April 3, 2019

Think you know books?

Which one starts like this? Click on a book below to answer

"Are you comfortable, Reggie?" "Yep." Reggie Shaw lies on a medical bed, his head inches from the mouth of a smooth white tube, an MRI machine. He's comfortable, but nervous. He doesn't love the idea of people peering into his brain.
A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention
Matt Richtel

A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention

By: Matt Richtel
Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11, 12

In this ambitious, compelling, and beautifully written book, Matt Richtel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, examines the impact of technology on our lives through the story of Utah college student Reggie Shaw, who killed two scientists while texting and driving. Richtel follows Reggie through the tragedy, the police investigation, his prosecution, and ultimately, his redemption. In the wake of his experience, Reggie has become a leading advocate against "distracted driving." Richtel interweaves Reggie's story with cutting-edge scientific findings regarding human attention and the impact of technology on our brains, proposing solid, practical, and actionable solutions to help manage this crisis individually and as a society. A propulsive read filled with fascinating, accessible detail, riveting narrative tension, and emotional depth, A Deadly Wandering explores one of the biggest questions of our time—what is all of our technology doing to us?—and provides unsettling and important answers and information we all need. —from the website at Hachette

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
Nicholas Carr

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

By: Nicholas Carr
Recommended for grade(s): 11, 12, College Plus

“Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”—from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer—Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways. Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic—a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption—and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection. Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes—Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive—even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. This is a book that will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds. -- From W. W. Norton & Company

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

Head Cases
Michael Paul Mason

Head Cases

By: Michael Paul Mason
Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11, 12

Head Cases takes us into the dark side of the brain in an astonishing sequence of stories, at once true and strange, from the world of brain damage. Michael Paul Mason is one of an elite group of experts who coordinate care in the complicated aftermath of tragic injuries that can last a lifetime. On the road with Mason, we encounter survivors of brain injuries as they struggle to map and make sense of the new worlds they inhabit. Underlying each of these survivors' stories is an exploration of the brain and its mysteries. When injured, the brain must figure out how to heal itself, reorganizing its physiology in order to do the job. Mason gives us a series of vivid glimpses into brain science, the last frontier of medicine, and we come away in awe of the miracles of the brain's workings and astonished at the fragility of the brain and the sense of self, life, and order that resides there. —from the website at Macmillan

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.

Bringing Down the House
Ben Mezrich

Bringing Down the House

By: Ben Mezrich
Recommended for grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Robin Hood meets the Rat Pack when the best and the brightest of M. I. T.'s math students and engineers take up blackjack under the guidance of an eccentric mastermind. Their small blackjack club develops from an experiment in counting cards on M. I. T.'s campus into a ring of card savants with a system for playing large and winning big. In less than two years they take some of the world's most sophisticated casinos for more than three million dollars. But their success also brings with it the formidable ire of casino owners and launches them into the seedy underworld of corporate Vegas with its private investigators and other violent heavies. - from the website of Simon & Schuster

Where to Find

Score a physical copy of the book.