December 8, 2021

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Higher Dwelling By way of E-book Studying

Better Living Through Book Reading

By the point this commercial appeared within the E-book Evaluation on Aug. 14, 1927, the concept of studying books for self-improvement was not new. As early as 1859, the Scottish reformer Samuel Smiles advocated in “Self-Assist” that “one of the best training of a person is that which he provides himself.” By 1917, Charles E. Butler of Brentano’s bookstores advised The Occasions that “self-improvement is the keynote of the day.” And in 1919, E. Haldiman-Julius started publishing his sequence of “Little Blue Books,” low cost, pocket-size stapled editions of classics and new books that, as one in every of his advertisements within the E-book Evaluation boasted in 1924, had been “doing extra to teach the nation than any 10 universities put collectively.”

However although Haldiman-Julius promised to deliver the worlds of philosophy, poetry, literature and science to most of the people, he didn’t assure that his Little Blue Books would assist readers impress their dates. That may fall to the Pocket Classical Library, which bought its set of 12 closely abridged volumes — “Not an excessive amount of. Simply sufficient of every to present the reader a data and understanding of the good males of literature” — subsequent to a photograph of an earnest younger businessman sitting alongside a gorgeous bobbed-hair flapper. “He was glad he might inform her that he had learn the noteworthy classics. Glad he might talk about along with her the masterpieces of Hawthorne, Carlyle, Kipling, Poe.”

Self-help books solely grew in reputation, spurred, at the very least partly, by the success of Dale Carnegie’s “Find out how to Win Associates and Affect Individuals” in 1936. Not lengthy after that, The Occasions ran a narrative in regards to the rector of Christ Church in Cambridge, Mass. “Attacking the recommendation of the present ‘self-improvement’ literature as being ‘silly and inconsequential,’” the paper reported, “the Rev. Dr. C. Leslie Glenn mentioned yesterday the rationale these books had attained such a excessive circulation was that almost all of Christians had stopped studying the Bible.”

Tina Jordan is the deputy editor of the E-book Evaluation and co-author of “The New York Occasions E-book Evaluation: 125 Years of Literary Historical past.”

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