2021 is mostly still unknown. What we do know is that this future year will be what we choose to make of it. And while we don't know all of what lies ahead of us, we have the advantage of seeing what has come before. The success and pitfalls of the past can give us the greatest insight on how to enrich our lives. February is the perfect month to take the time and look back on some of the most influential and inspiring people and ideas. Black history month allows all of us to recognize, understand, and appreciate the contributions of African-Americans over the decades. We here at your local library recommend some outstanding choices for you and your family to check out and read.
Rob found a treasure trove of westerns within our Hoopla collection, and chose “Gunsmoke and Trail Dust” by Bliss Lomax for this month's book club pick. He has often called Western fiction ‘Romance for Men”, and he picked a classic 1949 western tale that fit that description pretty well.
Have you watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix yet?
The docudrama explores the rise of social media, particularly the damage that it has done to society. Interviews with former high up employees of Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram shed light on the fact that these programs and tech giants are exploiting their users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, and how the design of each of these programs is meant to addict the user. Also included are interviews with psychologists, founders of the Center for Humane Technology, and other experts to show that these tools are doing more harm than good.
In this episode, Michelle spends some time talking about one of her favorite subjects - media literacy! In a short discussion about the ways in which social media feeds alter our thinking, Michelle talks about how the algorithm doesn't do you any favors when it comes to learning actual information on a subject, the reaction buttons on social media are there to gather more information about you to sell to advertisers, and the false equivalencies created when every post in your feed looks exactly the same. Learn about how our thoughts are permanently changed by the algorithms social media companies use to feed us information to keep up scrolling, and get some recommendations for further reading.
Language changes, and has always changed. It’s helpful to think of language as a living thing, that evolves and changes as the need arises. We still speak English, but it’s not like the English of Shakespeare’s time, or English in 1776. New words appear every year in both Merriam-Webster’s and the Oxford English Dictionary, and sometimes the addition of a word can be controversial. People feel very strongly about making a slang word “official,” but I would argue that we should embrace language changes. (I’m not arguing that you need to adopt words into your daily lexicon that you don’t like, just maybe don’t feel anger over a new word.)
2020 added a lot of new words and phrases to our daily conversations. “Social distancing”, “COVID-19”, “community spread”, “herd immunity”, and the abbreviation “WFH (work from home)” were all added to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary in 2020.
In this episode, Rob and Michelle discuss some novels from the Young Adult section that they recommend to anyone looking for a fast, engaging read. A novel is classified as Young Adult (YA) by a few metrics – you can expect that the motivations and the feelings of the characters will interact with problems in a different way than an adult novel. YA novels deal with problems in the immediate future, rather than thinking about long term goals and effects. Generally speaking, a YA novel will be less graphic than an adult novel, but modern YA does not shy away from the realities of the world. The pacing will be fast, the plot will be intriguing, and the characters will make you want to root for them.
Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff
Movies on Hoopla not available on Netflix
If you’re anything like me, your first resolution or goal for the new year was to watch more movies, right? Sure, I’ll lose some weight and save some money later, but I am pretty serious when it comes to my movie watching.
Even more movies on Hoopla not available on Netflix
Here is another list of ten more movies I found on Hoopla that are not currently available on Netflix. These titles came from Hoopla’s list of Popular Movies. (You can also narrow your search by going to Categories and selecting the type of film you feel like watching.)