I have a hard time reviewing books that are aimed at "the novice". Because I'm a total geek and have gravitated towards anything techie since I was in 7th grade, I usually read these books with the mental soundtrack "Well, what about .." and "omg, I can't believe they didn't mention THAT" and "I just can't take this book seriously".
However, I didn't really experience that with Christina Tynan-Wood's new book How to Be a Geek Goddess: Practical Advice for Using Computers with Smarts and Style. Yes, there were a couple of times at the beginning of the book where Tynan-Wood was discussing computer setup, file structures or other software that I bit my tongue (plus, I'm a Mac girl now and she favours PC's) - but once I got to Chapter 5, my noisy brain stopped chattering and I settled in for the ride.
My favourite chapters were the ones on safe surfing and geek parenting. Now, I don't have kids (which may make it surprising that these were my fav chapters), but if I needed to learn about kid safety in the Internet quickly and have a really good sense of my options, I would definitely read this book. In fact, these two chapters alone are worth the price of the whole book. Tynan-Wood writes from a great combo of experiences with her own kids and her friends' kids, plus a love of technology. She tempers what could easily turn into paranoia for some parents with the realisation that the Internet and technology are essential to a child's education and wants to help you be smart about it. Really great stuff!
The chapters on social networking and online dating were fun to read and full of great content. I'm glad that Tynan-Wood included the chapter on online dating; she evaluated a number of sites and it's this experience, tempered with her general common sense approach, that will give single women the confidence to go online and explore some of these sites.
Oh, and if you know that digital cameras, plasma TVs or a new mp3 player are in your future, the chapter on gadgets offers some easy-to-understand descriptions of the technology plus some questions to ask yourself before you buy!
How To Be a Geek Goddess covers a wide variety of topics for the woman who wants to be a thoroughly modern (techno) Millie. They include:
Chapter 1: Get a Smooth Ride, New or Used
Chapter 2: Housebreaking
Chapter 3: Getting In Touch With Your Software Side
Chapter 4: Hook It Up
Chapter 5: Shopping!
Chapter 6: Hello, Operator
Chapter 7: The Wireless Home
Chapter 8: Keeping It Safe
Chapter 9: Geek Parenting
Chapter 10: Groovy Gear and Gadgets
Chapter 11: Social Networking
Chapter 12: The Sexy Geek
Tynan-Wood's companion blog. Geek Girlfriends, is a great resource for ongoing practical tech advice and some delightful giveaways :) How To Be a Geek Goddess is available on amazon.ca and amazon.com. Thanks to the folks at No Starch Press for sending me a review copy!