Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson
I feel like our culture is always so focused on the negatives of our rapidly evolving technology culture that we overlook the positives. Clive Thompson’s book is about those positives. Thompson argues that we are continually learning to harness new technologies to enhance our thought process rather than degrade them. He also points out that all the fears surrounding the digital age were once the same anxieties that came with all innovations including the printing press, telephone, radio and television and yet, we are not dumber or culturally bereft because of them. Blogging and status updates are allowing us to write more and with global audiences in mind; Google has given us an enormous transactive memory that allows us to focus on our passions and the bigger picture; the connectedness of the Internet allows for collective problem-solving. This book is an insightful and informative view of how technology is changing us for the better.
The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
In a world where reading on paper has gone all but extinct, a few passionate people are still working on the last print edition of the North American Dictionary of the English Language. But a few days before the tome’s release, the chief editor goes missing. His daughter, Anana Johnson, searches for him and discovers a digital conspiracy that threatens all language, whether spoken, handwritten or digital. The Word Exchange is a thriller for book and language nerds. Alena Graedon has created an eerily believable futuristic world where our handheld devices can read our subconscious and know what we want or need before we do; a world where we are physically and intellectually dependent on the internet for information as seemingly innocuous as the definition of “fork.” While the action sometimes slowed to an unnecessary slog, it did not stop me from finishing the book within a day. Overall, the novel is a supremely engrossing whirl through the fluidity of language.
Time to un-box another round of goodies from Book Riot’s Quarterly Box.
This quarter’s box contains:
The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon: A near-ish future cyberpunk novel where handheld technology has replaced all printed word. A few brave word lovers are trying to finish the final edition of the North American Dictionary when their editor goes missing. The box also contains a special note written by the author detailing some events after the end of the book.
Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson: A book that provides a counterargument to the notion that the internet is ruining civilization. It details how technology allows us to think more creatively and be more connected.
Pop Chart Lab Literary Genres Map: A flow chart showing the distinctions between different literary genres. So I can finally figure out the difference between apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic and dystopian science fiction.
As always, you can go to https://quarterly.co/products/book-riot to sign up for your own Book Riot Quarterly Box!