Janet Beer, Tim Birkhead, Stephen Halliday, Nigel Rodenhurst and Jon Turney...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

October 23, 2014

Janet Beer, vice-chancellor, Oxford Brookes University, is reading Shami Chakrabarti’s On Liberty (Allen Lane, 2014). “Oxford Brookes’ chancellor has written a forthright and cogent book on the subject closest to her heart. Chakrabarti makes a compelling case for the protection of the rights and freedoms that safeguard nothing less than our common humanity. This is a timely reminder of how much we stand to lose should we relinquish our stake in, and our commitment to, both the values and the legislation that protect us from personal and political harm.”

Book review: Feral, by George Monbiot

Tim Birkhead, professor of behavioural ecology, University of Sheffield, is reading George Monbiot’s Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life (Penguin, 2014). “Most books on conservation trot out the same dreary – and stultifying – message. Monbiot’s book is different: novel enough to be hard-hitting, inspirational and optimistic all at the same time. The media have bastardised his important notion of rewilding. I read this and felt: finally there’s a ray of hope for the natural world.”

Book review: Modernity Britain, by David Kynaston

Stephen Halliday, panel tutor in history, Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge, is reading David Kynaston’s Modernity Britain: A Shake of the Dice, 1959-62 (Bloomsbury, 2014). “Kynaston’s latest book is rather more of a potpourri than the volumes that preceded it, with incomprehensible references and baffling diagrams but heavy with nostalgia for those who remember that more innocent age.”

Book review: Remember Me, by Trezza Azzopardi

Nigel Rodenhurst, part-time lecturer in English, Aberystwyth University, is reading Trezza Azzopardi’s Remember Me (Picador, 2004). “Azzopardi’s tale of a confused and dispossessed vagrant living in an abandoned shop in Norwich combines human and literary themes of identity, exile, persecution and loss with a narrative that relies on flashbacks and scattered memories to recreate the traumatised consciousness of the heroine. This novel is a page-turner that also happens to be sad, true and extremely vivid.”

Book review: Orfeo, by Richard Powers

Jon Turney, senior visiting fellow in the department of science and technology studies, University College London, is reading Richard Powers’ Orfeo (Atlantic, 2014). “Having just finished writing a book on the human microbiome, I keep finding the subject popping up in others’ books where I hadn’t expected it – just now in the effortlessly polymathic Richard Powers’ brilliant new novel, which is mainly about music, and also in Diane Ackerman’s The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us, a paean to human inventiveness as we enter the Anthropocene era.”

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

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

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest