What we talk about when we talk about books : the history and future of reading

by Price, Leah,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 8 Libraries 8 of 10 copies
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ACLA Mobile Library Services Non-Fiction Collection Z1003.P9 2019
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CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction Z1003.P9 2019
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Reports of the death of reading are greatly exaggerated Do you worry that you've lost patience for anything longer than a tweet? If so, you're not alone. Digital-age pundits warn that as our appetite for books dwindles, so too do the virtues in which printed, bound objects once trained us: the willpower to focus on a sustained argument, the curiosity to look beyond the day's news, the willingness to be alone. The shelves of the world's great libraries, though, tell a more complicated story. Examining the wear and tear on the books that they contain, English professor Leah Price finds scant evidence that a golden age of reading ever existed. From the dawn of mass literacy to the invention of the paperback, most readers already skimmed and multitasked. Print-era doctors even forbade the very same silent absorption now recommended as a cure for electronic addictions. The evidence that books are dying proves even scarcer. In encounters with librarians, booksellers and activists who are reinventing old ways of reading, Price offers fresh hope to bibliophiles and literature lovers alike.
Winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award, 2020
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Do you ever worry that you can't focus on reading more than a Facebook post or listicle? In her latest, Price (How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain, 2012) notes early on that the history of reading is also a history of worrying. Over the course of the book she drops many such truths. Where we now recommend reading as a panacea to escape the fear of immersive technology, once we warned that the very act of reading could be distracting, addictive, and disruptive to a healthy life. Price's premise, that there truly was no golden age of reading that we should be trying to get back to, is presented with humor and charm. Price is an avid scholar of books as objects (not just of their texts) and her wit extends to the very format of the book, which carries surprises beyond her observations and research. For fans of Susan Orlean's The Library Book (2018) and other books about books. Those still worried that technology has spoiled their attention span shouldn't be. Price gets to her point in under 200 pages.--Diana Platt Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Price (How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain), a Rutgers English professor and the founding director of the Rutgers Book Initiative, combines a lighthearted romp through literary history with a serious intent: to argue that the rise of e-texts is not the radical change often claimed. In fact, Price argues, change is the norm in print history: the world moved from papyrus to parchment to paper, and from scrolls to codices to books, while books themselves have changed from giant medieval compilations of parchment chained in place, to early-20th-century pocketbooks printed on onionskin. Price notes that with the advent of e-texts, physical books have a newly elevated status based in nostalgia for a pre-electronic era--and are increasingly employed as therapy, their purpose displaced from the joy of reading to self-improvement. Price's factual tidbits are entertaining: for example, the first vegetarian cookbook was, ironically, bound with and printed on animal skins. However, her penchant for labored analogies--"Print is to digital as Madonna is to whore"--will strain even the most forgiving reader's patience. Nevertheless, Price provides welcome comfort that the beloved book is in good shape, regardless of the form it ultimately takes. (Aug.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Books and reading.
Books and reading -- History.
Books and reading -- Technological innovations.
Books -- History.
Literature and society.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 214 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 173-200) and index.
ISBN 9780465042685
Other Classic View