What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains: The Shallows
Is Google making us stupid? When Nicholas Carr posed that question in a celebrated Atlantic essay, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Now Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind” — from the alphabet, to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer — Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways. Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic — a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is the ethic of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption — and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection. Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes — Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive — even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. This is a book that will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore
“I wrote this book because it’s the one I wanted to read, and I tried to pack it full of the things I love: books and bookstores; design and typography; Silicon Valley and San Francisco; fantasy and science fiction; quests and projects. If you love those things too, I hope and believe you will enjoy a visit to the tall skinny bookstore next to the strip club.” Robin Sloan Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore has been described as a gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore. With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that’s rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Ages 4 - 8
This book started as an Academy Award winning animated short film directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, and produced by Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana. What happens when a huge wind comes up and all your books -- not to mention buildings! – are lost? Mr. Morris Lessmore finds out when he goes to work in a library after he loses all of his books. He discovers that sharing books is the most rewarding, proving that “less” is “more.”
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
Ages 8+, Grades 3 - 7
How do you get out of the library when you’ve been locked in? Our hero Kyle loves winning. He plays with his brothers all of the time. Kyle wants to meet a world famous game maker and he has his chance when Mr. Lemoncello comes to town to open the new library that he designed – with technology like no one has ever seen! Kyle has to use all his smarts to make his way and this game is the most important one of his life. A book with a good puzzle, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a laugh out loud fun time.
Reading Makes You Feel Good
Reading makes you feel good because... You can imagine you are a scary dinosaur, You can make someone feel better when they are sick, And you can do it anywhere! Reading Makes You Feel Good inspires and encourages young children to delight in the experience of reading. With bright, bold pictures and silly scenes, the book explains that reading isn't something that just happens at school or at home-it can happen anywhere! Targeted to those first beginning to read, this book invites children to read the main text as well as all the funny signs, labels, and messages hidden in the pictures.