the internet, friend or foe?

Among other books of lighter fare, I’m beginning to read “What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains – The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr. On the inside jacket Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe, challenges, “Nicholas Carr has written an important and timely book. See if you can stay off the Web long enough to read it!” I have to admit now that blogging has become a “part-time job,” I may find it difficult to finish the 276 pages of technical information. I’m hoping it reads like a bio, the central character being the internet user, me and you. As with other revolutionary inventions of the industrial age, like TV, I will probably rationalize using the “beast” that threatens to take control of my life.

 But if it’s already been unleashed, like Pandora’s Box, can the internet be returned from whence it came? Probably not. But can this Frankenstein be controlled? Or is the monster free to do evil, along with the good it was intended for? Do inventors ever look past the perceived  immediate need, to what injurious consequences might be wrought upon humankind?

Again on the inside jacket of Carr’s book the question is posed “Is Google making us stupid?”  It’s followed by this paragraph “When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?”

I have taken to blogging because of my passion for writing. I’ve tried, albeit half-heartedly, to get published in non-mainstream print media, as well as online, to no avail. Rightly or wrongly, my desire to have my voice “heard” motivated me to blog. Judging from my oft lengthy “dissertations,” you can see that my attention to detail involves more than superficial thinking. And so it begins, … my attempt to rationalize using the internet.

You, dear reader, have been with me since the start of my internet journey so, in a way, you are complicit in my “crime,” i.e. my use of the “beast.” What say you in our defense? It’s use for all the small things that give quality to our lives must count for something?! I’m certain you’ll agree that searching for medical answers, support comfort when a child dies, discounted products in the current economy, are viable reasons to keep the internet going. Or am I again trying to rationalize too much? But what else can we do?

Your opinions on the subject are appreciated. The internet has impacted our lives beyond imagination. But did we sacrifice too much in our rush to deify it? Your thoughts?

are we beyond deep thinking?…hugmamma.

books, extinct?

Entering one of my favorite local haunts, Barnes and Noble, my eyes surveyed shelves and table tops that looked noticeably depleted. The nearby magazine racks on the other hand, were full to bursting with all manner of glossies. Walking alongside the long tables, I saw only handfuls of stacked books. But I felt better as I wandered through the next several aisles. The book shelves seemed well stocked; there were no empty spaces. 

There is speculation that the giant book store might be downsizing. The cashier helping me check out explained that an investor who owns 31% of the stock, may be purchasing more shares in an effort to take Barnes and Noble private. She thought the bigger stores might close down, but that our branch would remain intact. “Great news!” I said. “If it closed, where would my husband and I go on Saturday night?” We both laughed as I left.

With more and more people flocking to the internet to make their purchases, and the introduction of the e-book, print material is on its way to becoming archaic. Maybe because I had to walk a long distance to borrow library books which provided a welcome escape from my impoverished childhood, I still treasure them to this day. I take pleasure in perusing the covers, looking for a title that catches my fancy. Reading the description on the inside jacket may, or may not, clinch a sale.

Biographies are my favorite reading. Not only do I learn about the individual of whom the book is written, but I get a history lesson thrown in as a bonus. Events of the day provide the backdrop against which the story of a person’s life unfolds. Historical facts are so much more interesting when written around a central character. At least I think so. My husband thinks differently; he prefers history in its purest form, all facts.

For his birthday a couple of years ago, my daughter and I gave my husband a Sony e-book. It has become his constant companion, even resting by his bedside. (At my age, I don’t mind the competition.) As a result books, once beloved by him, are but a scant memory of olden days. Even driving to work my husband listens to audio books. I am proud to say that I still live in the literary past, for I love my collection of books:  medical, travel, biographies, novels, self-help, how-to and so on. Some were printed in the 30’s and others, even earlier. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

I’m passionate about antiques and vintage collectibles, so it’s not far-fetched that I would favor reading the old-fashioned way…books.

what’s your preference?…hugmamma.