Laurence Coupe, W. P. Griffith, Roger Morgan, Becky Peterson and Peter J. Smith...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

April 3, 2014

Laurence Coupe, senior lecturer in English, Manchester Metropolitan University, has just read Nicholas Royle’s First Novel (Jonathan Cape, 2012). “Having only just finished it, I feel I ought to go back through it to make sure I’ve not missed a trick. This is an absorbing tale that mixes metafiction, mystery and murder. It’s certainly a gripping read, but it also arouses critical curiosity. I don’t usually like novels about writing novels, but I was hooked by this one.”

Review: UCL Chemistry Department 1828-1974, by W. P. Griffith

W. P. Griffith, professor emeritus of chemistry, Imperial College London, is reading UCL Chemistry Department 1828-1974 (Science Reviews 2000, 2013) by Alwyn Davies and Peter J. Garratt. “This endearing book concerns London’s oldest surviving chemistry department, from its 1828 opening to 1974. Many eminent people spent time there, including Sir Stafford Cripps (later Chancellor of the Exchequer), four Nobel laureates and numerous others. They are vividly recalled, with good anecdotes and a bountiful use of illustrations. Thoroughly recommended, both for UCL alumni and the general reader.”

Review: Another Day, by John Eidinow

Roger Morgan, formerly professor of political science, European University Institute, Florence, is reading John Eidinow’s Another Day (Acorn Digital Press, 2013). “This fast-moving novel takes its central character through the complexities of wartime London (including upmarket pro-Nazi circles and Soviet spy rings), as well as to battlefields in collapsing France and on other dramatic continental missions. The political and emotional interactions between exotic but credible characters, steeped in modern art and Russian literature, make this an absorbing and stimulating read.”

Review: Belly Dance Around the World, by Caitlin McDonald and Barbara Sellers-Young

Becky Peterson, instructor in the department of cinematic arts, University of New Mexico, is reading Belly Dance Around the World: New Communities, Performance and Identity (McFarland, 2013), edited by Caitlin E. McDonald and Barbara Sellers-Young. “An important critical reaction to the popularity of belly dance practice around the globe, this collection features compelling essays by scholars speaking from inside and outside the Middle East. Using a range of methodologies, the contributors tackle topics such as body image, the Arab diaspora, global feminisms and the production of identity and community through technology.”

Review: A Girl in Winter, by Philip Larkin

Peter J. Smith, reader in Renaissance literature at Nottingham Trent University, has just reread Philip Larkin’s A Girl in Winter (Faber, 1947). “Katherine works in a provincial library under the mean-spirited Mr Anstey. Her bleak routine is jolted by her reunion with an awkward teenage boyfriend. The novel alternates between a numbing Second World War winter and a perfect, peacetime English summer. The climactic meeting is as pensive, painful and poignant as any of Larkin’s poems: ‘They were going in orderly slow procession, moving from darkness further into darkness.’ An evocative and chilly meditation on the severity of loneliness.”

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

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Administrative Assistant UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
Dental Clinical Skills Assistant UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

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

India, UK, flag

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

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

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