Noughties reading

Nicole Matthews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Reading seems the most demure of leisure activities. While writers around leisure have turned in recent times to ‘the dark side’ of leisure (Rojek, 1999: 126), the privacy and silence we associate with much modern reading would seem to be at odds with the kinds of activities Chris Rojek describes as ‘wild’ leisure - imbued with the passion of the disorderly crowd. Reading has often been associated with virtue, progress and reason and viewed as a key route to learning and wisdom. Historically, public libraries, for example, have been viewed as places to promote the social good through educative reading, dis tracting working-class readers from vices like the ‘demon’ drink (Brophy, 2007: 34). Libraries, one recent author comments, ‘are one of the marks of civilization’ (Brophy, 2007: ix). Even in newly popular social spaces for reading and discussing books, such as the book clubs popularised by Oprah Winfrey and the UK’s Richard and Judy, have been framed as therapeutic communities organised around ethical principles (Driscoll, 2008; Fuller, 2008).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Politics of Leisure and Pleasure
EditorsPeter Bramham, Stephen Wagg
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780230299979
ISBN (Print)9780230216839
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010




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