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A Feeling for Books: The Book-Of-The-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  46 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Deftly melding ethnography, cultural history, literary criticism, and autobiographical reflection, A Feeling for Books is at once an engaging study of the Book-of-the-Month Club's influential role as a cultural institution and a profoundly personal meditation about the experience of reading. Janice Radway traces the history of the famous mail-order book club from its contr ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published August 30th 1999 by University of North Carolina Press (first published 1997)
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Jul 26, 2008 Sonja rated it really liked it
This is all about how middlebrow literature is more absorbing and, in a sense, meaningful than the so-called high brow texts. Anyone who likes to read should check this out -- it's interesting to think about something as abstract and subjective as "literary taste" and the whole idea of allowing an institution to choose for you what books you should read. The implications of this are enormous!

I got a lot out of this but I thought it was going to be more about how people "believe" what they read,
An excellent combination of anthropology, personal experience, and book history. I aspire to being able to write such a masterful book about my own work in the history of authorship and literary marketplaces.
Jul 17, 2008 Judine rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Again, Radway is able to write theory in a way that makes sense. However, I would have liked to see her connect more to the middle section of the book like she does in parts one and three. The first person style makes for easier reading.
Kelly Frost
Radway's personal tone and first person account really hooked me at first. I was looking to read her works on audience but decided to read this "just for the fun of it." However after the first chapter I stopped really caring about the book of the month club and academia in general--other things just seem much more important.

I'm sure she has good things to say and I like her honesty about being both author and subject in this book. Maybe I'll come back to it someday, but I doubt it.
James Denison
Mar 08, 2016 James Denison rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a book. Radway explicates taste within the context of the culture industry without demeaning its consumers - a rare feat. A sterling example of how to write about mass culture intelligently but without arrogance.
Jan 18, 2009 David rated it did not like it
This had a whole lot of essays that said a whole lot of nothing for pages and pages. Apparently, no one ever told these writers about getting to the point.
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