Sunday, July 23, 2017

21st century illiteracy

By chance I was reminded that the best English-language bookshop in Munich closed its doors for good in June 2012. That means that instead of buying 'booky books', I have been settling for Kindle editions for over five years now. Not that I'm complaining. Enlarging the font display helps when the eyesight is less than perfect. Digital downloads are far less taxing and uncomfortable than enphysmatic shuffles into town.

As a consequence, however, there is no longer the nice feeling I used to have when once-read paperbacks found new readers in our building. (There's a shelf above the radiator in the entrance hall downstairs where items on offer usually find a new owner within hours.) In my flat I shelved only books I knew I might read (or at least consult) a second or third time. 

On the top shelf on the far right there is a book that might seem to be a duplicate. Indeed it is, and one which I have frequently loaned to others who might be amenable to its message.

Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century was the third book in a trilogy written by the futurist Alvin Toffler, following Future Shock and The Third Wave. The hardcover first edition was published in October 1990.

I'm struck by the enduring relevance of what Toffler had to say:

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