Norman Public Library
This month’s ‘Staff Selections’ column is a collaborative effort by Kate and Nancy, both of whom work in Norman Public Library’s Computer Training Center. “We like to read as much as the next librarian, and not just computer books,” they say. “Our selections do tend toward fantasy or science fiction, but maybe that’s because computers and their accompanying technology seem a little like magic and science fiction.”
Kate began working at the Norman library in 2010. She attended Norman High School and Trinity University in San Antonio, TX , where she majored in English Literature. “One of my contemporary literature professors clued me in to dystopian novels, starting with Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. From there, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins drew me in and I found out that teen dystopian science fiction is where the best books are being written today. These books give a horrifyingly realistic glimpse at what the world would look like for people living in a ruined society. And since I work in the Computer Training Center, I often wonder about the effects of technology on society.”
Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster
Kate: “When four townspeople agree to be hypnotized, they never expect to wake up and find out that the rest of the world has left them behind. Technology is now unrecognizable, yet the rest of the townspeople don’t seem to even notice the updates. Is it an alien takeover, or something even more sinister?”
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Kate: “Set in a future where humans have merged themselves with technology though a live feed into their brains, everything seems amazing for teenager Titus. After all, he can stay in contact with his friends and instantly hear about all the best parties. That is, until his feed gets hacked. Life after this experience makes him start to wonder if the feed is making humanity less intelligent.”
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Kate: “Life inside the community is perfect after you turn 16; you undergo a cosmetic procedure which makes you look absolutely beautiful and your only obligation is have a good time. Tally is more than ready for the change, but when her best friend Shay runs away, the authorities offer Tally an ultimatum: leave the community to find her friend or stay ugly forever.”
Nancy, who manages Norman's Computer Training Center, says: “In high school, I had a crush on the young man who ran the base library so I hung out around there a lot. College arrived, as well as another crush; this one was on a student helper at the music library at OU, where I majored in Music Education and played French horn in The Pride. I ended up getting a job in the library myself. I later worked for the University of Oklahoma Press, got another crush, married that guy and had a couple of babies. We came to Norman Public Library regularly, where I learned that there was a computer lab opening and that volunteers would be appreciated. I soon found myself applying for a job in the CTC.” She has worked at the library since 2006, and will soon complete a Master of Library and Information Studies degree at OU.
Daemon by Daniel Suarez
Nancy: “It’s California, in the near future. The story focuses on one man’s challenge to the economic environment of the globe. Daemon (Disk And Execution MONitor) is a continuously running computer program designed by Matthew Sobol and hosted by Cyberstorm Entertainment. It performs specified operations at predefined times or in response to certain events. The Daemon creates situations, objects and manipulations that ultimately will bring down the "old boy" way of getting business done. The U.S. government, a capitalistic society, is not about to let that happen and violence, death and destruction ensue.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Nancy: “This book describes the author’s theory of how humans make decisions. His hypothesis suggests that people who are able to make brilliant decisions may be filtering factors that make a difference from the wealth of information that doesn’t. He suggests that training and experience also influence us, allowing our instincts to direct our actions rather than overthinking every situation. The author’s writing style is accessible and engaging. Gladwell’s website allows access to an extensive bibliography."