Thursday, May 2, 2013

Weekly Book Post (Alone Together, Present Shock, Little Bookstore, Sticks and Stones, and Mind in the Making)


I've read a bunch of good books this week.

Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other by Sherry Turkle  is a fascinating look at how humans are psychologically affected by technology.  The first half of the book (less interesting to me) was about robots and all the little fake pets and so forth that we use as well as the possible future of robots standing in for human relationships.  The second half of the book looks at The Network of internet and smart phones and how we are both more and less connected to others through the network.

This paired really well with another book that I read:

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by David Rushkoff is another look at how technology has changed us.  Rushkoff focused on how we perceive time, rather than on relationships, and has some fascinating bits about our biological clocks and how we perceive time.  However, Rushkoff doesn't give a lot of detail or refer to research, and that was a bit off-putting to me.  I like my research. :)

What came through to me from these two books is this one simple truth: we are biological beings.  We have tools and technology, and using those does change how we live our lives.  But the mistake we make is when we forget that they are tools, and when we try to change ourselves to match the tool rather than the tool to match us.


The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch is a memoir of people choosing a different life and following their dream, which was in this case to start a little used bookstore in a small town.  Welch's writing is fun and funny, and I found myself wishing I could go visit their little bookstore.  It also made me feel pretty bad that I don't shop at small local stores in my town more often!  Support your local businesses!  (I have made a trip to our local bookstore this week, but my husband says I can't start buying all these books - I am a library user and I need to stay one!).

Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky is full of all the research detail that I like when I read.  Gallinsky has culled from many studies about how the brain develops in early childhood and about what skills are correlated with success in academics and life in general, and she has also interviewed real parents and examined successful programs.  The seven skills she says are the most important for your child to have are: focus and self-control, perspective taking, communication, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed engaged learning.  She gives suggestions for parents in how to strengthen all the areas.  I loved that almost every section suggested that the best thing a parent can do is model these skills and behaviors in their own life!

The last book I read this week is Sticks and Stones.  I wrote a blog post about it on my other blog, The Childrens Chalice.

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