In 2002 Lynne Truss, the British writer and journalist, presented Cutting a Dash, a BBC Radio 4 series about punctuation. The success of the series led to the publication of Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, a petit, witty rant on the misuse of punctuation. With more than one million copies in print, the book led bestseller lists on both sides of the pond. In her new book, Talk to the Hand, Truss takes on the equally neglected field of modern etiquette.
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MIT professor of technology and society Sherry Turkle discusses the effect our technology has on our social relationships and her new book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Consider Facebook—it’s a form of human contact, only easier to engage with and easier to avoid. Developing technology promises closeness. Sometimes it delivers, but much of our modern life leaves us less connected with people and more connected to simulations of them. In Alone Together, Sherry Turkle explores the power of our new tools and toys to dramatically alter our social lives. It’s an exploration of what we are looking for—and sacrificing—in a world of electronic companions and social networking tools, and an argument that, despite the hand-waving of today’s self-described prophets of the future, it will be the next generation who will chart the path between isolation and connectivity.
It’s a good time to be holed up with the supercharged pages of some new thrillers. Here are four: Noir by Olivier Pauvert, Eclipse by Richard North Patterson, Daemon by Daniel Suarez, and Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child.
Author Steven Johnson’s new book, The Invention of Air, is, on the one hand, a supple examination of the man largely credited with the discovery of oxygen. On the other, it’s a subtle reminder of the intellectual glories of bygone days when great thinkers mastered numerous fields, not merely one.