Andrew Piper, Book was There. Reading in Electronic Times (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
Piper (who teaches German and European Literature at McGill) has written an important contribution to the ongoing debate on the alleged disappearance of books and the concomitant rise of new forms of reading. In his work, he combines a historical analysis of ways of reading with personal reflections on how new media affect the ways in which we deal with texts. ‘Each of the chapters’, he writes in the introduction, ‘is organized around something that we do when we read: how we touch books and screens, how we look at them, how we share them with each other, how we take notes with them or navigate our way through them, where we use them, or even how we play with them. In this, I am interested in understanding how we relate to reading in a deeply embodied way. Reading is not only a matter of our brains. It is an integral part of our lived experience, our sense of being in the world, even if at times this can mean feeling intensely apart from the world.’ (xiii)