The Internet Will Eat the World I installed my first computer in my bedroom when I was nine. What a machine! This box ran Windows 95, which meant I could play games, and it had a modem, which meant I could email my best friend across the country and browse usenet groups. Then came this great software called Netscape that opened an entire world: pages on any topic I could dream of. My bedroom transformed into a library, making my world much larger than a rural Maine town. Opportunities seemed infinite. Since those days, few things have made me so excited that I've lost sleep and forgotten to eat. All, though, have been related to this decentralized, world-opening, business-eating thing called the Internet. Fast forward to
In the first sentence of what turns into an uncommonly poignant and funny book, Nathaniel Barber dives headlong into a familiar topic: the interview for the job your don't want. We've all been there, sitting across from our future boss, being talked out of a position we never really wanted anyway. We all come to the same conclusion: My team would be cordial, for a day or two. But they'd eventually come to believe, as a district implant, I'd stolen their rightful path to middle management. He passes on the job and gets a new one. Unfortunately for Barber, as he walks to work on his first day, a man in a window somewhere above pisses on him. This, we learn, is just his luck. What
This week I realized two things: 1) there are two people in this world I will assemble furniture for; and 2) there are two people in this world who could convince me to read young adult fiction. They happen to be the same two people: my stepdaughters. Both of their bedrooms were remodeled this week and in the hours spent assembling desks, dressers, and chairs, I had time to think through why I dislike certain book genres. In particular, I refuse to read young adult fiction. I'll readily admit that I am a genre snob. Unlike many book reviewers who will read anything and everything, I'm not drawn to books because they are books. Some are just not worth my time and I draw a line
Views for days from the summit of Old Speck in Maine. Summer in New England offers some of the best hiking in North America and, if Mother Nature grants us enough sunny weekends, the opportunity to tackle the 67 tallest peaks in the region. This is my second summer attempting the list and I admit that this year I've needed extra motivation to hike the seemingly identical, pine-scented trails of Maine and New Hampshire. What better motivation than tales of other adventurers on far more harrowing and aspirational journeys than my own? Enter Jon Krakauer. I had watched him as a talking head in various climbing documentaries but had never read his books. Like a good reader-cum-hiker, I bought used paperback copies of both Into the
Certain people heighten our senses, changing our perception of the world. Our breakfast tastes better. The air smells sweeter. The sun shines brighter. Like a newfound superpower, we see life pulsing through trees and grass. When with these people, every peach is perfectly ripe and, even if it isn't, it doesn't matter: it's the first peach you remember eating and it tastes indescribable. Time becomes a paradox: slow as a snail's pace, and yet when each moment is over, it somehow slipped by too quickly. Life is immeasurably improved. When lost to us for a day or a lifetime, a dull ache appears, successively enhanced and quelled by a touch of sunlight on our cheek and a bite of peach. Certain authors create a similar effect.