Four fresh takes on work and life in the digital age.
In Uncanny Valley, Anna Wiener chronicles her career at a Silicon Valley startup. After an unrewarding stint in New York publishing, Wiener was ready to give the San Francisco tech world a try, but the behind-the- scenes reality of the industry took her by surprise. Wiener tells of a patriarchal culture of wealth and ambition that left her disenchanted and in search of answers about her own life. Written with humor and intelligence, this briskly paced memoir explores gender in the workplace, the millennial mindset and the uses and abuses of power by influential companies. It’s a tech industry tell-all that’s both riveting and relevant.
Gretchen McCulloch delivers an intriguing study of the terminology, grammar and symbolism that shape online communication in Because Internet. McCulloch is a linguistics whiz who writes clearly and comprehensively for the lay reader about her area of expertise. In Because Internet, she delves into the development and diffusion of online slang, the power of memes and the inspiration behind emoji. Trends in online vocabulary and the progression of language are among the subjects up for debate, providing reading groups with meaty material for discussion.
Jia Tolentino critiques digital-age trends and attitudes in her acclaimed debut essay collection, Trick Mirror. Over the course of the book’s nine pieces, Tolentino examines the impact of social media and the internet, the American dream of perfectionism and other timely topics. She also shares personal stories, including an essay on her brush with reality TV. (She appeared on “Girls v. Boys: Puerto Rico.”) Funny, savvy and insightful, the collection establishes Tolentino as a vital millennial voice. Complex topics including self-image in the era of Instagram and the risks and rewards of social media make this collection a terrific pick for any book club.
Of the moment and utterly fascinating, Victoria Turk’s Kill Reply All explores the unique and multifaceted challenges of digital communication. Turk, who is a features editor at Wired UK, offers valuable advice about how to communicate online with confidence, whether that’s through chatting in a dating app or answering emails at work. Bringing a comic flair to the proceedings, she covers important topics like online friendships, the uses of emoji and the finer points of text messaging. There’s plenty for reading groups to debate and discuss in Turk’s thoughtful yet lighthearted guide to being polite in your online life.