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These are books that get at what I think is the fundamental, primary political issue that can be the underlying value for regenerating progressive politics in our country, and that value is the common good versus private greed. George W. and gang, of course, are hell-bent to turn anything public over to the private sector, and the Democrats are offering only modest objection. I find that most people in the country have, deep within their hearts, this value of the common good, the notion that we’re all in this together. And if we were to refocus our politics instead of just “here’s an issue, there’s an issue:’ but focus in on this value of what I consider the ethic of the common good versus the ethic of greed, then we could rally a majority constituencyyou know, as I say not just the bean sprout-eaters but the snuff-dippers. Author and columnist Jim Hightower is a former editor of the Observer. Power Politics tells us, among other things, how Enron moved to take over India’s electrical power production. What Enron has done to America seems not so bad in comparison. Then there is the Big Dam thing. Two companiesneither had ever built a dam beforeconspired to build a thousand of them through central India to produce electricity that no one could use and displace fifty-six million people in the process. The wonders of globalization are revealed: “The Reincarnation of Rumplestiltskin” is the subtitle of the essay. The Supreme Court of India was so put out by Arundhati Roy that they declared the “… Judicial // process and institution cannot be permitted to // be scandalized or subjected to contumacious violation in such a blatant manner as has been done by her [Ms. Roy] …vicious stultification and vulgar debunking cannot be allowed to pollute the stream of justice..:’ I can’t get enough of the stuff myself. Staff photographer Alan Pogue’s current at the Narciso Martinez Cultural Center in San Benito through August 16, and will then travel to Austin. Lutes does marvelously complex graphic novelsa.k.a. comic books. If you’re still harboring ridiculously schoolteacherish prejudices against this medium, get the fuck over it. Berlin is a fascinating document of the German capital from September 1928 to May Day 1929. The main characters are ideally positioned to bear witness to the political and cultural climate of this pivotal eight-month period. But Lutes also includes average citizens caught up in the economic and political upheaval. Their stories are all too relevant today, when we often find ourselves looking at our fellow citizens and wondering, “But how can you believe/espouse that?” Meticulously researched and beautifully rendered in Lutes’ distinctively clean drawing style. For adults. Roxanne Bogucka is senior editor, cinema, for and the copy editor for the Observer. Remember when the movie came out, and it seemed like a teen flick revolving around Leonardo DiCaprio? And there was additional hype about how American film crews were less than exemplary in their treatment of the island in Thailand where the movie was filmed? The book, which I read before renting the video, had so much more information and was so riveting and interesting that I plowed through it in a day or two. It takes a good, hard look at certain aspects of tourism that are kind of bogus, such as the search for the perfect, non-tourist place to visit as a tourist. Plus, it gave me a hankering for salt water, which is what summer reading is all about! Contributing artist Penny Van Horn lives in South Austin. When not on the phone asking Texas writers what they’re reading, Observer intern Emily DePrang can sometimes be found in the library at UT-Austin. ROXANNE BOGUCKA Berlin: City of Stones by Jason Lutes JIM HIGHTOWER Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth by David Bollier Who Owns the Sky?: Our Common Assets and the Future of Capitalism by Peter Barnes America’s Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters by Ruy A. Teixeira and Joel Rogers ALAN POGUE Power Politics by Arundhati Roy PENNY VAN HORN The Beach by Alex Garland MAW .76