What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

February 20, 2014

David Eastwood, vice-chancellor, University of Birmingham, is reading Arthur Hugh Clough’s Amours de Voyage (Macmillan, 1903, facsimile from Lightning Source UK) and wondering why it’s taken him so long to do so. “Remarkable in form – a long epistolary poem – this work ranges from a meditation on faith and doubt, through reflections on Roman decline, to listless love against the background of the Revolutions of 1848-49. It ultimately finds solace not in action but in understanding: ‘Ere our death-day, Faith, I think, does pass, and Love; but Knowledge abideth.’ ”

Review: Einstein's Unification, by Jeroen van Dongen

Graham Farmelo, by-fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, is reading Jeroen van Dongen’s Einstein’s Unification (Cambridge University Press, 2010). “Einstein’s project to find a unified theory of gravity and electromagnetism is often described as quixotic, a somewhat embarrassing conclusion to his glorious career. Yet serious assessments of this work are few and far between. Van Dongen puts that right in this handsome, well-researched and thought-provoking volume.”

Review: The United States of Paranoia, by Jesse Walker

Matthew Feldman, reader in contemporary history, Teesside University, is reading Jesse Walker’s The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory (HarperCollins, 2013). “Building on Richard Hofstadter’s work, Walker extends the ‘paranoid style’ in American politics to various types of mythic enemies (above, below, within and without, and even the ‘benevolent conspiracy’). While it overstates reactions to the far Right, the further back into history this breezily written academic study goes, the more revealing, especially regarding the republic’s adolescence.”

Review: Unfathomable City, by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker

Helen Taylor, College of Humanities fellow (Arts and Culture) and professor of English, University of Exeter, is reading Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker’s Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (University of California Press, 2013). “Reinventing the atlas (as in Solnit’s earlier study of San Francisco), this is a historical geography by map-makers, writers and artists describing post-industrial, post-catastrophe New Orleans in terms of its spaces of music, spirit, language, food and drink. The maps playfully couple prostitution and seafood sellers, civil rights and lemon ice. A fitting scholarly gumbo for a city of the senses.”

Review: The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

Sharon Wheeler, senior lecturer in journalism, University of Portsmouth, is reading Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project (Penguin, 2013). “Don Tillman looks like a young Gregory Peck. Sadly, he’s lacking social skills and empathy. So he reckons the only way he’ll get a wife is for candidates to fill in questionnaires. And then Rosie appears in his office one day. This is a quirky comedy of (bad) manners, set in Australian academia, where you’ll soon be rooting for the unconventional hero and his sparky female lead.”

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Retired academics calculating moves while playing bowls

Lincoln Allison, Eric Thomas and Richard Larschan reflect on the ‘next phase’ of the scholarly life