When it comes to conscious consumption it can be hard to shift through all there is to read, watch, and listen to.
I’ve been there. You blankly stare at Amazon or maybe you actually go to the book store (there are some of us still out there!) frozen as you try to decide what to read next.
To help ease your media literacy reading search, here is a list of books that I love as well as my “to read” list. I would highly recommend picking one of these to get your own conversation started about media literacy.
- The Information Diet by Clay Johnson. This was the first book I read about media literacy. Johnson does a great job in a short time detailing the phrase “conscious consumption.” Clay makes the comparison between food and information to help his readers understand how important a healthy information diet is to your overall health. If you are new to the media literacy world, I would suggest this book first. It is a easy read, only 160 pages, and will serve as a great starting point for you.
- The Digital Divide by Mark Bauerlein. If you like the essay style of writing this is the book for you. The Digital Divide contains essays by Steven Johnson, Nicholas Carr, Don Tapscott, Douglas Rushkoff, Maggie Jackson, Clay Shirky, and Todd Gitlin. Whether you’re interested in the effects of Facebook, Google, texting, or other forms of social networking this book will give you easy to digest short pieces that are chalk full of juicy arguments.
- Unfriending My Ex: Confessions of a Social Media Addict by Kim Stolz. Kim Stolz is best known for her time on the reality tv series America’s Next Top Model. In the book, Kim details her one week social media cleanse. Although one week is not really enough time to cleanse anything, Kim does an excellent job of combining humor and self-deprecation. It is a extremely relatable book for my fellow millennials. Plus, it is a quick read.
- The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. For all of my proud feminist out there, The Beauty Myth is a must read. The book is a bit more academic than some of those on this list but it’s worth it. Wolf explores how images have shaped the way we see beauty and in turn how it has shaped female identity. It is in this myth that woman are trapped in an endless cycle of self-consciousness and hatred.
- Green Girl by Kate Zambreno. Zambreno’s protagonist Ruth, is a young American living in London who attempts to navigate the all too familiar period between youth and adulthood. Although not much happens throughout the novel, Zambreno gives us a character that is raw, irritating, fragile, bored, and above all else real. If you’re looking for something different, Green Girl is it.
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. Is there anything Aziz Ansari does that isn’t hilarious? Modern Romance is a fun, sharp witted look into the modern world of dating. Aziz enlisted the help of NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg to design a research project that explored the behaviors of those looking for love in the social media era. Even if you pick up this book simply because you like Aziz you won’t be disappointed.
My “To Read” List
- Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It by Thomas de Zengotita
- Reality Bites Back by Jennifer L. Pozner
- The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
- Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
- Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom by Frank W. Baker
- Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein
- The Achilles Effect: What Pop Culture is Teaching Young Boys about Masculinity by Crystal Smith
- Reality Boy by A.S. King
- The Lifespan of a Fact by John D’Agata
- Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture by Mark Duffett
- Alone Together by Sherry Turkle
- It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd
This is by no means an exhaustive list of books related to media, literacy, and modern culture. Feel free to tweet me with more titles from your own lists @manteywrites!