- 136 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm.
- Contents: 1. What is reading? -- 2. Ancient worlds -- 3. Reading manuscripts, reading print -- 4. Modern reading -- 5. Forbidden reading -- 6. Making sense of reading -- 7. Pluralities.Includes bibliographical references (pages 119-122) and index.Summary: Reading, despite often being a solitary activity, is one of the greatest ways for us to connect to others, across continents, centuries, and divisions imposed by societies. Reading can inform, inspire, console, emancipate, motivate, subvert. This Very Short Introduction explores the fascinating history of reading, showing how innovations in printing, combined with the rise of public education, helped democratize literacy from the 18th century onwards. Telling the story of reading, Belinda Jack ranges from the ancient world to digital texts, erotica to book burnings, and digital firewalls to Harry Potter, in her quest to uncover why reading is such an important part of our lives.