Readers who enjoy books about books will find much to like here.

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT BOOKS

THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF READING

Books are not dead. That’s the good news in this set of bookish essays.

It wasn’t long ago, writes Rutgers Book Initiative founding director Price (How To Do Things With Books in Victorian Britain, 2012, etc.), that writers such as Sven Birkerts and Robert Coover were remarking, and sometimes lamenting, the supposed decline of the book in favor of other technologies—the computer, the e-reader, etc. In fact, reading physical books is on the rise, and in December 2018, holiday shoppers found several popular titles on back order for “that most old-fashioned of crises: a paper shortage.” The widespread availability of digital devices doesn’t seem to have put much of a dent in the market for physical books, though new technologies have certainly affected reading in the past—most notably, Price archly observes, TV. What has really cut into reading time, she adds, is the in-between time we used to devote to reading books and newspapers, the time spent on bus-stop benches or commuter trains, time now so often given to navigating the many iterations of social media. Books as objects seem safe, then, though mysteries still surround them: Those data crunchers who use electronic tools to see what books people are looking at most still can’t answer why we’re looking at them. As Price writes, in a nice turn, “no matter how many keystrokes you track and blinks you time, others’ reading remains as hard to peer into as others’ hearts.” The essays suggest more than form a single coherent argument about the book today, but Price’s ideas that books are a communal thing and that reading them, in at least one sense, is a profoundly social act are pleasing even if libraries are now different from our childhood memories and if those books come in many forms besides between covers.

Readers who enjoy books about books will find much to like here.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-465-04268-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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