Laurence Coupe, senior lecturer in English, Manchester Metropolitan University, is reading Patrick Curry's Ecological Ethics: An Introduction (Polity, 2011). "This significantly expanded second edition is more helpful than ever. It demonstrates that without addressing the question of human overpopulation, without educating ourselves in traditional ecological wisdom and without developing a 'post-secular' spirituality, we're likely to produce only more and more hot air (pun intended). Ultimately, it all comes down to whether we accept the intrinsic worth of non-human nature, and how we need to behave once we do. Indispensable!"
Jerome de Groot is senior lecturer in Renaissance literature and culture, University of Manchester. "I am currently enjoying Alex Davis' account of the 'often extraordinary oddity' of Renaissance Historical Fiction (Boydell & Brewer, 2011). He argues that our understanding of early modern historical consciousness is flawed; indeed, the idea that there was such a thing is problematic. Instead, he uses a range of prose writers to situate the 'fictive as a possible tool of history, rather than as its structural opposite'."
Dennis Hayes is professor of education, University of Derby. "I am reading Gilbert Ryle's Plato's Progress (Cambridge University Press, 1975), first published in 1966. He provides a forensic analysis of Plato's work and various commentaries to argue that it is Plato himself, not Socrates, who is the subject of the Apology and that Plato was on trial for defamation in the late 370s BC, although there is no direct historical evidence for this. A philosophical page- turner that puts Dan Brown to shame!"
Sarah J. Ison, assistant information adviser at the Aldrich Library, University of Brighton, is reading Danny Gregory's An Illustrated Life (How Books, 2008). "An inspiring book for anyone interested in developing the habit of keeping a sketchbook or illustrated journal. It contains extracts of sketchbooks belonging to professional and amateur artists, so readers can get inspiration for keeping their own. It worked for me! The insight into other people's sketchbooks is fascinating."
Helen Taylor, professor of English and university arts and culture Fellow, University of Exeter, is reading John Swenson's New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans (Oxford University Press, 2011). "Following the 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastation and 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, this is a timely and inspirational reminder of the importance of the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans, to the history of music, and of the commitment of its renowned musicians - the Neville Brothers, Dr John, Allen Toussaint et al. - to keeping the spirit alive, sometimes against heavy odds."