Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice for you, it is easy enough to search and find any of the titles that I mention.
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle
I loved Sherry Turkle’s previous book, Alone Together, and this one delved even deeper into the subject of our modern relationship to digital communication. There are so many valuable lessons about how people communicate, as well as how technology affects our lives and relationships. I appreciate how Turkle asserts that she is not anti-technology; she acknowledges that our devices, social media, etc. is here to stay and we can’t just cut it out of our lives. However, she does encourage a more mindful and respectful attitude towards such technology, and has the research to back up her assessments of how things like cell phones and social media affect our relationships with others and with ourselves. This book actually pairs very well with Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media, in pointing out how we need to be aware of how rapidly changing technology alters how we perceive and interact with the world. Turkle discusses how our sense of privacy and intimacy is being eroded and voluntarily given away because of modern conveniences. She also discusses modern education and work place environments. Overall, a very enlightening book that has given me a lot to think about in my own habits and relationships.
Wit, by Margaret Edson
This was a play that was assigned for a book club that I am in, though I actually ended up having to miss the meeting where we were meant to discuss it. I’m not generally a fan of reading plays, as they are meant to actually be performed and not just read in isolation. I would love to see this one performed, but it was a bit tedious to just read. The story revolves around an aging literature professor who is dying of cancer, single and childless. None of these are topics that I am unfamiliar with personally, and yet I found little to relate to in the story. The main character is very cold and analytical about everything; about her work, her illness, her life. I understand the points that the story is making, but it’s just not something that reached me on a personal level.
The Weight of Glory, by C.S. Lewis
Definitely one of the most significant of Lewis’ books that I have read, which is saying quite a lot. As usual with Lewis, I read it far too quickly, because I was far too excited to see what he was going to say next, and now I need to go back over and really take my time with each essay in the collection. Really, each section deserves its own review and reflection. Some of the most significant passages to me on this reading: “Next to the Blessed Sacrament, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses”; “He loved us not because were lovable, but because He is Love”; “If you had a perfect excuse, you would not need forgiveness; if the whole of your action needs forgiveness, then there was no excuse for it”. This book has given me so much to think about, so many new perspectives, and it’s one that I know my thoughts and reading will bring me back to quite often.