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  • © 2022

Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Palgrave Macmillan

Editors:

(view affiliations)
  • Brings together perspectives from literary studies, book history, and publishing

  • Investigates the complex relationship between the material book and its digital manifestation

  • Deals with the cultural phenomenon of visible bookshelves brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic

Part of the book series: New Directions in Book History (NDBH)

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USD 159.99
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About this book

Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic provides the first detailed scholarly investigation of the cultural phenomenon of bookshelves (and the social practices around them) since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. With a foreword by Lydia Pyne, author of Bookshelf (2016), the volume brings together 17 scholars from 6 countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA) with expertise in literary studies, book history, publishing, visual arts, and pedagogy to critically examine the role of bookshelves during the current pandemic. This volume interrogates the complex relationship between the physical book and its digital manifestation via online platforms, a relationship brought to widespread public and scholarly attention by the global shift to working from home and the rise of online pedagogy. It also goes beyond the (digital) bookshelf to consider bookselling, book accessibility, and pandemic reading habits. 

Corinna Norrick-Rühl is Professor of Book Studies at the University of Muenster (WWU), Germany. Her recent publications are The Novel as Network: Forms, Ideas, Commodities (2020, co-edited with Tim Lanzendörfer, in this series) and Book Clubs and Book Commerce (2019). 

Shafquat Towheed is Senior Lecturer in English in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at The Open University, UK. He directs The Open University’s History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) research collaboration and was UK principal investigator for the Reading Europe Advanced Data Investigation Tool (READ-IT) project (2018–2021). 

Keywords

  • book collecting
  • bookshelves
  • bookcase
  • bookishness
  • literary culture
  • contemporary reading practices
  • pandemic reading
  • pandemic bookshelves
  • COVID-19
  • Material Culture

Reviews

“This timely collection turns our attention to something we feel in our bones to be important but have not critically considered: the role of bookshelves in our contemporary, Covid-inflected lives. Approaching this topic from multiple angles and methods—data on book sales, the blurring of private and public spheres, screen aesthetics for viewing zoom backgrounds, analysis of Twitter handles and hashtags, and more—this book provides a snapshot and critical examination of our unique cultural moment, even as we continue (sigh!) to live through it.”
Jessica Pressman, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, San Diego State University, USA. Author of Bookishness: Loving Books in a Digital Age (2020)

 “The Covid pandemic has changed book culture in profound ways. This rich, interdisciplinary edited collection covers the social, cultural, political and digital lives of our bookshelves during Covid times. Extremely readable chapters will make it valuable for researchers of book culture, and general readers interested in the capacity of books for personal and social transformation during time of crisis.”
Anamik Saha, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

“This delightful collection of essays is not quite about physical bookshelves themselves, but the people who displayed and/or admired books on bookshelves through digital means during the pandemic. It highlights innovations, inequalities, and ironies observed by their authors using non-traditional methods during an extraordinary period when bookshelves were ‘constructed’ or ‘read’ as a reflection of their owners’ personalities.”
Vernon R. Totanes, Director, Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic collects responsive and continuing research at an historical moment. With ‘bookshelves’ as its focal point, we learn about lived experiences during the ongoing pandemic from a variety of academic—but widely accessible—viewpoints. Through online ethnographies to surveys, and various other methods, the contributors use bookshelves to examine how authors, publishers, libraries, booksellers and readers interact and influence one another in private spaces that have become public. The many established and emerging scholars in this timely collection attend to individual, institutional and cultural issues during a period of profound upheaval. The array of essays delve into what our bookshelves tell us about ourselves, each other, contemporary print and digital culture, and some everyday ordinary lives lived at an extraordinary time.”
DeNel Rehberg Sedo, Professor of Communication Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Editors and Affiliations

  • English Department / Book Studies, University of Münster, 48143 Münster, Germany

    Corinna Norrick-Rühl

  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

    Shafquat Towheed

About the editors

Corinna Norrick-Rühl is Professor of Book Studies at the University of Muenster (WWU), Germany. Her recent publications are The Novel as Network: Forms, Ideas, Commodities (2020, co-edited with Tim Lanzendörfer, in this series) and Book Clubs and Book Commerce (2019). 

Shafquat Towheed is Senior Lecturer in English in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at The Open University, UK. He directs The Open University’s History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) research collaboration and was UK principal investigator for the Reading Europe Advanced Data Investigation Tool (READ-IT) project (2018–2021). 

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book
USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
This title has not yet been released. You will be able to pre-order it soon.