Today is World Book Day
2 Mar 2023
For #WorldBookDay 2023 we asked our students and staff to tell us their favourite book from the Main Library and why. Here are some of their recommendations:
Ben's choice: House of Leaves, by Mark Danielewski
WHY I CHOSE IT: I think I can safely say I wouldn’t be studying English if it weren’t for this book. Bluntly put, it’s a horror novel. More accurately put, it’s a collection of narratives, genres, literary forms, non-literary forms, and fonts, constructing an elaborate maze that you get completely lost in. It’s up to you to discern what the story truly is, following clues in the margins and in the index. The experience of reading this showed me just how complex and exciting literature and the study of it can be, with many of the texts in the footnotes becoming my favourite books, opening all new avenues to pursue. Read it!
Lily's choice: London: A Social and Cultural History 1550-1750, by Robert Bucholz and Joe Ward
WHY I CHOSE IT: Bucholz and Ward present an engaging and immersive history in this vivid tour of early modern London. I simply hated my degree's topic until I was taught by R. Bucholz, whose voice, passion for the subject, and narrative-oriented lecture style reverberate clearly throughout these pages. In a sense, I wouldn't be at Oxford if not for the author of this book; today, the piece continues to inspire my approach to historical research and writing.
Bekah's choice: Selected Poems, by Heinrich Heine, Barker Fairley (ed.)
WHY I CHOSE IT: I chose this book because it's a lovely edition and great selection of some of the work of the German late Romantic poet Heinrich Heine, there's a fantastic combination of love lyric and political verse in there, as well as a good introduction. I studied Heine in the summer of my second year and his poetry had a great impact on me.
Marina's choice: Natives : race and class in the ruins of empire, by Akala
WHY I CHOSE IT: A brilliantly written, eye opening memoir about being black in Britain that gives you food for thought. It provides a deep dive into the experiences of Akala and those around him, as well as race and class analysis of different historical eras, in addition to contemporary British society.
Kishan's choice: Leviathan; or, The matter, forme and power of a commonwealth, ecclesiasticall and civil, by Thomas Hobbs
WHY I CHOSE IT: A frequently caricatured but deeply nuanced book, Hobbes lays out the moral and practical bases for the existence of the modern state. Hobbes studied Augustine and draws on that wisdom to make the case for order before justice, peace before war. It’s a cornerstone in the history of ideas and an endless repository of personal and political insight.
Mike's choice: The roll and writ file of the Berkshire Eyre of 1248, edited for the Selden Society by M.T. Clanchy
WHY I CHOSE IT: Is it cheating to choose an entire series? If not I will happily nominate anything from the Selden Society, a set of which is on the rollers down in the Lower Library, and which offer a fascinating glimpse into the past and a fabulous resource for amateur local historians. If pushed to pick an individual volume I would have to choose ‘Roll and Writ File of the Berkshire Eyre 1248’. Random? Well, possibly, but where else could I discover that Geoffrey, son of Ralph, was found drowned in a Hendred ditch; Thomas the Chaplain’s body was fished out of the Ock; Richard le Urner was found stabbed to death in the house of Thomas de Fonte in Ginge; and Ralph and Isabel of Barwell were similarly discovered in Isabel’s house (blame for the latter murders falling squarely upon Alan, son of Odo). The 1200s were a dangerous time. Even staying at home had its risks: Helewise, daughter of William the crossbowman, was crushed to death when the roof of her cottage suddenly collapsed…
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