Books as social glue

Last week I attended a dinner and left with two book recommendations from the guest seated across from me. Today I had a physical; the nurse practitioner and I chatted about our teens and their reading habits. Yesterday my son told us about reading essay responses to his freshman class’s community read. He was amazed that professors at his new college disliked the book, as he did, and one of them swore.

Earlier in the summer at two different parties I discussed my disinterest in reading Fifty Shades of Grey (too many good books in my “to-read” piles to spend time on a fad). During summer shifts at my local indie bookstore, Gibson’s, I talk about books with everyone I meet. At my local library today I checked out The Art of Racing In the Rain and got into a discussion with two of the staff about books with dog narrators. Last weekend when we FaceTimed with our nieces and nephew, they told me what books they’d checked out at their library.

After church, in line at the grocery store, on a walk in my neighborhood, in doctors’ office waiting rooms, really anywhere, reading is easy to discuss. Books break the ice with someone you don’t know well, connect you with friends you haven’t seen in awhile, and work as conversation starters that transcend age, gender, experience, or other differences we humans use to define each other.

So if you, like me, find Facebook and Twitter interesting but not as much fun as talking to people, try the original social media: conversation. And for starters, bring up a good book.

Advertisements

An Occupy Wall Street Primer

Occupy Wall Street is a challenging movement to follow, since it claims to have no leaders and the media has put more effort into arguing about whether/when/how to cover it than they have covering it.  When I heard that my hometown would be the site of an Occupy Movement general assembly in our placid downtown park, I decided I’d like to know more about what the movement stands for.

OccupyWallSt.org includes the Sept. 17 call to action, a blog that references actions from other parts of the country and the world and live streaming coverage. The site includes contact information, directions and other logistical information, chat and discussion forums, as well as links to other sites. Occupy Together is “an unofficial hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity” with the Wall Street protests. Both sites sport simple but cool design and highlight the techy savviness of this movement.

I found this timeline of  Occupy Wall Street and the accompanying Wikipedia article interesting. It’s fairly in-depth and contains a large number of links.  Wikipedia notes that since this is a current events topic, information can change rapidly, and that’s a good point.

Wired.com gives the hacker/maker flavor of Occupy a shout out with a photo gallery, but if you’re interested in who Occupiers are and why they are protesting, check out We Are the 99% on Tumblr. This is a social media movement, and Twitter is full of references to #OccupyWallStreet, #OccupyWallSt, #OWS, #Sept17, #Occupy, and other hashtags specific to locations, like #OccupyBoston.

If you’re more inclined to digest your news with a healthy dose of humor, news satirist-in-chief Jon Stewart has devoted a number of Daily Show segments to Occupy Wall Street, its critics, and the media coverage. Want a less profane but quite profound comedic response? Search Twitter for #occupysesamestreet.

See the comments below for more resources.