Here, we have an introductory Internet book (indeed, an introduction to intermediate-level personal computing in a lot of ways) that's well suited to people who don't mind reading. Web 101: Making the Net Work for You is meant as a textbook for use in a classroom; so, it's also for people who don't mind spending money. Is this book accurate, thorough, and readable? Yes. Is it a good value? Not really. However, don't hesitate to buy it, if you need it for a class--you won't be disappointed.
Author Wendy Lehnert assumes that her readers know next to nothing about the Internet, and proceeds to educate them largely through the "naming-of-parts" approach. This book teems with lists of terms and other textbook features, like questions and exercises at the end of each chapter. Some of the questions that are associated with the online exercises seem kind of silly ("What did you have to do to view your postcard?"), but should serve to push reluctant surfers online. Lehnert takes care to allay readers' fears about scams, viruses, and security--she explains what the hazards are and how they're best avoided. She also likes to treat the Internet as a community to be joined, instead of as a technology to be coped with. In a typical section, she explains how to shop for software by consulting expert reviews on information sites, as well as visiting software shops. --David Wall
Topics covered: The Internet, for people who haven't used it much, but who are comfortable with the basics of using a PC. The author explains Web surfing, e-mail, information searches, downloadable software, and online shopping. There's also introductory coverage of publishing pages with HTML.