What are you reading? – 2 February 2017

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

February 2, 2017
Pile of books
Source: iStock

Charalambos P. Kyriacou, professor of behavioural genetics, University of Leicester, is reading Chris Willmott and Salvador Macip’s Where Science and Ethics Meet: Dilemmas at the Frontiers of Medicine and Biology (Praeger, 2016). “If you are partial to a popular science book that immediately gets in your face, you could do a lot worse than read this one. From the very first of nine provocative chapters, each written as a mini-drama, you are placed in an uncomfortable moral dilemma from which there is no easy escape. The topics range from designer babies to human cloning, embryos for spare parts to performance-enhancing drugs, extending lifespan to DNA databases for everyone. The fictional characters play out each scenario and the authors embellish the story with measured arguments for and against each type of medical or technological intervention. This is an excellent introduction to the ethical minefield into which modern science has led us.”

Harriet Dunbar-Morris, strategic adviser to the vice-chancellor, University of Bradford, is reading Katarina Bivald’s The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (Vintage, 2016), translated by Alice Menzies. “This is a delightful story about Sara from Sweden, who goes to visit her penpal and fellow book enthusiast in Broken Wheel, Iowa. Punctuated with references to books that many will have read, and letters between the penpals that paint an additional picture of the Broken Wheel inhabitants that Sara is getting to know, this is a book of books, and this reader of Harrogate recommends it.”

Uwe Schütte, reader in German, Aston University, is reading Brian Eno: Oblique Music, edited by Sean Albiez and David Pattie (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016). “For quite some time, Brian Eno has been jokingly referred to as the ‘professor of pop’. It’s about time, then, that real academics caught up with a body of work that is as perplexing as it is complex. Here Sean Albiez and David Pattie have gathered together scholarly essays that explore key aspects of Eno’s work as a musical innovator and cultural facilitator. The book covers his time with Roxy Music and his work as a solo artist and pioneer of ambient and generative music; but it also deals entertainingly with his collaborations with U2, Devo and David Byrne, and his rather fraught relationship with the New York avant-garde in the later 1970s. Essential reading for all academic listeners.”

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