If you only read one book about virtual worlds, read Julian Dibbell’s My Tiny Life. If you are only going to read two, read Tom Boellstorff’s Coming of Age in Second Life.Overall, Coming of Age in Second Life (CASL) represents cutting edge anthropology at its best — hip, smart, theoretically sophisticated, and with its head screwed on straight. As far as I am concerned it establishes a new standard for students of virtual worlds in all disciplines, and clears a path for anyone wanting to understand how anthropologists can study virtual worlds. Of course, the book has its shortcomings — mostly, I feel, because cutting edge anthropology has its shortcomings — but there is no doubt that CASL (as I’ll call it) is a seminal work that deserves to be widely read.
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