Book Recommendation

Books

img_0915Last summer, after I broke up with my phone, I proceeded to read a number of really great books about how technology, particularly social media, is affecting us humans, both on an individual level and as a culture. One of my favorites of these books is Jaron Lanier’s “Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.”  It’s short and sweet, and packed with a ton of information. Jaron Lanier is a pioneer in the field of virtual reality and knows what he is talking about regarding this subject. I won’t break the book down for you because it’s short enough that you can read it all yourself in a day, but I would really encourage you to read it. Even if you don’t delete your accounts (which I have yet to do), you will be have a better understanding of how the big internet companies like Google and Facebook and messing with our minds and, according to Lanier, destroying our culture. Here is a link to a great talk that Lanier gave on this subject. It’s long, but totally worth watching.

Several months after reading it this is what stuck with me: We are not the customers of websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google. Advertisers are the actual customers. We are providing the content for the websites. FOR FREE.  And in the meantime we are being completely fucked with so that we will purchase things from the advertisers. This is the new advertising model. It has become totally ok for advertisers to creepily spy on us and follow us around the web so they can market their product to us. THIS PISSES ME OFF. And the shitty thing about this is that IT WORKS.

So after reading all of these books and taking the red pill I am feeling all of these feels about participating in this horror show. I feel pulled in different directions. On the one hand I care about my friends that I connect with on these platforms, but on the other hand GODDAMNIT  I don’t appreciate my brain being hacked and manipulated for profit! One of the ways that I’ve compromised is that I have deleted social media from my phone and I have pretty much broken up with Google. I refuse to use Chrome or Google search (I’m using Firefox and Duck Duck Go which are both awesome) and I’ve moved over to ProtonMail. I’ve been able to use social media through Firefox on my phone and I’m happy with the way this is working. With one exception: Instagram. I love IG more than the others but I really do not want to have it on my phone. Instead I have it on my iPad, which is a good compromise, I think.

And I’ve noticed the advertising on Instagram when I view the app on my iPad. I’ll be mindlessly scrolling through the feed, thinking everything is fine, and then BAM, I’m hit with an ad and it’s literally the perfect thing for me, whatever it is. It’s this thing that I never knew I needed. As I mentioned above, this advertising method WORKS!  But damn, it’s so sneaky and creepy and evil.

Anyway. Read the book.

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Currently Reading

Books

37272006741_6b34289e3c_b.jpgI saw this new release, “Why Poetry” by Matthew Zapruder, as I was ordering books for the library and thought it looked interesting. I am hoping it will give me motivation to write! I’m about three chapters in and so far I like it.

That’s really all I have to say about that. I have a really bad cold my brain refuses to work properly. All I can think about is curling up on my couch and sleeping. I’ll give a better review when I am capable of forming better words together into better sentences.

Love in the time Of Cholera

Books

I finished “Love In The Time Of Cholera” last week and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I still think the writing is beautiful. I liked the pace of the story. The characters were interesting. But I am bothered by something and I can’t get past it. It is written about so casually and that bothers me. In the story Florentino, the hero, starts an affair with the child he is taking care of. She is underage, like around 14. It’s gross. I really bothers me and I can’t get past it.

I am also bothered by the whole theme of the book. I’ve decided that this is not a book about love at all. It’s a book about obsession. Florentino’s life long obsession with Fermina made me sad.

Just some random thoughts.

My Values today

Books, Life

I forgot to mention last week about another book I read during my break from my Sylvia Plath obsession. It’s called “The No Bullshit Guide To Depression” by Steven Skozen. Really great book if you suffer or if you know someone who suffers from depression. It’s very practical with exercises that are easy to do when you are in that state, and exercises to do before you are depressed, that will help you out later on.

One of the bits of advice was to learn how to live a life that strives toward values, rather than happiness. And then there was an exercise to figure out what your  core values actually are. They change, so it is suggested to do the exercise once a year. My core values as of a couple of weeks ago are:

  • compassion
  • creativity
  • inner peace
  • mindfulness
  • spirituality

I found this exercise really surprising! There were lots of things that ended up being really important to me but these 5 things are the things that are at the top of my list. At least right now. So I’m thinking about how I can incorporate these values more into my life on a daily basis. I kind of do a lot of these things daily but I do notice it when I don’t.

Pure and uninhibited

Books

36344655606_a4f8c1417b_bI finished “Her Husband” last weekend and dived into “The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath” this week. I have to say, I really wish that this was the first thing I’d read about or by Plath. About 25 years ago I read The Bell Jar which I loved, but very soon after I read a biography about her called, “Bitter Fame” written by someone who didn’t  seem to like her. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I remember putting the book down and thinking that Plath was just a crazy lunatic. Which is really sad, considering I’ve found myself battling depression over the years. I look at her now as someone I can relate to just a little bit.  I really feel that way reading her journals. I am at the very beginning of this book and I am loving the Plath I am seeing in these pages. She is a young woman just at the beginning of adulthood, finding her way. She has really amazing insights and observations about life. The best thing about this book, though, is the writing. She truly was an amazing talent, even at a young age. Her journal is especially wonderful because she is so open and uninhibited. I feel like there is something slightly contrived about her poetry, like it’s a little bit stiff (if that makes sense). So far in her journals, that feeling is not there. It feels pure, unfiltered.

I’ve also been thinking about the fact that these journals are available for me to read, and whether or not this is OK. I’ve been thinking a lot about how Ted Hughes had control of her estate after she died and controlled how her poetry and journals were published posthumously. I think about how much money he made off of her poetry. Is this OK? Is this something that Plath would’ve wanted? Would have Plath  wanted the world to read all of her journals in their entirety? It all seems a little bit exploitative. I mean, she is no longer with us, but still.