Magazine article Times Higher Education

What Are You Reading?

Magazine article Times Higher Education

What Are You Reading?

Article excerpt

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers.

Daniel Binney, postgraduate administrator, department of history, Classics and archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London, is reading Michael Palmer's The Atheist's Primer (Lutterworth Press, 2012). "This primer is an elegant subject guide for entry-level infidels. Perhaps it has been pitched to an age group who should already have divested themselves of imaginary friends, but it still constitutes a utile grounding in, and overview of, the thinking, constructive and destructive, of freethinkers throughout Western history."

Nathan Emmerich, honorary research fellow in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen's University Belfast, is reading Helene Mialet's Hawking Incorporated (University of Chicago Press, 2012). "In her fascinating anthropological study of a tribe of one, Mialet struggles to locate the real Stephen Hawking even as she adds to the mythology that shrouds her subject. Yet the coup de grace is missing. Surely the final word should have been a coda by the most recently retired Lucasian professor of mathematics and the human and non-human networks from which he can no longer be fully distinguished?"

Mary Evans, Centennial professor at the Gender Institute, London School of Economics, is reading J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy (Little, Brown, 2012). "This does a very good job of reviving the idea of socialist realism. It's not the rant that its critics suggest but a very recognisable (and readable) account of many of the characters of contemporary England, both within and outside the current government. …

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