L.V. Anderson of Slate reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in NY1's newest living segment, "The Book Reader".
In February, a publisher's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, and how the ways we fall in love are changing.
In "Love in the Time of Algorithms", out now from Penguin/Current, Dan Slater tells the history of online dating, from Operation Match, the sixties-era "computer dating" service that set up Harvard and Radcliffe students, to the smartphone apps of today that help users find potential dates within a 50-foot radius.
The book shows both how technology enables desire, by giving us unprecedented freedom to find people who want the same things we do, and how it shapes desire, by making us pickier and potentially less inclined to settle down just yet.
However, if you are ready to settle down, Amy Webb's "Data: A Love Story" will give you an insanely detailed blueprint for doing it. In her memoir, out now from Dutton, Webb describes how she gamed online dating by making an exhaustive list of traits she wanted in a husband and then creating several fake profiles to figure out how to attract the man she was looking for.
Some of Webb's conclusions are obvious: For instance, don't write your online dating profile in the third person. Others are depressing; she discovered that men don't like women who talk about their successful careers (too intimidating). But some of Webb's
revelations are useful, and she's a funny and honest enough writer that you'll find yourself cheering for her courage to go after the love she wanted.
But what if Webb's idea of love isn't really love at all? In "Love 2.0", out now from Hudson Street Press, psychology researcher Barbara L. Frederickson argues that love isn't the lasting bond of affection that unites spouses and families. Instead, love exists in fleeting moments of positive emotions shared by anyone: neighbors, colleagues, or even strangers.
Frederickson's one-woman campaign to redefine love as we know it might be too ambitious, but her book is a reminder that we all benefit from getting offline every now and then to spend some face time with the people we care about.
Before you get offline, though, be sure to check out the Slate Book Review, where you can read a review of "Love in the Time of Algorithms" and an excerpt from "Data: A Love Story."