Still Here And Other Books To Get Lost In

I’ve always been an avid reader. As a kid, I always had my nose in a book, and often would sneak a flashlight into my bed so I could read under the blanket well past my bedtime. I even read a lot during high school and found a group of friends who shared my passion for reading. My son didn’t believe me when I told him that we would stay up all night reading at our slumber parties, but it’s true. I don’t  read as much as I’d like to these days–my eyes are just too darn tired at the end of the day–but I still love to get lost in a good book.
Book Reviews (1)

I always have a hard time selecting a book to read, but I’ve found that Blogging For Books can be a good place to start. Once you are accepted into the program, you can choose a book to review from their current selections, and they will send you an electronic or paper copy. Once you read the book and post your review, you can choose another one. I read several good books through this program last year–you can find all of my book reviews here.

The most recent book I selected to review was Still Here by Lara Vapnyar.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Still Here follows four Russian immigrants as they struggle to make new lives in New York City. I was intrigued by the debate around “Virtual Grave”–the program one of the characters is developing so people can maintain their online presence after they die. He wants to use artificial intelligence so your virtual self can post and comment in response to events as if you’re still alive. Another character would prefer a program that lets you create and schedule your own post-mortem comments–such as to wish a friend a Happy Birthday or congratulate a child on graduation. Another character would prefer to die once and for all–or maybe he just wishes his friends would have to leave him alone after they’re dead!

I was drawn in by the depth and complexity of the characters, and the realization that their friendships stemmed more from circumstances than from really liking each other. It made me think about how I make friends with people who I meet somewhat randomly (neighbors, coworkers, bloggers, etc.), and how some of those friendships grow into something truly genuine. 

All in all, I found Still Here to be well-written with multi-dimensional characters that made me think about friendship–on-line and off.

For a more fun look at friendship and social media, check out MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend which I reviewed here.

The story line of When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker also focuses on post-mortem communications, but the old-fashioned kind.

As she was undergoing treatment for cancer, Natalie wrote a series of letters to her husband. The book starts after her funeral with the arrival of the first letter, and follows Luke as he works through his grieving process, likely helped and hindered by the letters and what they reveal. I didn’t like this book quite as much as I liked Wreckage (which I reviewed here), but there were enough twists and turns to keep me engaged, as the letters lead Luke to ask questions, jump to conclusions, and find answers he may not be ready for. 

The most impactful book I’ve read recently was The Circle by Dave Eggers.

The Circle follows Mae as she is hired to work for “the world’s most powerful internet company”–think Facebook, Google and Amazon rolled into one. The job comes with a lot of perks, but Mae doesn’t seem to notice the high price she is paying with her time, her privacy, and her autonomy. Will she draw the line before it’s too late?

As an admitted social media junkie and part-time influencer, much of this story hit close to home–often too close for comfort. While the world of The Circle is extreme, it’s true enough to make me think twice about the influencer economy I’ve been sucked into through blogging. I’ve already been pulling back from that for personal reasons, but I’m finding it almost as hard as Mae does to resist getting sucked in again.

 Today’s Wednesday Word is lost. GPS systems make it hard to get lost in the car, and I rarely got lost on a run, but I still enjoy getting lost in a book!

Deb Runs
 

Have you read any good books lately? 

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19 Responses to Still Here And Other Books To Get Lost In

  1. Carla says:

    I don’t know what it says about me but I was thinking just yesterday I want to reread The Circle!
    I first read it when I came out and I remember thinking: holy crap that’s my life!
    I already wonder if I would think the same…
    Carla recently posted…Blessings of a shattered phone.My Profile

  2. I do enjoy getting lost in a good book1 Right now I’m reading The Guest Room and oh my gosh! I can’t put it down.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Music to Get Lost byMy Profile

  3. I love to read too and go in spurts, seems like I have more time in the summer but I am not sure why that is. Looks like you found a couple of good ones! I wondered how that blogging for books worked, I hadn’t looked into that one yet 🙂
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…My Active life with Spandits!My Profile

  4. interesting concept about being able to comment after you are gone. I think that would be really freaky!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…People & Places That Made Me Smile This WeekMy Profile

  5. Oh, our GPS had us royally lost last week! Twice.

    I read the Circle. I thought it was fascinating. And they’re making it into a movie! My mother, OTOH, really didn’t like it because she didn’t like any of the characters, but then again, she has pretty much nothing to do with social media. I hope when I’m her age I’ll be more open to trying things, but who knows?

    I love to read, too. I always had my nose in a book when I was a kid, as well.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Not on your journeyMy Profile

  6. Tamieka says:

    Awesome…..I love to read but often find it hard to find time to read as much as I would like.

    These all sound like great reads!

    I had signed up for Blogging for Books but didn’t want to feel pressured to read a book in a certain amount of time. I can totally see how it can make for some good book selections though.

    Right now, I am ‘reading’ 4 different books which I probably won’t finish until December…lol!! I can’t remember one of them though….lol
    -It’s Complicated-Karen Wright
    -Still Alice
    -Shoploholic to the Stars

  7. Karen says:

    Anatomy for Runners is the last book I read, it was homework from my doc to help me while I was out injured. I have reread several parts! Other then running stuff I haven’t read much this past year.
    Karen recently posted…About Last WeekMy Profile

  8. HoHo Runs says:

    I’m so comforted by someone else admitting their eyes are tired at the end of the day. That is the very reason I don’t read as much as I used to. I feel like I need to hold up my eyebrows! Maybe I should start listening to books? Hmmm…

  9. I have probably 12 books on my bedside and swore I would read them during summer vacation, but instead I am watching Orange is the New Black.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Creating a Privacy Policy for Your SiteMy Profile

  10. I love your take on this week’s Wednesday Word! I haven’t read any of the books you highlight, but that sounds like a great Amazon program for book loving bloggers.

    Thanks for linking up!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Ask Coach Deb – Second InstallmentMy Profile

  11. vicki says:

    I love to read!! I often head to bed and read until I fall asleep. Right now I’m reading War Brides. Blogging for Books sounds very interesting.

  12. Farrah says:

    Yay! I’ve always been an avid reader too! I love Blogging For Books as well, but tend to gravitate toward their cookbook collection. ;P Still Here sounds like a great book! :] I need to check out The Circle too!

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