What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

December 6, 2012

Ben Ambridge, lecturer in psychology, University of Liverpool, is reading Ben Goldacre's Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients (Fourth Estate, 2012). "As a non-medical researcher, for me this book hits the sweet spot between reading for work and reading for pleasure. Goldacre reminds us that virtually everything we know, we know from controlled experiments, and that polluting the well of evidence - whether through greed, incompetence or laziness - is just about the worst thing a researcher can do."

Katie Liston, lecturer in social sciences of sport, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, is reading Mary Robinson's Everybody Matters: A Memoir (Hodder & Stoughton, 2012). "This is a compelling read and, even more importantly, it is an immensely humble and real-life reflection by the former Irish president and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In her words: 'If you really believe in something and are prepared to pay the price, you are then free to speak truth to power.' A remarkable personal and social history."

Brandy Schillace, assistant professor of English literature, Winona State University, is reading Jill L. Matus' Shock, Memory and the Unconscious in Victorian Fiction (Cambridge University Press, 2009). "This fascinating examination of Victorian fiction and psychology provides a unique history of trauma. Examining works by Charles Dickens and others - as well as the after-effects of traumatic events - Matus demonstrates how 'shock' changed ideas about consciousness, identity and emotion. Highly relevant to literary studies and to the medical humanities, this is a fresh look at trauma theory."

Claire Warden is lecturer in drama at the University of Lincoln. She is reading Victor Hugo's Les Misérables (Kindle Edition, 2010). "With one of the most sympathetic protagonists in classic literature, Les Misérables evokes a Paris of dark corners and verdant gardens against the backdrop of revolution. Hugo's remarkable prose - devastatingly harrowing yet enduringly hopeful - emphasises vital contemporaneous issues of redemption, love, justice, forgiveness, class and social hierarchy. It is certainly more than just raw material for the musical."

Sharon Wheeler, senior lecturer in journalism, University of Portsmouth, is reading Ned Boulting's How I Won the Yellow Jumper (Yellow Jersey, 2012). "I'm a former sports reporter who developed an addiction to cycling after Britain cleaned up on Olympic medals in Beijing. Boulting's book is an amusing (and perceptive) glimpse at covering a huge sporting event. I'm alternating between laughing at his escapades, twitching in sympathy and harrumphing at his admission that he'd done no homework the first year he covered the race."

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