What are you reading? – 28 January 2016

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

January 28, 2016
Woman reading on park bench

Carina Buckley, learning skills tutor, Southampton Solent University, is reading Louise Frith and Ruben Martin’s Professional Writing Skills for Social Workers (Open University Press, 2015). “Writing can be difficult for students for many reasons, and where it is an integral part of one’s future profession, anxiety joins the mix. These authors do a great job of breaking down writing into all its constituent elements and guiding students through its complexities with clear examples and a friendly tone, within a social work context. I’m ordering five.”

Laurence Coupe, visiting professor of English, Manchester Metropolitan University, is reading Martin Amis’ Experience (Jonathan Cape, 2000). “This unconventional autobiography essentially consists of three alternating narratives. The first is a remarkably good-humoured account of the author’s dental ordeals, which the press took so much pleasure in misreporting. The second concerns his troubled, often embarrassing, relationship with his famous father. The third is a commemoration of the short life of his favourite cousin, who was murdered by the diabolical Fred West. The way Amis moves between these stories without misjudging the tone is remarkable.”

Kate Dorney, senior lecturer in theatre and performance, University of Manchester, is reading The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Actors and Acting (Cambridge University Press, 2015), edited by Simon Williams. “This reference work is hugely impressive in its range and scope, providing a window on to the international stage from Roscius to the present day. It’s refreshing, and all too rare, to find a truly international list of contributors providing expert knowledge and context for actors and acting practices. Each page brings a new discovery.”

Matthew Feldman, professor in the modern history of ideas, Teesside University, is reading Steven Hassan’s Combating Cult Mind Control (Freedom of Mind Press, 2015). “Revised to mark its 25th anniversary, this ex-Moonie’s definitive work on cults functions as self-help and scholarship simultaneously. Updated for the internet age, with new testimonies from former cult members, it shows that cults reject ‘informed consent’ in favour of what Hassan calls the ‘BITE model’: behaviour, information, thought and emotional control. Eye-opening and wide-ranging.”

Oli Mould, lecturer in human geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, is reading After Urban Regeneration: Communities, Policy and Place (Policy Press, 2015), edited by Dave O’Brien and Peter Matthews. “In a gentrifying urban world, rhetoric can often run ahead of evidence. This book skilfully redresses this balance by compiling empirical outcomes of a number of fascinating and detailed projects under the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities project. The editors weave a compelling empirically focused, but theoretically informed, narrative that exposes the harsh realities of a post-regeneration urban landscape.”

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