The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age

Book review by Deane Barker tags: books

This was written in 1994, just when the web and hypertext were showing up. The author is concerned about a diminishing ability of students to read long-form, static text. In addition to hypertext, he points to DVD and audiobooks.

Clearly, his perspective would be wildly different now. ebooks didn’t kill physical books, and lots of people read more now than they ever did before.

But I did enjoy his meditations on the importance of reading. He approaches it from a quasi-spiritual angle which I appreciated. And part of me just loves a good Luddite rant.

He never gets combative, more melancholy and regretful, and sometimes even misguided sadness helps us recognize what’s important and beautiful.

Book Info

Sven Birkerts

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