Reviewing the Situation

I walk my kids to school on Monday mornings. They chatter away about whatever their latest interests are, and I listen. Walking them means I get started with work a little later than usual. Generally, I am in my office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., pretty standard hours. However, it takes every ounce of will power I have to not work longer hours. Like anyone who owns a business, there are always 5000 things that I should do but can’t seem to get around to doing. I don’t work weekends, unless I am at a conference, and take holidays off, as well. When my kids have time off from school, I hang with them. We’re going on the train to Chicago during their school break soon. We will eat Chicago-style pizza, walk up and down Michigan Avenue, and enjoy the big city.

My sons are thrilled because I am at work reading a book for review. They think I need to write more for Adjunct Advocate. They like to read the pieces I publish in magazines and newspapers, and especially the ones I write for “our” magazine. Well, I decided that I wanted to write a review of Gypsy Scholars, Migrant Teachers and the Global Academic Proletariat: Adjunct Labour in Higher Education. At least I think it will be reviewed. I was very excited when I read about the book, and it came to me all the way from the publisher in The Netherlands from Rodopi Press.

A few nights ago, I started the book. It’s a collection of essays, so I read the introduction, but didn’t start at the beginning. I like to read collections of essays out of order. Somehow, for me, it makes a collection of essays slightly less staged. In the introduction, the editors Rudolphus Teeuwen and Steffen Hantke, wrote about the difficulties of finding a publisher for their collection. As I read the essays, I understood why. The first piece I dipped into read like an journal entry. The author wrote about her feelings of persecution and paranoia. Where, I wondered, could she go with such a piece? Turns out, she couldn’t go very far at all.

So, I have finished all of the essays, and am now deciding what to do. Someone suggested a book of such disappointing quality should not be dignified with a review. However, there are few books about the plight of part-time faculty being published in the EU at the moment. This one devotes half to the plight of part-time faculty in the U.S., and half to the plight of part-time faculty internationally. There are some interesting and compelling parts, but not many. I am stumped at the moment.

I’d be interested to hear what you think. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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