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Reading and Writing the Electronic Book by Catherine Marshall

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CHAPTER 4

Reading as a Social Activity

I began Chapter 2, the chapter about reading, by calling into question the assumption that reading is a solitary activity. It isn’t: I invoked document scholar David Levy to assert that reading is inherently social. This is not to say that people don’t read alone; of course they do. They may even go to some lengths to separate themselves from other people in the name of quiet and to prevent unwanted interruptions. But reading is social in a way that crosses several dimensions beyond the immediate stereotype of a scholar deep in thought in a library carrel or a child curled up with A Wrinkle in Time in a picture window.

To tease out these social dimensions, let’s call to mind the old but serviceable computer-supported ...

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