What are you reading? – 27 April 2017

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

April 27, 2017
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Carina Buckley, instructional design manager, Southampton Solent University, is reading Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (The Women’s Press, 1983). “A small book with a huge reputation, I approached The Color Purple with some trepidation. The Deep South of the US in the 1920s was not a kind place, rife with abuse, discrimination and violence. Celie endures beatings, rape and insults, first from her father, then from her husband, and is separated for decades from her beloved sister Nettie. But it is family that is at the heart of this book, not despair; the families we create from those dear to us. Celie finds love, builds a space for herself in the community, and learns to feel hope again. Whatever happens to her and those around her, there is yet a sense of optimism. Written entirely in letter format, it is personal, engaging and ultimately rewarding.”

R. C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, is reading Adam Nicolson’s God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible (Harper Collins, 2003). “Originally published in England under the title Power and Glory, this superbly written book examines the greatest ever literary achievement of a committee and one that stands alongside Shakespeare as a defining moment in the emergence of ‘Englishness’. Nicolson makes telling comparisons between the stateliness and grandeur of this hallmark Bible translation and the building of Hatfield House, its exact contemporary, as well as emphasising the blatant contradictions in a king who presided not only over this great work but also over a corrupt, extravagant and immoral court. Although it took several decades for this translation to establish itself as the Authorised Version, once this had been achieved its majestic prose resonated unstoppably.”

Sharon Wheeler, visiting lecturer in media and communications, Coventry University, is reading Derek Philpott’s Dear Mr. Kershaw: A Pensioner Writes (CreateSpace, 2015). “Bournemouth senior citizen Derek Philpott, aided and abetted by his neighbour Wilf Turnball, had the mad-as-a-box-of-frogs idea of taking musicians to task for inaccuracies and ambiguities in their lyrics – and crowdfunded a book with the responses. A goodly number entered into the spirit of the enterprise, not least Billy Bragg parsing Milkman of Human Kindness, and Bruce Thomas from the Attractions explaining firmly, with the aid of diagrams, why Oliver’s Army really is on its way and is here to stay. You’ve got to admire the old codgers’ sense of fun and eclectic taste in music.”

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