Holds Alert: SHAMED

9781594487132_85bbaLike catnip to the entire Internet, Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (Penguin/Riverhead Books; OverDrive Sample), a book on trolls, shaming, and collective attacks, is taking off.

After his bleep-filled appearance on The Daily Show and widespread coverage in media as diverse as The New York Times and the A.V. Club, Ronson’s book is topping hold ratios of 4:1 in most libraries we checked.

The topic has wide appeal and Ronson, a proven bestselling author, is getting high praise. The Boston Globe says his book is

“ … a modern-day horror story: cringe-inducing, anxiety-provoking, and so gripping it’s impossible to put down. Although the stocks and the pillory were outlawed nearly 200 years ago, after our forebears deemed them cruel and dehumanizing, Ronson argues compellingly that the Internet has revived the practice of public humiliation and given it greater reach in recent years.”

While The New York Times claims “Without losing any of the clever agility that makes his books so winning, he has taken on truly consequential material and risen to the challenge.”

However, there is some push back. The Huffington Post says the book’s “bold claims make for delicious reading, but they depend upon the erasure of nuance and the comfortable retreat to smug self-righteousness.”

Ronson’s book is just one of several recent publications on the topic. Jennifer Jacquet’s Is Shame Necessary? (RH/Pantheon) and Shelby Steele’s Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country (Perseus/Basic Books) also address the issue as pointed out in collective reviews by both The LA Times and The Washington Post.

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