Sunday, December 12, 2021

The Sunday Post #286


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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #286

On The Blog This Week

  • On Tuesday, I recommend some books to read in winter.

In My Reading Life

Last week, I finished An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle For Domination by Sheera Frenkel & Cecilia Kang. It's about the behind-the-scenes drama at Facebook and how the site misuses the data it collects from users. The book is mostly a history of the company from its founding until 2019-ish. I have a lot of thoughts, so I'm going to blather about Facebook for several paragraphs. Feel free to skip this section if you don't care about social media nonsense. 

Don't read this book if you want to be happy. Facebook is an infuriating company. They spy on everything you do online and use that data to target specific ads at you. (That's how Facebook reads your mind. They know so much about you that they can predict what you need before you realize you need it.) Facebook has gotten in trouble many times for invading privacy and not keeping user data secure. They just apologize and keep misusing data, which is annoying.

The book also talks about misinformation and if Facebook has a responsibility to control it. The company is very reluctant to fact check posts or take down hateful content, which means they ignored warnings and looked the other way while Facebook misinformation fueled the mass murder of Muslims in Myanmar.

I guess I can't hate Facebook too much because they're in a no-win situation with misinformation. They're too big to check every post in every language. Then, there's the blurry lines between information and misinformation. Like, is satire misinformation because not everybody understands jokes? What about information that's true but worded in misleading ways? Should politicians be exempt from rules because it's important for voters to know what their leaders are thinking? Facebook can't win at managing misinformation, so users need be better about not sharing garbage.

For me, the most infuriating thing about Facebook is that they discovered how to create a happier, more factually accurate news feed. They chose not to use it because shock and outrage keep people on the site longer. Facebook's algorithm will keep boosting posts that make people hate each other because that's how Facebook makes money. They can serve you ads with your outrage.

I think Facebook's biggest problem is that they care about growth and money more than anything else. They'll eagerly treat Facebook users like lab rats if they can profit from it. The company is growing so fast that they can't keep up with the problems that come with rapid growth.

Okay, that's it. I'm done blathering about Facebook. Let's talk about the book for a second: If you've been following news about Facebook for years, then you probably won't learn a ton from reading An Ugly Truth. A lot of the information in the book has been reported on before. I still think you should read it, though. Clearly, I got a lot out of it. It's one of the most thought-provoking things I've read this year.

Moving on: I read The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—And Why by Amanda Ripley. If you're new to survival nonfiction, please start with this book! It's a great introduction. The author interviews survivors of disasters and analyzes why they survived while others didn't. How does the human brain react to a sudden catastrophe? The Unthinkable is an engaging, readable book that will (hopefully) make you aware of how your brain might sabotage you in an emergency. (Don't you dare grab your luggage from the overhead bin if your plane is on fire. People die from smoke inhalation because other people won't leave their luggage alone. You need to fight your brain's programming: Let the stuff burn; don't let the humans burn!)

If you've read a bunch of books about survival, then there isn't a ton of new information in this one. The author kept referencing other survival books, and I kept saying, "I've read that. And that. And that." It is an excellent starting point, though. Well-researched and easy to understand.

Next, I read Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. This novel is stressful, people! I stayed awake all night to read it because I couldn't sleep until I knew how it ended. Luckily, it's a novel-in-verse, so you can finish it in a few hours. It's about a 17-year-old who is attempting to save his brother from death row. It feels so realistic that every plot twist almost gave me a heart attack. The author does an excellent job of showing messy family relationships. Love is complicated. It can't be turned on and off like a light switch. If your brother commits murder, you're probably not going to stop loving him in an instant. Relationships are messier than that. The characters in this book have to work through some complex issues.

I'm not sure if I fully "get" novels-in-verse. In this book, the poetry format doesn't always enhance the story. Most of the poems could have been written as paragraphs and had the exact same impact. So, in my opinion, this book isn't poetry; it's prose formatted to look like poetry. It makes me wonder why the author chose verse. If the poetry format doesn't change anything, why is it necessary? Or, maybe I just don't understand poetry and need to stop overthinking. Bottom line: This is a very good story. Read it, if you don't mind having a thousand mini heart attacks.

I just started She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan. It's described as "literary historical fantasy," so I'm interested. It's about a peasant girl in 1300s China who steals her brother's identity and tricks her way into becoming a monk. So far, it's very dense, but I'm enjoying it.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five things that made me happy last week:

  1. We decorated for Christmas! Instead of one big tree, we have 4 small ones. Our hallway is lit up like a festive airport runway. It's overkill, but fun.
  2. I got Baby Brooklyn a safari ornament advent calendar. Every day, she gets to open a new animal ornament and hang it on her tree. I thought "safari" would mean giraffes and hippos. Instead, it's sheep and dogs. It's hilarious. I guess "ornament safari" sounds more exciting than "ornament farm."
  3. Speaking of Baby Brooklyn, she's getting so big! When we walk to the playground, we have to cross a drainage ditch thing. I usually hold her hands on the stepping stones so she doesn't fall in the nasty water. Yesterday, she jumped from stone to stone by herself. I didn't know she was that coordinated.
  4. I'm listening to Christmas music right now.
  5. I finished watching Locke & Key. Now I don't know what to do with my life. Recommend more shows! I stared Wheel Of Time, but I'm not sure if it's my type of thing.

I Won't Induce Rage On Your Socials

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. It's amazing how fast little kids grow and change. Jumping from stone to stone across water? Wow.

    "...the most infuriating thing about Facebook is that they discovered how to create a happier, more factually accurate news feed. They chose not to use it because shock and outrage keep people on the site longer." Something is wrong with the world when this happens.

    I'm not sure how I feel about novels-in-verse. I remember the first one of these I read, Out of the Dust. It was powerful. Sometimes they feel...maybe...pretentious?

  2. Oh, kids do grow too fast! My babies are all adults, LOL.

    I have been displaying miniature trees for a few years, but this year, I'm in my new apartment and I don't know where my granddaughter (who helped me move) put them! I could go through all the closets, of course. Or text her. LOL

    Enjoy your week, and I like the info about Facebook. A very disturbing company that somehow keeps its tentacles in us.

    Here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

  3. I get what you were saying about Moonrise, but the story was still powerful and heartbreaking. There were tears. The weird thing with social media is that everyone involved seems to understand certain things about it, but we still go along with it. Everyone knows people love drama. You even have readers writing hate posts on Goodreads for Pete's sake. Why? For clicks and follows. Think about the newspaper. Those wonderful human interest stories are buried while the salacious stories are all front and center. As long as people consume, someone will exploit it in some way. It's both infuriating and baffling to me.

  4. I hate all the issues with Facebook, because honestly compared to every other social media outlet, it is the best for getting to interact with authors that I'm a fan of, as well as keep in touch with family and friends that I wouldn't otherwise. But it makes me mad that they think the shock and outrage keeps people there. That is what actually has made a lot of people I know leave Facebook. And I hate all that. Ugh. Looks like some good books for you this week! Love that advent calendar, safari or farm, lol.
    Lisa Loves Literature

  5. Sounds like the Facebook book was informative - thanks for your thoughts. Unfortunately, I think you are right about them being more concerned with profit than anything else.

    I love advent calendars! I wouldn't have expected sheep on safari either, lol.

    Have a good week!

  6. Your books seem a bit too heavy this week... I feel like fairytales and Christmas stories at the moment.

    Kids do tend to grow up in the blink of an eye, don't they.

    I've ordered myself a Harry Potter Advent Calendar, but it never arrived at the bookshop, so I just cancelled the order.

    Enjoy your Christmas decorations! It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

    Elza Reads

  7. I think the Facebook book would just infuriate me!

  8. All social media is frustrating with Facebook at the top of the list. But, it's also difficult to avoid it, so yes, I am on it. :-)

    I love the idea of 4 small trees, one of which Brooklyn gets to decorate as she opens her advent calendar.

  9. Facebook is a necessary evil for me. I use it to keep up with family, but that's all.

  10. Haha, I definitely would have been a bit bummed about that safari advent calendar!

  11. We have done no decorating yet. But I want a safari ornament calendar!

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  12. Oh man, that book about Facebook would probably send my blood pressure through the roof. I use it but only to keep up with family that I don't see very often.

  13. I'm with Suzanne on the Facebook thing. I still use it although I keep thinking I'll delete my account but only for family and honestly if anything big happens they text anyway so I should probably just ditch FB lol... I've grown to kinda hate it? Like, I don't need to know that someone checked in at Big Boy, right? :)

    The monk book sounds great.

    I like small trees. They are nice and we had one up along with our big tree but the little one fell over and broke. Arg.

  14. Facebook will age out sooner or later, none of my young adults or teens use it.
    Our Christmas tree will go up on the weekend though it’s going to take some rearranging to make space for it.

    Wishing you a great reading week

  15. I use Facebook mainly as a gateway to computer games and to keep up with people I seldom see in person anymore. It must be fun seeing Christmas through a child's eyes. I'd be disappointed if my safari didn't include wild animals. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  16. All your books sound great this week, especially The Unthinkable.

    Our kids grow up way too fast. Seems to drag while you are in the trenches, but then you wish you could hold onto them forever.

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog.

  17. Oh, that sounds just awful about Facebook! And I, too, don't really get novels in verse, I think I've read 3 or 4, and I'm good with that! The Girl Who Became the Sun sounds pretty interesting! Yeah for 4 small Christmas Trees, and that's interesting marketing with the advent calendar. And aw, so cute for her getting so big! Thanks for stopping by! Happy reading!

  18. What a wide variety of reading. Interesting about Facebook, I only use it in a limited way and am happy with that. Sometimes I think its the users who spoil things!

  19. I don't think I can read that FB book if I want to continue using them for business. Sigh.

  20. I really want to read She Who Became the Sun! I've heard such good things. Yay for Christmas decorations! That sounds so cute!

  21. The Facebook book sounds both aggravating and interesting. I hope you have a great week!

  22. 4 trees eh? How festive. Brooklyn's advent calendar sounds better than my chocolate one in theory. Enjoy your week.

  23. I had to laugh at the "Safari" advent calender. I would definitely not have expected sheep and dogs. I love them (more dogs - pretty neutral on sheep) but I would have been expecting lions and giraffes and what not. 4 trees sounds so fun! We normally had 2 or 3 but this year we haven't even put up our main tree! I hope you're having a great week!

  24. Your books look interesting. I joined a non-fiction reading challenge to up my game in that genre. Your reading life must be very interesting as you read such a diverse selection. :)

  25. Wow they are taking liberties with the word safari lol.

    I want to read She Who Became the Sun so please keep me updated!