The Best Books of 2009 on Technology & the Internet


Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto

Mark Helprin


Some books are worthy simply for their nasty reviews. Mark Helprin's Digital Barbarism is distinguished by Larry Lessig's vituperative review on the Huffington Post. Helprin's attack on digital culture will cost you $17.99, Lessig's is free. You decide which is right and which is better value.




Trust Agents : Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

Chris Brogan & Julien Smith


As mainstream media dies, all we are left with are trust agents -- the A-list bloggers and tweeters who have replaced traditional journalists, editors, and tastemakers. Brogan and Smith are living examples of these trust agents -- thus, this accessible book is a quick praxis of the theory and practice of 21st-century user-generated media.




The Tyranny of Email

John Freeman


A 4,000-year history of communications in 200 pithy pages is appropriate in our real-time media age. In contrast with the easy-come, easy-go nature of most online commentary, however, Freeman's polemic is a serious and thoughtful critique of our self-destructive obsession with electronic messaging.





Lost in Cyburbia

James Harkin


Lost in Cyburbia has been unfairly lost on most American readers. Written by the prominent British cultural critic James Harkin, Lost in Cyburbia is a memorable journey in cybernetics -- the dominant architecture of the digital age. Skip the dull first chapter. The rest of the book is a compelling read.





Elsewhere, U.S.A.

Dalton Conley


Pop sociology at its most penetrating, Elsewhere U.S.A. explores the impact of technology on the structure of family, identity, and community in contemporary American life. A must-read for anyone who has ever wondered why their working life has successfully colonized their private life.


July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).