What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

August 18, 2011

Mary Evans, centennial professor at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics, is reading Shirin Ebadi's The Golden Cage (Kales Press, 2011). "A vivid account of political choices (and outcomes) within one Iranian family. The book is explicitly critical of the present Iranian government, but it is also deeply committed to the possibilities of democracy in that country. Required reading, especially for those who equate Islam with inevitable theocracy."

Gary Graham, lecturer in supply chain management, University of Leeds, is reading Brian David Johnson's Science Fiction Prototyping: Designing the Future with Science Fiction (Morgan & Claypool, 2011). "Although I share the view expressed in the premise of Isaac Asimov's In Joy Still Felt that predicting the future is a losing game, Johnson is different to other futurists. He doesn't predict, but instead shows you how to develop your future business/technological vision from fictional creations. His insight, humour and humanitarian vision is enjoyable and compelling."

Sharon Ruston is professor in 19th-century literature and culture, University of Salford. "I have just finished reading Kate Atkinson's trilogy, recently televised, which begins with Case Histories (Doubleday, 2004). The curmudgeonly but good-hearted ex-copper Jackson Brodie is often in the wrong place at the wrong time and prone to much soul-searching. Atkinson's other life as a writer of literary fiction shines through in the literary allusions that pervade the text."

Joni Seager, professor and chair of global studies, Bentley University in the US, is reading Daniel Dorling and Bethan Thomas' Bankrupt Britain: An Atlas of Social Change (Policy Press, 2011). "A fascinating snapshot of contemporary British life through the lens of 'bankruptcies' of various kinds, including emotional, political and financial. But the double reward of this book is not only in the incisive analysis, but in the distinctive and fun cartogram mapping that Dorling and Thomas deploy to show Britain in a new light."

Li Wei, professor of applied linguistics, Birkbeck, University of London, is reading Henry Kissinger's On China (Allen Lane, 2011). "This is not the memoir of a man who played an instrumental role in Sino-American relations, but rather an insightful account of China's approach to diplomacy, strategy and negotiation, based on Kissinger's personal contacts with generations of China's political leaders. It also reveals the US perspective on the world order from the Vietnam War to the collapse of the Soviet Union. A timely book for anyone who is concerned with China's rise as a new politico-economic superpower."

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