Norman, Doris and Petrona!

At his post normblog: Books and the internet, Norman Geras discusses Doris Lessing’s Nobel prize acceptance speech. While praising Lessing’s comments about a hunger for reading in African countries, Norm highlights this quote:

"How will our lives, our way of thinking, be changed by the internet, which has seduced a whole generation with its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that, once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging etc?"

Norm provides five ways in which the internet can interact positively with books: people read on the internet; the text of many books is available there; one can find out about books; and buy them; and people are blogging about books on the internet.  All excellent points, Norm, and I was delighted to be included in his list of examples of people undertaking this activity, in the illustrious company of blogs like Keeper of the Snails, Random Jottings…., and more. Thank you, Norm.

However, Doris Lessing has a sort of point. The internet can be a great time-waster. But then so can anything else — before the internet came along, people managed to waste their time just as effectively as they do now.