"Scholars have long debated the relative importance of printed media, oral transmission and images in rallying popular support for the Reformation. Some have championed the central role of printing, a relatively new technology at the time. Opponents of this view emphasise the importance of preaching and other forms of oral transmission. More recently historians have highlighted the role of media as a means of social signalling and co-ordinating public opinion in the Reformation.
Now the internet offers a new perspective on this long-running debate, namely that the important factor was not the printing press itself (which had been around since the 1450s), but the wider system of media sharing along social networks—what is called “social media” today. Luther, like the Arab revolutionaries, grasped the dynamics of this new media environment very quickly, and saw how it could spread his message."Another slower read was also a book that sat on my shelf for a while was the Claire Tomalin bio of Samuel Pepys. She's a vibrant and interesting writer and I'm looking forward to reading her bio of Dickens.
As I mentioned above, 2011 was a down year in terms of volume: My total this year was only 19 books against 27 in 2010, 22 in 2009, 17 in 2008 and 25 in 2007. It has been my desire over the past five years or so (and it has taken me that long) to clear out as many of my unread books as possible. I am happy to say that I've done very well at that task.
The book I most enjoyed this year was The Northern Clemency which wasn't technically on my shelf but Mrs. PND had been telling me for a while that I would really enjoy it.
Here is my full list and these are in my 'bookstore' (PND Bookstore)
|The Dealer and the Dead - Gerald Seymour|
|Found Wanting - Robert Goddard|
|Piece of My Heart - Peter Robinson|
|Life - Kieth Richards|
|Field Grey - Philip Kerr|
|Innocent - Scott Turow|
|Close to Home - Peter Robinson|
|Q - Luther Blissett|
|The Northern Clemency - Philip Hensher|
|The Tenth Man - Graham Greene|
|Strange Affair - Peter Robinson|
|Friend of the Devil - Peter Robinson|
|Snowdrops - A. D. Miller|
|The Fear Index - Robert Harris|
|Prague Fatale - Philip Kerr|
|The Cut - George Pelecanos|
|Deniable Death - Gerald Seymour|
|Blood of Victory - Alan Furst|
|Samuel Pepys - Clair Tomalin|
In the UK there was a lot of hype about Snowdrops by A.D. Miller which was a Booker nominee. It was a good read and entertaining but it wasn't on the same level as Hensher's Northern Clemency which was short listed for the Booker in 2008.
Looking to 2012, I've already added another of Hensher's titles (The Mulberry Empire) from PND senior's shelf, Wolf Hall from Mrs. PND and my own selection Amanda Foreman's A World of Fire about the American Civil War from the English perspective. In addition to those I've already got 10 others and Mrs. PND got me six very nicely bound Dickens classics from Penguin for Christmas, so it will be another busy reading year. Just how we like it.