What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

December 20, 2012

Honora Bartlett, honorary lecturer in the School of English, University of St Andrews, is reading Nicola Healey's Dorothy Wordsworth and Hartley Coleridge: The Poetics of Relationship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). "The role of William Wordsworth's sister Dorothy in his poetic life is better known than the story of Hartley, Coleridge's son, who as a child inspired great poems. This beautiful, erudite book opens up both thwarted lives and explores the greatest writing of English Romanticism as 'poetry of relationship'."

Barbara Graziosi, professor of Classics and director, arts and humanities, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, is reading Nadja Reissland's The Development of Emotional Intelligence: A Case Study (Routledge, 2012). "A theoretical account, illustrated by recorded 'conversations' between Reissland's baby daughter, Toto, and her anthropologist husband. The ultimate test of emotional intelligence is coping with death; and Toto must face her father's death when she is only four. This emotionally intelligent book is also an unforgettable portrait of a warm father with a cool sense of humour. It might have worked even better as a memoir illuminated by the author's expertise in developmental psychology rather than as a scholarly book with a personal case study."

Karen McAulay, music and academic services librarian, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, is reading Paul Silvia's How To Write a Lot (American Psychological Association, 2007). "I've usually got a piece of writing on the boil, and I want to support our research community, too; so this was a natural choice for me. After I blogged and emailed about it, a flurry of readers' requests necessitated a second copy. Its message is predictable: schedule, discipline and reward yourself. The conversational style is just right - recommended to anyone needing a nudge in the right (write) direction."

R. C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, is reading Catharine Arnold's Bedlam: London and its Mad (Simon & Schuster, 2008). "A popular survey of London's most notorious insane asylum from its founding in the mid-13th century to the present day. Relocations, changing regimes and changing understandings of madness are dealt with, and individual case histories are drawn in to illustrate the story. Unfortunately, this is a rather unsystematic account, sometimes weak on historical context and occasionally losing focus."

Bruce Scharlau is senior teaching fellow in computing science, University of Aberdeen. "I just finished Dave Gray's The Connected Company (O'Reilly Media, 2012), a book that explains the why, what and how of building such an organisation. Firms need to have loosely coupled, cross-functional teams within their organisations to more easily absorb a variety of work - which is no longer standardised, as it is all customer service in some form or another - and managers should trust customers and staff."

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