The internet. It's wonderful and terrible, thrilling and terrifying. It is certainly addictive. But one thing it's supposed to be good for, is browsing.
I mean, that's the whole problem, isn't it? That you end up browsing rather than reading, ready to jump off in the middle of anything to something else.
Except: Chestnut was thinking about her Hanukkah (forget the spelling on that one is what I think) list, and she said that what she really wanted was an Encyclopedia.
Well, we sort of said, You can use your dad's access to the Encyclopedia Britannica's web site (he gets it as part of being a professor), or you can look on Wikip—.
No, she said. Not online. I want one that's paper. I want to, you know, just look through it.
I completely understand what she means. It's the whole Book of Lists, Guinness Book of World Records vibe she's going for: she wants to come across things unexpectedly. Of her own volition. It's fun to page through an encyclopedia (no really, it is!). And it's not the same having random things flash up on a web site. You're not browsing then, their design is. How can you wander when you're not the one doing the wandering?
If you go to the Encyclopedia Britannica kids site, it says "Browse Arts, Religion, Geography…." But if they're giving you options of what to browse, it's not exactly browsing. It's looking, which is different.
I had to tell her that I think they don't make paper encyclopedias anymore. I am not so sure that's even true—there is a 2003 edition on Amazon for $650. There is ye olde one-volume Columbia Encyclopedia from 2000. But..nothing newer.
Which I understand, I really do. I mean, the encyclopedia makers have to be realistic, don't they?
Well don't they?
But it sort of kills me. It's this very specfic weird, kid activity that will vanish, and it makes me blue.