“Twilight of the Books” reprinted

Best of Technology Writing 2008

My essay “Twilight of the Books,” about how a decline in reading might be affecting the culture, has just been reprinted in The Best of Technology Writing 2008, edited by Clive Thompson, available from the University of Michigan Press and Amazon, among others. Also featuring the brilliant Emily Nussbaum, John Seabrook, Jeffrey Rosen, Cass Sunstein, and more.

My essay was originally published in the 24 December 2007 issue of The New Yorker, and at the time I put up a multi-part annotated bibliography on this blog, organized by topic:

Notebook: “Twilight of the Books”

Are Americans Reading Less?

Are Americans Spending Less on Reading?

Is Literacy Declining?

Does Television Impair Intellect?

Does Internet Use Compromise Reading Time?

Is Reading Online Worse Than Reading Print?

I also later talked about the article on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show and on KUER’s Radio West.

Salt Lake City radio

I’m scheduled to be interviewed by Doug Fabrizio on Radio West, his live call-in show, tomorrow, 30 January 2008, at 11am Utah time (1pm New York time). We’ll be talking about my New Yorker article “Twilight of the Books.” The show will be broadcast on KUER, the University of Utah’s radio station, both over the airwaves and online (click on the orange “listen live” box near the top of the page), and if you want to ask me a question, the phone number is (801) 585-WEST.

UPDATE (Jan. 30): You can download an MP3 of the show here.

Mass-Observation on the radio

Jesse Thorn, who hosts the public radio show the Sound of Young America out of Los Angeles, interviewed me yesterday about “Surveillance Society,” my New Yorker article on Mass-Observation, and he’s running the interview in his latest show. He’s an enthusiastic and knowledgeable interviewer, even of a somewhat tongue-tied interviewee. If your local radio station doesn’t happen to carry his program, you can download it as an MP3 here.

The anecdote from the Mass-Observation book May the Twelfth that I attempt, without complete success, to recall from memory for Jesse during the interview reads in fact as follows: “7.20 a.m. Get up. Feel rather liverish, with a headache. Put on dressing gown and bedroom slippers—go down to kitchen—put small copper kettle (find myself thinking ‘Fancy this still going’—it has leaked slightly for years) on methylated spirit lamp. . . . I go into the kitchen and note some dead black beetles (? or cockroaches—not sure) on the floor—on their backs, my mother having used ‘Flit’ the night before. I feel slightly revolted…” I don’t know why I recalled this detail from May the Twelfth, instead of the dream a young man had of murdering Franco with a garden rake and then being dragged underwater by an octopus, but somehow the dead beetles were within easier reach of my short-term memory than the octopus was.