What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

November 8, 2012

Susan Hogan, professor of cultural studies, University of Derby, is reading Julia Long's Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Pornography Feminism (Zed Books, 2012). "The book charts the way that 'freedom of speech' and anti-state control sentiments have undermined legitimate concerns about the rise in pornography. Long charts legal attempts to demonstrate links between porn and sexual violence, as well as efforts to differentiate between different types of pornography; the result makes for fascinating reading."

E. Stina Lyon, professor emeritus of sociology, London South Bank University, is reading Contemporary Grandparenting: Changing Family Relationships in Global Contexts (Policy Press, 2012). "These essays revealingly explore the contradictions and ambiguities inherent in grandparenting. There are millions of us across the globe, yet we are largely invisible. As [the] elderly we are a financial 'burden', yet we regularly act as child, mother and kinship 'savers'. We are expected to be there, but asked not to interfere. And we do it for love. Remarkable."

Karen McAulay, music and academic services librarian, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, is reading Franny Moyle's Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites (John Murray, 2009). "Having just visited the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at Tate Britain, I had my interest in the painters themselves whetted by the excellent commentaries beside each painting. I always enjoy reading about the cultural contexts in which creative artists worked, and I'm thoroughly enjoying this overview of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, their models and close associates. The book is reassuringly well annotated and indexed, with a sizeable select bibliography and colour illustrations."

Nigel Rodenhurst, disabled students' allowance administrator at the University of Wales Trinity St David, is reading Art Spiegelman's The Complete Maus (Pantheon, 2003). "Spiegelman's 'graphic novel' stunned me from its outset because of the depictions of the Holocaust and lasting intergenerational trauma conveyed through the motif of Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. It is exceptional for being accessible and entertaining while uncovering the most tragic consequences of human actions."

Gordon Thomas, financial support funds officer, University of Nottingham, is reading Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 (Simon & Schuster, 2012). "This charts a year in the presidential race between Richard Nixon and his Democratic challenger George McGovern. A fascinating read - especially as the Obama/Romney duel reaches a climax - that underscores how little has changed in US politics these past 40 years. Rendered even more poignant by McGovern's recent death at the age of 90."

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