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.
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.
The most impactful book I’ve read recently was The Circle by Dave Eggers.
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!
Have you read any good books lately?