What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

January 12, 2012

John Gatt-Rutter is honorary associate, La Trobe University and the Italian Australian Institute. He is reading Edward Timms' Taking Up the Torch: English Institutions, German Dialectics and Multicultural Commitments (Sussex Academic Press, 2011). "This journey through institutions, mainly educational and English, but also German, Jewish and Turkish, from the 1940s on, by an outstanding scholar whose experiential account is powerful in its modesty, blends the personal and the emotional with the social and the political, in a period of rapid change for his Cambridge college and the University of Sussex."

Paul Greatrix, registrar, University of Nottingham, is reading Christopher Brookmyre's The Sacred Art of Stealing (Abacus, 2003). "An exceptional art thief and a brilliant but unconventional female cop playing cat and mouse. It's another intelligent and lively novel from Brookmyre, who specialises in this kind of spiky, clever and pacy thriller. Laced with politics and satire, it's an entertaining and diverting read with plenty of twists and turns. Definitely one of his best and highly recommended."

Dennis Hayes, professor of education, University of Derby, is reading Kenneth McLaughlin's Surviving Identity: Vulnerability and the Psychology of Recognition (Routledge, 2011). "I have found in this book a new concept that complements and develops the idea that in education we are now constructing diminished human beings through therapeutic interventions. McLaughlin argues that the outcome of these and other interventions is that 'we are all survivors, not necessarily of genuinely traumatic events but of everyday life itself'."

Alison Hramiak, senior lecturer in education, Sheffield Hallam University, is reading Erin Kelly's The Poison Tree (Hodder & Stoughton, 2010). "This is Kelly's first novel and I'm very much hoping it won't be her last. It is a well-crafted story, elegantly written in a realistic way, that winds its way backwards and forwards through the plot and the years, and keeps the reader wanting to know more. I don't find it easy to find novels like this - books so good that they keep me away from other things I should be doing."

Roger Morgan, formerly lecturer in history, University of Sussex, and professor of political science, European University Institute, Florence, is reading David Marquand's The End of the West: The Once and Future Europe (Princeton University Press, 2011). "This brief but trenchant contribution to the vast literature on the European Union stands out through the author's imaginative way of setting the EU's current dilemmas and tribulations firmly in the context of Europe's cultural and historical heritage as a whole. He offers specific solutions only to some of today's huge problems, but in general he indicates most constructively the lines on which solutions should be sought."

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