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100 Things We've Lost to the Internet

100 Things We've Lost to the Internet by Pamela Paul

Reviewed by L. Bennett

Have you ever wondered what happened to talking to your dinner partner? How about the corded phone in the kitchen where everyone could follow the conversations? Or maybe you've noticed a creeping lack of civility. Well, according to author Pamela Paul, those are among the things lost to the internet. Chapter by chapter she identifies a social value, academic skill, or other facet of American society that has been changed by our immersion in the wired world, in particular the internet. The book is part social commentary, a trip down memory lane, and eulogy. Or you can read it as a litany of loss and a warning about changes to our behavior.

The author is a big-city dweller and that environment colors her presentation. I don't live in a metropolitan location and found some items she mentioned have yet to be damaged by the internet, but other things have definitely been affected. I found the book interesting for the author's selection of the 100 things and her explanations for why they were usurped, abolished, or modified by the internet. I thought most of the explanations were plausible and found myself wondering what the next generation might lose as well. I had hoped the book would contain more humor than I found, but it was an okay read.

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