Over the last two decades, reading groups have become increasingly popular in the UK and the USA. More and more people seem to be interested in sharing their reading experiences and hearing other readers discuss their views on books, whether this is online, through the mass media, or in face-to-face contexts.
In light of this explosion in popularity of reading groups, this ethnographic study focuses on several reading groups based across a variety of settings: public libraries, public houses and in readers' homes. A range of methods are used to investigate the practices of the individual readers and the groups, including participant observation, interviews, and audio-recordings of meetings.
Reading groups are found to be highly ritualized and potentially competitive places in which matters of identity and taste are often at stake. The groups studied are conceptualized as communities of practice, and the literary interpretations and evaluations offered within each group are shown to be a product of shared norms established by this group.
Researched over a period of 15 years by an author who has personally participated in the debate internationally, Audio-Visual Coverage of Courts, first published in 2008, was the first book to undertake a comprehensive comparative study of televised court proceedings in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Daniel Stepniak teaches law at the University of Western Australia.
Describing Tolstoy's crisis of depression and estrangement from the world, A Confession is an autobiographical work of exceptional emotional honesty. It describes his search for 'a practical religion not promising future bliss but giving bliss on earth'. Although the Confession led to his excommunication, it also resulted in a large following of Tolstoyan Christians springing up throughout Russia and Europe. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves ndash; and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives ndash; and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
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