What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

November 26, 2009

Benjamin A. Brabon, senior lecturer in English literature, Edge Hill University, is reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Quirk Books, 2009). "A delightfully macabre rewriting of Jane Austen's classic. Although Austen's prose may have been butchered, descriptions of Elizabeth Bennet beheading zombies provide something for the Twilight generation while appealing to my own critical interests in the Gothic. Asinine and enchanting ... bring on 'Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters'!"

Willy Maley is professor of Renaissance studies, University of Glasgow. "On the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, amid the near-collapse of capitalism, I am reading David Priestland's monumental study The Red Flag: Communism and the Making of the Modern World (Allen Lane, 2009), a rigorously researched reminder of the reach, relevance and resonance of one of the world's most influential ideologies."

Omar Malik, associate fellow, Nottingham University Business School, is reading Charles Haddon-Cave QC's The Nimrod Report (The Stationery Office, 2009). "This marvellous report is 580 pages of pure gold, documenting the causal chain connecting the Chancellor's ill-considered edict to cut costs, to the deaths of 14 servicemen. Had Chancellor, Secretary of State, or any air officer insisted upon the military covenant and the condition 'without any reduction in flight safety standards', the accident would not have happened. They should hang their heads in shame."

Nigel Rodenhurst, an Arts and Humanities Research Council studentship-funded doctoral candidate at Aberystwyth University, is reading Philip Roth's Indignation (Vintage, 2009). "Critics have run out of cliches with which to laud Roth's post-1990 fiction; it's easy to see why. This combines the personal with the political, juxtaposing a young man defying his father with the political and military perils of mid-20th century America. It's vivid and compulsive."

Sir David Watson, professor of higher education management at the Institute of Education, University of London, is reading Henry Mintzberg's new book Managing (Prentice Hall, 2009). "I continue to find Mintzberg's humanistic, grounded view of what it takes to be and develop as an effective manager highly attractive. This work continues the theme with its scepticism about brittle 'leadership', its sensitivity to the 'soft underbelly of hard data' and its sophisticated understanding of context (what may be right for the organisation may be wrong for the world around it). For these and other merits we can forgive the occasionally hectoring tone and the recycling of case studies from the mid-1990s."

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