One of our New Year’s Resolutions here at Oxbridge International Summer School is to get reading. Not only do books give you access to the stories and lives of others, but they are great for improving your own writing – a key skill looked for by top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge.
This week, Henna, our Student and Parent liaison here at OISS will be sharing some of her favourites – academic and popular, fiction and non-fiction. Each week we’ll be sharing more of our picks, along with the courses you might be interested in if these sound up your street! We’re also using these to write our summer reading lists (it’s never too early…) and we’ll be sure to hit University Parks this summer with some seriously cool reading material.
The Genealogy of Morals – Friedrich Nietzsche
I first read this for one of my Oxford philosophy papers. It’s brilliant to read as it brings out the origins of Nietzsche’s ideas and shows that his method is like that of no other philosopher I have ever read. Using a mixture of linguistic and historical analysis he explains his view on the source of morality and the direction he believes humanity is taking. Even now what he writes is readable, exciting, and actually really persuasive – more of a fun argument about the nature of ethics than anything else!
If you like the sound of this, check out our Philosophy course.
And the Hippos Were Boiled in the Tanks – Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs
The Beat authors are so popular and iconic that to include them on a list like this is quite cliched. While I have included a Beat classic just below, what I love about this book is that it chronicles a time before they got famous. Not only is it a great story about being young in wartime NYC, but the story of the crime is really gripping, and unlike anything else I’ve ever read. (I also just think the title is pretty cool, to be honest!)
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
A classic of modern literature, On the Road is a novel that speaks to anyone who likes the idea of going on an adventure. The writing has a speed and an urgency to it unlike anything else I have ever read, and completely changed my opinion about what fiction writing could and should be. A must-read for wannabe cool kids/literature students…
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Mr Darcy is the perfect romantic hero, and has been immortalised in countless television shows, films and writing since Austen completed her novel. What is great about Pride and Prejudice is not that it’s a love story, but how Jane Austen satirises the society she lives in – from the hysterical Mrs Bennet to the scheming Bingley sisters, the cast of characters she creates makes P&P more salacious than Gossip Girl!
If literature’s your thing, perhaps our English course is for you.
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the issue of race in the US in a unique way. By sharing this extended letter to his 14 year old son with us as an audience, we get to experience Coates’ life in a way that is more personal than many other books on the subject. There are also some striking photographs and anecdotes that make you feel as if you are experiencing Coates’ journey with him; a huge privilege for everyone reading this book.
If you can’t get enough of politics and social issues, take a look at Politics and International Relations.
Moth Smoke – Mohsin Hamid
Moth Smoke is a story exploring the relationship between classes, genders and countries. By comparing the life of the hero – a born and bred Lahore boy – with that of his friend returning from the United States, we gain an insight into the problems of uneven development and class in a changing country, from someone at the centre of that change. The style of storytelling is exciting, and the description is evocative of a culture vastly different from our own.
If you want to learn more about other cultures and how the world is changing, International Development might be for you.