Friday, January 30, 2015
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 [email protected]

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

.

Solano News

 
Teens earn right to perform with symphony

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

From classical to Queen: Chamber Players are ready

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Photographer has a passion for color

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Solano summit focuses on ways to end poverty

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 16 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Cadets learn skills for future careers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
‘Souper Bowl’ coming to Solano County

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
 
SolTrans announces changes to bus routes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

California’s snow survey shows far less snow than last month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Protestors shun sister-city relationship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
City event criticized for Mexican mafia connection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

State to move more than 2,000 inmates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Boy Scouts reaches settlement in sex abuse case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Tech advances lower chance that driver will die in car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
NASA astronaut memorial stirs memories for shuttle veteran

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘Anonymized’ credit card data not so anonymous, study shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Fort Hood gunman Hasan says he wants to keep top lawyer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Attorney General nominee wins GOP endorsements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Police: Family killed man over child custody dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Killer says his ideas influenced family suicide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Simultaneous attacks in Egypt’s Sinai kill 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Indonesian investigators: Crashed AirAsia flown by co-pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Gas blast at Mexico children’s hospital, at least 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Families plead for lives of IS hostages as swap hopes fade

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Deadly San Francisco blaze spurs look at fire alarms

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 30, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
 
 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My cousin’s 14-year-old son sleeps in the same bed as his grandma

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Jan. 30, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Jan. 30 through Feb. 5, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Lil Wayne sues mentor’s record label for $51M, seeking split

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jim Parsons to play God in Broadway’s ‘An Act of God’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘The Thorn Birds’ author Colleen McCullough dies at age 77

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hilary Duff, George Lopez help in search for stolen dog

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Justin Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in online video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Musician Geezer Butler arrested in Death Valley altercation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
Bernie Mac widow drops malpractice lawsuit against doctor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Desert stars: Celebs converge on Phoenix for Super Bowl 49

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Serena aims for 19th major in Aussie final vs. Sharapova

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Marshawn Lynch talks about why he doesn’t talk to the media

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Vanden boys pull away from feisty Fairfield 86-66

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7

Gronkowski and Chancellor make for must-see Super Bowl matchup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Signups for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Chevrolet polishes its mid-size truck

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Prospect of Chinese cars in US still remain years away

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Senate passes Keystone XL bill, battles loom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
McDonald’s under siege as new CEO steps in

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Obama seeks spending spike for defense, domestic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
Who wants a bite of Hershey…jerky?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Gloria Elizabeth Neal

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

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