Robert Appelbaum is senior lecturer, department of English and creative writing, Lancaster University. He is reading Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of The Courtier (Everyman, 1994), translated by Sir Thomas Hoby. He cites with admiration Castiglione's observation: "For since a kiss is a knitting together both of body and soul, it is to be feared lest the sensual lover will be more inclined to the part of the body than of the soul."
Sue Child is research fellow, School of Psychosocial Studies, University of Plymouth. "I am currently reading (or re-reading to be more accurate) George Ritzer's The McDonaldization of Society (Sage, 1996). I found it of immense interest when I met the concept for the first time as a sociology undergraduate. I am currently finding it useful to assist my structuring of an in-progress journal article that examines what I consider to be the McDonaldization of nurse practitioner roles in English GP surgeries."
Gary Day is principal lecturer in English, De Montfort University. "I am reading Barbara Ehrenreich's Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy (Granta, 2008). I teach tragedy and comedy, and both spring from the sort of rituals described in these pages. It's full of fascinating snippets, eg, that dance originated from the need to co-ordinate movements when hunting, and it's a joy to read."
Radha D'Souza is reader, School of Law, University of Westminster. "Academics read books related to their disciplines. Intellectuals read. I am reading Logical and Ethical Issues: An Essay on Indian Philosophy of Religion by Bimal Krishna Matilal (Chronicle Books, 2004). It is fascinating to see what could well be a nascent renaissance in Indian philosophy's engagement with the West. I am also reading Pudumaippittan (Katha Classics, 2002), an eponymous collection of the Tamil writer's short stories, translated by Lakshmi Holmstrom. What is it about the late 19th and early 20th centuries that produced writers with such extraordinary sensitivity to the human condition everywhere in the world?"
John Harris is associate professor in the School of Exercise, Leisure and Sport at Kent State University. He is reading Dai Smith's Raymond Williams: A Warrior's Tale (Parthian, 2008). "While many scholars refer to the work of Williams in the theoretical underpinning of their work, this text provides a detailed overview of the life and times of the man himself."