Now, more than ever, I find myself in a love-hate relationship with my smartphone. I love the convenience of reading a magazine, listening to an audiobook, playing a podcast, plugging in my headphones and enjoying music, or reading an ebook from the small electronic device I carry everywhere. At the touch of a fingertip I have available the world at large, together with the smaller universe of my own personal contacts. My camera is always with me. So useful. So many possibilities. So much potential for connected burnout.
Forty years ago the summer blockbuster, "Jaws" elicited fear in the hearts of thousands of moviegoers. Although it was a hit in the box office, the negative connotation that came with sharks after it was released was truly horrifying for the species. An apex predator that had been around for millions of years was now being sought out and killed because people assumed that they would get eaten should a shark be nearby.
I'm not sure why, but recently I've been reading much more nonfiction than fiction. It's not that there isn't any interesting fiction being written (one need only glance at the monthly LibraryReads lists to find a novel worth reading), but nonfiction just feels more necessary in our complicated world. As I was ordering books for the library that are coming out in the next few months, I noticed a few nonfiction selections that looked especially appealing.
Life is too short to read bad books. That's why if I start a book and don't like it, I just stop. There is an endless supply of books to read, so there is no need to limit my selection to the ones I have already begun. Many people are fast readers (not me), or just can't fathom putting a book down. But why keep reading a book you don't like?
While most of us were asleep at 3 a.m. EST on April 10 (midnight at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA), Sonja Vloeberghs, Head of Lending Services at Princeton Public Library was placing her order of an Apple Watch. When I asked why she would disrupt a good night's sleep to place one of the first orders, she proudly admitted she loves the hype of new technology.
"Your daughter doesn't sit in the front seat yet?" "No...well, I hadn't really thought about it." "How old is she?" "Eleven." "My daughter started sitting in the front seat around her age, and it changed the dynamic of our relationship." "What do you mean?" "It put us on a level field. When she sat in the back, it was like there was a wall between us, but when she moved up, it became easier for her to have conversations with me. It allowed us to grow closer."
Here in the library, it seems as though nonfiction titles are easily overlooked in favor of the latest fiction releases. Many of us fear the dry and dreary tomes of our earlier years, but you might be pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable a nonfiction book can be. As a fan of the more factual reads, I have compiled a short list of entertaining and provocative newer nonfiction titles that will lead you gently into the fold.
In addition to fielding questions about great reads, library staff members try to be ready for anything. Sometimes people just want to test our knowledge, but more often than not customers are looking to the library to answer or verify something that has them either baffled or idly curious. In a time where there is an overwhelming amount of information available the library can help people ferret out what is true and relevant. A lot of questions are ones that you might expect: