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The (2nd Annual) Fall Reading List
Sep 02, 1996 :: Michael Sippey

Yup, it's that time again. The presidential campaign is in full swing, men in pads are practicing violence by committee on a weekly basis, and loads of kids are loading up on new notebooks, Levi's and haircuts in preparation for the fall semester.

(Wait, that sounds like what I just went through.)

This past week for me has been full of syllabi and new textbooks, so my fall reading list has been pre-determined by the folks at Haas. But since I did a list last year, I figured I might as well do one this year. Plus, it's an easy way to fill a week.

Since I have very little time these days to read anything of the print variety (unless it has present value equations printed in it), I'm in no position to recommend juicy bedside tomes. Instead, this year's list is almost entirely electronic -- plain old ASCII to fill your web browser or stuff your inbox. So, without further ado...

  • Educom's Edupage. Educom -- "a Washington, D.C.-based consortium of leading colleges and universities seeking to transform education through the use of information technology" -- publishes "Edupage," a thrice-weekly email newsletter re. news in the area of information technology. Don't have time to glean PC Week, Information Week, the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times for relevant IT news? Let Edupage deliver soundbite news summaries to your inbox. For free. To subscribe to Edupage: send mail to: with the message: subscribe edupage Stephane Dubois (if your name is Stephane Dubois; otherwise, substitute your own name).

  • Packet. Packet is a new creation from those wily folks at Hotwired. The editors at Packet must live under the adage "An idea a day keeps the boredom away," because in their three weeks of being "live," there hasn't been a single day when I've come away from Packet without something to chew on. Mondays: "Ned Brainard" delivers the Flux gossip. Tuesdays: Michael Schrage tackles online business. Wednesdays: Simson Garfinkel peers inside the guts of web technology. Thursdays: Andrew Leonard looks at net culture. Fridays: some Real Audio "HotSeat" discussion.

  • MEME. David Bennahum has a tendency to be wordy and self-absorbed, but he writes well and seems to have access to some interesting people. Plus, his writing inspires debate. Earlier this year his piece on Barlow's "A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace" garnered reaction from John Perry himself. The web site archives the memes. To get memed, drop a line to LISTSERV@SJUVM.STJOHNS.EDU with message: subscribe Liz Bernstein (if your name is Liz Bernstein; otherwise substitute your own name).

  • The Project McLuhan List. The medium is still the message for the folks at Project McLuhan. Their contribution to the continuing legacy of Dr. McLuhan is an occasional message to the McLuhan list, which spots online and culture trendlets and generally says "Hey, McLuhan told you so." Entertaining at the very least. To subscribe, send email to with the message: subscribe McLuhan-list.

  • Countermedia in general. If you spent any time in front of the tube this past week, you were subjected to the Democrats' version of scripted nirvana in Chicago. But the untold story was, well, untold by the major news media. Regardless of your political persuasion, you have to acknowledge that the web is the perfect countermedia news outlet. During the coming election, use the web to keep tabs on the things the networks aren't telling you.

And, finally, one non-electronic reading recommendation...

  • The New Yorker Music Issue (Aug 26/Sep 2). The issue of the New Yorker that's currently on newsstands is testament to why hiring Tina Brown was a good thing. The old New Yorker would never had mixed an issue with Mark Singer on the Fugees, Lou Reed on "The Aches and Pains of Touring," and Nick Hornby on "The Pain in My Heart." But the best part is the opening essay from Alex Ross. Forgive the long quote, but it had to be done...

    "Turning the dial or browsing in record stores, you encounter a teeming mass of genres, hybrid forms, unnamed styles. Nowadays, new sounds are multiplying in crazy profusion, fending off -- or feeding off -- one another. ... All styles under the sun are clamoring to be taken seriously, freighted as they are, with heavy investments of ethnicity, ideology, tradition, and expertise. You may offend by dismissing them, or you may offend by embracing them."

    Hmm. Sounds a bit like the web.



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