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What We’re Reading

August 23, 2011

We’re a diverse bunch here at the SMC, but what we have in common is that we are nerds who read a lot. I went on office patrol to find out what my compatriots have selected as their August summer reading.

danah boyd

Books danah boyd is reading
Parenting out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times, by Margaret Nelson
“It’s a phenomenal examination of two different common parenting strategies and their class dimensions.”

The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman
“It’s so relevant even to today. Through fiction, [Goodman] shows the different players from different angles seeing the dot com boom and crash play out. I think in the tech industry, we tend to forget about these different angles.”

Danah is also reading The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, a critically-acclaimed steampunk/dystopia. She and I share a love for YA, sci-fi, and YA sci-fi.

Kate Crawford


Behavior in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings, by Erving Goffman
“It’s a classic, but nobody’s read it. Eytan [Adar, visiting researcher] and I are using it to think about the London riots.”

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
“Danah recommended this, because the theme of cell propagation is bizarrely relevant to [the paper they're working on about] Big Data.”

Eytan Adar

Books Eytan is reading
The Taming of the American Crowd: From Stamp Riots to Shopping Sprees, by Al Sandine
“I bought this but haven’t read it yet. It’s for Kate and I’s project on the London riots.”

The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
“If you want junky books, I just finished the Magician King. I’m actually looking forward to the sequel. “
I also just finished this, so I responded that a) it was written by the book critic for New York magazine and therefore is de facto not junky, b) it was a lot better than its predecessor, “The Magicians.”

Heather Castells


Paying for Sex: The Gentlemen’s Guide To Web Porn, Strip Clubs, Prostitutes & Escorts – Without Humiliation, Job Loss, Bankruptcy, Infection, Bloodshed Or Incarceration, by Kerr Fuffle and Roscoe Spanks
“Danah and I found this on Amazon. It’s a self-published guide for people who want to buy sex with escorts and prostitutes and how not to get caught. We wanted a better view of what the demand side looks like in human trafficking.”
Me: Is it written from a male perspective?
Heather: They say in the beginning of the book that it’s aimed solely at men.

Laura Norén

Books Laura Noren is reading
Look at Me, by Jennifer Egan
“I allow myself to read fiction in the summer. I loved the Goon Squad.”

Personal Connections in the Digital Age, by Nancy Baym
“This relates to research I’m doing. I’m excited for the chapter on communities and networks, because I think it’ll be relevant to my project on food blogging. I’m also excited for the chapter on authenticity, which apparently everyone has trouble pinning down.”

The Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places, by Sharon Zukin.
“I did not like this. It’s primarily about authenticity in the East Village and Red Hook, and I live in Red Hook.” Note: Laura also goes to NYU which is pretty much in the East Village. “I got my hopes up, meaning it was easy to disappoint me. It didn’t do quite what I thought it was going to do. On the other hand, it did help me understand how personal an experience of shared space is.”

Alice Marwick


Note that these are fake quotes from me, since I don’t talk out loud to myself, at least not usually

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
“I stayed up til 2 am last night finishing this. It’s about video games and 80s nostalgia in a dystopian future. I couldn’t put it down.”

Gender Circuits: Bodies and Identities in a Technological Age, by Eve Shapiro
“I’ve been working on a book chapter about gender and social media and really struggling. The snippets of this book I found on Google Books convinced me to buy it. I’m hoping it comes from Amazon tomorrow.”

What Technology Wants, by Kevin Kelly
“I haven’t started this either, but I’m interviewing Kevin Kelly next week and I’m pretty intimidated. I hope reading his latest will help me put together some non-idiotic questions.”

What are YOU reading?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura Noren permalink
    August 23, 2011 10:35 pm

    Alice, I’m picking up a copy of “Gender Circuits” based on the hope for excellence you expressed above and the fact that we won’t be sharing an office after this Friday so I can’t just borrow it from you.

  2. August 25, 2011 2:51 am

    I just started reading “Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace” by Janet H. Murray. I’m using excerpts from it for my class on Convergence Culture, but I’ve never read the whole thing. Also about to start “Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life” by Rob Kitchin and Martin Dodge. (I guess I’m kind of into the MIT Press books right now). Goffman’s “Behavior in Public Places” might be next though. . .

  3. Oznur Tastan permalink
    August 29, 2011 5:57 pm

    I am not a social media collective member; I thought I would just pitch in. I am reading John Berger’s ‘Hold Everything Dear’. It’s his reflections of the misery going on in different parts of the globe, mainly in Middle East. It is a good literary piece.

  4. September 4, 2011 3:11 pm

    Lots of books to add on to my reading list! The Nakes City book sounds really cool, putting that to the top. Right now, I’m in the middle of Sketching User Experiences by Bill Buxton and The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar.

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