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A thought-provoking attempt to upend hyper-efficient, data-driven learning models that’s hampered by a limited viewpoint.

Gomez’s (The Nomad’s Labyrinth, 2013) philosophical treatise that asks cleareyed questions about technology.

In short, interconnected aphorisms and anecdotes, the author, who describes himself as “a painter, lawyer, writer, musician and father,” aims to get readers to interrogate the ways that digital learning shapes their understanding of the world and one another. His far-ranging argument addresses various ways of learning, including oral storytelling, music, dancing, and art; along the way, he offers a generalized discussion of Indian drumming and tackles composer Arvo Pärt’s minimalist tintinnabuli music. Throughout, Gomez expresses concern about how the digitization of communication has flattened the ways that people share information, hindering the types of knowledge and connections they can build. Instead of indulging in enriching pastimes, he says, technology has increasingly tethered people to their jobs, turning them into “information shepherds that manage data.” This book is filled with astute observations, including musings on cell phones’ incessant data-gathering, as in fitness apps that track one’s walking and slumber patterns: “Slowly we’re taking the leisure out of walking and the rest out of sleep.” However, his free-flowing style also results in non sequiturs that come off as naive (“Just drum together, then see what the results are”) or curmudgeonly (“Emoji’s [sic] reflect a bipolar psychology, all nuance is forgotten and only the green or the red pill is available to express and cope with the vicissitudes of everyday life”). Gomez’s self-reflections produce some fascinating insights, but there are moments in which his work might have benefited from a wider lens. At one point, for example, he shares his experience at a Verizon store, where he scrolled through a display iPhone to find an article in The Atlantic on meditation. The experience strikes him as ironic, but it doesn’t complicate his technological cynicism. Gomez’s argument also takes a sharp turn when he asks millennials to “set aside their phones to get out and march”—a plea that seems to ignore recent, youth-led movements, such as Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street.

A thought-provoking attempt to upend hyper-efficient, data-driven learning models that’s hampered by a limited viewpoint.

Pub Date: June 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-71917-644-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2018

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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