Space, monsters and luxury apartment blocks: Our book suggestions for your summer reads

Did you know that yesterday was #NationalBookLoversDay? Well, that’s like Library Christmas for us so we got very excited chatting about our favourites. Here’s a post to inspire you to pick up a book, settle into the sofa and lose yourself in some fiction…

You’re studying at Warwick with access to a Library containing over a million print books but how many of these have you read for pleasure, unrelated to your course? Now, I’m not asking you to make yourself a cup of tea and get stuck into Essential quantitative methods for business, management and finance (although far be it for me to stop you). Rather, take some time to try something you wouldn’t usually read; discover new worlds and uncover mysteries; acquaint yourself with Dr Frankenstein and Madame Bovary; travel through the wardrobe and find yourself standing in the snow, beside that famous lamppost; with fiction the possibilities are endless.

So here are some of our favourites, all in our collections, in case you weren’t sure where to start:

High-Rise by J.G. Ballard.

If the allure of Tom Hiddleston in the recent film-adaptation hasn’t attracted you to High-Rise yet, then hopefully this review will. In this short novel, written in 1975, J.G. Ballard’s construct of a dystopian society becomes literal in a single, luxury high-rise block. Struggling with class hierarchy and the physical oppression imposed by the building itself, the block descends into chaos, revealing insights into the human psyche and the relation between humanity and our physical landscapes. This book is a pretty concrete example of science fiction done brilliantly, and with its subtle allusions and provocative content, it really takes things to another level…

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

We all know the story of Frankenstein and his monster: a tale of a scientist who created life in the form of a feeling and perceiving ‘monster’. But for those that haven’t read the novel, Shelley breathes life into her characters, intelligently explores what it is to be human and the sense of identity in which we view ourselves. Reading this, you’ll find yourself pulled into a heated conflict, between Victor Frankenstein and his creature, of thought, humanity and morals. In Frankenstein, the characters truly do come alive.

Not only is this an inspiring read for scientists, but Mary Shelley finished writing and published Frankenstein when she was only 20 years old. I think I’d only just mastered semicolons at that age.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

If you’re midway through a busy summer, either with work, study or social gatherings you might like to go for something a little shorter. Light in weight but heavy in content, this wonderful story tells of the meeting between a pilot stranded in the desert and a young prince fallen to Earth from his asteroid. Playful and witty, this tale questions our distinctively ‘adult’ thought processes and helps us gain a different perspective on human relationships, values and the world around us.

…And it has pictures!

The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”

What would you give for eternal youth and beauty? Dorian Grey gives his soul in this modern literary classic of moral distortion. Wilde’s scandalous 1890 novel paints a vivid picture of corruption caused by hedonism, the relentless pursuit of pleasure, and vanity. A beautiful young man, believing himself to be beyond reprieve, descends into depravity in this short novel written in Wilde’s recognisable dazzling style. Cleverly mixing wit with gothic horror whilst exploring what identity means, this novel still mirrors modern life and questions the value we place on the outer self.

Wild swans: three daughters of China by Jung Chang

An engrossingly powerful historical biography, closely charting the lives of three generations of women, set against the changing background of twentieth century China. Jung Chang’s novel offers a previously unseen insight into the experience of women under Maoist rule, pulling on the experiences of her mother as a young communist, and grandmother who spent time as a concubine to a warlord, as well as her own to paint a rich picture of the place of Chinese women in history. Although at times a difficult and harrowing read, this novel ultimately shows the power and courage of three generations, helping to pave a brighter future for the next generation.

And these are just 5 of thousands of fiction books in the Library! Browse our catalogue or scan the shelves (mostly 3rd floor) to find more if these don’t grab you but do make the most of your time over summer to read something a little different. Before you know it, you’ll be back on your course material with what seems like little time for anything else!

We’d love to hear some of your book suggestions – add them in the comments.

Image: The Little Prince: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry/

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