Now that Oprah has discontinued her much-beloved book club, billionaire owner of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has stepped in with an attempt to fulfill the void for people who enjoy basing their reading on what famous people suggest. The program entitled “A Year in Books,” suggests a new book every two weeks and promises to emphasize learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories, and technologies. Response to the recent venture has been mixed. Sales of the first book chosen for the series spiked dramatically, but the actual reading of the book and interaction on the group’s Facebook page has been lackluster. But now, Mark (or the employee hired to captain this endeavor), has taken a look at the resources available to them, cough Facebook cough, and hatched a plan that’s guaranteed to get people, or at least the media, interested in the book club. Let’s read a book about vaccines!
Because Of Course Vaccines
The book chosen by “A Year in Books” for their vaccine discussion is “On Immunity” by Eula Biss. An extended essay, the author discusses our perceptions of immunity and how it affects individuals and society, all through the lens of a brand new mother. Reading the summaries of the book, the language is interesting, as Biss frames the issue in terms of fear. The Amazon description makes sure to note her conclusion that you cannot immunize your child from the world… but immunize them anyway. Mainstream media has been thrilled with the book, and the New York Times Book Review has selected it as one of the 10 best books of 2014. It’s not hard to see why the Zuckerberg team chose this book. The topic is controversial, and the book club’s post made a point to mention how short it is in an effort to entice more readers.
Normally, the speculation as to the deeper meaning and ramifications behind this choice would be rampant. Thankfully, guesswork is not needed in figuring out the motivation behind this choice. In additional statements, Zuckerberg says, “The science is completely clear: vaccinations work and are important for the health of everyone in our community. This book explores the reasons why some people question vaccines and then logically explains why the doubts are unfounded and vaccines are, in fact, effective and safe.” He’s entitled to his opinions, but what are the ramifications of this stance for those of us on Facebook who may not agree?
New Fears for Facebook
- Facebook Owner Takes Public Stand against Vaccine Refusers – Vaccine Impact
- How Journalists are Censored from Covering Both Sides of the Vaccine Debate – Vaccine Impact
- Mark Zuckerberg’s book club is off to a pretty lame start – Washington Post
- Mark Zuckerberg’s book club fights US fear of vaccination – The Guardian
- On Immunity By Eula Biss – NY Times