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Wired and Well Read
Wired and well read
WendyGriswold, Northwestern University
NathanWright, Northwestern University

As technology and as a cultural phenomenon, the internet moved from “high” to “popular” to “mass” with extraordinary speed during the 1990s. The sudden flood of e-everything produced giddiness but also alarm. Observers have worried about the internet's uncontrollable broadcast of images and sounds, its penetration of privacy, and its impact on how people live their lives, including how they read. The comparison with television is unavoidable. For some 50 years, people have feared—justly, it turned out—that television would overwhelm other leisure activities, including reading. Now the worry is that the internet will wipe out what little reading remains.

This chapter examines the relationship between internet use and reading. “Reading” here refers to nonwork reading, ...

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