Reviews 2009

Reader Development in Practice: Bringing literature to readers

Reader Development in Practice: Bringing literature to readers. Edited by Susan Hornby and Bob Glass. London: Facet Publishing, 2008. 224 pages. £44.95 (hardback).

Accounts by practitioners and academics of projects designed to promote reader development are always heartening, especially when they range as far and wide as those in the collection edited by Hornby and Glass. Initiatives in public libraries in the UK, for example, are as diverse as “Cracking the Code,” timed to coincide with the release of the Da Vinci Code film, or live music to attract local teenagers—a notion that will be anathema to some. The concept of reading as a social crusade that underpins much of this book includes reading groups for carers, the homeless, and a writer’s diary of his engagements with local communities. Later the editors turn their attention to fiction; Kay Sambell’s informative analysis of the development of futuristic fiction for young readers is the one essay devoted entirely to the discussion of children’s literature in Hornby and Glass’s book. Finally, the independent bookseller’s point of view on survival strategies, together with analyses of the function of hypertext and cybertext works and the progress and qualities of e-books, make this collection a thought-provoking and timely interrogation of the future of the book and of imaginative fiction for all ages.

Gillian Lathey
University of Surrey Roehampton, England