Book Review: Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf

Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf
Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World
by Maryanne Wolf
Harper, 2018

I picked up this book expecting an exploration of the neuroscience and physiology of the effects of reading on the brain, and how reading in print and digital formats differ. I got that, and so much more.

Wolf presents a balanced account of the different effects of different mediums, both negative and positive, and how we might use this knowledge to do better for our children and ourselves. It’s a welcome perspective.

It’s also a deeply humanist and moral meditation of the capacities of the human mind and the importance of storytelling. It’s a clarion call to fulfill the responsibility we all bear toward our fellow human beings and to the future. This is a work of tremendous empathy and passion.

It may well be one of the most important works of our age.

Continue reading “Book Review: Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf”

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The Problem of Confidence in Hiring

I’ve gotten to sit on a handful of hiring committees in the past few years. I’ve noticed I tend to pay attention to candidates’ confidence. Confidence matters to me.

But I’ve also realized confidence is a problematic metric when it comes to evaluating potential hires.

I believe confidence is important. Especially for library staff who work with patrons—for anyone who works in a customer service position: you need to be confident in your ability to handle whatever comes up. You need to have the confidence to remain calm and effective in high stress environments. An air of confidence creates a good atmosphere for our patrons. So I look for confidence in interviews. I’m struck when candidates display confidence and poise and I note when they seem nervous or hesitant.

But there all kinds of ways confidence is a poor metric.

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I Hate Buzzwords: A Rant

I make no bones of the fact that I harbor an intense dislike of buzzwords. The thing is, I have a hard time explaining why I dislike buzzwords so much.

There’s one in particular I’ve been hearing more often over the past few years which may be the worst one yet:

Teamness.

It’s such an egregiously nonsense word! However, it offers a perfect opportunity to clarify my position.

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2018: My Year in Reading

All of the data that follows was collected by me throughout the year using a combination of Google Sheets and Google Calendar. All seasonal and monthly calculations are based on the date each title was begun. Average days to read titles are based on the number of days actually spent reading each title, and not necessarily the full span from begun date to completed date.

A complete list of all the books I read in 2018 is at the bottom of this post.


For a list of my favorite books I read this year, go here >

For a list of my least favorite books of the year, go here >

I participated in #LibFaves18 on Twitter. See my selections here >

Continue reading “2018: My Year in Reading”

A Moment of Clarity

The American Library Association recently tweeted an article about an outreach program the Chicago Public Library is doing.

Literacy at the Laundromat” by Joseph P. Williams. Published by U.S. News & World Report, December 25, 2018.

CPL is offering story times in laundromats. I had two thoughts immediately upon reading this:

  1. What a wonderful idea!
  2. I would never come up with an idea like this.

I’m not a creative person. I love ideas but I’m not someone who dreams them up very well. I’m not much of a visionary in that sense.

This offered a moment of clarity for me. It helps me articulate what I really want to accomplish in my career.

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What We Really Talk about When We Talk about Library Neutrality

The traditional definition of library neutrality holds that the library is a space where everyone is welcome, where all views are represented, and where everyone has the freedom to explore ideas and make their voices heard.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: This definition doesn’t describe a neutral space. It describes a space where everyone is equal.

Equality is a direct concern of libraries—especially public libraries. We pledge to serve all members of our community equally, without bias or judgement. We commit to making space for all voices, perspectives, and cultural traditions of the communities we serve. Equality is built into our professional values.

Let’s say you have two lines that are unequal in length:

Two lines of unequal length Continue reading “What We Really Talk about When We Talk about Library Neutrality”

Book Review: Nighttime Is My Time by Mary Higgins Clark

Nighttime Is My Time by Mary Higgins Clark
Nighttime Is My Time
by Mary Higgins Clark
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2004
Read by Jan Maxwell

I got really into the TV show American Chopper some years back. I don’t have any interest in motorcycles and I couldn’t care less about the family drama between the stars of that show. But I loved watching it. I loved watching genuinely skilled people create their visions.

I love watching master craftspeople at work.

There’s joy in witnessing that level of skill. This is why I love shows about carpentry, home renovation, car mods, tattooing. It’s one of the many reasons why I love music, dance, theater, and athletics. It doesn’t matter if any of these interest me personally, I’m fascinated watching people who love doing them. Any human endeavor which requires skill to do well, is worth witnessing.

Reading Nighttime Is My Time by Mary Higgins Clark reminds me of watching American Chopper. She crafts her stories. Her control of plot and pacing and structure, how she manipulates the reader to place suspicion on different characters at different times, her myriad misdirections, how she builds the tension. She shows her work and gives us a ring-side seat to her creative process.

I enjoy witnessing her craft.

That being said, Nighttime Is My Time isn’t a very good book. I listened to the audiobook and the narration by Jan Maxwell is excellent. But the book itself drove me a bit nuts.

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