Monday, April 16, 2012

Nonfiction Monday-- Technology

Nonfiction Monday was started by Anastasia Suen and is hosted this week at The Nonfiction Detectives.

Nonfiction Monday will be hosted here on 14 May.

The Technology Pioneers series by Abdo and Daughters are bright, graphically pleasing books on topics which are appealing to students. At just over 100 pages, they are a perfect size for reports. The four that I read all do a good job at going back and forth between the biographies of the people involved and the growth of their products or services. The one exception to this might be the Nintendo one-- because the company goes back to 1889 and run by family members with somewhat complicated relationships, that one was slightly confusing. While there are sidebars, bold faced headings and lots of illustrations, there is enough connected text here to make me hope that students will do more than just look at the pictures. While my rule of thumb is usually to avoid buying biographies of people who are still living, all of these give enough history of the companies that these will remain useful even as the companies continue to grow and change. The Social Networking title has been very popular; I will add the book on Google and perhaps Wikipedia as funds exist.

Yes, these are $24 each. Why do I not mention the cost of fiction? Fiction is invariably below $20, which is apparently the price point at which I start to cringe. Also, with nonfiction, because there are so few trade sales, the prices are never discounted, and these never turn up at Half Price Books or the thrift store! When I have about 50 books a year lost by students, this is a concern! It's hard enough to get a $6 paperback paid for. I always tell the students NEVER to lose a nonfiction book!

DiPiazza, Francesca Davis. Friend Me! 600 Years of Social Networking in America.
Social networking, up until about ten years ago, was all done in person. There's a shocker for most students today! This interesting book covers all manner of ways that people in different parts of the US connected, from Native Americans to Puritans to slaves to today's technology. I especially liked the inclusion of the Sears catalog. This is a little bit of a bait-and-switch for students who want to read about Facebook, but I hope that they will continue to read the rest of the book, because it has some great history. My only complaint is that the font is rather small, which is often something that will dissuade students from picking up a book. Publishers should do studies on this!


  1. Friend Me sounds very cool, indeed. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I like the idea of a book about social networking in real life- that's a skill everyone needs.

  3. These are all interesting books to read! I like learning about people, their discoveries, and the story behind their success (or even failures, at times). I am very much into my Facebook that I think Friend Me would be a very interesting read. It's nice to find out the psychology behind social networking sites, how they work, and how they bridge people across the world. Thanks for sharing, Ms. Yingling! :)

  4. Anonymous8:48 PM EDT

    Putting modern social networking in a historical context sounds like a great idea for a book!

  5. Anonymous11:55 AM EDT

    It is so frustrating that non-fiction is so high priced, isn't it?