What are you reading? – 16 July 2015

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

July 16, 2015
Books on bookshelf

Carina Buckley, learning skills tutor, Southampton Solent University, is reading Lorrie Moore’s Bark (Faber & Faber, 2014). “In these eight stories, Moore captures the minutiae of an American life made more fearful by US military actions in a world haunted by 9/11. Her characters are troubled, awkward, on the margins, but her tight prose drives them through these turning points in their lives, documented with detailed observation and no little sympathy as they ‘hope for less pain’.”

Kathryn Ecclestone, professor of education, University of Sheffield, is reading Changing Behaviours: On the Rise of the Psychological State (Edward Elgar, 2014) by Rhys Jones, Jessica Pykett and Mark Whitehead. “A really interesting and engaging account of the ways that diverse and contradictory ideas from psychology, neuroscience and economics have influenced successive behaviour-change projects across UK public policy since the early 2000s. Apparently we lead the world in all this, and 51 other countries are now following in Britain’s wake.”

Richard Howells, reader in culture, media and creative industries, King’s College London, is reading John Harvey’s The Poetics of Sight (Peter Lang, 2015). “‘Painting is poetry,’ Picasso declared. But according to Harvey, there is much more to it than that. Here, he is concerned with all the pictures that we see ‘in our heads’, whether they are stimulated by memory, literature, or indeed works of art. Metaphor is key. It’s another welcome contribution as Harvey seeks to explain culture’s visual turn.”

Kate Macdonald, postdoctoral researcher in the department of literary studies, Ghent University, is reading The Bloomsbury Introduction to Popular Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2014), edited by Christine Berberich. “Does exactly what it says on the cover: solid introductions to the multivariate literary forms in popular literature and reading. Andy Sawyer on science fiction and Petra Rau on the violent pleasures of war as entertainment are particularly strong, as are the chapters on H. G. Wells and the rewriting of Jane Austen for devotees of vampires, zombies and the erotic.”

Karen McAulay, music and academic services librarian, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, is reading Temple Grandin’s Emergence: Labeled Autistic (Grand Central, 1996) and Thinking in Pictures (Bloomsbury, 2009). “Grandin’s research in animal science stems from her experiences of growing up with autism. For insight into the autistic mind, these books can be highly recommended, with the caveat that individuals diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder are as varied as the rest of the population. Nonetheless, Grandin allows us to see the world from her viewpoint, offering a starting point for understanding those who are not neurotypical.”

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