New and popular titles at Juniata County Library

BOOK REPORT

With so many good books being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to check out next. Every week, I offer a run-down of significant releases available here at the library.

Visit our online card catalog at juniata.sparkpa.org to search today or call (717) 436-6378 to have a helpful library staff member assist you.

“Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology,” by Cal Newport

Millions of people use social media, email, or have a smart device (phone, car, even fish tanks). Whether we know it or not, using these devices takes a toll on us. They have woven themselves into our daily lives and shaped our expectations of what being productive is. No one human — not even Steve Jobs — ever expected technology to invade our lives the way it has. And instead of cutting ourselves some slack — billions of dollars have been spent in the name of making the screens around us stickier and stickier, is it any wonder we’re drawn in?–we feel guilty, as I did the other night, about being too weak to just shut it off and look away. The perfect antidote to that guilt is Cal Newport’s “Digital Minimalism.”

Newport, associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and the author of six books, including “Deep Work” and “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” somehow does not use any social media platforms. Since he doesn’t use SnapChat or a smartphone, I began by wanting to discount what he had to say. How, I wondered, would he know what the lure of checking push notifications or snaps does to you? What Newport does is bring an objective approach to the topic and weave together many stories and studies in an accessible book.

Newport skips the guilt (noting that we didn’t ask for this and really could not have been prepared for it) and challenges to ask ourselves: what am I trying to do when I use this technology–and is this the best way to serve that goal? This new book has had me thinking a lot about making more deliberate tech choices and thinking seriously about my days. Newport encourages you to build a philosophy around your tech use so to use your tech more wisely. That may sound very tedious and possibly too serious an approach for what we consider trivial parts of our lives. But if you consider how much you use those devices in a day, a week, a year, it makes sense to be strategic and thoughtful with it. Many of us already do this with our cooking, religion, health or finances. Add your digital life to that list. You can find this book in our New Adult Nonfiction section.

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2019 Winter Reading at the Library — runs through March 20. Spend your winter months reading things you love!

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Vince Giordano has been the director of the Juniata County Library since 2015.

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