Patricia’s Tech-inspired Literature Recommendations

More and more our fabulous customers (hey, that’s you!) are coming in with digital matters on their minds.  Maybe you got an iPad for Christmas and want to know how to use it with Zinio to read your favourite magazines, or maybe you got a Kobo Arc and you want to know what brightness setting is best for beach reading.  Either way, we’re working hard to make sure you get the answers you need.  With that in mind, we’re offering a series of Tech Connect workshops  on Wednesday nights at 7pm. No need to register, just drop by.  (To see the offerings, go to our Events Calendar and search for “Computer Classes – Tech Connect” under “Event Type.”)

Headed by Chris Koth, our Digital Services department (Michael, David, Denise, Martin, Desiree and myself) is also gearing up to offer personal one-to-one coaching sessions with customers who need help navigating our digital world.  With all this tech talk, it’s no wonder my reading has been increasingly preoccupied by fictional accounts of virtual problems and digital solutions to real-life problems.  Here are a few of my recent favourites:

Ready Player OneReady Player One, by Ernest Cline

It’s 2044 and life is mostly lived online in the OASIS – an online role-playing game that has replaced the internet.  OASIS’ creator (and 1980s pop culture fanatic) James Halliday has died and has left his massive fortune to the first person who can find the Easter egg he has hidden within the OASIS.  Quite naturally this gives rise to a culture of people who obsess over 1980s trivia and devote their lives to trying to be the first to find the egg (they’re called gunters, short for egg hunters).  Also quite naturally, an evil corporation wants the egg for its own – and is willing to kill to get it.  It’s the most fun I’ve had reading a book in quite some time.  Read it slow and savour all the geeky 80s references.

Mr. PenumbraMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,  by Robin Sloan

This is the first book I’ve read that speaks directly to the issue of e-reading and the effect technology has on the way we understand books.  It’s an interesting work of literary fiction too.  Recently downsized San Franciscan Clay Jannon gets a job as a clerk on the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.  The bookstore, as you may guess, is much more than it first appears.  Clay enlists the help of his friends – one a Google employee – to find out more.

Me Before YouMe Before You, by Jojo Moyes*

Okay, maybe this one is cheating a little.  On the surface it has little to do with technology per se.  It’s a tearjerker about a twenty-something woman living a small, but pleasant life.  Her world is irrevocably changed when she begins working as a caregiver for a thirty-something quadriplegic who formerly worked hard and played hard.  So what’s the connection to technology?  One of the ways her small life grows  is when she visits her local library to learn how to use the internet.  A whole new world springs up before her and she can connect with quadriplegics, other caregivers and resources available to her to help her charge live a fuller life.


*NetGalley provided an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this title.  It in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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