5 Books to Read Instead of Watching Eurovision 2024 🇵🇸

Friday 3 May 2024

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I love Eurovision - I normally watch it either with family or friends. But this year, like thousands (if not millions) of others, I will not be tuning in due to the hypocrisy of Eurovision refusing the ban Israel from participating despite their continued bombardment of and genocide in Gaza while rightfully banning Russia days after they invaded Ukraine. 

My friend Anna-Marie made a YouTube video discussing 5 books you could read instead of watching Eurovision, and as a booknerd myself this got me thinking about some other books that could be relevant. So, if you think you’re going to be bored while Eurovision is on and need some distraction for solidarity, here are 5 books I recommend that you could read instead. 

There is still time for Eurovision to boycott Israel. I have put together a resource list with information about how you can contact performers, country representatives, hosts, sponsors and show-organisers about the boycott, petitions and other campaigns such as Queers for Palestine who are taking action. You can access that here.

Palestine +100 edited by Basma Ghalayini

I read this book as part of Shado Mag’s book club and I’m so happy I joined this year. This is a short story collection written entirely by Palestinian writers imagining life in Palestine 100 years after the first Nakba, so 2048. These stories are all science fiction, and vary a huge amount - from alternate realities and different dimensions for different states to inhospitable environments and haunting noises. Palestine +100 ultimately asks, will Palestine ever truly be free?

Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y Davis

Angela Davis is one of my favourite writers and this is the first book that really made me understand the connection between Israel's apartheid regime and police oppression and brutality across the world. This is a collection of Angela Davis’ speeches, interviews, and essays from throughout the years all focusing on the theme of freedom and state violence - from the legacies of previous liberation struggles and movements to the ones we fight now and their interconnectedness.  

Border Nation by Leah Cowan

In Border Nation, Leah Cowan looks at borders – how we interact with them on a daily basis, how they impact our movements, how they are monetized through the prison industrial complex and the colonial history of their formation. This is mostly from a UK perspective, which I think is really valuable as often a lot of these conversations can be US-centric, making it seem like Britain is innocent when we really are not. This book expertly breaks down so many myths around immigration, borders and freedom of movement. A must read. Leah Cowan has a new book coming out soon called Why Would Feminists Trust the Police? and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.

Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde’s work is unbeatable. This collection encompasses some of her poetry and essays, all of which are beautifully crafted. While this whole collection is valuable and should be read, I would like to highlight two essays in particular that I think are especially relevant to liberation in Palestine: Poetry is Not a Luxury and The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House. Poetry is Not a Luxury looks at how art is essential for survival and now makes me think of the poetry of Gazans and Palestinians fighting for survival over the decades such as ‘If I Must Die’ by Refaat Alareer and ‘Fuck Your Lecture on Craft, My People Are Dying’ by Noor Hindi. 

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Okay, major trigger warnings for this book. Sexual assault, violence, racist violence, murder, slavery, suicide and suicidal ideations. It’s a lot. But this book is also one of the best I’ve read recently. Octavia Butler is a mastermind, her writing is just incredible. Another science fiction story, Kindred is set in the 1970s and focuses on Dana, a young black woman who gets pulled back in time to save the life of a white boy in 1815. Turns out this white boy is her ancestor. Kindred is a fascinating look at hierarchies, dehumanisation, power, freedom, struggle and joy, as well as how those unjust systems are maintained. The characters have such complicated relationships and it’s fascinating to see how those change. Octavia Butler is such an incredible writer.

If you liked this post you might like: My Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2023

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