King’sConnect Faculty Bookshelf
What I’m reading
In his own words, Patton describes his three favourites: n Sue Townsend – Adrian Mole the Prostrate Years: Sue Townsend began writing the Adrian Mole series in the 1980s. These comedic novels are centered on Adrian Mole who is a rather charming underachiever living in Lester, England. In this most recent novel, Adrian is now 39 and beginning to face some mid-life issues. He is a thwarted writer working in a failing antiquarian bookshop, and his second marriage is failing at the same time. As I describe the book it sounds quite depressing, but it is actually delightfully funny. Adrian is also diagnosed with prostate cancer; while it remains a comic book, there is a poignant quality to it which is quite delightful. Townsend is a comic writer who can flirt with dark subject matter in a way that is really quite moving. In reviews, people have described it as one of the finest books about people living with cancer; it is a comic novel but a little more than that as well. n Peter Ackroyd – London: the Biography: Peter Ackroyd is not first and foremost a historian; he is a writer of fiction and a biographer. His subject is almost always someone or something that has lived in or happened in the city of London, England which is a city that endlessly fascinates me. Over a decade of writing about London, Ackroyd has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of a city that is so ridiculously rich in history. This book is a culmination 8
The King’s Herald | spring 2013
Benjamin J. Muller, Department of Political Science, recently published the book Rethinking Hizballah: Legitimacy, Authority, Violence with Samer N. Abboud. The book has been nominated for the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) Book Prize in International Relations for 2013 (to be decided for the CPSA annual meeting at the University of Victoria in June).
PHOTO: Claus Andersen
Professor Brian Patton, Department of Modern Languages, shared his thoughts on his current favourite reads. Patton teaches courses in both English and Film Studies, including Introduction to Film Studies, Reading Popular Culture, and 20th Century British and Irish Literature. His research interests focus on Post-war British literature and culture, as well as the spy thriller genre; he has published on Ian Flemming and James Bond. In the last few years, Patton has taken an interest in the graphic novel as a literary form.
of his fascination with the city. The lovely thing about this book, beyond the fact that it is a history of a city that fascinates me, is that it is rich in anecdote. It moves both chronologically from prehistory to the present, and it also jumps back and forth in time. He has a way of looking across times and making wonderful connections, and I don’t think there is a city anywhere that is as rich in detail and history as London is. n Shawn Tan – The Arrival: This is a graphic novel in the fullest sense in that it is a book that has no words at all. Tan tells his story using entirely photo-realistic sepia toned illustration. The novel follows the journey of an immigrant arriving in a strange new country where everything is entirely foreign. Tan uses his art to suggest the absolutely overwhelming strangeness of a new place. He doesn’t know the language and can’t read the signs so his art is rendered in the way that it appears to him. It tells the story of him encountering the foreignness of the place and his gradual discoveries and joys as he becomes more acquainted with his surroundings. The beauty of the story is that it can be experienced by anyone regardless of their language. Tan obviously had his own family background in mind, but I think that anyone who has had an experience with immigration can relate to this story.
Surveying the different and sometimes conflicting interpretations of state-society relations in Lebanon, this book presents a lucid examination of the socio-political conditions that gave rise to the Lebanese movement Hizballah from 1982 until present. A book review on ashgate.com reads: ‘Challenging traditional notions of authority, legitimacy, and indeed what it means to be a non-state or sub-state actor in world politics, Rethinking Hizballah is invaluable in understanding the roots, dynamics, and possibilities of current Middle Eastern politics and the role of Hizballah in Lebanon. Based on extensive interviews and a deep engagement with IR theory, this is a must-read for serious thinkers about sovereignty, legitimacy, postcolonialism, and violence.’ Mark B. Salter, University of Ottawa, Canada