Beyond the Book

Mass reading events and contemporary cultures of reading in the UK, USA and Canada

A three-year interdisciplinary research project funded primarily by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Our main objectives are to determine why and how people come together to share reading through a comparative study of selected mass reading events such as “Canada Reads,” “Richard and Judy’s Book Club,” and “One Book, One Community” programmes, including, but not limited to, “One Book, One Chicago” and “Liverpool Reads.”

The mass reading event is a new, proliferating literary phenomenon. Events typically focus on a work of literary fiction and employ the mass media as a means of promoting participation in the themed activities and discussions that take place around the selected book.  Beyond the Book uses research methodologies drawn from both the humanities and social sciences to investigate whether mass reading events attract new readers and marginalized communities.  We also wish to determine whether this contemporary version of shared reading fosters new reading practices and even whether it is capable of initiating social change.

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