What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

August 30, 2012

John Armitage, professor of media, Northumbria University, is reading Verena Andermatt Conley's Spatial Ecologies: Urban Sites, State and World-Space in French Cultural Theory (Liverpool University Press, 2012). "A novel explanation by a perceptive critic, wherein Conley ponders the 'spatial turn' in French critical theory from 1968 to 2012, and from Henri Lefebvre and Paul Virilio to Etienne Balibar. Assessing the postmodern experience of space and politics, economics and time, this book is an extraordinary reflection on questions of space in the epoch of late capitalism."

Andrea Cremer, author of the Nightshade trilogy of novels and assistant professor of history at Macalester College in Minnesota, is reading Sylvia Day's Bared to You (Penguin, 2012). "The rush of erotic fiction into the hands of mainstream readers invites consideration of whether 21st-century society is flirting with a new normative sexual epoch. Day's novel explores this issue unflinchingly and compellingly by pairing her narrative of sexual temptation and emotional risk with character studies that mirror divisive social and cultural issues of identity, trauma, repression and liberation."

Megan Crawford, reader in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, is reading Orhan Pamuk's My Name Is Red (Faber, 2002). "Recommended to me as a way of understanding Turkey, this is a fascinating glimpse of what makes culture and how people in the past are closely connected to the present. The murder mystery at the heart of the novel is compelling, and multiple narrators add depth to the writing. I had no idea what was happening until near the end, or why red was in the title. It has helped me understand a little more about the heart of a country."

Barry Hymer, professor of psychology in education, University of Cumbria, is reading Mandy Swann, Alison Peacock, Susan Hart and Mary Jane Drummond's Creating Learning without Limits (Open University Press, 2012). "This book's predecessor (Learning without Limits) did as much as anything to cast the conflicted concept of 'ability' in its rightful, lowly place. As the story of just how an English primary school asserted the power of very non-deterministic values, this sequel combines strong scholarship with an equally valuable route map."

Judith Weingarten, Aegean archaeologist and member of the British School at Athens, is reading De Ruyter: Dutch Admiral (Karwansaray, 2012). "Kudos to this new publisher's courage in these crisis years. Michiel De Ruyter, son of a beer porter, became the sea hero of his time, commanding the Dutch fleet in battles against England, Sweden and France. His most famous exploit was his raid on the Medway in 1667, destroying British warships and towing the enemy flagship, Royal Charles, back to Holland. Lead editor Jaap R. Bruijn throws us into the deep end of this maritime world, with glorious illustrations of ships and sea battles when the Dutch Republic ruled the waves."

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