Category: books

  • The library’s demise: tearing down the temple

    “Tear down the temple; we’ve got shrines at home.” True enough; we can erect little altars to literacy on our bookshelves and nightstands. But how long can we justify this quaint luxury in a digital age? Printed books will become relics: hallowed icons mounted to the wall–first decoratively and then ironically. Spouting the “spiritual, not […]

  • How ebooks mute texts.

    Texts used to speak for themselves. Once upon a time, the scribe hunkered over his parchment, squinting through the candlelight, ignoring his aching back and cramped wrist. Yet no matter how hard he concentrated, he made mistakes. Inevitably, words were duplicated, key letters left out, entire lines forgotten. In other words, the text asserted itself—it […]

  • Libraries and ebooks.

    Libraries may be doomed. The digital age will force these beloved community institutions to streamline, prioritize, and (ultimately) reinvent themselves. In fact, this transformation is already underway. Libraries (like mine) are incorporating digital assets into their collections. At the moment, I’ve got Born to Run, The Accidental Billionaires, and the A Game of Thrones quadrilogy […]

  • Kindles at camp?

    Camps have traditionally banned gadgets. In the woods, iPods and cell phones are illegal contraband, banished along with fireworks and drugs. Life at camp, many argue, should hearken back to a simpler time: when a game of “Angry Birds” involved dodging bird poop and “conversation” meant a fireside face-to-face rather than thumbed pseudowords at 140 […]

  • Why no electronics at Harry Potter’s Hogwarts?

    Hogwarts is a no-gizmo zone. The Harry Potter books make it clear that electronic contraptions simply don’t work within the magical castle’s confines. But why not? The ever astute Hermione Granger offers an explanation: “All those substitutes for magic Muggles use–electricity, computers, and radar, and all those things–they all go haywire around Hogwarts, there’s too […]