Keeping current on current events

Keeping current on current events

Updated: 9 days, 21 minutes, 14 seconds ago
Books on Current Events.jpg A quartet of books examines how and why we dive into the news cycle.

Contributed / Terri Schlichenmeyer

There's got to be a reason they call it a "news cycle."

You hear a story about one thing and it loops around to a secondary event, then another crisis and another, and its loop-de-loop-de-loop until your head spins a little bit. So how about some books about current events to make things clear and make you think?

Log onto social media and you have to laugh: those memes are usually pretty funny things, but Joan Donovan, Emily Dreyfuss, and Brian Friedberg say in their new book "Meme Wars" (Bloomsbury, $30.00) that some memes are not as innocent as they first seem. Some of them, in fact, can be hiding racism or potential mayhem, and some can be used to widen the divide that's already taken hold in America. This book might send you scrambling to dig even deeper; for sure, it'll make you a bit more careful about sharing on social media.

Life, they say, is a game and in "You've Been Played" by Adrian Hon (Basic Books, $30.00), you'll see how games, whether voluntary or involuntary, affect our lives today. If you've ever worked in a warehouse or participated in team-building exercises in your office; if you've ever played a video game, geocached, or invested in the stock market, you've already been the next contestant. How will the gameification of life affect future generations? Do you pay attention to the "likes" on your page? How many followers do you have? Yeah, guess what, you need this book, too.

Readers who've been following the war in Ukraine for nearly a year will absolutely want to read "The Fight of Our Lives" by Iuliia Mendel (Atria/One Signal $27.99). Mendel was once President Volodymyr Zelinskyy's press secretary, and this insider's view fills in the blanks that you may not have caught before the war started. How did a comedian become Ukraine's fierce leader, how does Zelinskyy rally his people, and what really happened during the phone calls he had with Donald Trump? This book tells it all, while also giving readers a first-hand, heels-on-the-ground look at some of the people – influential and otherwise — behind the lines.

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And finally, if you are curious about what has driven folks to do what they've done in the past couple years, you'll want to read "The Storm is Upon Us" by Mike Rothschild (Melville House, $28.99). Rothschild is a reporter who specializes in fringe groups and conspiracy theories and in this book, he delves into QAnon and its followers, people who say they've been victimized by its adherents, psychologists, and political experts. How did it all start? Find out in this eye-opening, very well researched and sobering book.

If these don't settle the current-events questions you've got, be sure to ask your favorite bookseller or librarian for more help. New books on politics, social media, culture, and world affairs come out every single week, and the bookish people you know are reliable sources of information. They'll help you get your questions answered. They'll help keep you in the loop.

Book notes

"Meme Wars" by Joan Donovan, Emily Dreyfuss, and Brian Friedberg from Bloomsbury; "You've Been Played" by Adrian Hon via Basic Books; "The Fight of Our Lives" by Iuliia Mendel from Atria/One Signal; and "The Storm is Upon Us" by Mike Rothschild from Melville House, are all available through online booksellers and at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Apache Mall in Rochester.

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on the prairie in Wisconsin with one man, two dogs and 16,000 books. Look for her at bookwormsez.com or bookwormsez on Twitter. Bookworm — Terri Schlichenmeyer column sig

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