What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

September 18, 2014

Book review: Flying Under Bridges, by Sandi Toksvig

Peter Catterall, reader in history, University of Westminster, is reading Sandi Toksvig’s Flying Under Bridges (Sphere, 2001). “This novel offers both a moving plea for gay marriage and a powerful refutation of evangelical homophobia. It is remarkable how far we have moved since 2001. Less progress has been made on Toksvig’s other target. The social construction of gender relations – admittedly to different degrees – is shown here as oppressive of both women and men, and doubly so for gay people.”

Book review: Lila, by Robert M. Persig

Patrick Doorly, part-time lecturer in the history of art, department for continuing education, University of Oxford, is re-reading Robert M. Pirsig’s Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (Alma, 2011). “In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig showed how ‘quality’ (Plato’s arête) is not an attribute of subject or object, but the event in which subject and object unite and dissolve. Lila develops a comprehensive metaphysics around this primary experience, illustrated by the dramatis personae of the narrative. A thrilling journey with a first-class mind.”

Book review: Crisis of Empire, by Jeremy Black

A. W. Purdue, visiting professor of history, Northumbria University, is reading Jeremy Black’s Crisis of Empire: Britain and America in the Eighteenth Century (Bloomsbury, 2014). “Black reassesses the American Revolution, or War of Independence, in the context of Britain’s rise as a major world power. He emphasises the close relations between Britain and the colonists, the errors that led to what was, to a great extent, a civil war, and the reactions of Native Americans and black slaves and ex-slaves. The outcome owed much to the intervention of Britain’s colonial rivals, but the crisis would prove to be only a disruption to Britain’s progress towards colonial and maritime dominance.”

Book review: On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan

Peter J. Smith, reader in Renaissance literature, Nottingham Trent University, has just finished Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach (Jonathan Cape, 2007). “Edward and Florence, perched on the brink of the swinging Sixties, are honeymooning in Dorset. This delicate novel tells of their sexual expectations and inseparable anxieties. Lawrencian in its elemental power and Arnoldian in its cussed indifference, the beach itself is the backdrop to their final confrontation. An exemplum of human disappointment, pitiable, urgent and a wonderful read.”

Book review: Handbook of Executive Functioning, edited by Sam Goldstein and Jack Naglieri

Nicholas D. Thomson, a doctoral candidate in developmental psychopathology at Durham University, is reading Handbook of Executive Functioning, edited by Sam Goldstein and Jack Naglieri (Springer, 2014). “Given the academic and clinical credibility of the contributors, readers can appreciate the quality and scope of knowledge within this book before going beyond the contents. The editors have compiled a go-to guide for the latest research on executive functioning, confirming it as a necessary multidisciplinary tool for psychology. This is the perfect companion for neuropsychologists.”

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
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

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
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest