What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

May 28, 2009

Alison Assiter is professor of feminist theory, University of the West of England. She is reading Peter Singer's The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty (Pan Macmillan, 2009). "Just read it! It is an important book, not just for what it says, but for what it recommends us to do."

Stephen Halliday is lecturer at the Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge. He is reading Charles Darwin's Autobiographies, edited by Michael Neve and Sharon Messenger (Penguin Classics, 2002). "A charming and genuinely modest account by a genius of the first rank. 'I have no great quickness of apprehension or wit ...' Darwin writes, 'my power to follow a long and purely abstract train of thought is very limited.' How reassuring for those of us who share these weaknesses."

Philip Kemp is a freelance writer and film historian who teaches film journalism at the universities of Leicester and Middlesex. He is reading Anthony Lane's Nobody's Perfect: Writings from The New Yorker (Pan Macmillan, 2002). "Lane, The New Yorker's London-based film critic since 1993, writes with wit, elegance and lightly worn erudition; his film reviews (the bulk of this collection) are a joy to read."

Carolyn Lesjak is graduate chair and associate professor, department of English, Simon Fraser University. "I'm reading Trouble with Strangers: A Study of Ethics by Terry Eagleton (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), which is helping me think about my current project on what I'm calling a Victorian ethics of 'objectness'."

Peter J. Smith is reader in Renaissance literature, Nottingham Trent University. He is reading Rose George's The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste (Portobello, 2008). "From the high-tech and (hopefully) precision-aimed water jets of the Japanese toilet to the flung, full plastic bags of India, from the engineering innovations of the Victorian sewers to the fortunately omnivorous pigs of China, Rose's scatological travelogue is deft, politically passionate and always intriguing."

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