What are you reading? – 30 June 2016

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

June 30, 2016
Book spines viewed from above
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Carina Buckley, instructional design manager, Southampton Solent University, is reading Jenny Uglow’s The Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made the Future 1730-1810 (Faber & Faber, 2003). “While the achievements of the Industrial Revolution may be more or less familiar, Uglow brings to life the personalities of the early trailblazers through an intricate exploration of their friendships, showing how they influenced and encouraged each other. Despite having to meet during the full moon for light to see themselves home, they formed the foundation of modern industrial society.”

Martin Parker, professor of organisation and culture, University of Leicester, is reading Jana Costas and Christopher Grey’s Secrecy at Work: The Hidden Architecture of Organizational Life (Stanford University Press, 2016). “The idea that organisations should be transparent was always an odd one. Of course organisations keep secrets – without them they would be naked and pointless. The question should always be who keeps what secrets and for what reasons. We need more books like this in business schools; more careful thinking and writing to counter the glib certainties of global management-speak.”

R. C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, is reading Pat Barr’s A Curious Life for a Lady: The Story of Isabella Bird (Faber & Faber, 2011). “In Britain, Isabella Bird (1831-1904) submitted to all the confines of Victorian society and womanhood. She found her existential self, however, in liberating first-hand encounters with challenging and remote terrain in far-off places and in roughing it among native peoples. The Malay peninsula, Kashmir and Tibet, Kurdistan, China, Japan and Korea were some of the locations she documented (sometimes judgementally, it is true) for her astonished contemporaries.”

Uwe Schütte, reader in German, Aston University, is reading Zdenka Badovinac’s NSK: From Kapital to Capital (MIT Press, 2015). “Laibach are probably the most politically provocative band on the planet. Founded in Slovenia in 1980, they emerged as the musical wing of the radical Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) avant-garde movement. They remain active today, exploring the relationship between art and ideology, pop music and politics. This reader provides fascinating insights into both the band’s early musical oeuvre and NSK activities.”

Sharon Wheeler, visiting lecturer in media studies, Birmingham City University, is reading Colin Taylor’s The Life of a Scilly Sergeant (Century, 2016). “Sgt Colin Taylor is the enterprising plod who cottoned on to how to make best use of Facebook – and he’s built up an admiring international audience who want to hear all about his beat on the Isles of Scilly. The quirky humour is here, if stretched a tad thin. But it’s a charming account of living and working in a beautiful outpost.”

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