cover image 100 Things We’ve Lost to the Internet

100 Things We’ve Lost to the Internet

Pamela Paul. Crown, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-593-13677-5

The dislocations of the internet era get the listicle treatment in this charming if superficial survey. New York Times Book Review editor Paul (Rectangle Time) inventories “the things we achingly miss, the things we hardly knew existed, the things to which we can give a hard adios,” including such behaviors as ignoring people (“It was useful to pretend to have no idea someone was trying to reach you”) and “being in the moment” during a concert or other large gathering, rather than gazing at one’s phone; qualities including patience and civility; and physical items like kitchen phones and checkbooks. “Every time the Internet swings the door wide open,” Paul contends, “the consequences are at once liberating and dire.” Previously, everyday life was “unimpeded by what was going on in other people’s heads”; now, however, “the input never stops.” While Paul occasionally brings in statistics and expert analysis, her rants are generally an accomplished solo act, enriched by her self-deprecating sense of humor (she describes her book as “grumpy old-man thoughts and wary skepticism, lashed through with a contrary streak of optimism”). Readers who remember the dawning of the internet era will find plenty to commiserate with in this mostly lighthearted lament. Illus. (Oct.)