadya Tolokno) has been in the news for several years as the band femenist punk band Pussy Riot created memorable disruptions. Eventually arrested for Hooliganism while singing Anti-Putin songs, Tolokno was locked up in a long chain of rights crushing prisons. In her book, Tolokno tells a compelling story of how persistance and resistance are unarguably intertwined. Quote: What happens to different things when they are placed in boiling water? - Soft things like eggs become hard. - Hard things like carrots become soft. - Coffee dissolves and permeates everything.. The point of the parable is this: Be like coffee. In prison, I am like coffee. How much more needs to be said about strong vocal women intent on being catalysts of change? Just read this book. Interesting highlights from Read and Riot include - For than 20 quotes I wanted to put in my review before selecting the above - Knowledge that this book was not translated, instead weitten in english.. because it wouldnt have been worth it if it was easy - a surprise statement by Kim Deal ;) Worth noting, Pussy Riot co-founder Maria (Masha) Alyokhina has a number of books out as well. Between the two of them, there is a little mini activism library.

  21. 5 out of 5

    V

    I really appreciated this book and learned more about how awesome Nadya Tolokonnikova is. I also learned a ton about activism in a practical and approachable way. I highly recommend this book. Here are some quotes/thoughts: * When nightmares happen every day, people stop reacting to them. Apathy and indifference win. * I know there is power in an intersectional, inclusive, international union of those who care about people more than money or status. * We never developed the language to discuss the w I really appreciated this book and learned more about how awesome Nadya Tolokonnikova is. I also learned a ton about activism in a practical and approachable way. I highly recommend this book. Here are some quotes/thoughts: * When nightmares happen every day, people stop reacting to them. Apathy and indifference win. * I know there is power in an intersectional, inclusive, international union of those who care about people more than money or status. * We never developed the language to discuss the well-being of the earth as a whole system. * If you have to point to an enemy, our greatest enemy is apathy. * People don’t believe in the enormous power that they have but for some reason don’t use. * Read: Havel’s “The Power of the Powerless” essay. * We’re not broken until we allow ourselves to be broken. * When deeds are faltering, we find words to inspire us. So add this to your checklist: remember to turn on your confidence. You do have power. Together, as a community or movement, we can (and will) make miracles. * I believe in the unity of theory and practice, of words and deeds. * Insert pix: Words-Deeds-Heroes * As a pirate, I’m a sailor and an adventurer... My home is in my heart and in the hearts of those in my tribe.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hutchison

    Read the book out of simple curiosity. An artistic activist. I like to hear opinions from others outside my own country. I thought it would be focused on Russia, although she had plenty to say about Russia, it seemed she had just as much to say about America. Either way it all relates to being an activist. It had the feel of a massive rant. It felt as though she was all over the place yet with a method to her style. Her writing style is as if she is telling you the story on the street with all l Read the book out of simple curiosity. An artistic activist. I like to hear opinions from others outside my own country. I thought it would be focused on Russia, although she had plenty to say about Russia, it seemed she had just as much to say about America. Either way it all relates to being an activist. It had the feel of a massive rant. It felt as though she was all over the place yet with a method to her style. Her writing style is as if she is telling you the story on the street with all language allowed and no redactions or corrections. It was fast moving as though you were with her running from on demonstration to another for a quick set up and performance, then to the next. Some part were funny and made me laugh aloud. Other parts were surprising as she related and quoted other philosophers, writers, activists, etc. I got to give her and all others in Russia respect for being activists in such an authoritarian country. I mean 2 years in a prison colony for hooliganism. What Putin wants Putin gets.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anon

    Rare that I give a book 5 stars. I read political books often. However they're mostly analytical or theoretical and are written in a very dull and boring way. This book was striking. I disregarded Pussy Riot as a dumb third wave feminist,PC, SJW group full of cringe. Couldn't be further from the truth. The reason I came around to Pussy Riot was reading a badly translated version of Comradely Greetings, her letters between Zizek (who im a fan of) and Tolokonnikova. Anyways after hearing about her Rare that I give a book 5 stars. I read political books often. However they're mostly analytical or theoretical and are written in a very dull and boring way. This book was striking. I disregarded Pussy Riot as a dumb third wave feminist,PC, SJW group full of cringe. Couldn't be further from the truth. The reason I came around to Pussy Riot was reading a badly translated version of Comradely Greetings, her letters between Zizek (who im a fan of) and Tolokonnikova. Anyways after hearing about her experiences and her philosophy it encouraged me to read this book. Didnt take me a few days and I finished it rather quickly. The subject matter is fun to read and above all very inspiring and touching. Made me think, kf a bunch of 20 year old girls from Russia can make such a big impact on the world then so can I. Anyways I love the author, she gained a new fan unfortunately I don't speak Russian to follow her anywhere and I'm surprised she wrote this book in English and im astounded at the proficiency of her language skills. Probably my favorite book I've read this year.

  24. 4 out of 5

    James Klagge

    Wow! An impressive book, by an impressive person. The book is a sort of memoir and philosophy of life and manual for action all in one. Though the author grew up in Russia and is not yet in her 30's, apparently she wrote it in English and without a ghost writer (p. 221). It is very well-written, articulate and knowledgeable about life and US culture. The book articulates an anarchistic, anti-facist, non-violent activist way of being in the world that is very engaging and persuasive. It draws on a Wow! An impressive book, by an impressive person. The book is a sort of memoir and philosophy of life and manual for action all in one. Though the author grew up in Russia and is not yet in her 30's, apparently she wrote it in English and without a ghost writer (p. 221). It is very well-written, articulate and knowledgeable about life and US culture. The book articulates an anarchistic, anti-facist, non-violent activist way of being in the world that is very engaging and persuasive. It draws on a huge range of history and culture--US/Russian/world. The author was a philosophy major in college (though I don't believe she completed her degree--not sure) and she quotes from and understands a wide range of philosophers--including Wittgenstein (p. 237)! What's not to love about her and her book. Thanks for this generous offering of life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ludovica Tirone

    It gave me some amazing points to think about, however i did find it a bit all over the places: though i loved the topic (russian activism is strong af), i needed a little more structure to appreciate it more. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience (especially the parts about nadya's experience in jail and her feminist views), i recommend it and i will probably re-read bits here and there to give me motivation to make my revolutions. It was pretty easy to read but it wasn't the most beautiful w It gave me some amazing points to think about, however i did find it a bit all over the places: though i loved the topic (russian activism is strong af), i needed a little more structure to appreciate it more. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience (especially the parts about nadya's experience in jail and her feminist views), i recommend it and i will probably re-read bits here and there to give me motivation to make my revolutions. It was pretty easy to read but it wasn't the most beautiful writing i encountered: you can tell she wrote the english version herself, and that's okay (we get to see her true feelings), but still i wasn't particularily fond on the writing style. but then again, it wasn't the point, i still enjoyed it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sami Eerola

    This book was way better than i expected. It is the autobiography of Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot, but also a political manifesto advocating for a anarchist form of self governance. The book is like a time capsule of current Anarchist thought referencing different far-leftist intellectuals to formulate a critic to current global capitalistic and patriarchal power structure. So this is not just a book that criticizes Putin's Russia, but the whole current world system. The only part that i did not This book was way better than i expected. It is the autobiography of Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot, but also a political manifesto advocating for a anarchist form of self governance. The book is like a time capsule of current Anarchist thought referencing different far-leftist intellectuals to formulate a critic to current global capitalistic and patriarchal power structure. So this is not just a book that criticizes Putin's Russia, but the whole current world system. The only part that i did not like was the book's is its anti medicalist stance that is too closer to science denialism for my taste. But as a book one current leftist ideas this is a great introduction that mixes non-Western perspectives.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    It so impressive that this book even exists, considering what Tolokonnikova has gone through, and also considering that she is writing in English. Her perspective is unique and extremely valuable. This doesn’t mean that I agree with everything she says, especially when she talks about the complementary roles of poetry and political action, and when she waxes eloquent on the transcendence of Bernie Sanders. It also doesn’t mean that it’s uniformly well written: some bits sound a bit like captions It so impressive that this book even exists, considering what Tolokonnikova has gone through, and also considering that she is writing in English. Her perspective is unique and extremely valuable. This doesn’t mean that I agree with everything she says, especially when she talks about the complementary roles of poetry and political action, and when she waxes eloquent on the transcendence of Bernie Sanders. It also doesn’t mean that it’s uniformly well written: some bits sound a bit like captions from inspirational Instagram pages. Still, there’s no denying the power of this text.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Yvette

    “The future has never seemed so full of and rich in wonderful possibilities as when I was in a labor camp and had literally nothing but dreams. Not only prison but also despair, grief, or on the contrary, inexplicable joy and unconditional love—basically any transgressive situation—opens in your magic ability that is normally destroyed by adulthood: time when you can dare to dream and imagine.”-Nadya. “There is power in imperfection. Don’t try to be perfect all the time—it’s actually boring.” -N “The future has never seemed so full of and rich in wonderful possibilities as when I was in a labor camp and had literally nothing but dreams. Not only prison but also despair, grief, or on the contrary, inexplicable joy and unconditional love—basically any transgressive situation—opens in your magic ability that is normally destroyed by adulthood: time when you can dare to dream and imagine.”-Nadya. “There is power in imperfection. Don’t try to be perfect all the time—it’s actually boring.” -Nadya

  29. 4 out of 5

    (a)lyss(a)

    This was a wild book to listen to. While I'm familiar with Pussy Riot and Russian history, this book was a deep dive into the details of what it's like living under the Russian government and what the band went through in the work camp and what it takes to build a girl gang. This book is amazing and inspiring and terrifying. There are anecdotes about Pussy Riot and how they organized certain statements and protests as well as general statements about feminism and movements and the future of polit This was a wild book to listen to. While I'm familiar with Pussy Riot and Russian history, this book was a deep dive into the details of what it's like living under the Russian government and what the band went through in the work camp and what it takes to build a girl gang. This book is amazing and inspiring and terrifying. There are anecdotes about Pussy Riot and how they organized certain statements and protests as well as general statements about feminism and movements and the future of politics. Definitely worth the read!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lori R.

    “Magic, witchcraft, and miracles are crucial in any fight for justice. Major people’s movements, like the universe itself, don’t work according to simple linear logic. Understanding this will allow you to retain enough openness and the naive ability to keep being amazed, keep wandering, and be thankful for everything you’ve experienced. That includes prison terms. The non-linear logic of these social movements requires activists to be attentive, sensitive, grateful, and open-minded creatures. Th “Magic, witchcraft, and miracles are crucial in any fight for justice. Major people’s movements, like the universe itself, don’t work according to simple linear logic. Understanding this will allow you to retain enough openness and the naive ability to keep being amazed, keep wandering, and be thankful for everything you’ve experienced. That includes prison terms. The non-linear logic of these social movements requires activists to be attentive, sensitive, grateful, and open-minded creatures. They are pirates and witches. They believe in magic.” - Nadya Tolokonnikova

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