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July 18, 2020


Don Z. Block

If you are a book person, shopping via the internet has enabled you to acquire books you probably thought you never would. But without the internet, my house would be much less cluttered, and I would still be getting my exercise stooping and reaching for tomes in the wonderful musty stacks of the Strand and Biblo Tannen used book stores, to name only two. And the "stacks" of Abebooks lack the olfactory goodness of the volumes lining the walls in the basement of Biblo Tannen. And I do miss the ads placed by people like Frances Klennett, a bookfinder who would search for rarities. What a thrill to be notified that she had located an unusual first edition by Edgar Rice Burroughs, one not published by Grosset and Dunlap.

However, we are told that we have to live in the digital age, that there is no going back. And so we must accept the sad fate of walk-in stores, and we must put up with the consequences of online education, some of which are more cheating and therefore higher grades, a shorter attention span, and a large number of people who are too easily distracted. It is likely that the inability of too many people to think clearly is one consequence of the digital age. And a consequence of that is the bad choice that currently sits in the oval office.

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