Monday, September 18, 2006

The World is Flat and other bits of wisdom

Along with all of the fun summer reading I did in July and August I decided to find some reading that would enlighten me as well. I chose to read the book our seniors had to read over the summer, The World is Flat (303.48 FRI). I had long heard that when I am seeking help with my computer, my call may go to another country, and that if I make my plane reservations with JetBlue, I could be talking to a stay-at-home mom is Salt Lake, but Friedman offers many reasons why our world has become flatter. Along with this idea of the world being flatter and globalization having an impact on the way many Americans live their lives, our world has also become smaller. Technology has created a world of instant information and shared ideas, people connecting in ways they were not doing even ten years ago.

Along with the World is Flat, I also read Class Matters (305.513 CLA) written by the correspondents of The New York Times. This team of reporters explores the idea of class in America and how we define class; is it by income, education, or occupation? Each story follows the experiences of different Americans from a wide variety of backgrounds. They investigate how different people receive healthcare, how people from different classes make marriage work, the impact of religion on class, and the power of a college degree and the ability to climb the class ladder. Finishing up my summer reading on world and social issues is Not Buying it: my year without shopping (658.8 LEV). Judith Levine, the books author, has maxed out her credit cards during her holiday shopping spree and decides to partake in an experiment with her partner, Paul, to relinquish any unnecessary shopping for a year. At times thoughtful and very humorous, (I was laughing out loud in many parts,) this book does not tell you NOT to shop, but makes you think of why you shop. Whether it is the impact of over consumption on the earth, wondering how the economy will survive if we do not buy, or questioning why we have a desire to buy the next new novelty, this book leaves you with much to think about.
So do I feel enlightened after reading these selections? In some ways yes, I cannot say I agreed with everything the authors of these books presented. The ideas in these books have stayed with me and made me ask questions of how we live our lives, connect with each other, whether a neighbor or a stanger from another part of the world, and the impact we have on the earth for the time we are here.

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