What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

February 2, 2012

Catherine Davies is a teaching fellow in linguistics and phonetics, University of Leeds. "Sophie Hannah's Cordial and Corrosive: An Unfairy Tale (Arrow Books, 2000) saw me through a decadent weekend hibernation this month. Written as a murder mystery, it sticks its nose into the subterfuge lurking amid academic interview panels. Healthy reading and tremendous fun for anyone who has been rejected."

Martin de Saulles, principal lecturer in information management, University of Brighton, is reading Jeff Jarvis' Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live (Simon and Schuster, 2011). "Jarvis presents an intelligent counter to some of the uninformed fear-mongering over online privacy and shows how individuals and society can benefit from greater information sharing. His tweets and blog posts about the side-effects of his prostate cancer treatment may not be to all tastes, but he shows how the kindness of internet strangers helped him and fellow sufferers."

Jeremy MacClancy, professor of anthropology, Oxford Brookes University, is reading Haidy Geismar and Anita Herle's Moving Images: John Layard, Fieldwork, and Photography on Malakula since 1914 (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010). "Layard was a pioneer fieldworker and a snappy photographer, too. Three hundred of his Melanesian photos illustrate this beautiful volume, which discusses their production, European reception and now incorporation into the cultural revitalisation of his original fieldsite. It's an often surprising story about the unexpected consequences of fieldwork, and the life of photos across cultures and time. Fascinating stuff."

Peter J. Smith, reader in Renaissance literature at Nottingham Trent University, has just finished Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister (Hamish Hamilton, 1949). "As someone who gets confused by Hercule Poirot, the twists and turns that befall Philip Marlowe leave me dizzy. Never mind the plot; relish the lonely cynicism of Chandler's attack on Tinseltown, here in the form of a sinister Bond girl: 'I went in. A gun in the kidney wouldn't have surprised me a bit. She stood so that I had to practically push her mammaries out of the way to get through the door. She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight.' Pure Humpty Go-Kart!"

Simon Woodward is senior research fellow in the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality, Leeds Metropolitan University. "I've just finished Richard Rayner's The Cloud Sketcher (HarperCollins, 2001), the story of a young man growing up in Finland at the start of the 20th century who longs to be an architect and who ends up working in New York. As someone who loves the landscape of rural Finland, Helsinki's architecture and New York's vibrancy, this book introduces me to some of my favourite places as they were a century ago."

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