Friday, December 26, 2014

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NY1 teams with contributors from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and Essence Magazine to review the latest books and book-related trends.

The Book Reader: "Present Shock," "The Guardians"

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Andrew Losowsky of The Huffington Post reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."

We live in a world of now. You haven't time to look back or take stock, because a thousand updates just appeared on Twitter, on Facebook, in your email, on your cell. Information is streaming faster than you can think, leading to a state that Douglas Rushkoff, in his new book "Present Shock", calls the distracted present. We simply haven't the time to do things slowly any more.

Rushkoff is a media theorist, but his writing is more like that of a magazine journalist. In this book, he looks at how technology is biased, not against the right or the left, but against thinking like a human being. We spend our lives trying, and failing, to keep up with the flow. Surely we can make it work better for us, rather than the other way around?

"Present Shock" is a smart, highly readable attempt to solve that problem. It's out now in hardback and download from Current Press.

It's hard not to be distracted while reading Sarah Manguso's moving work "The Guardians", because the narrative itself jumps around so much in its telling. This short book is written about her troubled friend Harris, who killed himself in 2010. To try and make sense of his life, and the manner of its end, the story is told in poetic snippets, each no longer than a page. Memories collide, time jumps back and forward, yet out of the fragments we somehow get a sense of story and character.

If we are living in the distracted present, this post-Internet book proves that storytelling will adapt regardless. It's out now in paperback and download from Picador.

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