My Most Recent Reads - August, 2014

August was a relatively slow month for reading books.  I had a couple long audiobooks to conquer and I had a lot of reading of short stories, which left little time for other reading.  However, I still read 18 books, so I'll take that!  This month had some really awesome books that were quite intriguing.


Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age by Alice Marwick

Status Update by Aliice Marwick. Image Source: http://www.tiara.org/book/index.html
Alice Marwick provides an insightful and fascinating look at understanding social media, culture, and class identity in this book.  Through her text, it's quickly evident that though social media presents itself as this utopian world of access and connection, there are many misrepresentations and much gesturing that more than creates a distorted view of what social media is and how we use it.  These questions of access, presence, and celebritism create different outcomes and rather than diminishing class boundaries, often reinforces them.  It's an essential text for people looking to understand social media either in general or for professional and personal use.  




Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake Harris

Console Wars by Blake Harris.  Source: http://it-books-yubo.squarespace.com/
Blake Harris takes readers on an engaging journey into the history of video games as he explores the history of Sega Genesis from its meteoric rise to its slow unraveling.  Harris provides a detailed account of actions, conversations, and key events.  His narrative focus is centered on Tom Kalinske, the CEO of Sega America who took up the charge against Nintendo, the juggernaut of video game consoles in the 1980s.  For the most part, Harris does a solid job of presenting Kalinske as the protagonist in this drama of RPG proportions but manages to do so without entirely demonizing Nintendo.  He brings up the overall criticisms and specific actions of Nintendo and yet avoids painting individuals as simplistic villains.  For a gamer like myself who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was fascinating to hear and learning about the gaming wars that went on from the corporate point of view as opposed to my own experience.  If there was but one flaw in the book, it would only be that Harris' stopped with the Kalinske's exit.  It makes perfect sense for the book, but it would be fascinating to get such an in depth history of the gaming industry up through the present.


Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government by Aneesh Chopra

Innovative State by Aneesh Chopra.  Source: http://www.groveatlantic.com/bigcovers/9780802121332.jpg
Aneesh Chopra is among several books out in the last several years that highlights how technology, when leveled appropriately could overwhelmingly transform our government and make it work smarter while simultaneously making it significantly less expensive.  Throughout his book, he offers ample examples that he has encountered in the writing of this book as well as many that he was involved with personally.  He identifies reasons and strategies for improving government service with a variety of tools that are proving successful on the local, state, and national level.  In the end, the book proves inspiring and insightful about a better and more useful path for citizenry and government that is less dominated by the simplistic politics of political parties and more successful with doing and getting results.  


For other best picks over the last year, check out previous monthly reviews:


AUDIOBOOKS


  • Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government by Aneesh Chopra
  • Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse by John Joseph Adams
  • The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America by Amy Chua
  • The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley
  • Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake Harris
  • The Gospel According to Breaking Bad by Blake Atwood 
  • Bane: A Science Fiction Adventure by Steven Atwood 
  • Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age by Alice Marwick
  • The Community College Career Track: How to Achieve the American Dream Without a Mountain of Debt by Thomas Snyder

GRAPHIC NOVELS


  • Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown
  • Amazing X-Men, Volume 1: The Quest for Nightcrawler by Jason Aaron
  • Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey Brian Michael Bendis
  • Harbinger Vol. 4: Perfect Day by Joshua Dysart
  • X-O Manowar Volume 4: Homecoming by Robert Venditti
  • Batman and Robin, Vol. 4: Requiem for Damian by Peter Tomasi
  • Thumbprint by Jason Ciaramella
  • I Love Trouble by Kel Symons
  • The Superior Spider-Man, Vol. 6: Goblin Nation by Dan Slott

What have you been reading lately?  Got any good recommendations for books, audiobooks or graphic novels?




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