Professor Emma Smith is a lecturer in English at the University of Oxford, Professor of Shakespeare Studies, and a Fellow of Hertford College.
If you love books, you'll love Portable Magic
For many of us, books are the life we chose without thinking about it too much. Emma Smith's terrifically knowledgeable and thoughtful Portable Magic helps us understand every aspect of what our beloved books stand for. I for one am very grateful. What a delight this book is.
Brilliant... amusing, darkly sobering, and consistently fascinating ... a combination of deep scholarship and down-to-earth wit
Fun, playful, learned and accessible... Smith is herself a magical writer
*BBC History Magazine*
Smith's genius is to question as well as to value and register every contradiction - to make you, the reader, think without even suspecting that you are ... for communicating complex material in conversational, occasionally irreverent, prose
Joyous ... thrilling ... A brilliantly written account of the book-as-material-object, and the slightly seedy pleasures of "bookhood"
*Guardian (Book of the Week)*
Wildly entertaining ... This fascinating, slyly amusing book carries an undertow of personal affection for the curious, rectangular, multileaved objects with which we're so familiar
Smith's enchanting book sparkles with gems of trivia that often conceal deeper truths about the evolution of reading and publishing. Fascinating, enlightening, funny and touching, this is indeed portable magic
*Sydney Morning Herald*
Emma Smith's history of the physical book is a thing to cherish ... witty and ingenious ... Smith reads with all her senses alert ... A wise, funny, endearingly personal book
Anyone who's ever enjoyed the feel or indeed smell of a book should read Emma Smith's delightful and informative Portable Magic: A History of Books and Their Readers
*Spectator Books of the Year*
From bullet-stopping Bibles to tomes bound in human skin, Smith's history of books revels in their magic and malignity. It skewers our faith in the written word yet repays it handsomely