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In "Portable Magic," Emma Smith delves into the rich history of one of humanity's most enduring and influential technologies: the book. This revelatory and engaging exploration appeals to literature enthusiasts, shedding light on the enduring allure and transformative power of the written word.
Challenging the notion that the Gutenberg Press was the genesis of printing, Smith takes readers on a global journey through time. The narrative unfolds with anecdotes such as decorative gift books inspiring women to join anti-slavery movements, paperbacks serving as weapons during World War II, and even a book crafted entirely from plastic-wrapped slices of American cheese. "Portable Magic" examines how, when, and why books evolved into iconic symbols.
Beyond the content within, Smith emphasizes "bookhood"—the physicality of books. Whether it's the scent, the texture of the pages, the margins for notes, or the illustrations on the cover, each book is designed to shape the reading experience. This profound connection with books has, in turn, yielded significant consequences throughout history, enchanting, enraging, delighting, and disturbing readers across generations.