I read a lot of the same stuff

I wasn’t really surprised at my data, most of the stuff in my college library are books I haven’t read yet but most of them are books I intend to read. I bought most of them for leisure reading, as an English major I rarely get time to do this and am often forced to wait until summer to read the books I really want to read. The majority of the books on my shelf are fiction from the 1900s– I suppose most of it could be classified under postmodernism. I don’t know what that suggests about my reading habits, I generally like that genre more and think the writing is the most accessible, while still being profound to an extent. The date average might have jumped back a few years if I had taken the data earlier, but I returned Moby Dick to Hatcher before I compiled the data and thus it did not make the cut.

I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of the writers I am into are male. I think that this is as coincidental as it is intentional. While I don’t actively avoid literature written by women, I’m much more drawn to books written by men. More than likely this is because I relate more to the concerns or idea raised in their books rather than that written by a woman. I think that its a normal thing to be more inclined to read a book by someone of your own gender, though it definitely is more of a stigma for men than women in my experience. Men are far less open to reading a book about a woman than a man, but this is not the case with women as much. I assume the same would carry over to the author. But this is only my small library at college, and not representational of my reading habits of the past. I’ve read plenty of books written by women about women; my list makes me seem like I’m only drawn to certain styles and ideas. This was my first concern about my list.

My second concern was the glaring absence of school books. While several of the books were for school, they were novels. This does have an explanation– I try to rent most of the textbooks I get for school and thus they are never shelved. I decided to buy most of the paperback novels for a class because they were only slightly more expensive to buy (at most one dollar) than to rent, and they are books I am much more open to keeping than a bulky, ten pound book about Shakespeare. I only had four non-fiction books, and three of them could be considered non-fiction novels. The only one that was strictly information was The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, the second longest book on my list. I got this for pleasure but it’s heavy (literally and figuratively), but something I am interested in. I generally don’t like non-fiction but in some cases it is very interesting.

My reading list is pretty representational of my habits and taste. The books are all reasonable length with the exception of a couple. Most of them are recently published– the oldest is Tropic of Cancer, but I’m looking at the book now and it is pretty new looking, I simply couldn’t find another date. I think paperback and hardcover would have been an interesting statistic to look at, I feel like hardcover is far more fit to survive the test of time in terms of durability. That said, I think that each category is fairly true to how I like my books.

 

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My Not So Representative, Representative Book Data

As I began to prepare to catalog my books, I realized that my passions for fiction and fantasy would not be properly represented by the collection of texts that I have present in my college apartment. The biggest problem that I had with this process was that yes, the books that I had most recently used or decided to bring to college with me would be included and are a great representation of class material, course topics, and slight recreational material, the books did not reflect my interests as a reader. I mean this in the sense in which one would take my data to recommend a purchase for me in the future and nine times out of ten, the book recommended would not be one that I would actually like to read. 

Relating this personal experience of mine with book history and it’s processes, I really wondered how accurate some representations were of different book data. I feel like things can be even more easily corrupted by a misrepresentation as it so easily happened to my data.  I have books, they are mine, they are at my residence, they are books that I choose to use; all factual things. But those facts should not infer that those books are books that I find interesting unless specified. This book data process really shows that just because you have a group of facts, doesn’t always make them true together. 

From a general view, I expected the processing of my books to be tedious and very time consuming. Alas, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the process did take a little bit of time but was pretty fluid and did not take as long as I had initially perceived. The most difficult part for me would have been discovering the Dewey decimal number, current/first edition, and also determining what to count as “the final page” when determining page totals. Out of the three,the Dewey decimal number was the most consistent problem. I noticed from my data sheet that the most recent edition, or recently published texts had an easy to find/interpret Dewey decimal number, where as the books that were older or older editions either had a different location for the number or didn’t have one at all. 

From this observation, I  wondered how prevalent the Dewey decimal number was to those other than librarians and who used them in contrast to the role of the Dewey decimal number today and the reader as well as the librarian. From my observations, I would like to assume that the Dewey decimal number plays a larger role in the life of the reader than it did in the past and also that the book publishing process was altered to represent that change by the more unified Dewey decimal number.

In conclusion, I originally approached this assignment with the expectation that it would be about me, and would represent or not represent my tastes as a reader. I did not, however, anticipate that the project would allow me to think more critically about the book data collection process as well as trends and patterns with the Dewey decimal numbers in books. I really have a better grasp of how things sort of work in the coding process and came to the gist that things aren’t always as they seem to be, which isn’t a new topic, but one that I’m able to see better as it has happened to me.

Book Collecting Tells Stories, Too

Cataloging the books in my possession has never really occurred to me before as a method for drawing conclusions about myself. However, the truth is that a lot of who I am rests in how I spend my time – It just so happens that much of my time is spent reading.

What was revealed:

Above all, the process of data collection proved to be frustrating at times. Each book that I picked up to catalog posed different challenges. E-books oftentimes did not list publishing dates or cities, Bibles can neither be considered fiction nor nonfiction (getting into that discussion would be opening a completely different can of worms), and my dictionary naturally had no single author. Looking back, exasperation accounted for much of my emotion during the experience.

Additionally, I was surprised to find that I was in possession of more books than I had originally thought. My collection of e-books is compact within an e-reader, which originally gave me the impression that I had relatively few books in my possession. As well as this, I found myself having to uncover books from unintentional hiding places, such as the back of my drawer or underneath a stack of notebooks. This to me represented the vague notion of what it means to be a book historian: revealing the hiding places of books that had long since been forgotten.

What was concealed:

As many of us have probably noticed, our book collections here at school are not necessarily a good representation of our entire book history. In a way, this exercise concealed my true reading habits by limiting the pool of books from which to collect data to those that I have here at school.

For each book I cataloged, I found myself trying to recall whether or not I had enjoyed the experience of reading it. This undocumented recollection as to my memory of reading each text made me realize a possible shortcoming of book history: a book’s existence within my collection does not suggest that I wish it to be there. True, my possession of each text does have meaning, but how significant is that meaning if I had a poor experience with the book? Does this shortcoming really matter in the long run?

How might it be changed to tell a different story?

Changing the criteria that I used to catalog my books would serve to complicate my findings in an interesting way and change the story that could be told from my data. For example, my curiosity during the cataloging process influenced me to add additional columns to my data spreadsheet to answer some of my questions: Is there a correlation between my identity as a female and the genders of the authors that I choose to read? How many of the books in my collection have bookmarks to indicate the fact that they have been temporarily abandoned? How many of my books were bought with the intention of my reading them while never actually fulfilling that intent? I began to alter my cataloging criteria in such ways that, if nothing else, would tell me even more interesting things about myself as a reader. 

Creating an Inventory, Revealing (or Hiding) a Story

What the data collection process reveals:  At first I thought the data collection process would be relatively simple; I don’t have many books with me at school, mostly those that I need for my classes, so it couldn’t be that difficult to record the information, right? Wrong. As I was gathering each bit of information I found myself wondering what other information could have been collected. We already created a long list, but there’s so much more that could be discovered. While this may be the case, it would be very difficult, and overwhelming, to record every bit of information possible. While it was much easier to focus on the books at school, this process also reveals how important it is for a book historian to acknowledge that some information is left out. When forming a story from a data inventory, a book historian needs to be mindful of the conclusions being drawn or take the risk of telling a false story. This process shows how challenging and important the data collection process is for a book historian. By collecting a sufficient amount of meaningful data, the better and more believable story can be told.

What the data collection process conceals: The data conceals so much about me as a reader. As the data only includes books that I have at school, I feel like many of the details of my reading history and preferences are concealed. I only bring a few leisure books with me, as my focus at school is placed on the books I have to read for school. From this data set, it would seem that I mostly read nonfiction books, but looking at my library at home would show that that is not the case. While collecting information from my entire collection would be daunting, it would give a better representation of myself as a reader; this data only reveals information about me as a student. It becomes even more difficult when analyzing others’ data, as I don’t know them or their reading habits that well. I have to make my best observations from the data I’m given, while still keeping in mind that this data only comes from a set selection of books. When it comes to collecting data, it’s difficult deciding what information is most important to the story. Do you choose and evaluate data based on the story you want to tell or the story you should tell? Something we should all keep in mind when drafting our first essays.

How the process can be changed to tell a different story: The data collection process overall was very eye-opening. While I was aware of the information contained on the opening pages of a book, such as the publication date and city, I didn’t fully comprehend or appreciate the differences that exist among all these details. With this in mind, there are so many different stories that can be told just by looking at the different details a book contains. There’s so much more to a book than what’s written on a page. It would be interesting to see, for example, the different types of fonts that are used and if that reveals anything about the reader. Perhaps a reader only likes larger fonts, or fonts that are easy to read, or maybe it doesn’t reveal anything at all. And what about how worn a book is? Does the wear and tear of a book reveal something about the reader, perhaps one’s favorite books? And on that note, what about collecting data based on a list of a reader’s favorite books, perhaps a list of the top twenty or so? Would it reveal a more meaningful, personal story of the reader? It’s crazy to think about how much a book can reveal, even crazier to consider how a certain combination of data can tell a unique story. There are so many stories that can be told, how it unfolds is simply up to the book historian’s statistical decisions.

Book Inventory

Collecting and inventorying all of the books I have at school was much a more complex process than I had anticipated. I never realized how different books are in terms of the set up of their basic information–genre, page number, city of publication, ect. Rather than being uniform (as I had expected), each book had its own unique pattern of distributing these fact from cover to cover. These pages of a book are ones that I normally skip over when reading, so maybe it was my own naivety that led me astray, but I was genuinely perplexed by how complicated the individual formations of books could be. I also found it challenging to then take these facts, and present them in a uniform way. I found this especially difficult with older books/books that have had more than one publication. For these titles I often felt that I was having to choose between options (and even trying to choose between options in a consistent way was hard). Laments aside though, I found this inventory really insightful. I’ve always prided myself as a reader, and strive to own more and more texts, so being able to sift back through them was a rewarding process.

What does the data collection process reveal?

In overview then, this process reveals the challenges in data collection. Having gone through this exercise, I now have a better understanding of the challenging that face a modern book historian. The lack of data, the inconsistencies between texts, the tiresome process of literally flipping pages (which did get a bet boring…)–all of these issues make the study of books a daunting task. This process also revealed the vast number of things than can be studied while looking at texts. For our collection we only focused on a limited number of attributes, however, while searching for those I kept coming across other qualities that I thought would be equally interesting to study. Books are complex, and the study of them can be equally as complex.

There are also many specific claims that can be made about my individual data. I haven’t noticed anything concrete just yet (hopefully this will change with more close, and comparative analysis), but I am thinking that there might be some interesting trends in genre shifts, city of publication, and new/used purchases. I’m excited to see what kind of conclusions I can draw over the next few days!

What does it conceal?

As stated above, in focusing only on specific attributes of text, we are disregarding many other aspects of books. It seems then, that our data inherently conceals certain aspects of books in promotion of others. However, I don’t take much issue with this concealment because if we had chosen to look at all aspects of books it would have been an extremely overwhelming process. There just would have been too much information.

However, one concealment I am interesting in studying the implications of is the scope of our inventory–ie. only looking at the books we have at school. I know that I personally only have a small portion of the books I own at school with me. While they are my favorites (and as such might give the best overall representation of my reading habits), in choosing to inventory only these we are definitely concealing major portions of data. Again, I take little issue with this because, again, inventorying every book we own would be overwhelming and almost impossible (I really have no way of getting home right now). The concealments in our data do not seem hugely problematic, however, I think they are interesting biases to keep in mind while analyzing and conjecturing for Essay One.

How might the process be changed to tell a different story?

Having gone through the inventorying process, it seems that the information being collected most directly dictates the story being told. In looking only at the books in our rooms, the story told is manipulated by connivence, school, and the physical limitations of travel and movement (amongst many other factors). However, it also reveals many interesting social ideas–what books we find most important to bring with us, the books we read for school vs. pleasure, ect. There seems to be a give & take in results when choosing the specific data to analyze.

That said, in order to tell a different story we would need to change the trajectory of the data we collected. Maybe to tell an economic story we could look at the how much each book cost, or if we bought them with cash or a gift card (though that might be too hard to remember?). Or maybe we want to tell a literacy story–which books have we completed, and at what age did we complete them. Again, these facts might be too far removed to go back and remember, but I think that they would be interesting to study nonetheless. The story told is dependent upon the data collected, so in changing the data collected is seems that we could change the story, too.

Oral vs. Print: The Previous Role of Text

In Chapter 2 of An Introduction to Book History, the focus is determining what the role of texts were in the past, understanding what changed, and establishing the new role of text and print works. Finkelstein and McCleery describe this major shift in textual purpose as one hugely impacted by cultural practice. Specifically focusing on Western European society, the challenges experienced by the two groups; the established oral community and the developing written, literary community. The difference between print works and written work was also established within Chapter 2 “From Orality to Literacy”, meaning print works reached a larger audience and written work was more local.

Up to this point in history, the purpose of written work was to be read aloud. Texts were meant to be shared and ‘felt’. This would dramatically influence the writing style, voice, and language that would be seen in written works at this point. As mentioned in the example on page 38 of An Introduction to Book History, the behaviors of St. Augustine in 383 AD was unheard of; he read in silence, alone, with his eyes only. It was also explained on page 35, how the transition from oral to written culture was accelerated by the new availability of materials that could be readily used for creating texts. These new technologies were also a major factor in the transition to written culture. Parchment, paper and codex really helped preserve these new texts, as elaborated on page 36. 

Most interesting to me was the fact that the oral communities main argument, (or one of the big arguments), was that the written text would give others more knowledge and coincidentally, power. They simply believed that by creating written text that would be used in different cultures, with equal access, would allow others to gain the secret knowledge that orators contained and they would have access to it without the orators control. 

I was happy to see the chapter conclude with the statement “Such issues faded as individuals and institutions capitalized on the opportunities for using writing to reach a wider audience.”, directly referring to the arguments of the oral community and the contemporary supporters, page 43. This part was important to me because it is important to understand how reaching the masses only helps to create a new universal level of knowledge. It didn’t worsen the world, but bettered it, contrary to the beliefs of the oral community. By utilizing the new reach of the book, social behavior was adjusted as well as the styles presented in text. No more was writing limited to being spoken aloud, but a new ‘genre’ of book was born. 

The Transition from Talk to Text

In chapter 2, the focus shifted from the methods of book historians to a brief history on how the modern book came to be. Initially, thoughts were translated orally– the writings we see today that came pre-Gutenberg were (most likely) communicated orally. While the presence of papyrus and scrolls aided the learning and memorization process, they were unreliable and flimsy means to contain knowledge. However, the problem remained as did the question of how many books and writings were lost because of this method of “book keeping.” Socrates believed that “nothing worse serious attention has ever been written in prose or verse,” (34) one of the greatest minds of all time was a firm disbeliever in the need for written text as a means of transporting knowledge. This certainly carried on far past his time; the unspoken belief was that if you make more books readily available for the lower classes, the power structure would rapidly change.
As the mass production of books became an industry in the 1600s, the entire sphere of knowledge developed. As Walter Ong stated–

more than any other single invention, writing has transformed human consciousness

This holds true today; the most common format of reading in America, and most likely the world, is digital. The majority of human thought is presently shaped by what we read on a screen. This is most common through the Internet, as no invention has so greatly changed human thought and ideas since the Gutenberg press (though I personally believe the Internet is the most important intellectual creation to date). The ideas that are most commonly shared by human beings were published via text, the limitless internet has only magnified the permanence of these texts, and consequently these ideas, far more so that the printing press. Regardless, the idea that text is becoming less and less important with regards to society can’t be true, we would be looking at a far less informed society than the one we are currently living in.
I personally found the writing on the Nambikwara tribe the most interesting thing covered yet. It presents language and writing as a very abstract concept that we rarely think about. We assign symbols meanings that are universally accepted, however in a tribe with no alphabet or concept of written language, this idea is lost. This presents the idea of a common language; English was a difficult language to document as writing became popular– as dialect was so diverse, it was difficult to establish the correct way to spell things. As the country became “smaller,” differences in spelling became far fewer. Despite language just “happening,” writing was planned. There was a need for a system in which words could be recorded via text. So while the internet certainly is a solid number 2, the greatest invention ever with regards to knowledge and thought is the alphabet.

Phenomenological Theory: Explanations for Nameless Phenomena

Wolfgang Iser’s text The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach offers insightful interpretations as to how we as readers respond to a literary work. Just as a deer caught in the headlights might understand the car to be approaching at a rate that renders the deer incapable of reaction, so too do readers fall victim to an author’s mechanisms. If a literary work is successful, the text is the car, and, in a sense, we readers are the deer, able to comprehend the totality of our experience only after the fact.

“That gives [the reader] the chance to have an experience in the way George Bernard Shaw once described it: ‘You have learnt something. That always feels at first as if you had lost something’” [1].

This feeling of loss encapsulated in Shaw’s quote is an invaluable experience for a reader, regardless of how undesirable it may seem. In retrospect, this describes exactly how I have felt upon reaching the last word of a great novel. That raises the questions: why is this so and how does it happen?

Iser’s descriptions interpret this concept quite well, elucidating two main losses that a reader may experience: that of his/her own sense of present time, and that of his/her identity. Through the act of experiencing literature, a reader becomes entangled and loses sense of reality; “the text becomes his ‘present’ whilst his own ideas fade into the ‘past’” [2]. Iser describes this phenomenon not just as helpful, but as essential to a reader’s understanding of the text. If the text is a success, the reader cannot help but to become fully engrossed to the point where his/her sense of time and presence within it have evaporated. Indeed, authors may go about invoking this reaction in an audience by allowing the reader to fill in the gaps in his/her own way [3], thereby imparting a new perspective into the text. The impact that a reader might experience fully depends upon the extent to which he/she fills in those gaps [4]. Therefore, the process by which a reader may lose him/herself depends upon the author’s willingness to leave gaps in the text and the reader’s commitment to filling them.

Additionally, Iser writes that the unique act of reading causes a loss of identity in a reader and the possibility for absorption of experiences that are not one’s own [5]. Reading allows us to enter “another mental world” in which we pronounce “I” when we do not mean ourselves [6]. Because of this, we as readers can be brought to tears as a tragedy in a novel unfolds or feel personally affronted when characters clash. Iser interprets this phenomenon as “the point at which author and reader converge” which enables a reader to “bring to life the ideas formulated by the author,” and can only be successful under the conditions that the author’s biography and the reader’s “individual disposition” be shut out of the text [7]. If all of this is successful, the author’s own thoughts become the thoughts of the reader, and the reader may experience the feeling of loss described in Shaw’s quote.

While it may seem trivial to spend time gathering intelligence on the subject of reading, understanding the nature of the effects a text can have on a reader may allow us to interpret the importance of literature as a whole. Through understanding the individual act of reading, we may begin to answer questions as to why the study of book history is so important.  

 

[1]: 296          [4]: 287

[2]: 295          [5], [6]: 297

[3]: 285          [7]: 298

The Wheel of Power

While reading this week, an ongoing debate was going on in my head, a debate created by the continuous mention of power that comes with the ability to write and to read. Of course, I knew about the existence of this power beforehand, but had never really stopped to consider which was a more powerful act. Is the ability to read more powerful than the ability to write?

This question circled about my head for a while, sparked by Stephen Colclough’s analysis of Joseph Hunter’s diaries in “Procuring Books and Consuming Texts”. The purpose was to learn more about text acquisition and use, an analysis which was made possible because of Hunter’s diaries in which he made daily recordings of what he was reading and how much he read of a specific piece.  In the first part of the essay, I believed that it is in fact writing that is most powerful, as it enabled Colclough to analyze reading habits and much more. Without this written record, this analysis wouldn’t have been possible. Colclough also mentions that it’s the periodicals Hunter read that persuaded him to read more of a text or author, which would push him to nominate those works or authors to be bought for a subscription library (33). So it would seem that the act of writing is most powerful, as it acts as a method of persuasion and exposure to a work or author. This fact was a common detail throughout Colclough’s essay, that something written in a periodical usually influenced Hunter to buy or, most often, borrow a text. My question, then, seemed to have been answered, or so I thought.

As I got further into the essay and realized how frequently Hunter was influenced by periodicals and other writings, it seemed that it was rather Hunter’s reading of the texts and periodicals that influenced him, not necessarily the writing. Hunter read many texts and periodicals but not all writings appealed to him, making his personal reading more powerful. But this didn’t seem quite right to me, as what’s written on the page will always play a part in a reader’s reading. So how was I to answer this question? I kept going from writing to reading to writing to reading, and then it hit me. While at one point writing may be more powerful than reading, reading will also have a time when it is more influential than writing; it’s like a wheel, a wheel of power.

My experiences and what I’ve read usually impacts what and how I read which, as a result, influences my writing (the very fact that I’m writing a blog based off what I’ve read reflects this). Sure, I’m technically required to write about what I read for this class, but each of us will write about something different. Because of the differences we bring to a piece of writing, our reading of a work will be different, which will affect our writings, which will affect other’s readings, and so on. There’s this never ending wheel that continues to spin, each spoke representing a different part of the whole experience, each spoke having it’s time at the top as the most powerful. This wheel of power has continued throughout history, always changing and always growing. While at one point in history, reading and writing was limited to only a set group of people and forms (i.e aloud versus silent, writing on parchment versus writing electronically), it has been expanding to include more people and more forms. Although these characteristics change, this wheel is always turning.

wheels

This metaphorical wheel of power is always changing, just like forms of reading and writing. From a simple form, on parchment and aloud, to a more intricate, such as electronic sources. The wheel is always changing and turning.

A Timeless Reader

While it seems that in his text “Procuring Books and Consuming Text: The Reading Experience of a Sheffield Apprentice”, Colclough looks to highlight and explore the specific reading choices of one man (15 year old Joseph Hunter), I can’t help but notice the parallels between a reader of 1798 and the present. This is actually the motif I found myself most critically focusing on through the duration of my reading. Hunter’s life is undoubtedly different than mine (for the sake of this post I am using myself as an ‘archetype’ for a modern reader, even if I might not be completely representative). His world was smaller, his resources fewer, and his contacts arguably less progressive. While these are issues of a more social nature, they all apply to the sphere of reading. Our worlds were/are different, and our lives unique to time, however, the similarities between our approaches to reading are incredibly related.

The most obvious parallel I found was that of book selection. Hunter’s books were selected from his environment–local shops, libraries, friends, and families. When selecting from libraries Hunter was presented with a limited option of choices. “Periodicals stimulated Hunter’s desire to see a particular text or to read a particular author,” however, texts had to be nominated and then voted on in order to be added to the collection of a library (33). For Hunter, access to books was limited in a similar way to a modern reader. While I have access to many more books than Hunter (a process aided by online shopping), I am still restricted to a certain degree. Similarly, like Hunter, bestseller lists and prizes like the Pulitzer (even the Academy for other areas of popular culture-ie. awards season) often dictate which texts become available to a wide audience of readers. Even in terms of genre, there are striking similarities between choice and accessibility. Colclough argues that, for Hunter, “by far the greatest number of new texts purchased by Evans and Hunter were periodicals and newspapers” (25). While periodicals and newspapers have transformed into avenues like blogs, online periodicals/newspapers, and other forms of social media, modern readers nonetheless consume a vast number of these daily news sources. Again, as with the selection of texts, the consumption of daily news demonstrates similarities between Hunter and myself. While the texts themselves may have changed, reading trends seems to be somewhat timeless. 

I also noticed many parallels that dealt with the idea of the ‘reader’.

  • First, Colclough’s study of Hunter’s diaries indicates that Hunter was “conscious of his own different from the majority of readers” (34). Like Hunter, I as a reader often find myself in relation to the community of readers I have aligned myself with (a comparison magnified by the expedient nature of modern communication).
  • Second, the diaries suggest that “the review had some influence over the war in which the Fragments were interpreted,” ie. that one text influences another (35). Like Hunter, when choosing books I often allow my past reads to influence future choices and lit. interpretations.
  • Third, the diaries note that “Hunter’s reading experience provides evidence that he used travel lit. in ways far different than… expected” (37). Like Hunter, I often read journals for pleasure, novels for content–the fluidity of genre is continuously changing (as is the creation of new genres affecting the act of reading).
  • And fourth, the diaries stress the collection of notes taken from borrowed (and often expensive) texts (38-39). Like Hunter, I take notes when reading, often preparing for the “interrogative reading practice and the desire to reread” after a book has been returned (39).

These are just a few examples of parallels I found between Hunter and myself as readers, and I believe that many others poignant examples exist.

Even the act of keeping this diary is oddly similar to the data collection for our first essay–”Hunter recorded the date on which he acquired a text; the library, individual, or shop from which it was borrowed or bought…” (22). Though hundreds of years have passed, the credentials we are using to evaluate our collections strongly echo those implemented by Hunter. It seems, that while our world may change, the fundamental aspect of ‘reader’ will remain the same. It’s a pretty cool concept. 

However, I am left wondering two things. First, is this connection specific to Hunter? Colclough does note that the evidence found in Hunter’s diaries only give insight into his “specific reading community” (39). Would these parallels to a modern reader exist for a different reader within a different community? And second, are the parallels drawn here specific to the concerns of a book historian? In removing the personal attributes of reader (intent, interpretation, ect.) in exchange for focus on the ‘material text’, book historian effectively eliminate many issues of time, space, and environment. These are the qualities that I believe most directly threaten the parallels I have found. I’d like to believe that both questions drawn here are inconsequential, but as of now my conjectures cannot be sure. I am curious to see what others think!