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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  664 ratings  ·  123 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published December 13th 2016 by Zondervan
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  664 ratings  ·  123 reviews

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Ann Herrell
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Annie Rim
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
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
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: simplicity
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 ...more
Luke Hillier
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
"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.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
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 ;) ...more
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
tonia peckover
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Carmen Liffengren
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
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.
Catherine McNiel
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
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!
Michele Morin
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
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 ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Angi Bolton
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Roni Loren
Jul 07, 2017 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
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. ...more
Such an excellent memoir. I'm so glad to have read it. ...more
Kate Singh
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jessica Wilkins
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Lisa Wilson
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
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)
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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! ...more
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Esther Emery used to direct stage plays in Southern California. But that was a long time ago. Now she lives with her husband and three children off the grid in a yurt, tending to three acres in the foothills of Idaho’s Rocky Mountains. She writes about faith and trying to live a fearless, free life at ...more

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
158 likes · 59 comments
“but we can no longer understand the logic of placing your mind fully at the mercy of your entertainment. For two and a half hours, we were unable to read anything, or learn anything, or plant anything, or fix anything, or think for ourselves. All we could do was sit there and ride the movie and hope to God that it has more funny parts than boring parts,” 1 likes
“or that the actors are good enough to carry it even when their characters are thin. That isn’t entertainment to us anymore. That’s imprisonment. It is a mild and temporary imprisonment. Like an airplane or a dentist’s chair. So” 1 likes
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