Sven Birkerts is a teacher at Mount Holyoke College and a literary critic. He is the author of several books including The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age and Readings.

As the titles suggest, Birkerts is very concerned about how technological advances affect readers and the act of reading. Some of his more recent work explores his belief that during the last century, our very perception of time has changed, with far-reaching effects on the way we perceive our world. His essays on this topic are very interesting (at least to me), but are probably not very accessible to the average person these days. He loves using big words, seemingly to sound more "literary", but I enjoy his work anyway.

My copy of Readings has many dog-eared pages, underlined passages, and nearly illegible notes scrawled in the margins. This book contains a very interesting critique of "eco-criticism", one of the weirdest and most misguided ways of looking at literature I've ever come across. My favorite essay from Readings is titled, "Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man; or, Why I Can't in Good Conscience Write About Noam Chomsky". This book also introduced me to the incredible poetry of Seamus Heaney. When I look at my bookshelves and see The Gutenberg Elegies sitting there, I have to wonder if people in the future will feel the same facination with their portable e-books that I feel with shelf after shelf of hard-cover volumes. I suspect not.

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