Harrington-Lueker, Donna. Books for Idle Hours: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the Rise of Summer Reading.

While we may sometimes remember particular “beach reads” and other vacation reading we bring with us, most of the light reading that dominates the myriad summer reading lists isn’t meant to last. Donna Harrington-Lueker has traced the origins of the phenomenon of summer reading in the late-nineteenth-century United States, highlighting the role of ephemerality and entertainment as publishers and reviewers developed the concept of “summer reading,” as well as how tenacious many of the practices of summer reading are, from reading in public spaces to stockpiling books in convenient corners of a hotel room or guest house.

Troy J. Bassett. The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Three-Volume Novel.

From its obscure beginnings as “one publisher’s calculated gamble” in 1821 to its becoming the format most favored by women authors (96), the Victorian three-volume novel was central to how books were written, marketed, and consumed from the 1840s until the end of the century. The first study to provide a comprehensive examination of the form “as a literary and economic product” (12), Bassett’s rich history takes us from its inception to demise through scrutiny of the organizations that published, circulated, and, ultimately, rejected it. Beyond giving a general economic and cultural history of the format, the book addresses gaps in previous scholarship relating to the form’s financial viability, its longevity, and the complex reasons behind its decline in the 1890s. 

Lise Jaillant, ed. Publishing Modernist Fiction and Poetry. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019.

Lise Jaillant’s edited collection Publishing Modernist Fiction and Poetry brings together twelve essays on a range of twentieth-century publishing houses – from B. W. Huebsch to Jonathan Cape subsidiary Cape Goliard – and their role as publishers of modernist and late modernist literature. The particular ‘gap’ in existing scholarship the collection seeks to address is the comparative dearth of critical literature on modernist book publishing, an area which Jaillant suggests has long been neglected in favour of periodical publications.

The Oxford Handbook of Publishing. Edited by Angus Phillips and Michael Bhaskar.

For this handbook, Angus Philipps, director of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing, well-known to the publishing studies world as the co-author of Inside Book Publishing (sixth edition 2019) and editor-in-chief of LOGOS, joined forces with London-based industry insider Michael Bhaskar, author of The Content Machine (2013) and Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess (2016). The 25 chapters, written by an impressive range of experts from mostly anglophone backgrounds, can be used as stand-alone introductions to research areas and questions pertaining to publishing and book studies.

Lauren B. Hewes and Kayla Haveles Hopper, eds., Radiant with Color & Art

“What’s the use of an exhibition catalog,” Alice might well have said to herself, “if it doesn’t have beautiful pictures and brilliant essays?” This catalog of the McLoughlin Brothers’ more than sixty years of publishing children’s books, games, and toys surely would have delighted little Alice. The first third of the book consists of three well-written informative essays and the last two thirds make up the illustrated exhibition catalog itself. The items were drawn primarily from the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society with help from private collectors Linda F. and Julian L. Lapides, Richard Cheek, and the George M. Fox Collection at the San Francisco Public Library. ☛ ☞