Upcoming community read focuses on unplugging


The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island has chosen Tiffany Shlain’s book, “24/6: Giving Up Screens One Day a Week to Get More Time, Creativity, and Connection,” for the next community read, which will culminate with a Zoom discussion with Shlain on Feb. 4.

Shlain’s book is particularly timely during the pandemic, which has seen many of us spending increased time online as we work from home, learn or teach from home, shop from home and visit with friends and family virtually. The book is also an intriguing read in the run-up to The National Day of Unplugging, March 5-6.

Shlain is an Internet pioneer who founded the Webby Awards in the mid-1990s to celebrate outstanding Internet videos, and a leading promoter of unplugging.

In her book, she takes readers on a provocative and entertaining journey through the past, present and future of ideas about time and technology. She explains how being completely off-line one day each week for 10 years, along with her husband and two daughters, has transformed their lives, freeing up time and enhancing connection and presence.

Though “24/6” is not directed specifically to the Jewish community, and Shlain herself is not a religious Jew, she advocates for what she calls “Technology Shabbat.”

Shlain will be interviewed by Robin Kall (known to many Rhode Islanders for her radio program, “Reading with Robin”) on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. as part of the Behind the Book series, sponsored by the Alliance. Books on the Square, in Providence, is offering a discount on “24/6.”

Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker. Her films and other works have received more than 80 awards and distinctions, including being selected for the Albert Einstein Foundation’s Genius: 100 Visions of the Future.

“24/6” has also garnered many honors. People Magazine, for example, called it a “New Book Worth Reading” and Book Authority rated it No. 1 in “Best New High-Tech Books to Read in 2020.” In addition, Michael Rich, an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, writes that, “I, as a pediatrician, live it and recommend it as a best-parenting and best-living practice to the families I serve.”

For more information on the Behind the Book event, go to https://www.jewishallianceri.org/behind-the-book/