What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

January 3, 2013

Ben Ambridge, lecturer in psychology, University of Liverpool, is reading Gary Marcus' Guitar Zero: The Science of Learning to Be Musical (Oneworld, 2012). "This book chronicles a psychology professor's attempt to learn the guitar at age 40. As someone on nodding terms with Marcus from the conference circuit, I can confirm that he comes across as an unlikely rock god. Yet, armed with his intellectual firepower and the latest research on music tuition, learning and practice, he indeed goes from zero to hero."

Tim Birkhead, professor of behavioural ecology, University of Sheffield, is reading Stuart Firestein's Ignorance: How it Drives Science (Oxford University Press, 2012). "If you teach science, read this short book. There's no excuse for teaching what we know (facts): what we should be teaching is the messy but exhilarating process of science - what we don't know. This book radiates sensible advice, including this: if your students ask whether something will be in the exam, then the way you teach is wrong. Absolutely right!"

Rebecca Braun, lecturer in German studies, Lancaster University, is reading Feridun Zaimoglu (Lang, 2012), edited by Tom Cheesman and Karin E. Yesilada. "Who determines what and whom an author represents? Through essays, interviews and previously suppressed literary material, this volume makes the career of this Turkish-German writer accessible to an English-language audience. Zaimoglu has increasingly represented himself as a 'settler' in German culture, and I'm enjoying thinking through the challenge to ethnic binarisms such settlement entails."

Matthew Feldman, reader in contemporary history, Teesside University, is reading John Bolin's Beckett and the Modern Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2013). "Bolin incisively stresses the importance of novelists such as Andre Gide and his masters Dostoevsky and de Sade in the development of Beckett's novels - between Murphy and Malone Dies - with Watt acting as a literary fulcrum. Powerfully argued, the book offers a timely reminder for more philosophically oriented critics (myself included!) that Beckett was first and foremost a man of 'arts', and only secondly one of 'letters'."

Joanna Williams, lecturer in higher education and academic practice, University of Kent, is reading Jane Robinson's Bluestockings: The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education (Penguin, 2010). "Told through diary entries and letters home, this offers a compelling account of the first female students to attend university. Robinson describes how their determination to engage in intellectual discovery engendered heroic efforts to overcome poverty and prejudice. Yet these women never sought protection or concessions: instead, they devised imaginative ways around chaperones, curfews and restrictions."

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Professorship in Behavioural Science LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS & POLITICAL SCIENCE LSE
Foundation Partnerships Officer LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS & POLITICAL SCIENCE LSE

Most Commented

Social media icons

Gabriel Egan laments the narcissistic craving for others’ approval brought on, he says, by the use of social networking websites

James Fryer illustration (8 September 2016)

Some lecturers will rightly encourage forms of student interaction that are impossible for those covering their faces, Eric Heinze argues

University of Oxford students walking on campus

University of Oxford snatches top spot from Caltech in this year’s World University Rankings as Asia’s rise continues

Handwritten essay on table

Universities must pay more attention to the difficulties faced by students, says Daniel Dennehy

Theresa May entering 10 Downing Street, London

The prospect of new grammar schools on the horizon raises big questions for HE, writes Nick Hillman