As I may have mentioned, I do not have the scholarly inclinations of most of our wenches, but over the years, I’ve still accumulated a massive research library which covers an amazing array of subjects. I’ve read and enjoyed many of those books simply for the pure pleasure of learning, but attempting to access the information therein at a later date simply isn’t happening most of the time. I might admire Harvard's A HISTORY OF PRIVATE LIFE series for the immense amount of material the books contain, but their indices are fairly useless for hunting a single relevant fact. I would do better to Google book search the details, even though the volumes are sitting right there on my shelf.
And therein lies my problem. With the age of the internet, I’ve grown hideously lazy. I’m perfectly aware that my volumes on Regency England will disclose all manner of fascinating facts about money, dress, carriages, and anything else my wayward mind requires. (I just found a website reviewing a number of the books on my shelves at http://tinyurl.com/ydmfy48 )But that same wayward mind retains nothing. Simply trying to remember which book the answer is in may cost me hours of precious time thumbing through indices and pages, at
the risk of becoming entranced with the subject matter and forgetting what I wanted entirely. How much easier it is to put the topic into a search engine and see if any answer miraculously appears! Of course, it doesn’t always. Search engines can be frustratingly full of ridiculous nonsense, but rather than cross the room to hunt through my books, I almost always give Google a spin first.
Worse yet, Google is causing me to buy even more books I will probably never open again! I needed information on volunteer officers in England’s army and could find utterly nothing except a snippet from a volume on Google Books. The snippet was tantalizingly close to what I wanted, but I had to order the blamed book from England before I could verify what I needed. And then ended up using maybe one entire sentence in the book with the information. There’s a reason I’m not a scholar—I’m cheap as well as lazy! Not to mention possessing a memory like a sieve.
I know I’m not the only one corrupted by the internet. I suspect there are more time wasters than time savers out there in cyberspace. Anyone else been seriously afflicted by internetitis? Do we dare whisper e-mail as an affliction? Are you corresponding more or less than in the days of snail mail? How else has the internet changed your way of doing things?
IN MEMORIAM: Kate Duffy, a romance editor since the beginning of the Great Romance Era and a guest of ours in January has passed away. She helped shape romance as a genre, and we owe her memory much gratitude.
Mary Jo adds: "Kate Duffy was a legend in the romance
industry, known for her humor, her directness, her concern for authors, and her
passion for the romance genre. I felt honored to be one of her
authors. I only wish it had been for much, much longer."
Late addendum: here's a fun site for finding authors you might like:
Just another fun way to waste time on the internet!