What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

June 4, 2009

Andrew John Blake is associate dean of social sciences, media and cultural studies, University of East London. "I'm currently casting my eye over the autobiography of John Drummond, the former BBC arts administrator, Tainted by Experience: A Life in the Arts (Faber, 2001). Why? I'm thinking about public/private barriers in this time of economic contraction, and the BBC is always worth a look in this regard, and its 'hidden' subsidy of classical music in particular."

Tara Brabazon is professor of media studies at the University of Brighton. "I am reading Knut Lundby's edited collection, Digital Storytelling, Mediatized Stories: Self-representations in New Media (Peter Lang, 2008). This is a great book, a book of boundaries and bridges, identity and authorship. I may not agree with all of it, but it is helping me work out what I do think. Probably that is the definition of an important book. And yes, 'mediatized' is a weird word."

John Chalcraft is lecturer in the history and politics of empire/imperialism, department of government, London School of Economics. He is reading Michel Foucault: The Birth of Biopolitics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) - "very interesting: more about comparative German, French and American neoliberalism than about biopolitics" - and Ritu Birla: Stages of Capital (Duke University Press, 2009) - "important for putting together non-Western capitalism and postcolonial studies".

Jane Koustas is associate professor, department of modern languages, literatures and cultures, Brock University. "I have just finished Nancy Huston's Fault Lines (Atlantic Books, 2008), her own translation of Lignes de faille, first published in French. A real page-turner but far from being feel-good. The reader is left to align the fragments of a family rifted apart like the tectonic plates after an earthquake."

Ellen Leopold is a former member of the Building Economics Research Unit, University College London, and a Leverhulme Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London. "I am reading Vasily Grossman: Life and Fate (Vintage, 2006), another absorbing and panoramic Russian novel that fell foul of Soviet authorities and wasn't published until the early 1980s, well after the author's death."

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