Today I finished reading Stephen King’s Misery. It was the first of King’s books that I have read and let me say, I get the hype. He creates tension in a way that I didn’t realise was possible in the written form. I’m excited to move on to others of his novels such as The Stand and 11/22/63.
After finishing a book, I like to peruse Goodreads to see if I can find any good recommendations or to get myself excited about the next book I’m going to read. While I was browsing, a few jumped out at me and inspired me to share them with you!
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has traveled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us, people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly or made a mistake at work. Once the transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know, they’re being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.
I first heard about this book when Jon Ronson went on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast. Ronson tells the story of a woman who posted an off-the-cuff joke on Twitter about Africans and AIDS before boarding a plane. By the time she landed, a Twitter-storm had erupted and her remarks had gone viral. She lost her job and was harassed on social media to the point where her life was in chaos. All of this from a mere joke posted online. I find the idea of this more democratic society, where shame is used as a social control, very interesting.
I have plenty of my own thoughts and questions around the new public way our thoughts and feelings are broadcast and can be judged. Should what you post on social media have any effect on your career prospects? Where is the line between work-life and home-life? Is that line becoming more blurred? Also, is it right that we can judge people we don’t know – and say things we would probably never say offline to strangers over the internet? What about harassment and trolls? Is the vitriol and hate speech that is spewed across the internet okay? Why aren’t we doing anything about it?
I think this book would at least begin to answer some of those questions – so I would be interested to hear what people who have read it think.
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten – Robert Fulghum
This one is a very recent addition to my list. I recently discovered it thanks to I Accidentally Ate the Whole Thing (a blog I would recommend). As she says in her blog post:
ll I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things by Robert Fulghum is not like any book I’ve ever read before. In fact, I believe it is more of a blog than a novel. Each chapter, written in casual first-person covers a random topic of Fulghum’s choice. The book does not work as a whole, rather as well, blog posts, snippets of musings on the author and his/our world. As per Fulghums own advice, there is no hurry in finishing it, it is best read a little bit at a time.
I did a bit more research into this book and it seems that the author has come back 25 years later and revisited the ponderings and life advice he made in the past. It sounds like a great philosophical kind of book. The 16 things the author learned at Kindergarten, which are published on the blog plugged above, bear plenty of food for thought.
Zone One – Colston Whitehead
In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead.
While initially sounding like a generic zombie story, looking further into the plot reveals that this book could be a great place to turn after The Walking Dead finishes. In this novel, Mark Spitz is a civilian volunteer tasked with clearing out the few remaining zombies in Lower Manhattan (the so-called ‘stragglers’). Told through both flashbacks of his desperate bid for survival at the beginning of the outbreak, and his present worsening circumstances, Zone One seems as though it would be a great fix for that zombie craving.
For years I have been saying that the zombie thing is ‘done’. But then I constantly keep finding new books, movies, TV shows or video games that suck me right back in. I can never get enough of this post-apocalyptic, end of the world stuff. Any recommendations on that theme would be much appreciated.
Anyway, that’s a few books that I wanted to flag up. If you have any recommendations, let me know in the comment section below.