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What We Talk About When We Talk About Books

The History and Future of Reading

By Leah Price
Narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers / 5 hours 35 minutes
Bookseller Recommendation

What We Talk About When We Talk About Books

“ What We Talk About When We Talk About Books healed some real cracks in my relationship with reading, and reinforced my love and optimism for the written word. Book historian Leah Price guides you through all the myths, melodrama, and baggage modern culture is carrying around about books. Through a humorous and curiosity-filled tour of book history, she unpacks why so many of us feel so much pressure to read the right things in the right way, and why we've come to feel like doing so would whip our brains into shape and make us into zen, hyper-focused superhumans. Price's measured take on things made me feel like it's all going to be okay. Elisabeth Rodgers' cool, clear voice was the perfect narration.”

Busboys and Poets Books image Tova, Busboys and Poets Books

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.

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