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This review is from: On Reading: Notes on the literary landscape, 1995-2012 (Guardian Shorts Book 49) (Kindle Edition)
I have only recently discovered the excellent "Guardian Shorts" series and they cover a variety of different subjects. In this volume there is a collection of articles by Robert McCrum from the period 1995-2012. Far from bemoaning changes in publishing and how we read, McCrum insists this period is a Golden Age - "a new age of reading and writing" and insists the IT revolution (which he summarises as Google, Amazon and the Kindle) has benefited readers and writers. It is wonderful to read such optimism and, indeed, there is much to be optimistic about. More books than ever are being published, purchased and read and there is an astonishing surge in global literacy. Yes, much may be more 'quantity than quality' at the moment; but such momentous change takes time and certainly more of us are reading now, although in different formats, and this book is aimed at readers.
This short, but fascinating book, looks at many different aspects of reading; how we choose what to read, how we read, taste, the effects of reading, reading for children, the reading landscape and the '100 greatest novels of all time'. Along the way, the author has a humorous look at book blurbs - 'intense' (quite boring) through to 'bleak' (unbeliebably boring!), whether it is fine to skip passages, dictionaries, the King James' Bible, Shakespeare, the Gruffalo, e-readers, the rise of the reading group, book prizes, the decline of editing and the joy of short novels, as well as much more. I downloaded several novels after reading this and it demonstatates one point the author makes within this book, that a short volume can really have a lot to offer.