What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

April 25, 2013

Paul Greatrix, registrar, University of Nottingham, is reading Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow (Vintage Classics, 2004). “Huxley’s entertaining debut novel is a satirical flight through a 1920s gathering of bright young things at Crome, home of the Wimbushes. Denis Stone, the innocent young poet, recounts the action and really has very little positive to say about most of his fellow guests - including a Mr Barbecue-Smith, whose view on higher education is unfortunate: ‘illuminating, but provoking the Lower Classes to discontent and revolution’.”

Families, Education and Giftedness by Laura Mazzoli Smith and Jim Campbell

Barry Hymer, professor of psychology in education, University of Cumbria, has been reading Laura Mazzoli Smith and Jim Campbell’s Families, Education and Giftedness (Sense Publishers, 2012). “The concept of giftedness is suffering under an accumulation of evidence from diverse fields, and this book turns the screw. From a nuanced exploration of the construction of giftedness in working-class families, the authors make a persuasive case for ditching the epistemological assumptions underpinning both research and policy in the field in favour of an approach that puts interdisciplinarity and cultural relativism at the core.”

Obesity by Sander L. Gilman

Sara Read, tutor and Society for Renaissance Studies postdoctoral fellow, department of English and drama, Loughborough University, is reading Sander L. Gilman’s Obesity: The Biography (Oxford University Press, 2010). “Part of the publisher’s Biographies of Diseases series, which includes titles on asthma, cholera, diabetes and thalassaemia. This condition, however, is perhaps a bit trickier to biographise - if indeed it is possible to do this for a disease at all - since there’s no consensus that obesity is a disease. An absorbing history that starts with literary representations, then moves from ancient medicine to the rise of ‘globesity’.”

The Natural Death Handbook by Ru Callender

Brandy Schillace, managing editor of Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, is reading The Natural Death Handbook (Strange Attractor Press, 2012), edited by Ru Callender. “This book, now in its fifth edition, speaks with clarity and grace about life’s end, offering a combination of practical advice and reflections that inspire, comfort and challenge. Committed first to viewing death as a natural part of life, its second major contribution is the reconsideration of death practices harmful to the Earth, that patient womb to which we are returned.”

The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox

Sharon Wheeler, senior lecturer in journalism, University of Portsmouth, is reading Fleet Street Fox’s The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox (Constable, 2013). “If you’re a journalist on Twitter, you probably follow Fleet Street Fox, who’s a trenchant supporter of the tabloids. The appearance of her book has outed her as former Sunday Mirror staffer Susie Boniface. It’s sparky and snarky, although the angst over her divorce gets old quickly. Read it for the down and dirty background to life as a tabloid hack.”

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