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Who Needs Books?

Reading in the Digital Age

Lynn Coady
Paul Kennedy, Introduction

Literary Criticism and Theory, Canadian Studies

Paperback
Published: May 2016
ISBN: 9781772121247
Pages: 64 Size: 5.25x9

"More people play games than read books. More people watch porn than read books. More people watch sports and TV and movies than read books."

What happens if we separate the idea of "the book" from the experience it has traditionally provided? Lynn Coady challenges booklovers addicted to the physical book to confront their darkest fears about the digital world and the future of reading. Is the all-pervasive Internet turning readers into web-surfing automatons and books themselves into museum pieces? The bogeyman of technological change has haunted humans ever since Plato warned about the dangers of the written word itself, and every generation is convinced its youth will bring about the end of civilization. In Who Needs Books?, Coady suggests that, even though digital advances have long been associated with the erosion of literacy, recent technologies have not debased our culture as much as they have simply changed the way we read.

Lynn Coady is an award-winning author and journalist. Her first novel, Strange Heaven, was a Governor General’s Award nominee, and in 2011, her novel The Antagonist was shortlisted for the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize, an award she won in 2013 for her short story collection Hellgoing. Coady lives in Toronto, where she writes for television.

[Coady] digs into the recurring social panic that new technology is making us stupid, lazy and unable to appreciate our established cultural forms.... Starting with a Sesame Street anecdote and carrying on through Planet of the Apes and 50 Shades of Grey references, she systematically dismantles the common arguments that nobody is reading anymore and our literary culture is dying.

– Bruce Cinnamon, Vue Weekly