I have received a copy of this book in an exchange for an honest review.
Since I spend an unspeakable amount of my life on the internet, I was really excited, because it sort of combined my favourite things to do. Internet, art...and it was a book! The only thing that was missing was food. Maybe next time, Virginia Heffernan!
As a daily, overly-active internet user, Magic and Loss really spoke to me on a major level. I got a tingle of excitement every time I understood a pop culture reference, even when it was just a video I have seen or a medium I have used. I liked the division into chapters according to the elements of the internet and I think all the topics were more or less relatable to an average or above average internet user. To be frank, I cannot imagine my Nan reacting to this book in the same way! She can’t tell the difference between Facebook and Skype and is happy when her e-mails send. But I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, who knows what a letsplay is and whose abbreviation skills are beyond btw and lol.
While the topics themselves felt really familiar, I still had a few issues. I am not sure if it is just the fault of a slightly misleading blurb or if it was the intention of the author, but I have found a lot of strays from the initial topic to the point when I was not sure which chapter I was on. And while I can still understand the subject of ebooks versus physical copies issue or the introduction of Oculus Rift, because even when not directly, they still relate to the internet in a way, I was confused when the author brought up what it was like calling up a landline in the olden days of no mobile phones. And again, I could understand how the topic emerged, but my OCD simply suffered, because it did not fit into the category I was reading about. Sometimes, it slightly reminded me of a lecturer that just wanders off during a lecture and whom it takes a few coughs of their students to get back to the original topic, however interesting their sidetrack was.
However, as I have already mentioned before, the language and general themes make the book very enjoyable and readable, it was very clear that Virginia Heffernan tried to address as many issues as possible. It has worked (in a way) for me, let’s see if it works for others as well!