Portable Magic

Portable Magic: A History of Books and their Readers

Paperback Published on: 27/04/2023
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Bookseller Reviews

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Portable Magic
A fascinating exploration of books
Another book I’ve had sitting on the shelf for a while and picked up asa commute read now that I’ve two hours on a bus each day. It’s doing wonders for my ... READ MORE
Big Bearded Bookseller

Synopsis

Most of what we say about books is really about the words inside them: the rosy nostalgic glow for childhood reading, the lifetime companionship of a much-loved novel. But books are things as well as words, objects in our lives as well as worlds in our heads. And just as we crack their spines, loosen their leaves and write in their margins, so they disrupt and disorder us in turn. All books are, as Stephen King put it, 'a uniquely portable magic'. Here, Emma Smith shows us why. Portable Magic unfurls an exciting and iconoclastic new story of the book in human hands, exploring when, why and how it acquired its particular hold over us. Gathering together a millennium's worth of pivotal encounters with volumes big and small, Smith reveals that, as much as their contents, it is books' physical form - their 'bookhood' - that lends them their distinctive and sometimes dangerous magic. From the Diamond Sutra to Jilly Cooper's Riders, to a book made of wrapped slices of cheese, this composite artisanal object has, for centuries, embodied and extended relationships between readers, nations, ideologies and cultures, in significant and unpredictable ways.

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780141991931
  • Number of pages: 352
  • Weight: 258g
  • Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 20 mm

Customer Reviews

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Portable Magic
Unexpected joy
For some reason I thought this was a novel (perhaps it was the title and whimsical cover) but was delighted to find it was a book about books themselves - ... READ MORE
Tessa Page