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Esther Emery was a successful playwright and theater director, wife and mother, and loving it all - until, suddenly, she wasn’t. When a personal and professional crisis of spectacular extent leaves her reeling, Esther is left empty, alone in her marriage, and grasping for identity that does not define itself by busyness and a breakneck pace of life. Something had to be don Esther Emery was a successful playwright and theater director, wife and mother, and loving it all - until, suddenly, she wasn’t. When a personal and professional crisis of spectacular extent leaves her reeling, Esther is left empty, alone in her marriage, and grasping for identity that does not define itself by busyness and a breakneck pace of life. Something had to be done. What Falls from the Sky is Esther’s fiercely honest, piercingly poetic account of a year without Internet - 365 days away from the good, the bad, and the ugly of our digital lives - in one woman’s desperate attempt at a reset. Esther faces her addiction to electronica, her illusion of self-importance, and her longing to return to simpler days, but then the unexpected happens. Her experiment in analog is hijacked by a spiritual awakening, and Esther finds herself suddenly, inexplicably drawn to the faith she had rejected for so long. Ultimately, Esther’s unplugged pilgrimage brings her to a place where she finally finds the peace - and the God who created it - she has been searching for all along.      What Falls from the Sky offers a path for you to do the same. For all the ways the Internet makes you feel enriched and depleted, genuinely connected and wildly insufficient, What Falls from the Sky reveals a new way to look up from your screens and live with palms wide open in a world brimming with the good gifts of God.


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Esther Emery was a successful playwright and theater director, wife and mother, and loving it all - until, suddenly, she wasn’t. When a personal and professional crisis of spectacular extent leaves her reeling, Esther is left empty, alone in her marriage, and grasping for identity that does not define itself by busyness and a breakneck pace of life. Something had to be don Esther Emery was a successful playwright and theater director, wife and mother, and loving it all - until, suddenly, she wasn’t. When a personal and professional crisis of spectacular extent leaves her reeling, Esther is left empty, alone in her marriage, and grasping for identity that does not define itself by busyness and a breakneck pace of life. Something had to be done. What Falls from the Sky is Esther’s fiercely honest, piercingly poetic account of a year without Internet - 365 days away from the good, the bad, and the ugly of our digital lives - in one woman’s desperate attempt at a reset. Esther faces her addiction to electronica, her illusion of self-importance, and her longing to return to simpler days, but then the unexpected happens. Her experiment in analog is hijacked by a spiritual awakening, and Esther finds herself suddenly, inexplicably drawn to the faith she had rejected for so long. Ultimately, Esther’s unplugged pilgrimage brings her to a place where she finally finds the peace - and the God who created it - she has been searching for all along.      What Falls from the Sky offers a path for you to do the same. For all the ways the Internet makes you feel enriched and depleted, genuinely connected and wildly insufficient, What Falls from the Sky reveals a new way to look up from your screens and live with palms wide open in a world brimming with the good gifts of God.

30 review for What Falls from the Sky: How I Disconnected from the Internet and Reconnected with the God Who Made the Clouds

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ann Herrell

    Emery really did go completely off-line for a year, and this book is her story. I got very attached to her, and I've been missing her since I finished the book! It has stayed with me and is making me rethink my own computer/phone dependence. There are so many nuances to our technology dependence I hadn't thought of, like using a debit card. What I enjoyed most about the book was being inside Esther's head as she ended her career and embarked upon detaching from the Internet. It's fascinating to t Emery really did go completely off-line for a year, and this book is her story. I got very attached to her, and I've been missing her since I finished the book! It has stayed with me and is making me rethink my own computer/phone dependence. There are so many nuances to our technology dependence I hadn't thought of, like using a debit card. What I enjoyed most about the book was being inside Esther's head as she ended her career and embarked upon detaching from the Internet. It's fascinating to think about how much brain space and time is spent churning through the multi-tasking world we live in, and how much we could be filling it with perhaps worthier endeavors. I loved following Esther's personal and spiritual growth.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jada

    I was wary of this book being that it was published by a Christian imprint and marketed as a Christian book. And with "God" in the title, I thought there was good chance it would be heavy on the religion. And that's really not my bag. But I've been following Esther Emery and her family on YouTube as they lived in their yurt and built their house, and I knew that her religious life really never crept into those videos. I've watched some of her videos on her personal channel and read some posts on I was wary of this book being that it was published by a Christian imprint and marketed as a Christian book. And with "God" in the title, I thought there was good chance it would be heavy on the religion. And that's really not my bag. But I've been following Esther Emery and her family on YouTube as they lived in their yurt and built their house, and I knew that her religious life really never crept into those videos. I've watched some of her videos on her personal channel and read some posts on her website, so I knew that Christianity was important to her. For whatever reasons I'd suspected that her husband was supportive but maybe wasn't all that interested -- it was always a little unclear and maybe still is. Anyway, my point is that I trusted Esther. I trusted that even though this book was marketed Christian that she wasn't going to get preachy. I trusted that she knew how to talk to people that either aren't that interested in religion or are more or less quite against it. I trusted that she was going to simply tell her story, and she really is a great storyteller. I was very impressed with this book, though not surprised since I've come to know what an open person Esther can be. She did an excellent job of sharing (a part of) her story. She really bares some intimate stuff. I'm not talking scandalous; I'm talking deeply personal feelings, thoughts, internal struggles. These are the things that make me love reading memoirs. Her metaphors are fantastic. I have never cried so many times while reading one book. I really wish it was longer. I would have loved to read more. Keep writing, Esther! It bums me out that this book appears to be "a Christian book" because I think that a wider audience would really enjoy it and would likely have no problem with anything in this book relating to her personal experiences with religion and Christianity. I gave it 4 stars because there was only a little room for improvement. There were a few sections where I found myself disoriented, not knowing who or what Esther was referring to for several sentences or paragraphs, but this was rare.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annie Rim

    Giving up social media for a month or a short season is one thing. All internet (and internet related conveniences) for a year? That's an entirely different sort of fast. This is exactly what Esther Emery does - no internet, no cell phones, no debit cards for an entire year. When I first read the synopsis for What Falls from the Sky, I wondered what kind of "year long experiment memoir" this would be. I should have known better. Emery's honest writing and keen observations on life made this much Giving up social media for a month or a short season is one thing. All internet (and internet related conveniences) for a year? That's an entirely different sort of fast. This is exactly what Esther Emery does - no internet, no cell phones, no debit cards for an entire year. When I first read the synopsis for What Falls from the Sky, I wondered what kind of "year long experiment memoir" this would be. I should have known better. Emery's honest writing and keen observations on life made this much less an experiment in living without internet and much more the type of memoir that makes all other memoirs pale in comparison. Emery's story of moving from Southern California to the Boston suburbs while simultaneously making ties to community - both old and new - much more difficult in this technology age is not at all what my current life looks like. And yet, the lessons she learns and the powerful storytelling she uses drew me in. I felt like I was walking alongside this year of challenges and struggles. I found myself assessing our own life choices in new ways and through a different perspective. Emery gracefully blends her own story into a greater picture. She draws the reader into her own details without ever making it seem like her choices should be anyone's but hers alone. There is no pressure to live life by her choices - this is a tale of what happens to Emery and her family because of those. I haven't enjoyed a memoir like this in quite some time and Emery restored my love of this genre. If you're looking for a thought-provoking, beautifully written story, I'd highly recommend What Falls from the Sky. **I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.**

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book spoke right to my soul. Esther Emery is honest. She is honest with us and honest with herself. She writes beautifully. She made me think. February is traditionally a great reading month for me. This book is already in the running for best of the year. I feel lighter and more grateful after reading this book. It was lovely coming back to this book every night before I went to bed. This is a perfect right-before-bed book. 5 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pugalicious

    I loved this book! I started it a few hours before we lost internet, cable and phone service due to a broken modem. After the initial panic of not being able to search the web, call a friend or watch tv I sat down to lose myself in this book. Giving up the internet is something I think of often, I am acutely aware of how much time I lose surfing the web for hours not to mention the cost of internet and cell phone service. It is inspiring to find someone who was as addicted as I who was able to t I loved this book! I started it a few hours before we lost internet, cable and phone service due to a broken modem. After the initial panic of not being able to search the web, call a friend or watch tv I sat down to lose myself in this book. Giving up the internet is something I think of often, I am acutely aware of how much time I lose surfing the web for hours not to mention the cost of internet and cell phone service. It is inspiring to find someone who was as addicted as I who was able to turn off and tune in to a deeper relationship with family and God. Well done.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Luke Hillier

    I found Esther's blog through Twitter back around 2013, which is sort of funny given that this is a book about the year, just a few preceding then, that she fasted from the internet completely. I'm thankful that she eventually returned after that year, because I remember loving her blog posts and finding them to be moving and resonant articulations of an authentic, poetic Christian life. Given how impressed I was with her writing back then, I remember being excited to discover she'd published a I found Esther's blog through Twitter back around 2013, which is sort of funny given that this is a book about the year, just a few preceding then, that she fasted from the internet completely. I'm thankful that she eventually returned after that year, because I remember loving her blog posts and finding them to be moving and resonant articulations of an authentic, poetic Christian life. Given how impressed I was with her writing back then, I remember being excited to discover she'd published a book, and eventually found a copy being sold pretty cheap online (post-read, I'd imagine she'd appreciate my thriftiness and side-eye my Amazon dependence). This is a well-done memoir, certainly. Esther is vulnerable and introspective, her life is compelling enough to follow, especially given the "hook" of it being a year without internet, and she is an undeniably gorgeous writer who shares poetic and thoughtful insights without ever bogging the reader down. She is true to the life she leads and in that way covers just about everything that happens within that year: camping excursions with her family, a relative stopping by for dinner, a few cross-country (and one international) trips, her neighbor's yard sale, visits at her newfound church, time spent reading a book or making a soup or playing with her children. Given the nature of the year, it feels significant to emphasize the life one lives apart from our technology, as if to say, "See, a person still has plenty of stuff to do," and while there are times where these descriptions are undergirded with thoughtful musings, there are definitely moments where it can feel pretty naval-gazing and tip from the (sacred) ordinary to the blandly average. Alongside the holistic, "everything belongs/deserves to be included" approach, the themes of the book can feel somewhat disjointed. It's about giving up the internet and exploring the subversive, radical implications of that. But it's also about rediscovering silence, and both finding and following God deeper there (this was what drew me to purchase the book, and I do wish there'd been a bit more explicit focus and articulation there). But it's also about the loneliness of life in the digital era, or parenting, of marriage on the rocks of recovery, and maybe the connections we make when we unplug. And then it's about family; the legacies we're left with, the ways we heal from our histories and recapitulate our fates. Sort of like real life, it's about so much and not always in clear or clean ways, which is bonus points for authenticity but can leave the reader feeling a bit underwhelmed I guess. However, that's not how I felt when I turned the final page; instead I felt content and satisfied, and thankful to Esther for letting me in for the year.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maddie

    "I tell him that I think my performance anxiety is lifting because I have stopped tracking my life in a way that is intended to be public. I think I suddenly feel more relaxed because I just stopped trying to live every moment of my life worth to satisfy an audience." This book was a wonderful memoir of a year without any electronic communication/the Internet. It's inspired my own logging off of FB/Insta for a couple months. "I tell him that I think my performance anxiety is lifting because I have stopped tracking my life in a way that is intended to be public. I think I suddenly feel more relaxed because I just stopped trying to live every moment of my life worth to satisfy an audience." This book was a wonderful memoir of a year without any electronic communication/the Internet. It's inspired my own logging off of FB/Insta for a couple months.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    I guess you can find some good advises in this book, but in overall it's boring. It took me a long time to finish a short book, because I had no desire to go back to it. Maybe it's better if you are a religious person ;) I guess you can find some good advises in this book, but in overall it's boring. It took me a long time to finish a short book, because I had no desire to go back to it. Maybe it's better if you are a religious person ;)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    DNF (seem to be doing a lot of that lately). Not what I was expecting (at least within the pages I read). Was hoping for a stronger emphasis on the author's disconnection from the internet, but it was primarily focused around random details of her life in general within her year offline. I also found the writer-y/blog-y/run-on style type writing somewhat annoying (seemed kind of contrived). A sentence that stood out to me (after skipping ahead to the last few pages) was this: "I didn't know how m DNF (seem to be doing a lot of that lately). Not what I was expecting (at least within the pages I read). Was hoping for a stronger emphasis on the author's disconnection from the internet, but it was primarily focused around random details of her life in general within her year offline. I also found the writer-y/blog-y/run-on style type writing somewhat annoying (seemed kind of contrived). A sentence that stood out to me (after skipping ahead to the last few pages) was this: "I didn't know how much hunger I was keeping numbed by speed and noise" (p. 233). If more of the rest of the book was based around this type of internet distancing discussion, the likeliness of having read it in it's entirety would have increased.

  10. 4 out of 5

    tonia peckover

    I'm not much for Christian memoir, but Emery's "Year Without the Internet" was right up my alley. Emery is an engaging and transparent writer and her journey from internet addiction into silence and peace was fascinating. I'm not much for Christian memoir, but Emery's "Year Without the Internet" was right up my alley. Emery is an engaging and transparent writer and her journey from internet addiction into silence and peace was fascinating.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Liffengren

    I have read my fair share of stunt journalism over the years where someone chooses to do something that is really- really-really hard and then writes a memoir about it. So, Emery's memoir is a little different. Yes, she disconnects from everything online (including her debit card) for one full year, but her disconnection is different. She is reeling from nearly losing her marriage while also losing her well-respected career in theater. Turning her back on her online presence is more about self-p I have read my fair share of stunt journalism over the years where someone chooses to do something that is really- really-really hard and then writes a memoir about it. So, Emery's memoir is a little different. Yes, she disconnects from everything online (including her debit card) for one full year, but her disconnection is different. She is reeling from nearly losing her marriage while also losing her well-respected career in theater. Turning her back on her online presence is more about self-preservation than stunt journalism except when she directly writes that she fully intended to document her year to write a book. It seemed like her personal world and her ego were colliding as motivation for living without the internet. The thing is I didn't really like Emery all that much, but she captures the withdrawal and subsequent boredom expertly in that I wouldn't want to try this particular experiment, ever. Yes, she discovered all kinds of new talents to pursue. She remade her entire image, but I couldn't fully get on board with this kind of asceticism. She found the time to reconnect with a long-dormant Christianity and this memoir explores the spiritual implications of less online time as well. This memoir should have worked for me as I usually relish a spiritual memoir, but as much self-discovery Emery made, I was turned off by so much navel-gazing. Without the internet, ironically, it seemed to make her more self-absorbed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    Esther's youtube channel about her family's life living off grid is my secret comfort - I often have them on early in the morning as I stumble around waking up and getting ready for work. Because of this, I heard Esther's voice very clearly reading it, and already knew her family. I loved this snapshot of their lives from many years before I found them. I also loved how Esther talked about her relationship with the internet, and also to christianity. I found it refreshing and introspective witho Esther's youtube channel about her family's life living off grid is my secret comfort - I often have them on early in the morning as I stumble around waking up and getting ready for work. Because of this, I heard Esther's voice very clearly reading it, and already knew her family. I loved this snapshot of their lives from many years before I found them. I also loved how Esther talked about her relationship with the internet, and also to christianity. I found it refreshing and introspective without being at all preachy or holier than thou. Worth a read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karyn

    I really wanted to like this book. It was okay. I think I was disappointed because I was expecting the book to be more about the year-long break from the internet rather than a memoir of the year in its entirety.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Catherine McNiel

    This is a lovely memoir about giving up internet for a year, and finding healing and life in the silence. I found the writing compelling, never boring; inspiring but not preachy. Recommended!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michele Morin

    The Radical Simplicity of Looking Up It’s nearly time. Even two weeks ago, standing thigh-deep in snow beside the bush, I could see that the buds had begun to swell large, and so it won’t be long until I lop off some of the bush’s waywardness and then arrange the bare branches in a vase of water. I will begin watching every day for the delicate, vivid yellow flowers to announce that spring is happening in my house — no matter what’s happening in the great outdoors on this country hill in Maine It w The Radical Simplicity of Looking Up It’s nearly time. Even two weeks ago, standing thigh-deep in snow beside the bush, I could see that the buds had begun to swell large, and so it won’t be long until I lop off some of the bush’s waywardness and then arrange the bare branches in a vase of water. I will begin watching every day for the delicate, vivid yellow flowers to announce that spring is happening in my house — no matter what’s happening in the great outdoors on this country hill in Maine It was for this: the intimate observation of seasonal changes; the beauty and joy of a handwritten letter in which grace comes in the letting go; the thoughtful glance skyward; the face-to-face rebuilding of a broken marriage — it was for this very thing that Esther Emery unplugged her life from the Internet in November 2009. For one year, she lived a life without email, without a cell phone, and without a debit card. No Google, no on-line shopping, no text messages. She walked away from her blog, an encouraging Facebook community, and any trace of an on-line presence in a leap of Stop-doing-everything-you-know-and-start-doing-everything-you-don’t-know Faith. What Falls from the Sky shares this journey in four parts that correlate with four glorious gifts from the sky: snow, rain, sunshine, and fog. In the season of snow, Esther quit her job and made a cross-country move to Boston with two small children in support of her husband’s career. This obvious high-intensity-tumult actually pales in comparison with the angst of her Internet withdrawal. Against the backdrop of a snowy New England winter, she began to stop looking for her significance in terms of her electronic self. This unplugging left Esther with plenty of space for wrestling with her ambivalence toward her non-traditional up-bringing and for discovering that “the alternative to screen time is table time.” She cut her ties with the bulimic teenager she used to be and turned her eyes away from the theater she loved; and then tied on a striped apron and began trying to decipher her husband’s recipes for cranberry muffins and lentil soup. Like a snow globe turned upside down, her values swirled, but then re-settled into new patterns in which compassion trumps achievement and humility suddenly has equal footing with leadership. It was from this humility that Esther traced her spiritual re-awakening. Words from the Bible fell like rain on parched ground as she gulped down the Revelation first and then watched spring come through the lenses of Genesis and Thoreau. A celebration of Easter in community introduced her to the beauty of “borrowed” power from the crucified and risen Christ and the truth that this is “not theoretical at all.” The vulnerability of Good Friday left Esther defenseless against the claims of Christ upon her life, and she was captured by the forgiveness that conquers fear, the “Jesus of the brokenhearted, the Jesus of the suffering.” Ironically, as her spiritual life came into focus, the material world also became sharper, and she and her husband, Nick, took on the joint task of digging themselves out of debt and handling their finances as a team. Under the bright light of summer days, Esther began to examine her motives for stepping away from the Internet. Is this really about spiritual formation? Or is it about self validation? As her life changed and she and her husband grew closer, they began to feel as it they were on a boat, moving further and further from the shore — and further and further from the other people in their lives. Esther’s perspective on the church is refreshing: I read and re-read with a smile her assessment of church meetings as “jovially disorganized.” Too, her tenacity in sticking with her commitment to fellowship is a grace sadly lacking even in more seasoned believers. To her surprise, “the God she believed in” directed her path to Nicaragua with its enculturated gospel and its unmitigated poverty, where she slept in a room in which the ceiling was carpeted in bats and concluded that “this is what you get, I guess, if you say ‘anything’ somewhere where God can hear you.” The fog of reverse culture shock was waiting at the airport for Esther when she returned to her ecstatic family, deepening her realization that it would not be possible to drag others, still in the center, out to her “edge” because they had not traveled her road. Ironically, when her family’s apartment is burglarized, one of the items stolen is the laptop containing all the notes and files she was in the process of recording during her disconnected months. A tentative foray into gardening, and a commitment to inter-dependency and to the growing health of her marriage all began singing into Esther’s life the same song in different keys: “things grown again.” With the structure of a memoir and the tone of an Old Testament prophet, What Falls from the Sky kept me reading and curious simply from the sheer impossibility of the experiment. How does a woman who has “walked away from her faith” and become an “outspoken critic of Christianity” with a significant online presence (and a husband who is an atheist) make a journey away from the internet and toward a following life? How can the experience of “looking up” for an entire year — noticing the sky and the seasonal changes, delighting in the company of her children and the deepening of her own inner life — how can this bring about a transformation that heals the ragged edges of a heart that needs to forgive and to be forgiven? Esther Emery has crafted a travelogue for any heart that longs to recognize itself from the inside out, without the aid of the electronic mirror, and to embark upon a life that has been transformed by the resurrected Jesus Christ. // This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The idea of leaving the internet for a year piqued my interest because, like many, I feel the disconnectedness that being connected brings. I was expecting something a little more concrete from this book. It was more ephemeral and has left me with feelings instead of thoughts. Some of my dislike of social media stems from my disliking the "look at me" aspects of it. I'm not good at it. I don't like to share too much of myself, my accomplishments (or lack of), my children's accomplishments, etc. The idea of leaving the internet for a year piqued my interest because, like many, I feel the disconnectedness that being connected brings. I was expecting something a little more concrete from this book. It was more ephemeral and has left me with feelings instead of thoughts. Some of my dislike of social media stems from my disliking the "look at me" aspects of it. I'm not good at it. I don't like to share too much of myself, my accomplishments (or lack of), my children's accomplishments, etc. But I still find myself jealous and angry at people who don't mind sharing such things. Which makes me feel bad about myself, which makes me want to leave social media while also feeling that I still need it in order to stay connected. She captured my feelings about this perfectly when she said, "...social networking is a natural enemy to humility. Certain kinds of changes are hard to make when you're performing your identity for the appreciation of a crowd." (pp.77-78) I think this feeling is what prompts many people too choose to close their accounts. As I read this book I thought the only thing I really had in common with this author was being introverted. Then her grandmother died and I discovered that her grandmother belonged to the same religion that I do, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. However, when the author stated the name of the church she left Jesus Christ out of the title. I felt like she had reached out between the pages of the book and slapped me in the face. I had a hard time connecting to the words for a while because it bothered me so much. It felt deliberate. How could she have family members who belong to this religion and not know that the inclusion of Christ in the title is the most important thing to us? She had to. As I read about her dealings with the neighbors who broke into her home and stole her things I found myself unable to stay upset over the betrayal. I know it would be a small thing to many people but it wasn't to me and in the end I easily forgave her. Easily because I realized we had much more in common than I had thought. We are both broken. We are both searching for silence and for God. I'm so glad that I didn't let her one oversight bother me enough to put this book down because so many good things came after that. I was particularly moved by her closing lines, "I know how easy it is to think your ugly is too ugly, your broken is too broken. But this is the whole sum of what I've learned. There is no wound too small or too horrible to be a candidate for healing, and though that healing may require that you give up more than you ever dreamed. This is the length of God's arm. Go to the silence. In the silence there is glue. And you may find there too that God is already traveling with you- too big to see, and too close to feel, but as unmoving and vast and generous as the sky." (pg. 233) On the journey of reading this book I had a complicated relationship with the author that for obvious reasons was completely one-sided. I find it interesting that I often do this with the books that I read, the characters I get to know and the authors I get to know through what they write while I remain unknown to them. Aside from social media there are many ways of connecting and disconnecting and reading this book has made me more aware of that which has value.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Victor

    I'm forcing myself to write something even though I don't want to. Why don't I want to? I read 4 or 5 books at a time, so many hundreds and thousands of words passing before my eyes, my brain deciphering the code that the author's brain and fingers transmitted to me. I am lazy, that's why. It's so easy to read, like it's easy to eat, especially ice cream. Consuming comes naturally. Creating is a struggle. It's been like that since Adam. Or since the bite. By the sweat of your brow now you'll dra I'm forcing myself to write something even though I don't want to. Why don't I want to? I read 4 or 5 books at a time, so many hundreds and thousands of words passing before my eyes, my brain deciphering the code that the author's brain and fingers transmitted to me. I am lazy, that's why. It's so easy to read, like it's easy to eat, especially ice cream. Consuming comes naturally. Creating is a struggle. It's been like that since Adam. Or since the bite. By the sweat of your brow now you'll draw out of the earth food and livelihoods. Not that I'm getting any food or money out of writing this Goodreads "review," but most work isn't paid work anyway. Is it weird that I'm calling this dumb little review work? What does this have to do with Esther's year away from the internet? Well, she did a hard thing -- going without the internet is hard -- and I'm doing a hard thing, so that's what. I thought the theme of "sky" was pretty thin, only referenced a few times, and not having a whole lot to do with the story, but you need such things to sell books, according to publishers. Maybe her editor said "You need a theme" and Esther said "What about the sky" and her editor said "Sure" and that's how it happened. It's hard to talk about God. It's hard to do in a non-lame, non-Christiany way, anyway, but Esther does it, she does it well, even if that wasn't her intention. She talks about the "long arm of God," which is lovely. She talks about silence and God possibly being the same thing, and that's lovely, too, especially since most of us don't silence our phones too often or for long enough to experience God/silence. 3 stars is good. I'd like to give it 3 1/2 but Goodreads doesn't allow it. In fact I'd like to give it 4 but I'm stingy with stars, which is ridiculous because not even God is stingy with stars since there are billions of them, and somehow Adam was made from stardust and so was Esther, and so am I, and so are you, so there's the theme of sky and stars that came silently out of nowhere, just like the first star on a summer night, just like this book into your life.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    An exquisite and honest memoir of Esther Emory’s year without internet. Esther was a hugely successful playwright and theater director in Southern California, but she is living a very fast and shallow life and it is now totally falling apart around her into tatters. She and her family look for a new start on the East coast and so ensues her self imposed year without internet. The layers slowly get unpeeled. She lets go of ego, she sees her life and her marriage begin to heal from many painful pe An exquisite and honest memoir of Esther Emory’s year without internet. Esther was a hugely successful playwright and theater director in Southern California, but she is living a very fast and shallow life and it is now totally falling apart around her into tatters. She and her family look for a new start on the East coast and so ensues her self imposed year without internet. The layers slowly get unpeeled. She lets go of ego, she sees her life and her marriage begin to heal from many painful periods in her past, she goes back to a faith she had rejected years before and to a lifestyle her mother was known for but she had turned a back to. This a beautifully written book by a woman I have admired for several years as she and her family now live off grid in the wilderness. It touched many deep parts inside of me and when I read the last page I shut the book and I cried. For a long while. Time is such a gift that I yearn for personally. It is a sacred space where God speaks. I wonder if I will ever have it myself again. In any case, this is a book I highly recommended.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angi Bolton

    I was a little disappointed when I started reading the first chapter. It didn’t read quite as well as “I” thought it should, but I was desperate to see how she got though her addiction to social media, so I continued. Once you get past the expectation of a perfectly written novel, you just start seeing Esther’s heart. I almost felt as though I were reading a friend’s diary. The book grows on you quickly as does the author’s quirky thoughts. Those things you’re suppose to only think but not say. I was a little disappointed when I started reading the first chapter. It didn’t read quite as well as “I” thought it should, but I was desperate to see how she got though her addiction to social media, so I continued. Once you get past the expectation of a perfectly written novel, you just start seeing Esther’s heart. I almost felt as though I were reading a friend’s diary. The book grows on you quickly as does the author’s quirky thoughts. Those things you’re suppose to only think but not say. It was uncomfortable to read about their marriage trouble but also so important to see how easily it can happen. I truly believe this book is a wake up call to all of those who struggle with being accepted. I’m reading this book now for the 3rd time after loaning it out twice. I don’t think it will win many awards for how well it is written, but I feel like her message is well received and we will be hearing more from Esther as her journey into self discovery continues.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Roni Loren

    Not usually a genre I read since I'm not particularly religious, but I've been on a kick, reading books about disconnecting from social media/internet. This was more memoir and less about the lack of internet. Interesting read. Not usually a genre I read since I'm not particularly religious, but I've been on a kick, reading books about disconnecting from social media/internet. This was more memoir and less about the lack of internet. Interesting read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

    Such an excellent memoir. I'm so glad to have read it. Such an excellent memoir. I'm so glad to have read it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate Singh

    I couldn't put it down. Esther goes a year without internet, a cell phone, credit cards, and a GPS. This will definitely bring one fully present and accountable in their life. She reminds me of myself with the journey to heal, find comfort in a spiritual unknown and misunderstood, and becoming vegan. I get her story. I relate to the road she traveled. This story is enjoyable for anyone contemplating a life less online or maybe even taking a small break from social media. It is a deep exploration I couldn't put it down. Esther goes a year without internet, a cell phone, credit cards, and a GPS. This will definitely bring one fully present and accountable in their life. She reminds me of myself with the journey to heal, find comfort in a spiritual unknown and misunderstood, and becoming vegan. I get her story. I relate to the road she traveled. This story is enjoyable for anyone contemplating a life less online or maybe even taking a small break from social media. It is a deep exploration of self once we stop distracting ourselves.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Such an honest and thought-provoking account of a memorable year in the author's life. Disconnecting from the Internet seems both crazy and sensible, and Emery acknowledges the both-and aspects of the Year Without Internet. I was drawn in by the questions she ponders, the conclusions she arrives at, the transformation that takes place in her life. But I'm not left feeling like I have to have the exact same experience to come to these same conclusions. Taking a year off from the Internet is not n Such an honest and thought-provoking account of a memorable year in the author's life. Disconnecting from the Internet seems both crazy and sensible, and Emery acknowledges the both-and aspects of the Year Without Internet. I was drawn in by the questions she ponders, the conclusions she arrives at, the transformation that takes place in her life. But I'm not left feeling like I have to have the exact same experience to come to these same conclusions. Taking a year off from the Internet is not necessarily a cure-all for everyone, but Emery's words give me a lot to think about.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book was a little different than I thought it would be but a whole lot better as well. Esther Emery gives us a peek into her head space while she learns to reconnect with herself and with God while disconnecting from the internet. She shows us that those moments of silence that we often fill with scrolling are actually very important moments that need to BE, not be filled. By allowing herself that free space in her head she was able to find a connection with God again, reconnect with her in This book was a little different than I thought it would be but a whole lot better as well. Esther Emery gives us a peek into her head space while she learns to reconnect with herself and with God while disconnecting from the internet. She shows us that those moments of silence that we often fill with scrolling are actually very important moments that need to BE, not be filled. By allowing herself that free space in her head she was able to find a connection with God again, reconnect with her inner self, learn some new hobbies (bread baking, playing music), and find a new type of relationship with her spouse and children. It seems so simplistic, something we already know, right? And it's true - I think deep down we know there is just as much bad in the internet as there is good. From needing to find validation in complete strangers to letting people we don't even like into our online space, we are living in a virtual world while neglecting the real world around us. What drew me to the book in the first place is that I had already come to that conclusion last year. While I didn't disconnect completely from the internet I have shaken it up to the point that I would be completely okay with disconnecting from the internet all together. What I took away from this book is that when Emery was at her most lost (dealing with a huge personal struggle) she was able to be found by connecting to what really matters - and disconnecting from what doesn't. It's a reminder we all can use! This book was give to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Wilkins

    This was a really interesting book about a woman who gave up the internet for a year. It was filled with touching moments where she writes honestly about her own short-comings and struggles. She learns a lot about God, herself, relationships, nature, beauty, and that the internet doesn't fix everything. I was a tad worried that this book might end up being very preachy and convicting and I would feel badly if I didn't end up giving up the internet for a year too. It isn't preachy but it does cau This was a really interesting book about a woman who gave up the internet for a year. It was filled with touching moments where she writes honestly about her own short-comings and struggles. She learns a lot about God, herself, relationships, nature, beauty, and that the internet doesn't fix everything. I was a tad worried that this book might end up being very preachy and convicting and I would feel badly if I didn't end up giving up the internet for a year too. It isn't preachy but it does cause me to pause and consider the role that the internet plays in my life... I know from this moment on I will be more mindful of its role in my life. I would definitely recommend this book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wilson

    Good read. I recently discovered this author and her little family on their Fouch-o-matic YouTube channel, as they are building their off-grid house in Idaho. My husband and I are completely captivated. I heard her reference this book that she's been trying to write for years, and thought I'd give the Kindle version a go. I admit I could hardly do another thing until I finished reading it in just over a day. Thoughtful reading and excellent storytelling by someone who who wants to grow. Good read. I recently discovered this author and her little family on their Fouch-o-matic YouTube channel, as they are building their off-grid house in Idaho. My husband and I are completely captivated. I heard her reference this book that she's been trying to write for years, and thought I'd give the Kindle version a go. I admit I could hardly do another thing until I finished reading it in just over a day. Thoughtful reading and excellent storytelling by someone who who wants to grow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sandi

    Makes one wonder how we lived or rather how we thrived in the world without social media. Growing up in an era where it wasn't part of daily life this book brought some sadness....I do miss the past where people actually interacted face to face....taking the "time" to spend socializing with one another. Just like anything else.....a happy medium must be incorporated to have a healthy social life. I pray we never lose the old ways but instead incorporate it into our lives daily as our world becom Makes one wonder how we lived or rather how we thrived in the world without social media. Growing up in an era where it wasn't part of daily life this book brought some sadness....I do miss the past where people actually interacted face to face....taking the "time" to spend socializing with one another. Just like anything else.....a happy medium must be incorporated to have a healthy social life. I pray we never lose the old ways but instead incorporate it into our lives daily as our world becomes more and more technological.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    Esther Emery is an engaging storyteller. I honestly couldn't put this book down. It felt like I was right alongside her on the crazy journey of going for an entire year without the internet. She'll challenge you to reconsider how much the internet is impacting your relationship with God and your relationship with those around you. It's time to get out from behind our devices and be completely present. Highly recommended! Esther Emery is an engaging storyteller. I honestly couldn't put this book down. It felt like I was right alongside her on the crazy journey of going for an entire year without the internet. She'll challenge you to reconsider how much the internet is impacting your relationship with God and your relationship with those around you. It's time to get out from behind our devices and be completely present. Highly recommended!

  29. 5 out of 5

    J

    If you've noticed yourself on the Internet whilst feeling ever more isolated and unhappy, this is the memoir to read. Or if you've hit a breaking point in your life and don't know how to move forward. Or if you haven't. You should just read this book. "But this is the whole sum of what I learned. There is no wound too small or too horrible to be a candidate for healing, though that healing may require that you give up more than you ever dreamed. This is the length of God's arm." (p.233) If you've noticed yourself on the Internet whilst feeling ever more isolated and unhappy, this is the memoir to read. Or if you've hit a breaking point in your life and don't know how to move forward. Or if you haven't. You should just read this book. "But this is the whole sum of what I learned. There is no wound too small or too horrible to be a candidate for healing, though that healing may require that you give up more than you ever dreamed. This is the length of God's arm." (p.233)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    This book was just what I needed as I am always sensitive to the opportunities I may be missing as I "worship" the alter of social media and information overload. Esther Emery is correct when she says, "It is the era of hyper-connected isolation." This is a wonderful account of what it was like for her to disconnect from the internet for a year. I'm not sure that I'm ready for that; but, I do believe that it's like anything else in life - it's about finding a healthy balance. Great book! This book was just what I needed as I am always sensitive to the opportunities I may be missing as I "worship" the alter of social media and information overload. Esther Emery is correct when she says, "It is the era of hyper-connected isolation." This is a wonderful account of what it was like for her to disconnect from the internet for a year. I'm not sure that I'm ready for that; but, I do believe that it's like anything else in life - it's about finding a healthy balance. Great book!

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