Is every book an activism book?

June 11, 2009

Mark Hawthorne (activism expert and author of Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism, which we reviewed over here) has a new post up about the recent explosion of animal activism books that’s occurred over the past year, and it fascinates me for (at least) two reasons.

First of all, wow, there are a lot of books coming out on this topic! I’m trying to figure out if it’s the whole “niche-ification” thing in action, where it’s simply not enough to publish a general purpose activism book anymore, or if it’s an example of Mark Evans’ theory of the onset of DIY creation culture where, as he says, “people who would have never thought about writing a book are now getting the opportunity to do so because they been working on their writing chops for the past few years, built an audience, and shown publishers there may be a market.”

Secondly, I think Mark’s headline of “Activism Guides for Everyone” is an apt one. These books are suitable for anyone who wants to do what’s in the title. The thing of it is, though, that while these books are all relatively new, every book I’ve read in the past 10 years has been about animal activism. No kidding: when I read something, a part of my mind tries to apply it to outreach. There are the obvious matches like business books etc., but even fiction triggers this effect in my brain, like when a character says a line of dialogue that doesn’t have anything to do with veganism but makes me think about human nature and how people are wired and how best to approach the psychological buttons that we all have.

Thankfully TV doesn’t hit me the same way or I’d never get anything done 🙂

All that said, I’m really glad to see this trend. It’s a whole lot easier to get key concepts without that translation layer in between, and the titles alone are enough to inspire action in people who spot them on the shelves, so it’s a clear win. And hey, maybe I’m an outlier on this one, or maybe not – what happens when you read? Do you have any books that you think are great for activism even if they don’t say so in the title?

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