Book Report: Personal Computers (Revised Edition) by Charnan and Tom Kazunas (2000)

Book coverYou want to know what Noggle does when he’s desperate to make his annual reading quota, and he’s nowhere near finishing the three different 1400+ page books he’s spending a lot of time on this year? He reads a children’s book.

This is a children’s book circa 2000 that introduces children to the very high-level concepts of computers. What a computer is, how computers were in the 1940s, what a component is, what a peripheral is, what kinds of computers there are, what software is, and so on. Kind of like if you just read the titles of that old Time-Life Books series.

Twelve years later, I guess it’s hard to justify keeping this in a library, since most kids these days are born with an iPhone in their hands, and libraries themselves have whole rooms dedicated to functioning computers rather than books, so children can get hands on experience without the need for a book about them. Still, this book is a book targeted to libraries; I cannot imagine many people picking this up and giving it as a gift, even to children who don’t already have a computer (which brings to mind how I used to pore through the Radio Shack ads in 1980, looking at the pictures of the Tandys for sale, and now I have piles of computers with lots of blinking lights and whirring fans beneath a monitor bigger than my television playing Whiz Kids, and all I want to do is get away from them these days).

It’s a book for libraries, and the local library has discarded it.

Is it worth a read? If you pick it up at the local library book sale with an eye to mockery (although I’m not as wry about it as I would have hoped on that particular bag day), if you need to pad out your reading list, if you’ve got the book, and if you’ve got a football game to watch in between large print definition of mouse and keyboard (it’s the part that looks like a typewriter, which isn’t something someone born in 1994 is going to be familiar with).

On the other hand, this book just might be a good starter book not for children, but for seniors getting in touch with their first computer. It’s short, it’s basic, and it’s larger than normal print. Hmmm. I think Roberta could have used this book.

Books mentioned in this review:

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