Thursday, November 27, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

There was magic in encyclopedias; now it’s in iPhones

By
From page A2 | January 08, 2013 |

One of my daughters received a loooong awaited iPhone for Christmas. That was around 10 Christmas morning. Before Christmas dinner, I confiscated both her and her older sister’s iPhones for a few hours to ensure some family connection time. Still, just before I went to bed Christmas night, I received an email from my cellphone provider that half of her data plan allotment for the month had been used. Half!

Her sense of awe and wonder at her gift was a little like it was . . . magic. It’s a source of information, connection and wonder. And you know what? It is all those things. So this is no diatribe against kids and smartphones. It is about encyclopedias.

Follow me here. Printed, bound, old-fashioned encyclopedias. Earlier this year, Encyclopedia Britannica announced that after 244 years it would no longer print its volumes, sales of which had dwindled for years. Its focus continues to be online, of course. Also this year, my siblings and I moved my dad out of his condominium and into a terrific elder-care facility and what was one of the treasures from his home that found its place in mine? A beautiful, 21-volume set of the World Book Encyclopedia, this one from 1989. World Book is still publishing its printed version, probably for nostalgia more than anything else.

I was thrilled to get it, not just because my mother sold World Book encyclopedias during the 1980s when the printed versions were going strong even though a new set was many hundreds of dollars. I was thrilled because of what that set of books meant to us as kids. The bound books we grew up with from the 1960s were white and green and I don’t remember when we got that set – it was likely for Christmas – but I do know how we revered it. It was a source of information, connection and wonder. Those glossy pages with their gilt edging and their unique smell were filled with . . . magic.

As a kid I would spend hours pouring over the knowledge they contained. I especially liked looking at the pictures of the pyramids and the ancient world, but I also remember being fascinated by everything from Helen Keller to minerals.

For me as a child, like for so many of us, the contents were a sure bet for book reports. Of course, we always had to consider how to use the World Book without following it so closely that the teacher could tell it came from World Book.

My favorite part? The “human” entry where one translucent page would fall on top of another, finally filling out the internal organs of the human anatomy. I spent hours on that. To me those volumes were otherworldly. To my parents I imagine they were a sign of having achieved middle-class security.

I don’t know what happened to my family’s 1960s set. But I think of them fondly when I look at my recently acquired 1989 set. And, I admit, when I see my daughter with her new iPhone. Yes, spending time on Facebook and Instagram is not the same as researching the pyramids, I suppose, though this is a daughter likely to do both and download countless books onto her iPhone along the way. But still, I’m reminded in looking at her, just a bit, of that sense of being lost in those magic, translucent anatomy pages when I was a young person.

Sure, as printed volumes of encyclopedias become a collector’s item, like printed maps, typewriters and vinyl records, I find myself a little sad that my children don’t know those glorious pages, that amazing smell. They connect to the world in a different way than we did as children. And yet I’m also reminded that we adults too often believe that “magic” has to look the same way for our kids as it did for us. How wonderful that that’s just not any truer now than it was when our own parents thought the same thing about their children.

It really is an amazing world.

And somehow, I don’t think I’m the first parent to see that or, well, to remind her child of the “magic” of sometimes putting down whatever distracts us from personal relationships, and, oh yeah, free Wi-Fi connections where available.

Betsy Hart’s latest book is “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports).” Email hartmailbox-mycolumn@yahoo.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Middle Green Valley plan moves forward

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

     
    School district continues look into Armijo grade-change scandal

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Veterans ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    New focus on achievement gap of black males

    By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

    Sandbags available in advance of storms

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Vacaville art gallery schedules open house

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    What’s the matter with Kansas Street?

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Governments shut doors for holiday

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

     
    Fairfield police log: Nov. 25, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun police log: Nov. 25, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Weather for Nov. 27, 2014

    By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

     
    .

    US / World

    Passengers in Russia’s Arctic give airliner a push

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Armored vehicle nixed by Davis ends up in Woodland

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Court: No warrant needed to draw parolees’ blood

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Heart stent for Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, 81

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Snow makes Thanksgiving travel ‘a little hairy’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Union focuses on security guards at Apple

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Homeless man beaten to death in San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Obama administration sets stricter smog standard

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Obama gets the bill for White House Thanksgiving

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    American among hostages targeted in Yemen raid

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Sierra Leone official: Ebola may have reached peak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Hong Kong police arrest key protesters, clear site

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Canada police arrest ex-radio host in sex case

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Impoverished Lebanese city is target for IS group

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Spy balloons give police new view of Jerusalem

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Prosecutor faces new criticism over Ferguson case

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

    Grand jury documents rife with inconsistencies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

     
    Small crowd protests in Oakland for third night

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

    Ferguson residents clean up, hope for calm night

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Nov. 27, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Nov. 27, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscope for Nov. 27, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    Nursing homes full of opportunities for giving

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Hanks, wife to host Christmas tree lighting

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    With shake-ups, AC/DC perseveres with album, tour

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    875 hours of holiday programming on TV last year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    Missing model-restaurateur B. Smith found in NYC

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Garth Brooks cites Ferguson for cancellation

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    University in Tennessee cancels Cosby appearance

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Sports

    Seahawks, 49ers meet for 1st time this season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Panda heads put away with Sandoval’s departure

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    All City football: Vikings sweep top honors

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    San Francisco’s bid for 2024 Olympics taking shape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    NFL might not flex any Sunday night games in 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Raiders’ Woodson expects to play in 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Curry, 3s too much for Magic; Warriors win 111-96

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Sharks sign emergency backup goalie

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Spurs’ Popovich undergoes medical procedure

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    AP source: Tomas in process of deal with D’backs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Harden leads Rockets past Kings 102-89

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Smith to start at QB for Jets vs. Dolphins on MNF

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Butler knocks off No. 5 North Carolina, 74-66

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    RG3 benched: Redskins to start Colt McCoy vs. Indy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Atletico Madrid, Arsenal reach knockout phase

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

     
    .

    Business

    Twitter now tracks other apps you’ve installed

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Health insurance sign-ups coming to shopping malls

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    FBI data show thousands of gun sales beat checks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    US new home sales up 0.7 percent in October

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    US agency threatens to act against air bag maker

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Esther Ringler

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Dora Maria Aranda

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Adrian Looy

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Holiday Gift Guide 2014

    Why millennials prefer electronic gift cards

    By The Washington Post | From Page: HGG2

    How to give holiday gift cards

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG2

    How to establish gift spending limits

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG3

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG3

    Novice crafter? There’s a project for that!

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG6

    Gift ideas for the special seniors in your life

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG6

    Time and money-saving holiday gift ideas

    By Statepoint Media | From Page: HGG7

    Oy vey, holidays! Does Hanukkah wannabe Christmas?

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG7

    How to save on high-tech gifts

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG10

    Shop top finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG11

    Sharing music: a personal gift made easy by tech

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG12

    Great gifts for music lovers

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG13

    Kitchen gift-giving made easy with personality profiles

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

    Great gifts for the family foodie

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

    Holiday shows abound in Solano County

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: HGG17

    Great gifts for people who love to read

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG19

    An oft-elusive yet gifty treat: coffee table books

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG19

    Eco-friendly gift ideas for ‘green’ giving

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

    Things to consider before buying this holiday season

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

    Steps to take before giving pets as gifts

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

    2014 holiday toy predictions

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

    Trend-setting gifts for the women on your holiday shopping list

    By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG23

    Gifts to keep kids engaged

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG25

    Gift wrap tricks to save time

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG26

    Save time and energy with a family gift this holiday season

    By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG27

    Right at Home: gifts you can use – and use up

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG30

    How to send gifts to faraway friends and family

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30

    Gift exchange dos and don’ts

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30