What We're Reading This Month: April 2014

Books, articles, more.

April 27, 2014


Janine Utell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA:  I’ve been doing a bit better fitting nonwork reading into my life, and it’s really helped refresh my brain.  In addition to the reading I do to prep my Graphic Narrative course, I’ve been gravitating towards smart thrillers lately, and I always have a higher ed book going.  So smart thrillers:  Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household and The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul.  Current higher ed reading:  Ebony and Ivy:  Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities by Craig Steven Wilder.


Melonie Fullick, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: I try to read a novel alongside any academic reading I’m doing, and right now I’m reading a series of books by the mystery writer Ngaio Marsh; they’re a great way to “switch off” when I need a break at the end of the day (so far my favourite is Died in the Wool). In terms of academic material, I’m looking at a few less recent Canadian higher ed books that I was able to order recently, including Hidden Academics: Contract Faculty in Canadian Universities. I also recently read Higher Education in America by Derek Bok, which was a fairly good primer for a non-U.S. audience.


Lee Skallerup Bessette, Kentucky, USA: What did I say I was reading last month? Yeah, I’m still reading that, as it is the end of the semester, so I’m neck-deep in grading and grading and grading. Did I mention grading? You should, however, be reading the new Educating Modern Learners, which I am contributing to. I will eventually be preparing for my trip to the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria during the first week of June by reading (ok, downloading) Digital Humanities and Pedagogy, alongside Writing about Literature in the Digital Age and Writer/designer: A guide to making multimodal projects. And if I ever get a second to breathe, I’ll be reading Up, Up, and Away, the first complete history of my beloved Montreal Expos.


Janni Aragon, Victoria, BC, Canada: Well, I finished some of the books from last month and have picked up the next issues of some of the same magazines. In terms of scholarly journal articles, I am read various articles related to women in higher education, academic leadership, and educational technology. I really enjoyed the themed articles in the latest Politics, Groups, and Identities. Oh, and this last month I read about 1500 pages of student work!


Meg Palladino, New Haven, Connecticut, USA: Most of my reading lately has been to my 19 month old son.  We have some Dr. Seuss classics on constant rotation: There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, Oh the Thinks You Can Think, and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?  I am hoping to find some time for some more adult reading, but for now, that is what is crowding my nightstand.


Anamaria Dutceac Segesten, Lund, Sweden: I continue to read only academic texts even in April (despite my hope of having Easter break free from work). So on my list there is The Theory of Political Culture by Stephen Welch, and a book on the development of the Danish identity (this one in Danish, which slows me down a bit). Always around is The Economist magazine, and a lot of online reporting about the events unfolding in Ukraine.


Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, Evanston, Illinois, USA:  My reading habits transformed when I joined Facebook and Twitter.  I aggregate paperlis via Twitter and read what catches my eye on the topics I have identified.  This means I dip into a broader variety of publications based upon what the paperli algorithm happens to highlight or what my friends happen to repost on Facebook and Twitter.  Thanks to a fluke involving expired airline miles, I get Bloomberg Business Week delivered at home.  For someone who has NEVER worked outside academia, I end up reading quite a bit about the corporate world.  I like to think it makes me more even-handed about its influences upon intellectual life, but who knows.  The Economist remains our household standby for current events.  The direct comparison with BBW highlights its broader global purview.  My literary and academic reading tend to be binge affairs.  Check with me in July!


Liana Silva-Ford, Houston, Texas, USA: I spend a lot of time reading about gender inequality and gender issues, in higher education and outside of higher education. But I also spend a lot of time reading about creative nonfiction, which relates to my current writing project. At the moment I’m slowly digesting the recent The Atlantic article that had social media abuzz, “The Confidence Gap,” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. I feel it’s important for me to read it and understand it if I’m going to discuss it in Women in Higher Education’s next issue. In terms of my writing projects, I’m currently reading the book Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction. And of course, on the daily there’s a healthy dose of links that I find via the folks I follow through my social media accounts.


Ana Dinescu, Berlin, Germany: I spending a lot of time reading travel books, the biggest pleasant discovery being Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. As I am permanently trying to improve my German knowledge, I put myself on trial with various writing challenges: for instance, a comic novel about the life and political career of the German chancellor Willy Brandt. For the sake of literary beauty, not necessarily for the academic prowess I cannot miss the opportunity to recommend Helene Wecker’s debut novel: The Golem and the Djinni. Of course, if you are into anthropology and history of religious will appreciate the fine details. Maybe till the next month will dedicate more time to read latest academic works, but my heart will always stay close to novels and fiction.


Mary Churchill, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: It’s been a busy month and I haven’t had a chance to read as much as I would have liked! I finished Tale for the Time Being and started The Good Lord Bird (hilariously dark fiction based on John Brown). I’ve also been reading Jill Lepore’s book on Jane Franklin, Ben Franklin’s younger sister, and it’s been fascinating to virtually walk down the streets of Boston’s North End in the mid-1700’s. Picked up The Atlantic at the airport and read “The Confidence Gap” - Like Liana, I would love to know your thoughts on this piece.


What are we missing? What do you recommend? What was the best thing you read this month?


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