Norrick-Rühl, Corinna and Towheed, Shafquat (2022). Introduction. In: Norrick-Rühl, Corinna and Towheed, Shafquat eds. Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic. New Directions in Book History. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1–27.



The introduction provides an overview of the main issues informing current analysis of bookshelves during the COVID-19 pandemic. It starts by sketching out some of the main theoretical frameworks relevant to investigating the cultural phenomenon of bookshelves in the pandemic. It then surveys trends in pandemic reading and the rise of bibliotherapy since the start of the pandemic, before examining the ways in which lockdown induced home working has blurred the boundaries between private and public spheres. This is followed by a detailed discussion of the bookshelf as a construct of global neoliberalism which draws attention to increasing socioeconomic inequality, both between the Global North and the Global South, and within individual nation states. The introduction then outlines the contents of the volume with brief precis of the 12 chapters; summarizes areas of investigation not covered in the volume; and finishes by gesturing to research questions and issues for future consideration.

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