Saturday, March 14, 2020

10 Week Internet Hiatus - What I Read

I'm back!  I thoroughly enjoyed my much-needed, 10 week Internet diet.  I missed seeing what people were up to, but I didn't miss celebrity updates, fake-news, and seeing people argue and get further divided online.  I enjoyed having my phone in another room most of the time, and it didn't take long for me to forget about it.  Due to Covid-19 and some stuff with my job, I did spend a bit of time online, but for the most part, I stuck to the plan I had set for myself.

What I felt the most during this past 10 weeks was a sense of relief.

It was nice to have less to pay attention to so I could give more focused attention to fewer areas of my life.  One thing I focused on was reading.  I tend to gravitate toward non-fiction, and in particular, science-based books.  With so much misinformation online, I like to read actual facts - information that has been tested using the scientific method.  When people dedicate their life's work to a particular field, those are the people I want to learn from, and those are the people I trust to provide accurate information in their respective fields.  And, well, when it's the year 2020, and there are still flat-Earthers it is really disheartening.   

The world could use a lot more science. 

I read 10 books in the 10 weeks that I was off-line (in addition to a couple for work), including:

1)  The Body - Bill Bryson

This is a very informative look at the human body, but it really made it apparent how little we know about our own bodies and how they function.  There is so much more to know, which is fascinating as I can't wait to see what is discovered in the future, but it also makes me feel like there should be a lot more funding for medical and scientific research. It was an interesting read but I would have liked it more if it had some health recommendations for each section (the sections were broken down based on body parts/systems.) 7/10

2)  The Reality Bubble - Ziya Tong

I was keeping notes on the books I read, and for this one I wrote, "This should be required reading for everyone."  It is a relevant and important book.  I learned a lot and was engaged throughout. I loved it!  Read a short description here, and see if it piques your interest as much as it did mine. 9.5/10

3)  The Mind-Gut Connection - Emeran Mayer, MD

This was a quick and enjoyable read, and it contained recent research on an area that I think will impact our understanding of health from now on.  I am really interested in the effect of diet on health and on the brain, so this book was right up my alley. 7/10

4)  The Brain that Changes Itself - Norman Doidge, MD

I really wanted to love this book.  It caught my eye years ago and I had it on my must-read list ever since; unfortunately, it was a bit of a letdown for me.  It was full of medical stories, which aren't my favourite; I am more interested in the findings that came out of those stories.  Also, many of the stories were ones I already knew, such as that of Phineas Gage, which any psychology major will be familiar with.  It was not engaging for me, but if you love the stories that led to scientific and medical advancement, then this might be for you.  4/10

5)  Letters from an Astrophysicist - Neil Degrasse Tyson

I do not have a physics background and have never taken a physics class (big mistake, because physics is the coolest), yet this book was very readable and accessible.  Tyson shares his answers to various letters and emails he has received, and each answer is quite brief but so well explained, and just all-around satisfying.  It was a quick read. 8/10

6)  Brief Answers to the Big Questions - Stephen Hawking

This book was thought-provoking and engaging.  Hawking was one of the greatest minds of our time and he really got my wheels turning.  Although, it wasn't quite as good as Neil Degrasse Tyson's book, which was very similar to this one.  That being said, I give it a 7/10.

7)  The Ripple Effect - Greg Wells

This book provided good information, albeit unoriginal.  I didn't really enjoy the way it was written, but I suppose it would be a good, easily accessible introduction to scientific information in the areas of sleep, diet, exercise, and the brain. 4/10

8)  How to Love the Universe - Stefan Klein

This is another book that I really wanted to love.  Unfortunately, I found it repetitive and unoriginal. Part of my dislike for it could be because I read it after a couple of other books about space and the universe, and it repeated a lot of what was in those books but wasn't written as well.  4/10

9)  The Prince - Machiavelli

This book is not in line with my interests at all, but I've had it on my bookshelf for ages, and I am tired of having unread books on the shelf.  I found it really boring, and I struggled to stay focused while reading.  It was written about a billion years ago, or something, and is apparently a classic, but for me, it is a #NOPE. Fortunately, it was a very quick read.  1/10

10)  Hyperspace - Michio Kaku

We saw the brilliant Michio Kaku in line at JFK airport a few years ago.  Actually, he was directly in front of us in the security line for a good while.  Christopher was star-struck. Unfortunately, for what I am convinced is one of the first times in Christopher's life, a name slipped his mind.  He racked his brain to get the name, but it didn't come to him until we had left the airport, and Christopher says he just couldn't address him without using his name.  So, that's the story of the time that we never talked to Michio Kaku. 

His book was mind-bending.  It opened my mind to a whole new world, and to physics ideas that I had never taken the time for before.  It's the stuff science fiction is made of, and it was much more fascinating and in-depth, and complicated than I ever imagined. This guy is as smart as I wish I was ... 8/10

My plan for tomorrow - go to the library!  And, I have more to share about what we've been up to over the past 10 weeks, including some travel, and of course, our eats.

What are you reading?
Have you ever taken an Internet or social media hiatus?
Have you ever been star-struck?  Who did you see?


Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Your presence has been missed.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I love that you are so drawn to non-fiction and continuing to learn! It makes sense that you are a teacher since you have such a passion for learning!

I definitely missed your posts but I know how good social media breaks are for mental health! I am still blogging and reading blogs but am in a social media break for Lent. I try to do this most years. I am especially glad it be off it right now with the COVID stuff going on. I imagine there is a lot of misinformation being shared! And when I am stressed out, sometimes I am especially bad at binging on social media.

Can’t wait to hear what else you guys have been up to and what you’ve been cooking!!!