A Feeling for Books and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$10.70
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by harvestbooks
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Very good dust jacket. Binding: Hardcover / Publisher: University of North Carolina Press / Pub. Date: 01 August, 1997 Attributes: xiii, 424 p., [8] p. of plates : ill ; 24 cm. / Stock#: 2040926 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire Hardcover – October 27, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0807823576 ISBN-10: 0807823570

Used
Price: $10.70
12 New from $12.64 36 Used from $0.01 6 Collectible from $10.00
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$12.64 $0.01
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (October 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807823570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807823576
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,773,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

A virtual self-parody of obfuscation and solipsism in cultural studies. Radway (Literature/Duke Univ.) writes that she has spent much of her career mulling ``the distance I had travelled between a small tract house in suburban New Jersey . . . and a lectern in front of a literature class.'' Radway takes this self-indulgent vision of scholarship as her license to inflate a sentimental interest in the Book-of-the-Month Club into a needlessly mystified ``ethnography'' of it. Her history of the club's creation of a middle-brow reading appetite is relatively informative if, like everything else here, overlong. But because her contemporary ``fieldwork'' approaches the club as an arcane text or exotic tribe, rather than a perfectly intelligible business enterprise, she endlessly worries the relationship between its literary and commercial goals into equivocal blather, such as, ``Decisions about books at the club were always pegged to a highly elaborated conception of book buying and book reading.'' That is to say, ``multiple planes of the literary field . . . were structured according to . . . a planar logic that foregrounded the discreteness and particularity of domains and forms of expertise.'' It will be clear to anyone but Radway that the club is just a marketing scheme with a pretty simple taste-mongering shtick, run, to judge even by her flattering portrayal, by people who sell books, not literature. But Radway is lost in breathless close readings of editorial memos, and cut-and-paste applications of cultural theory--not to mention her affection for the staff and misty memories of young book-loving. More intriguing than any book club's mail-order stratagems is the question of how books like this get sold--to Ivy League departments in the form of dissertations, grant-makers (the Guggenheim in this case), and university presses. (9 illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

A Feeling for Books, though not at every turn satisfying, does identify an array of vital issues pertaining to the formation of taste, collective and individual. Some readers will wish for stronger links to our cultural moment; others for more extended personal reflection on how a passionate reader of popular works became a scholar necessarily critical of such naive consumption. But no one who finishes Radway's study will ever again scan the club's enticing ads blindly. They will henceforth understand just how such an organization reads its would-be readers. There is reading, in other words, and there is reading--and somewhere, too, there is the chinking of the cash register. -- Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review, Sven Birkerts

A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire is more personal than Dr. Radway's previous work, weaving her own history into that of the book club. And it turned out to be more sympathetic than she expected to what detractors have long labeled the club's `middlebrow' taste. -- Chronicle of Higher Education

The most interesting things about this book are its problems ... What makes the book at once more ambitious, distinctive and problematic is that Radway frames her study with a kind of intellectual and social autobiography. In Part I she describes her time spent with the Book-of-the-Month Club in the late 1980's ... In Part 2 she recaptures how some of the club's selections ... affected her when she read them as a girl and tries to understand the content of middlebrow culture through her present rereading of them. -- The New York Times Book Review, Fred Miller Robinson

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A Feeling for Books is an interesting collection of thoughts on the history of the Book of the Month Club and on Radway's personal evolution as a reader and scholar. But... it needed editing. Must she document every circuitous and irrelevant observation that occurs to her? This is probably a fine practice in academic writing, but in the personal narrative portions of the book she was unfocused. The book suffers from a somewhat schizo-feeling due to Radway's dual purposes of historical account and personal observation, but she is well aware of this (the reader is warned at the outset). It is not that these two areas of focus don't complement each other in some ways and lead to a rather unorthodox narrative, but the format did lead me wonder if I should even apply questions of enjoyability to the book. Academic reading is not meant to be pleasurable (or so Radway says), and this book is certainly full of scholarly language, but Radway has such sympathy and fellow-feeling for the pleasure-reader that I think she was trying to elicit a pleasurable reading experience. How did the academic community receive this book? ...For me, the most interesting observations arose through the author's interactions with the BOMC editors circa late 1980s. Their enthusiastic readings and quirky classifications of books (self-referential, inwardly-focused fiction is deemed "autistic") are well worth reading about. One last observation: the book could have used appendices with complete lists of the BOMC main and alternate selections from founding to the present, and perhaps a list of all past judges/editors.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
An erudite yet bold and powerfully immediate report on the BOMC's origin and development over six decades, A Feeling for Books is also an intimate document, poignantly tracing the author's relationship to the Club from her adolescence to her maturity. Because Radway is a fine researcher, a skillful reader, and a seasoned introspective, each aspect of her project succeeds on its own terms. But juxtaposed or, more problematically, superimposed, the yields of her various ends, ideas, and methods are neither commensurable nor mutually supportive. Recurrent "lumping" and intermittent incoherencies threaten to defeat Radway's purposes, inviting at least partial scepticism about her hard-won evidence and beautifully teased-out arguments. The reader and the author would have been better served by a division of this work into two books, one a disciplined cultural inquiry into the essence of persistent, unresolved conflicts in the publishing industry, the other a memoir devoted to the discovery and synthesis of the author's own values in a world of flux.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
'A book is meant to be read' (p82). Huh? Not this one. Cultural studies provides a haven for a multitude of sins. Is this psychoanalytical or lit critical sin? Well, neither, really. If it were a film it would be a comedy. Janice A Radway's gauche, dogged, hopelessly star-struck stance ('I fretted in my field journal about my growing affection for Bill, Al, and Lorraine') is way too close to the Book-of-the-Month Club ethos to be able adequately to evaluate it. Enamored of theory but not so fond of the Great Works that inspired it, Radway ties herself in knots seeking non-literary, non-aesthetic criteria to exercise 'critical authority' (note 25, page 390) and so justify her secret craving for junk (hey, it's a free country, right?) but in arguing for the validation of a visceral (non-intellectual) response to the literary experience she simply argues against her profession. (For how are visceral responses to be graded, other than intellectually?) Carl Sagan's Contact? Pur-leeze. In Radway's out-of-touch yet would-be-elevated world, reviewers look down on books that exist solely to give pleasure (page 44) and Anne Tyler ain't 'literature'. Almost as laborious to read as it must have been to write, and heavily dependent - the interminable 'field work' (hanging round the BoTMC offices) aside - on earlier work by Joan Rubin, our frequently 'perplexed' author comes across as almost willfully obtuse, when she is not camouflaged in jargon. 'Nor was the adjective "sentimental" construed as an epithet.' Meaning (I think): sentimentality was a recognised factor in book selection, if never acknowledged as such. What, though, of 'personalism' (p286) or 'mutual regard in literary form' (p288)?Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Philip Leetch on November 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I found the book heavy-going. Points are hammered home and I could not help wishing the book were much shorter. I do not think I as a reader would have lost much if there had been less detail.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?