Essay Sample on Reading Communities and Institutions

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  2
Wordcount:  488 Words
Date:  2022-04-07


Reading has been part of the society for a long time. It has shaped the society if different ways on how people interact on the same world regarding fictional books. This led to Janice Radway writing the book Reading the Romance (1987), which he stressed on the art which incorporates anthropology and sociology in determining ways in which reading has influenced behaviours and values in social and cultural level in the society (Humble, 2012, p.86). Therefore, the question which comes into play with regards to reading, is how has reading impacted the society at large? In the sixteenth- century, French historians uncovered evidence showing how women in the rural regions would gather in the evening to read Le Roman De La Rose, which was a radial activity in the community in replacing more formal education. Moreover, female mill operatives in the late 1840s would gather as well to read on Shakespeare's before work in the evening. With this, community reading becomes more structured, influential and commercialized. Humble mentions "In the twentieth century, reading communities become more structured phenomena, much larger, more influential and increasingly commercialized." This led to the expansion of public lending libraries (Humble, 2012, p.88).

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Additionally, community reading led to the development of library subscriber categorization in public libraries based on the reading culture of the community. Humble mentions that "The training materials provided for librarians categorized fiction according to the type of subscriber who might favor each sort." For instance, the First Literary Course by Boots, categorized fiction reading into Light Romance, Family Stories and Detective Fiction based on the taste of the readers (Humble, 2012, p.89).

Furthermore, I agree that community reading also shaped the world of forum reading, where various people with a similar taste of reading would come together to talk about a particular book about a particular subject. For instance, Oprah Winfrey founded Oprah's Book Club in 1966, where readers would choose a book and read it for a month, later on, they would come together and discuss the book as a group. I believe Humbles words with regards to the influence Oprah's show had to authors when he mentions that "Oprah Winfrey founded Oprah's Book Club, in which every month a book is chosen and then a month later, half a show is devoted to discussing it." Because according to Mason, Oprah is today considered as most influential taste maker and has introduced to books to the selves as well as build careers for many authors (Mason, 2017). Additionally, Picket says the best book she has ever read was casted in Oprah Winfrey's Show (Pickert, 2008) With regard to the book club, the discussed book would turn out to be the best sellers (Humble, 2012, p.90).


Mason, O. (2017, April 12). The Complete Oprah's Book Club. Retrieved from Earlybirdbooks:

Pickert, K. (2008, Friday September). Oprah's Book Club. Retrieved from content.time/arts/article/',0,8599,1844724,00.html

Humble, N. (2012). The reader of popular fiction, 86- 90.

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