In Bed with the Word: Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics
In Bed with the Word addresses questions such as: When people want to pray, to worship, to marry or bury, why do they reach for a book? What is it about reading that feels like a spiritual posture? What kinds of reading go beyond being private entertainment to produce personal and social change? A work of informal literary essays on the relations between spirituality, reading, and living in the public, social world, In Bed with the Word is a timely project that calls attention to the increased importance of reading in our culture’s current transition from print-based culture to “screen culture”—in which North American children spend more time in front of a TV or computer screen than playing, sleeping, or attending school. Through story and anecdote, the book shows how the peculiar paradox of reading, which isolates the reader at the same time that it emphasizes the reader’s longing for and intimate connection with an absent other, makes it a unique and powerful spiritual exercise that is increasingly crucial in a culture of distraction and hurry. Neither a work of theology nor one of literary theory, the book is informed by these fields but is aimed at a wide audience of people who wonder about the future of reading and who care about the disciplines that sustain spiritual life, as well as about the relevance of these disciplines to daily social and political life.
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