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.


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.