Since I seem to be in the mood for confessions, I'll toss out another one. I'm an internet junkie. I grew up in a household of technology and mastered PacMan around the same time as cursive writing (as an adult the former may actually be a skill that gains me more compliments). Comfort with computers and the ease of integrating technology into my life stayed with me and grew throughout my college experience and I still spend (probably a great deal too much) time online. When I'm not blogging or reading blogs or commenting on blogs; there's a good chance I'm checking email, playing games, popping around facebook, or making edits to my LibraryThing catalog. I try to keep my internet dependence in check and have resisted getting a smart phone or a Twitter account because I really don't need any more online distractions or addictions in my life, but I am a firm believer that in moderation the convenience of technology making our world smaller really can be a good thing. This theme was explored in a novel I recently read and enjoyed.
Taking a modern spin on the theory of six degrees of separation - the theory that any two strangers can be linked through six different friends of friends - Bonnie Rozanski's novel Six Clicks Away starts with a New Jersey college student who sets out to become online friends with the Dalai Lama. What starts as a sociology project quickly spirals outward to become a look at the interconnectedness of people around the world.The list of reasons I enjoy blogging is numerous, but high up in rank is the ability to connect with people so far away. A few months after creating this site, I added a flag tracker (on the right sidebar below recent comments), and I love checking it out every month or so to see where in the world people visiting Her Book Self are located! In just a few months, I've had hits from almost all 50 states in the USA (where's the love from Idaho?!?) and over 70 other countries (every continent but Antarctica!). I love that reading and books are universal passions and that the blogosphere really has made the world a slightly smaller place.
The story begins with sorority girl Rachel and her geeky classmate Jeremy but as their network expands, the reader meets many endearing characters such as Julia an author in Canada; Kevin an engineer turned fish vendor in Seattle; Antara, a collections agent in India; and multiple others. The lives of these individuals seem to have nothing in common but over the course of the novel their stories impact and affect each other in creative and interesting ways.
I enjoyed the tales that Rozanski wove together in this book. She presents an interesting look at the world of social networking, and "MyFace" - her fictional blend of facebook and MySpace - proves to be a literary mirror that will leave readers considering their own online presence and digital lives. Overall, this is a unique and modern story that raises ideas about how small the large world has become and will make any reader stop and think about from whom they might be Six Clicks Away.
I'm curious if other bloggers have had a similar sense of wonder at connecting internationally. Have you ever been amazed by the site traffic to your blog? Any Her Book Self readers want to brag about how far away from Illinois they are?
Stay tuned for my author interview with Bonnie Rozanski this week!