NICK BILTON is one of the people we listen to most closely on tech. Now the Times' lead technology writer, he's a veteran of New York Press (during that publication's golden years) and of the Times's research-and-development lab. In his new book, I Live In the Future and Here's How It Works, he begins by checking in on an industry often credited with pushing digital innovation -- yep, porn -- and discovers that it has suffered a death just as ugly as any entrenched old-media vertical.
Every book festival needs legendary dudes like DENNIS LEHANE and TOM PERROTTA -- the kinds of authors whose stories are famous even to people who don't read books. The awesome thing about Lehane and Perrotta is that they've both given far more than their celebrity to the cause: last year Lehane used his star power to throw some shine on Boston's lesser-known mystery authors in Boston Noir, a compendium whose launch party headlined the inaugural Boston Book Festival.
Inspiration is seldom as easy as it seems. One of the lessons of STEVEN JOHNSON's Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation is that "Eureka!" moments -- sudden pinpoints of revelation -- are usually myths. Instead of coming like a flash of light, great ideas simmer. They benefit from intellectual incubation And this panel, also featuring one inventor, one surgeon, and one designer, is its own greenhouse of genius.
This program was titled, optimistically, "ISRAEL/PALESTINE: NOVEL APPROACHES." Alas, it turned into "Israel/Palestine: Same Old Shit." Well, what did you expect? Put human canonball Alan Dershowitz on a panel with the Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa, a daughter of 1967 refugees, and you've got a new version of the old saw: Boston went to an argument about the Israel/Palestine situation and a book reading nearly broke out.
As promised, the Boston Phoenix will be podcasting every panel from this year's second annual BOSTON BOOK FESTIVAL, yet another smashing success last weekend. (Don't take our word for it -- check the hashtag.) For those of you who were there, it's never too late to fill out your bingo card. And since it was impossible to catch everything, we're kicking things off with a panel we really wanted to see but didn't: a tribute to the late mystery legend Robert B.