Another Step Away


Over the past year I’ve begun to reclaim my life.

As I’ve progressively backed away from social media consumption these 12 months, I’ve finally started to regain control of the technology in my life. Before long, I worked myself down to enough time to post one Instagram picture per day and a few minutes to respond to comments from the past 24 hours.

And I cannot tell you how good it feels.

Digital tools are great at instantly connecting us with folks from all around the world, but the flip side of that blessing is that my attention and affection were getting spread pretty thin. This, in spite of the fact that I’ve always valued my family and working with my hands far above screen time and internet chatter. It’s even more ironic because the very reason my wife and I moved to rural Maine in the first place was to get away from the insanity of tech and urbanization.

So, here I am today, finding myself sitting in the driver’s seat of an internationally distributed magazine whose sole “marketing” strategy is to interact with folks on our blog and social media. The response we get through these channels (and email, as well) is incredible and we are so delighted to hear from you all. At the same time, the amount of screen time this necessitates (on top of our editorial duties) can becoming overwhelming.

Inspired by the life-giving benefits I’ve experienced away from social media lately, I’ve decided to take another small step away, this time from the internet itself. Although so much can be explored through a simple Google search, the gossip and circuity of information can become tiresome. I’ve already spent too many hours of my life sitting on my laptop next to bookshelves brimming with information and inspiration that cannot be found anywhere on the Web. And I wondered how many projects I could have completed or new skills I could have developed with all that time lost.

All this to say, we’ve been receiving emails over the past few days about our now-missing blogroll. The reason this is gone is because we’re shifting gears here. Don’t get us wrong: those blogs are great and well worth reading, but because Mike and I are always deep into some fascinating books that we rarely discuss here, we decided to replace the blogroll with the “Currently Reading” list you now see. We want to encourage folks to regularly unplug to read real books. We have some incredibly literate readers and a number of them have asked us to publish a “Recommended Reading” list. Until now, we hadn’t found the right way to do it.

There will usually be several titles on the list at a time because the diversity keeps me motivated. By listing these books here we, of course, are not necessarily endorsing any given title in toto, but Mike and I are doing a lot of research for a few budding book ideas, and if these books ever see the light of day, they will include massive “Further Reading” lists for your edification. But, if you want a head start, keep an eye on our “Currently Reading” list on the sidebar.

- Joshua