I wonder what Albert Einstein would have accomplished if he had had internet access 24/7. I remember the days of research papers and trips to the library. Those of us lucky enough to have encyclopedias in our homes could get a head start on information gathering, but those encyclopedias were usually out-dated within a few years anyway. Being dependent on my parents to get me to the library was stressful at best, and most libraries were not as up to date as I would have liked.
College libraries were a bit more current, but they were also a place for social gatherings. I always went there with the best of intentions but often found myself immersed in a political debate or a discussion about the possibility that Paul McCartney really was dead. (Those of you old enough will remember reversing the direction of the White Album and hearing "Paul is dead" on the Revolution 9 cut)
It does sadden me to think that libraries might become obsolete. A true book lover knows that there are few things that are as comforting as the feel of a book in your hand. Getting lost in the pages, even the feel of an open book falling onto your chest as you fall asleep...unable to complete that final chapter, are things that those who have given themselves completely to electronics will never experience.
The ability, however, to reach all information in a matter of minutes...sometimes seconds...is not something to be taken lightly. Think about the amount of research Einstein, Edison or Alexander Graham Bell did and imagine the time that could have been saved with the press of a google button. How about the time Clarence Darrow spent researching for the Scopes Monkey Trial compared to lawyers of today with thousands of precedents at their fingertips? I don't think we appreciate how much easier life is today and often wonder what it will be like one hundred years from now.
Speaking of research, Bill McLain did quite a bit for his book, Do Fish Drink Water?:Puzzling and Improbable Questions and Answers. It is one of those great "bathroom" reads that is both fun and informative. McLain, who is a Xerox web master, has access to many odd questions that the public is curious about, and he compiled them and their answers into this interesting book by using the Internet to quickly research his answers.
Author Jonnie Jacobs shows us the manner in which lawyers research for their cases in her latest legal thriller, Motion to Dismiss. Attorney Kali O'Brien is faced with the task of defending her best friend's husband against charges of rape and then murder. Knowing that Grady Barrett cheated on her friend makes the task doubly difficult for Kali as she attempts to build a defense for a man she dislikes. The characters are likable, the book is easy to get immersed in, and I recommend it for your summer reading stack.
As always, complete reviews of these books follow this blog.