I mention the reviews below because my interest is piqued. I would like to read both books.
Zadie Smith reviewed You’re Not a Gadget from Jaron Lanier, but integrates it into a piece on Mark Zuckerberg and The Social Network. As an aside, what she does in this review, to synthesize and create some new thoughts on a subject, is the very thing I wish to do in this blog. Of course, that is the mode of review in The New York Review of Books. But more often than not, the review is more an opinion piece by the reviewer than an engagement of the book.
Neil Gaiman reviewed Stephen King’s new collection of novellas: Full Dark, No Stars.
Jaron Lanier wrote an editorial for the NYT about the digital classroom. He points out that education may not be discretized into blocks and efficiently transferred to the students. He fears that reducing knowledge into blocks, and then having students shuffle them around, gives the impression that new knowledge is simply recombining old bits (i.e. Remix Culture). Lanier feels that this is a problem of computer-aided educational tools: designers can limit the learning by the nature of the “building blocks” the students can use. Further, the binary referendum of multiple choice testing gives an incentive for factory processes rather than hoping kids will absorb and then generalize the concept of “5+7” to apply it in new contexts (like, “15+ 17”). Matthew Bernius responds (hat tip: Paul Biba from Tele-read).
Margaret Atwood weighs in on e-books.
Jeffrey Trachtenberg has a piece in the WSJ about the publishing side of e-books, with regards to literary authors (lower prices for e-books – compared to hardcovers lead to smaller profits, coupled with a down-trend in book buying, puts the squeeze on author advances.)