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Books for Idle Hours: Nineteenth-Century Publishers and the Birth of the Beach Read

  • Sturgis Library 3090 Main St. Barnstable, Ma. United States (map)

A prominent nineteenth-century preacher branded summer reading as “literary poison in August.” Today, though, the practice is celebrated as lists like O magazine’s “Best Summer Reads” take center stage. Based on the new book, Books for Idle Hours: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the Rise of Summer Reading (February 2019), this talk explores the birth of the “beach read” and the practice of summer reading in the nineteenth century, tracing the ways in which readers, authors, and publishing houses came to frame summer reading not as a disreputable indulgence, but as a respectable pastime especially for the woman reader.

Donna Harrington-Lueker is a professor in the Department of English and Communications at Salve Regina University

Free to the public. Registration is appreciated! Email sturgisreference@comcast.net, call 508-362-6636, or online at http://www.sturgislibrary.org/event2/the-history-of-summer-reading/