Alissa Walker

Writer / United States /

Alissa Walker’s Notable Books of 2012

1 book

When I told people I was reading a book on the physicality of the Internet—the colocation centers, undersea cables, and yes, tubes that carry our emails, Facebook statuses, and YouTube videos to our desktops—I usually got a smirk. Under anyone else's guise, Tubes would have been a really dull read. But the witty and engaging Andrew Blum turns this topic into a global adventure, a Verne-esque Journey to the Center of the Internet, if you will, filling the pages not with boring treatises about “packets” and “rack units,” but the plucky personalities who move our data. Plus, in a book that's so much about place, he’s meticulous about setting each scene, noting temperatures, colors and scents—yes, the Internet smells!—with graphic detail, which makes these locations catapult off the page and into your subconscious. Since I’ve read the book, I think about Tubes every day, as I try to look for signs of the Internet as I move through our busy world. I can’t think of another book which has changed my worldview like that. And this book does it in a truly delightful way.

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