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Every month, Roxanne's Dear Reader talks about the books she is most excited about, authors coming to the store who she can't wait to meet, and anything else that is on her mind.
Roxanne J. Coady
A whole year has passed since my son Edward graduated from Kenyon College. He has certainly flown the coop and is in San Francisco with a great job and a wonderful appetite for adventure. This time last year, though - I was panicking; worried that Kevin and I might not have taught him enough, or prepared him for The Real World.
Even though he's now out there, finding his footing, it was and still is my job to worry - of course, I always believe reading solves everything!
So for those of you who are in the middle of graduation season - with young sons and daughters of your own - this time of uncertainty soon shall pass. Because where there's uncertainty, there's room for optimism and the anticipation for the bright things ahead in your children's lives.
If you're looking for a little guidance along the way, I encourage you to revisit the list of grad books I compiled last year to see Edward off on his own journey. And while I normally hate to reuse old material, the message here is still the same: practicality mixed with possibility.
There are two more books I'd like to add to Edward's bookshelf - both of which expertly discuss the disintermediation technology has created in our economy; but, if properly harnessed, will have the ability to create an immense set of new opportunities for our children.
Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future? is an utterly fascinating exploration of how technology and mechanization have challenged the Middle Class - and what role they should play in its revival. The difficulties facing our children today are probably the greatest economic challenge a generation has seen in many years. Jaron presents a thoughtful template for these young adults to consider as they plan their future. To hear more, check out Diane Rehm's interview with Jaron.
A companion book should be The New Digital Age by Google's Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen - an equally absorbing look into the digital revolution, by way of global affairs. I certainly don't have to tell you that we all live in a very different world now - but this revolution is what will inevitably fuel the thinking of the younger generations' opportunities in an interconnected global, political sphere. Combining Schmidt's technological expertise with young Cohen's political leadership, The New Digital Age is nothing short of inspirational and will surely captivate your grad.
A favorite classic is always a great gift. Revisiting the past is the perfect way for graduates to greet the future - Don Quixote is one of my personal favorites, and I'm sure you have yours.
Of course, I think every gift should be accompanied by a beautiful new journal - one that's handsome, grown-up and elegant. For those of you who think paper's over, let me tell you that some of the greatest users of paper journals are the big-time, big-wig tech guys writing down their digital ideas! Encourage your grad to record their journey.
For the little ones in your life, though - specifically young girls - I can't tell you how thrilled I am that our Kids Buyer, Kaley discovered the ingenious Goldie Blox toy. With the hopes of inspiring young girls to love science and engineering, Stanford graduate Debbie Sterling discovered that the best way to appeal to girls was through - you guessed it - reading! Girls love to read. And, as they read and actually build Goldie's story, they're instilled with a spatial knowledge from early on - literally giving them the tools to help build our future. It's genius.
Even in the spirit of graduation, new beginnings, and promising futures, it is easy to get worn down by the bad news we're surrounded by - but by watching and listening to the excited energy of new and recent grads, I can't help but think of their futures as the turning of a kaleidoscope. Each new color, angle and frame depicts a new landscape - reminding us of the cyclical nature of life and the promise of a brave new world ahead. These new pictures will tell quite the story.
Roxanne J. Coady
P.S. For the hundreds of you who expressed early interest in Jeannette Walls' new book, The Silver Star - and because she was so wowed by your response - we're delighted to have an event with her on June 13th at Water's Edge Resort and Spa.
P.P.S. Don't miss Cathie Pelletier here in the store tomorrow night at 7 pm for her new book, The One-Way Bridge. Her earlier work, The Funeral Makers was one of the store's first best-sellers and one of the funniest books I've ever read - you could say we go a long way back together. She's an absolute delight - look forward to seeing you then!