Summer has arrived, and with it the time to spend on valuable reading time in preparation for your Oxbridge personal statements and interviews.
Although time may now seem plentiful, it is easy to get caught up on what to read. This varies depending on your mood and schedule – at times you might want to delve into some challenging, to stretch you; sometimes you’re looking for something quick in between planned activities; and sometimes you just want to relax and remember your enjoyment of the subject.
In-keeping with these different demands, we’ve put together some reading suggestions to keep you motivated.
The Fun Read: Orlando – Virginia Woolf
An engaging – and topical – epic, exploring gender and identity across centuries.
The Short Read: Why Do I Love You Sir? - Dickinson
A great introduction to Dickinson’s work, you can reflect on the use of dashes, the significance of nature and the portrayal of love.
The Challenging Read: The Faerie Queene - Edmund Spenser
Spenser’s classic work is particularly tricky, so just reading the first three chapters will give you plenty to stretch your brain with!
The Fun Read: The Millennium Problems: The Seven Greatest Unsolved Mathematical Puzzles of Our Time - Keith Devlin
In 2000, The Clay Foundation offered one million dollars to anyone who could solve any of seven incredibly difficult mathematics problems; here, Devlin energetically explains them.
The Short Read:
- This article from Oxford’s research: http://www.ox.ac.uk/research/research-impact/mathematics-design-and-manufacture-novel-glass-products
- This article from Cambridge’s research: http://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/features/synchronised-swimming
Taking a look at these short articles – or others like them – will give you an impressive up-to-date knowledge of current research at Oxbridge.
The Challenging Read: The Pleasures of Counting - T.W. Körner
With exercises scattered throughout, this is a book that asks for your engagement as it provides an insight into the world of applied mathematics.
The Fun Read: After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory - Alasdair MacIntyre
A lively read, After Virtue was received as an important and highly controversial re-evaluation of contemporary moral philosophy.
The Short Read: Augustine: A Very Short Introduction (part of the Oxford Very Short Introduction series) - Henry Chadwick
These pocket-sized but academically rigorous books are a great place to start for a busy student who wants to dip their toes in a topic. Have a browse in your local bookshop!
The Challenging Read: Christus Victor - Gustaf Aulen
This influential book explores different theories of the atonement and what the crucifixion of Jesus all means. Whilst Aulen's argument has convinced many, others disagree, so feel free to explore opposing views!
The Fun One: The Vulfpack Phenomenon: https://qwest.tv/12/2018/the-vulfpeck-phenomenon/
A quick history of the Vulfpack, hugely influential in the current jazz-funk scene.
The Short One:
Take a quick look at these two very different articles on contemporary music.
The Challenging One: The Cultural Study of Music: A critical introduction - Martin Clayton, Trevor Herbert, and Richard Middleton (eds.)
An anthology of new writings to provide a basic textbook on music and culture.
The Fun One: Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down - J.E Gordon
An accessible, witty take on the structure design principles you need to know.
The Short One: www.architecturetoday.co.uk/architecture-gets-active-on-climate-change/
This is a quick but insightful article on the how the drive for sustainability is affecting modern architecture.
The Challenging One: A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals - Spiro Kostof
Engagingly written, this book has extraordinary scope as it examines architecture throughout human history.