Whither the phone booth? The fascination with media obsolescence

http://alisonberkemusic.com/sjecq2ppahw A new journalistic recipe is afoot: find once ubiquitous technology that is on the wane and write about its quirky history. The latest exhibit at the LA Review of Books: the phone booth. Ah, the phone booth, haven of bacterial infestation, coin-operated dysfunctionality, and cinematic obsession. We’ll miss you. Of course …

As many types of books as there are readers

I am signing off for the holidays, and I thought I could do worse than citing Oliver Sacks on why we need as much diversity as possible when it comes to reading: “No one sort of book should be allowed to disappear, for we are all individuals, with highly individualized …

The Instruments of Writing

I’ve just returned from a fantastic conference in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Women’s Writing Instruments in the Eighteenth Century. We learned about the types of things that a woman would have at her desk when she sat down to write, including seals, wax, ink, quills, knives, …

Reading’s Black Boxes

One of the bigger challenges facing the humanities today with the changing nature of our reading interfaces is the problem of technical opacity, what goes by the colloquial name of the black box. Do we need to know how computers or computation work to understand an electronic text? Or can …