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Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By

3.03  ·  Rating Details ·  111 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Thanks to advancing technology and shifting mores, the amount of change we experience in our lifetimes is truly exceptional. Objects and practices that are commonplace can very quickly become outmoded. In this witty and informative collection of short essays, journalist and social commentator Anna Jane Grossman takes a thoughtful look at what everyday apparatuses, ideas, ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Harry N. Abrams
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Martin Hernandez
Feb 05, 2016 Martin Hernandez rated it did not like it
Tenía una expectativa de asombro y diversión mucho más alta con este libro, que pretende ser una lista exhaustiva de objetos y costumbres que dejaron de ser útiles. En principio me enganchó porque leí una de las entradas del libro, la correspondiente al "Rolodex", aquí, y me gustó mucho. Sin embargo, el libro ya no resultó tan divertido; aunque todas las definiciones tratan de ser ingeniosas, hay varias que apelan totalmente a un humor estadounidense que carece de sentido para un lector ajeno a ...more
ej cullen
Jun 02, 2010 ej cullen rated it did not like it
From analog clocks to camcorders, dictionaries, encyclopedias, fax machines, manual car windows, nuns, pay phones, photo albums, privacy, typewriters, traditional names, and wristwatches (notice how the prices are tumbling?) Read this in about an hour while watching the Mets. Try doing that with James Joyce!
Steve
Feb 18, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
Fun, easy read. I don't understand the lower star ratings, it is what it sets out to be. Good research and writing along with some humor and more in depth definitions when needed. Found it at the wonderful American Computer Museum last year while in Bozeman. Glad I did.
Dachokie
Aug 01, 2011 Dachokie rated it liked it
Shelves: 1970s-nostalgia
Informational and Entertaining, but Incomplete ..., October 11, 2010

Anna Jane Grossman's effort to remind us of so many of the things we once took for granted that have suddenly (and quietly) vanished from our lives is both intriguing and fun to read. While I believe the book definitely offered a taste for my hunger for nostalgia, I found it somewhat unfulfilling in the end.

"Obsolete" is thought-provoking in that it does make one realize how once-seemingly indispensible "things" have somehow si
...more
tamarack
Jun 06, 2010 tamarack rated it liked it
i didn't get to finish this, but given that it's an encyclopedia i feel justified in moving it on to the 'read' shelf. (i had to return it to the library before finishing).

it's hilarious; if not totally accurate. the illustrations are charming, and the humour is witty enough to keep me entertained (but shy of sarcasm, and a far cry from biting -- which would ruin it for me). would make a good gift for anyone born before the early 80s.
Mollie Hartup
Jan 30, 2012 Mollie Hartup rated it liked it
Fun reminder of things once used, like my grandparents' manual typewriter used to write my first school newspaper articles in the late 1980s. Also an interesting look at how technology changes basic principles...for example how caller ID has shifted the power from the caller to the callee. Though we still get that thrill of the unknown caller today when we dare to answer that call from a number we don't recognize.
Kenneth Buff
Sep 07, 2015 Kenneth Buff rated it really liked it
This is a fun little coffee table read. Filled with all the devices (and sometimes concepts) that are no longer used or relevant to our society. The book feels a little dated at times when it makes references to Myspace (rather than Facebook) or cell phones with buttons on them as things we use today, but other than that it's a nice walk through memory lane from a modern perspective.
Gerry
Jul 18, 2010 Gerry rated it did not like it
I was walking through the library with the kids when this book caught my attention. I was rather disappointed with the author's definition of "obsolete" on many of the items. Some of the stories related to the items were interesting, but the attempt at humor in most fell short and only served to motivate me to begin skimming the book.
Cindy May
I think the author did a good job of coming up with a fairly comprehensive list of antiquated items - many of which I had forgotten about. It will be interesting to see what items she can add to the list at the end of this decade!
Brian
Nov 20, 2011 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most encyclopedias, not all of this book was interesting. It was very short and I got the feeling that the author left out a lot. Certain entries had a mini rant slash essay. Overall this book was entertaining but not the best of its kind.
Ann
Aug 09, 2010 Ann rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, adults
The tone of this book was didn't feel consistent, sometimes it felt a little snarky, and other times I felt the author was trying to be scholarly.

David Allen
Feb 01, 2014 David Allen rated it it was ok
Good observations now and then, but overall, this seems like an inferior, strained update/remake of the 1994 book "Going, Going, Gone."
Pea.
Feb 12, 2010 Pea. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
oh my, when you really think of how much has changed in a lifetime it can make you sentimental, this book will be saved for the kids and their kids...
Timothy Griffin
Oct 14, 2011 Timothy Griffin rated it liked it
A fun read.
Eli
Mar 14, 2011 Eli rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, fun
totally enjoyable.
Simon
Simon rated it liked it
Mar 08, 2015
Lenna
Lenna rated it liked it
Apr 29, 2010
Amanda K
Amanda K rated it liked it
Feb 10, 2016
Lynnea
Lynnea rated it it was ok
Jun 17, 2014
Dave
Feb 21, 2010 Dave rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Does the Wite-Out company still exist?
Tracy
Tracy rated it it was ok
Jan 05, 2010
Tristan
Tristan rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2016
Jana
Apr 25, 2016 Jana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, quick read. Some things were not surprising, some were, and some made me think.
Ami_Ven
Ami_Ven rated it it was ok
Apr 12, 2013
Conformco
Conformco rated it it was ok
Dec 11, 2014
Adriane
Adriane rated it really liked it
Dec 08, 2013
Lana
Lana rated it liked it
Dec 28, 2012
Michael
Michael rated it it was ok
Jul 10, 2012
Rabbitt
Rabbitt rated it liked it
Jun 10, 2010
Buttercup
Buttercup rated it liked it
Sep 13, 2015
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Anna Jane Grossman is a writer and animal trainer in New York City.

Grossman is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior, and of New York University. She also graduated high school, grade school, and kindergarten, and once took some karate lessons.

Grossman has written extensively on the subject of animals (both human and non-human) for The New York Times, Gizmodo.com,
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