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Book Matters: The Changing Nature of Literacy (Hardback)
  • Book Matters: The Changing Nature of Literacy (Hardback)
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Book Matters: The Changing Nature of Literacy (Hardback)

(author)
£80.99
Hardback 282 Pages / Published: 30/11/2016
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Scholars have been puzzling over the "future of the book" since Marshall McLuhan's famous maxim "the medium is the message" in the early 1950s. McLuhan famously argued that electronic media was creating a global village in which books would become obsolete. Such views were ahead of their time, but today they are all too relevant as declining sales, even among classic texts, have become a serious matter in academic publishing.

Does anyone still read long and complex works, either from the past or the present? Is the role of a professional reader and reviewer of manuscripts still relevant? Book Matters closely analyses these questions and others. Alan Sica surmises that the concentration span required for studying and discussing complex texts has slipped away, as undergraduate classes are becoming inundated by shorter, easier-to-teach scholarly and literary works. He considers such matters in part from the point of view of a former editor of scholarly journals. In an engaging style, he gives readers succinct analyses of books and ideas that once held the interest of millions of discerning readers, such as Simone de Beavoir's Second Sex and the works of David Graham Phillips and C. Wright Mills, among others.

Book Matters is not a nostalgic cry for lost ideas, but instead a stark reminder of just how aware and analytically illuminating certain scholars were prior to the Internet, and how endangered the book is in this era of pixelated communication.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
ISBN: 9781412864329
Number of pages: 282
Weight: 476 g
Dimensions: 235 x 159 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Bibliophile, virtuoso editor, and passionate advocate for engaging sociological writing, Alan Sica explains eloquently why books matter in the "digital age." He illustrates the value of the written word and joy of reading by traversing in rich biographical and historical context a diverse swath of exemplars of the best writing, editing, and thinking by social theorists, public intellectuals, and critics for more than a century."

--Robert Antonio, University of Kansas

"Alan Sica loves books--physical, ink-on-paper, bound books. He also loves libraries that preserve these books, publishers who print them, and reviewers who critically engage them. Book Matters is an impassioned attempt to pry us away from our distracting electronic devices. But this is not a rant by a curmudgeonly Luddite. Sica is a scholar, and his book is a paean to the art of careful reading. Like the "slow food" movement, he champions "slow reading." For Sica, reading is more like a sacrament than a diversion. He delights in the discovery of forgotten texts, not because there is nothing new under the sun, but because scholarship depends on a deep understanding of what came before. Taking ideas seriously requires a critical engagement with historical works, even if this means spending time deciphering dusty volumes by vilified authors from the past. This witty and learned book is a fiery plea to sit down and read."

--Christine Williams, University of Texas at Austin

"Alan Sica, himself a fabled editor and bibliophile, has produced an unusual work--a writerly meditation on reading, authorship, reviewing, and teaching--by way of examples of serious books about social topics by academics and the "public intellectuals" of the twentieth century. It recalls the great days of the printed book and those who sustained its culture, but it is more than a lament or momento mori: it is also a call to preserve what remains."

--Stephen Turner, University of South Florida


-Bibliophile, virtuoso editor, and passionate advocate for engaging sociological writing, Alan Sica explains eloquently why books matter in the -digital age.- He illustrates the value of the written word and joy of reading by traversing in rich biographical and historical context a diverse swath of exemplars of the best writing, editing, and thinking by social theorists, public intellectuals, and critics for more than a century.-

--Robert Antonio, University of Kansas

-Alan Sica loves books--physical, ink-on-paper, bound books. He also loves libraries that preserve these books, publishers who print them, and reviewers who critically engage them. Book Matters is an impassioned attempt to pry us away from our distracting electronic devices. But this is not a rant by a curmudgeonly Luddite. Sica is a scholar, and his book is a paean to the art of careful reading. Like the -slow food- movement, he champions -slow reading.- For Sica, reading is more like a sacrament than a diversion. He delights in the discovery of forgotten texts, not because there is nothing new under the sun, but because scholarship depends on a deep understanding of what came before. Taking ideas seriously requires a critical engagement with historical works, even if this means spending time deciphering dusty volumes by vilified authors from the past. This witty and learned book is a fiery plea to sit down and read.-

--Christine Williams, University of Texas at Austin

-Alan Sica, himself a fabled editor and bibliophile, has produced an unusual work--a writerly meditation on reading, authorship, reviewing, and teaching--by way of examples of serious books about social topics by academics and the -public intellectuals- of the twentieth century. It recalls the great days of the printed book and those who sustained its culture, but it is more than a lament or momento mori: it is also a call to preserve what remains.-

--Stephen Turner, University of South Florida

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