An intelligent if unoriginal meditation on the tension between technology and spirituality.

IN ONE EAR, OUT THE OTHER

HEARING "THE WORD" IN A MICROWAVE SOCIETY

Bosket examines the challenges, especially spiritual, posed by the digital age.

Bosket observes that the transformation wrought by digital technology has been so fast and ubiquitous its effects can be “overwhelming.” While the author acknowledges the great conveniences produced by so much innovation, he worries about the ways we’re also undermined by it. For example, the allure of cyberconnection provides a constant distraction that often keeps one unmoored from present experience. Also, the assistance provided by technology perpetually at our fingertips can foster dependency and weaken the resolve necessary to cultivate discipline. Moreover, since technology has fundamentally “altered the way we process information,” we struggle to absorb and retain as much as we once did as a society. At the heart of the author’s concerns are the implications these problems present to a healthy Christian spirituality: “How do we begin to disengage from an advancing technology that has so many benefits, but tends to generate distractions that can hinder spiritual growth?” Bosket furnishes a “snapshot of the millennial mindset” as a case study in what could go wrong, but he also sees positive prospects for future generations that could capitalize on the opportunities embedded in social media to spread the gospel. The author lucidly and thoughtfully examines a set of important issues and offers some potential solutions. In response to the shrinking attention span of churchgoers, he suggests a more concise, 20-minute sermon. Some of the recommendations fall short—he suggests one eliminate unnecessary distractions and use “mind association” in order to improve memory. Bosket’s book is hardly the first to tackle these problems, and it’s neither the deepest nor the most searching. Still, it is likely to be a helpful resource for those specifically concerned with the hurdles created by technology to religious devotion.

An intelligent if unoriginal meditation on the tension between technology and spirituality.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-578-68367-6

Page Count: 142

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

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BROKEN (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY)

The Bloggess is back to survey the hazards and hilarity of imperfection.

Lawson is a wanderer. Whether on her award-winning blog or in the pages of her bestselling books, she reliably takes readers to places they weren’t even aware they wanted to go—e.g., shopping for dog condoms or witnessing what appears to be a satanic ritual. Longtime fans of the author’s prose know that the destinations really aren’t the point; it’s the laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-your-face journeys that make her writing so irresistible. This book is another solid collection of humorous musings on everyday life, or at least the life of a self-described “super introvert” who has a fantastic imagination and dozens of chosen spirit animals. While Furiously Happy centered on the idea of making good mental health days exceptionally good, her latest celebrates the notion that being broken is beautiful—or at least nothing to be ashamed of. “I have managed to fuck shit up in shockingly impressive ways and still be considered a fairly acceptable person,” writes Lawson, who has made something of an art form out of awkward confessionals. For example, she chronicles a mix-up at the post office that left her with a “big ol’ sack filled with a dozen small squishy penises [with] smiley faces painted on them.” It’s not all laughs, though, as the author addresses her ongoing battle with both physical and mental illness, including a trial of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a relatively new therapy for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. The author’s colloquial narrative style may not suit the linear-narrative crowd, but this isn’t for them. “What we really want,” she writes, “is to know we’re not alone in our terribleness….Human foibles are what make us us, and the art of mortification is what brings us all together.” The material is fresh, but the scaffolding is the same.

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-07703-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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