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Andrew Piper, Book Was There: Reading in Electronic TimesChicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Andrew Piper’s aim is “to understand the relationship between books and screens, to identify some of their fundamental differences and to chart out the continuities that night run between them” (ix). In laying out the terrain of reading (its past and present) he reminds us of “how much work reading requires to sustain itself” (149).

My favorite discussions included note-taking, commonplace books, the importance of penmanship, where one reads, “social reading” and sharing in a digital age, the “art of pseudonymity in a world that has largely given up on anonymity” (43), and how books change us. There are many more thought-provoking discussions like these.

Believe it or not, the author attended the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. It sounds as magical as Hogwarts (sign me up!).

This book really is a book for book-lovers. Piper writes with clarity and with an impressive wealth of knowledge without being cumbersome. So: take up and read.

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