What are you reading?

Well, the nine of us who got together the other day for Apostle Islands Booksellers General Book Group had a very lively discuCleopatra book cover imagession based on our reading of Steve Jobs. Mr. Jobs definitely would not have been nominated by our group as Boss, Father, Husband or Son (or really anything human) of the Year, but there was general acknowledgement of his creative genius and extraordinary marketing skills, and a recognition of his profound effect on world culture. 

Our conversation largely wound around what are the true costs and benefits of the non-stop technological revolution that we have experienced over the past half-century (epitomized by Steve Jobs), and its ever-increasing pace, in terms of human/labor capital and working conditions, civility and sensitivity in human interaction, environmental waste and/or savings and so on. How have these innovations helped our lives? How have they hurt them? How can we help our children to use technology as a useful tool and not let it overwhelm their lives or substitute for direct interaction with their environment (nature, friends, family) and our broader society? How do you effectively balance access to virtually unlimited information with making quiet time to plumb the depths of your own intuition or reaching out for other direct human resources close to you like your grandparents, teachers, or just perusing a real book or encyclopedia all of which provide a different experience than electronic research? Do the new skills and tools we are all learning and using come at the expense of old skills like handwritten notes and leisurely telephone conversations or not? Lots of questions and food for thought, not so many answers but some good ideas were shared. In case anyone hasn’t seen it, we have a new book in the store that plays off this theme of the modern “connected” family – ­Goodnight, iPad – a Parody for the Next Generation, which parodies Good Night Moon and guides you throughout your house at bedtime turning off all your devices! 

What are you all reading out there? Any great books that you want to share? For our next Book Club meeting, we are switching gears entirely and reading Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff, and for the April meeting, which will be the last one until next Fall, we chose Half-Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls. If you have read any of these titles let us know what you think and you can be a part of the conversation from afar.