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ALARMS AND DIVERSIONS FOR THE THINKING PERSON

Forum File

Saturday, January 12, 2013 - 12:01 am

The reading list

“Lovers of ink and paper, take heart. Reports of the death of the printed book may be exaggerated.

“Ever since Amazon introduced its popular Kindle e-reader five years ago, pundits have assumed that the future of book publishing is digital. Opinions about the speed of the shift from page to screen have varied. But the consensus has been that digitization, having had its way with music and photographs and maps, would in due course have its way with books as well. By 2015, one media maven predicted a few years back, traditional books would be gone.

“Half a decade into the e-book revolution, though, the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter. Hardcover books are displaying surprising resiliency. The growth in e-book sales is slowing markedly. And purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets. It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.

“A Pew Research Center survey last month showed that the percentage of adults who have read an e-book rose modestly over the past year, from 16 percent to 23 percent. But it also revealed that fully 89 percent of regular book readers said that they had read at least one printed book during the preceding 12 months. Only 30 percent reported reading even a single e-book in the past year.”

– From “Don't burn your books – print is here to stay” at wsj.com

A quiz

What was the first state in the union to legalize abortion on demand?

Wisdom of the ages

“You should not live one way in private, another in public.” – Publilius Syrus

Cudrrent wisdom

“I want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion that unless we can do everything, we're going to do nothing. It's critically important we act.” – Vice President Joe Biden to gun control advocates, crime victims and others at the White House in describing the administration's plans to deal with gun violence in America.

Quiz answer

Hawaii, in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade.

Snob words

pseudology (soo-DOLL-uh-je), n., lying considered as an art, as in: “The editorial writer had become so talented in pseudology that he considered going into politics.” From the Greek pseudo, “false,” and logy, “the study of.”

Today in history

On this date in 1906, the football rules committee legalized the forward pass, a date we recognize today as the beginning of Couch Potato Sundays.

Now you know

Mexico City has the highest elevation and is the oldest city in North America.