OXBRIDGE P R E PA R AT I O N
For those aspiring to Oxford, Cambridge and other UK universities This unique, tailored programme is designed for students who are interested in progressing to Oxford or Cambridge colleges or another top UK University, such as London School of Economics, Imperial College London, University College London, Durham University and others.
Throughout this programme you will: Learn from and speak with Admission Tutors and Oxbridge students about their entry requirements and what it is really like to be a student there. Oxbridge Admission tutors regard ‘passion for your subject’ to be the most important aspect of a potential student, with intelligence and exceptional grades no longer being enough. You will learn to demonstrate a real passion for your subject through a development plan and the recommended reading list. Learn to review evidence, form a judgment and present a reasoned argument and counter argument. Learn to use logic to gather and analyse information in order to draw trends and solve problems. Use proven techniques that can help you to work smarter and learn more effectively in the same amount of time. Go beyond ‘what you say’ to ‘how you say it’. We train you on body language, tone of voice and expressions to develop effective interview techniques. Using your newly developed critical and analytical thinking skills, you will learn how to answer the toughest Oxbridge interview questions remember there is no right or wrong answer!
This booklet include Oxbridge interview questions that have been asked of students.
P R E PA R AT I O N 1
Is it more important to do ‘I love you’ than to say “I love you”?
If I read the English translation and you read the Spanish translation are we both reading the same book?
With every new song written does that mean there will be fewer new songs left to write?
Can the worst thing that has ever happened to you also be the best?
In China workers live, work, and sleep in the factory used by Apple, so could you say iPhones are ‘homemade’?
If you built a railway line that did converge on the horizon could you tell?
P R E PA R AT I O N 2
Can a state love its people and. If so, should it?
If there are more humans in the world now than ever before, are there fewer molecules around to be used to make other things?
Can you please someone without making them happy?
Is there a safe way to die?
If the wrapper is in my pocket is it litter?
If you are locked out of your car is it broken down?
Can you be as sure something you canâ€™t see doesnâ€™t exist as you can be that it does?
P R E PA R AT I O N 3
An Alternative Good School Checklist
P R E PA R AT I O N 4
Do children enjoy going there?
Do teachers enjoy going there?
Are all children challenged by work?
Do the children develop competencies as well as earn grades?
Do the children learn skills as well as facts?
Are morals and values focused on and exhibited daily by all members of the school community?
Is there an inclusive atmosphere where all children are valued for who they are and what they bring?
Are key issues like bullying and other social and emotional aspects of school life discussed and addressed in a positive, open way?
Is the ability to think for themselves encouraged and developed in all children?
P R E PA R AT I O N 5
10. Does the school have a sense of fun?
11. Are aspects like wonder, curiosity, adventure, bravery, resilience and resistance actively encouraged and celebrated?
12. Are the teachers open to new ideas and keen to do things with - and not to - the learners?
13. Does the school keep up to date with new advances in learning?
14. Does the school keep up to date with new advances in learning technology?
15. Are high expectations of the children matched by high expectations of the staff?
16. Is the head teacher visible?
17. Are children taught that being their best doesnâ€™t have to involve being better than others?
P R E PA R AT I O N 6
18. Is the unexpected welcomed?
19. Do children get to think about, interact with and seek to change life outside of the school walls?
20. Is the school aware that learning is something that children can do anytime, anywhere and only part of it needs to be within school walls?
21. Does the school community extend beyond the school?
22. Do the lessons incorporate a variety of learning opportunities and possibilities?
23. Do the children have the opportunity to be responsible for something and take decisions that make difference?
24. Are the results sufficient enough to allow all children to go the next stage of their life, whatever that may be?
25. Does the lady on reception smile at visitors?
P R E PA R AT I O N 7
Can you wash a hole?
Is a stick dead?
If you turn a box upside down does the air inside go upside down too?
Is fighting for rights the same as fighting for justice? Is equality the same as fairness?
Should you live each life as if it were your last?
Does a bad government encourage citizenship more than a good government?
Would you call a doctor who refused to kill herself and donate her heart to save a patient selfish?
P R E PA R AT I O N 8
Are some human lives worth more than others?
Is a mirror more of a window than a door is?
Has anyone who has owned a Ferrari ever made the world a better place?
Should vegetarians not listen to musicians who use strings made from animal gut on their instruments?
Does you height influence your personality?
Is anger a better force for good than happiness?
P R E PA R AT I O N 9
30 Things That Exams Donâ€™t Measure Self-esteem Confidence Fairness Creativity Resilience Sense of humour Sense of perspective Ability to be with others Ability to be with yourself Mindfulness Self-control Self-awareness
P R E PA R AT I O N 10
Sense of justice Sense of injustice Moral code Motivation to do well Motivation to keep learning Motivation to contribute Curiosity Gumption Resourcefulness Ingenuity Ability to love Ability to be loved Ethics Emotional intelligence Empathy Ability to make people laugh Ability to cry Ability to train kestrel
P R E PA R AT I O N 11
Does a dog mind what you stroke it with?
Is the sole goal behind educating poor people that they stop being poor?
Are schools democratic?
Can you be a head teacher if you’ve never been a teacher and can you be a good head teacher if you’ve never been a good teacher?
If you bully someone but the person you bully doesn’t know you’re bullying them, is it still bullying? Is cynicism the opposite of optimism more than pessimism is?
Could you have a pet tree? If you did, could you ever teach it to ‘stay’ and if you called it to ‘Come!’, and it didn’t, would it be misbehaving?
P R E PA R AT I O N 12
If science can’t prove something works does it not work even if it works?
If you turn a speaker upside down does the music come out upside down, and is it the same for the light when you turn a torch upside down?
Would an iPod with one track on it work in ‘shuffle’ mode?
Is ‘Toll road clear’ on motorway signs a form of advertising, and is it more so the case if the nontoll road is also clear?
Do flames have sides?
Is a dream real?
Does a room weigh more if it has a strong smell in it?
P R E PA R AT I O N 13
The Intelligence of Six +
(6+6) 6 ideas: What’s the square root of 36?
Come up with 6 answers to each.
The answer’s 6, what’s the question?
Why is it 6° centigrade?
You have two hours to turn this £6 into as big return as possible…
What are the most important thing about 6 a.m.? 6 p.m.?
How would life be different if we worked in base 6 and not in base 10?
Is 6 on its side a 6 or a 9?
What would you do if you only had 6 years to live? 6 days? 6 minutes? Design a new numerical symbol for ‘6’. How many things can you make out of the symbol “6”?
How could you make a life better for 6-years-olds? Write tune with only 6 different notes in it. Design a car for 6 people.
Write a poem entitled “6”.
Why do insects have 6 legs and not more? Or less?
Get from ‘dog’ to combine harvester in 6 steps.
How could you work out if the idea of 6 degrees of seperation is really true?
What are the 6 biggest problems facing the world today?
Who are the 6 people who mean the most to you?
P R E PA R AT I O N 14
Who are the 6 people you mean the most to?
Which are the most 6 most important species on the planet and why?
Prepare a three-course meal with only 6 ingredients.
You are marooned for 6 days on the moors – what are the first 6 things you would do?
Make someone laugh in only 6 words. Tell me the story of Cinderella in only 6 words. Tell me your life in only 6 words. 6 pictures. Come up with 6 uses for a fork. There is an Amazonian tribe who only work in 2s- how would you get across the concept of ‘6’ to them? What are the 6 most important lessons every 12-year-old should know? You need to find £6 in 6 hours- what 6 things could you do?
There has been an accident in a tunnel and you have to put a 6-person rescue team together – who would you choose and why? Attacking aliens have asked for 6 people to represent planet earth – who would you send? Get from the word ‘dog’ to ‘cat’ in 6 steps. Find the word for “6” in 6 different languages. Find the symbol for “6” in 6 different scripts. Get from 6 to 666 in 6 steps.
P R E PA R AT I O N 15
What 6 things would happen if there were suddenly no 6s in the world?
Name ‘The Nation’s 6 Favourite 6-Letter Words’ in your opinion and why.
Name 6 things that make you happy.
Name 6 things you could do to halt climate change.
Name 6 things that would make someone else happy.
Name 6 things you want to do before you due.
You are the head of school – what are the 6 biggest challenges you face? What are the 6 smallest?
Name the 6 most important people in the history of the world and why.
Name 6 things you could do today to make the world a better place.
Name the 6 most important inventions in the history of the world and why.
Name 6 things could you do to fix a dripping tap?
You have to pack a suitcase for a 6-week holiday in Australia and you’re only allowed 6 items – what would you take?
Name 6 emotions you feel when watching a football game? Name 6 emotions you feel during a science lesson.
Name 6 reasons why 6 is a special number. Write a 6-word slogan to sell yourself to a potential employer.
Name 6 causes of a headache. Name 6 things you’d save if your house was on fire. What if it was your school on fire?
P R E PA R AT I O N 16
Name 6 steps to healthier lifestyle. What are the 6 longest words you know? Name 6 technological inventions you would come up with if you were Bill Gates. If you typed ‘6’ into Google, what do you think would be the first things that would come up? What are the 6 most important companies in the world today?
You’ve got 6 people coming to dinner and a budget of £6 per person – what would you prepare for them? What if your budget was just £6 in total? You have a pen, some paper, a mobile phone, a spoon and a computer connected to the Internet – name 6 ways you could make money just using that equipment. Design a 6-room house for a family of 6. Identify 6 ways to reduce teenage crime.
Name 6 uses for old people. Name 6 ways to reduce traffic congestions where you live. Name 6 reasons why your car won’t start. What 6 things could you do if your computer is running slow?
Identify 6 ways to reduce teenage pregnancy. What are the 6 worst things you could say to a friend? The 6 best? Name 6 things with 6 sides. Name 6 things a horse needs.
P R E PA R AT I O N 17
Is handing your criminal child over to the police a greater act of love than not doing so?
Can you not yet have heard your second favourite ever song?
Can you have the last word by remaining silent?
Do you have the same number of thoughts each day?
Does the Church need the poor?
Is it undemocratic to be made to vote?
Is taking ÂŁ1 coin more like stealing than taking something that cost ÂŁ1?
P R E PA R AT I O N 18
Can everybody wear exclusive clothes?
Should we teach our children not to believe what they read, trust what they hear or do what theyâ€™re told?
If you shine a candle in a mirror do you get twice as much light?
Would you eat in a restaurant which advertised that it used only the best cockroach traps?
Does a window have a front and a back?
Does a digital photograph of a black sheet of paper use fewer megabytes of space than a digital photo of a white sheet of paper?
Are the bubbles in the bottle before you open it? Does your dog know what it did last summer?
P R E PA R AT I O N 19
The Meaning of the 21st Century 303.483 MAR James Martin founded the Oxford Martin School, part of the University of Oxford, for research into the near future. He is one of the world’s most widely respected authorities on the impact of technology on society. In a clear, penetrating and insightful style he addresses the key questions of our age and proposes an interconnected set of solutions to its problems. It is vital that architects take into consideration future possibilities and difficulties. Brian LAVERY
Ship 387.509 LAV Brian Lavery, one of the world s leading naval historians, is the author of over thirty books covering naval warfare, marine architecture and ship construction. This is the ultimate guide to every aspect of the ship. Every conceivable type of sea-going vessel is featured, from caravels and galleons, warships and yachts to clippers and cruise-liners. Produced in association with the National Maritime Museum.
J. E. GORDON
Structures, or, Why things don’t fall down 624 GOR For anyone who has ever wondered why suspension bridges don’t collapse under eight lanes of traffic, how dams hold back, or give way under, thousands of gallons of water, or what principles guide the design of a skyscraper or a kangaroo, this book will ease your anxiety and answer your questions. J. E. Gordon strips engineering of its confusing technical terms, communicating its founding principles in accessible, witty prose. E. H. GOMBRICH
The Story of Art 709 GOM
Philip S. DAWSON
Ship Style 623.8243 DAW According to George Orwell, ships were seen to represent utopian visions of future paradises and so represented the ideals of Modernism perhaps more effectively than any structure on dry land ever could. On the other hand they were equally powerful statements of imperialism and of commercial pride. This book examines the development of the Modern Movement in passenger ship architecture and design in the 20th century, ranging from small excursion vessels to liners, cruise ships, ferries, and, where necessary, freight vessels.
One of the best-known and best-loved books on art ever written, „The Story of Art has been a world bestseller in several editions for over half a century. Professor Gombrich’s clear and engaging text combines with hundreds of full-colour illustrations to trace the history of art in an unfolding narrative, from primitive cave paintings to controversial art works of the present day. Robert HUGHES
The Shock of the New 709.04 HUG An illustrated history of 20th century art, from cubism to pop and avant-garde. It provides a comprehensive survey of the birth and development of modern art and a discussion of the European and American art movements in the 1970s and 1980s, including minimalist and public art, 1970s American painting, German Neo-Expressionism, art by women, and environmental art.
P R E PA R AT I O N 21
(ed.) 100 Artists’ Manifestos 709.04 ONE In this remarkable collection of 100 manifestos from the last 100 years, Alex Danchev presents the cacophony of voices of such diverse movements as Dadaism, Surrealism, Feminism, Futurism, Communism, Destructivism, Vorticism, Stridentism, Cannibalism and Stuckism, taking in along the way film, architecture, fashion, and cookery. Le Corbusier is one of the most famous architects included. Colin DAVIES
Thinking About Architecture 720.1 DAV In order to understand architecture in all its cultural complexity it is necessary to grasp certain basic concepts such as representation, form and space. The aim of this book is to provide designers, teachers, students, and interested laypersons with a set of ideas that will enrich their conversation, their writing, and above all their thinking about architecture. Written in a conversational style, it introduces difficult concepts gradually, step-by-step. John SUMMERSON
The Classical Language of Architecture 720.9 SUM This book is intended for anybody who cares for architecture, but more specifically for students beginning a course in the history of architecture, for whom a guide to the classical rules will be an essential companion. Classical architecture is a visual “language” and has its own grammatical rules. Classical buildings as widely spaced in time as a Roman temple, an Italian Renaissance palace and a Regency house all show an awareness of these rules even if they vary them, break them or poetically contradict them. Kenneth FRAMPTON
William J. R. CURTIS
Modern Architecture since 1900 724.6 CUR This work on 20th-century architecture combines a clear general outline with analysis and interpretation of particular buildings. While technical, economic, social and intellectual developments are fully treated, the final emphasis is on individuals and on the qualities that give buildings their lasting value. This book sets the Modern tradition in perspective, relating it to earlier traditions, and analyzing its richness and complexity. John BERGER
(et al.) Ways of Seeing 759.94 WAY How do we see the world around us? John Berger’s, Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on a BBC television series. Of the seven essays in the book, three use only images. Traditional Western cultural aesthetics are challenged by questioning hidden meanings underlying visual images. Franz KAFKA
The Castle GENERAL NOVEL KAF The story of K and his arrival in a village where he is never accepted, and his relentless, unavailing struggle with authority in order to gain entrance to the castle that seems to rule it. K’s isolation and perplexity, his begging for the approval of elusive and anonymous powers, epitomises Kafka’s vision of twentieth-century alienation and anxiety.
724 FRA This acclaimed survey of 20th century architecture and its origins has become a classic. Starting from the roots of Neo-Classical architecture, urban developments and progress in structural engineering, it continues to provide a critical history of architecture from the late 19th century onwards.
P R E PA R AT I O N 22
The Red Queen 304.5 RID Sex is as fascinating to scientists as it is to the rest of us. A vast pool of knowledge has been gleaned from research into the nature of sex, from the contentious problem of why the wasteful reproductive process exists at all to how individuals choose their mates and what traits they find attractive. This fascinating book explores those findings, and their implications for the sexual behaviour of our own species.
Richard A. FORTEY
Dry Store Room No. 1: The secret life of the Natural History Museum 508.074 FOR
Four Fish 333.956 GRE Paul Greenberg tells the stories of the fish we eat the most: salmon, cod, bass and tuna. He also poses the questions many of us ask when confronted with a menu or a supermarket shelf: which fish can I eat without worrying? What does overfishing mean? Whatâ€™s the difference between wild, farmed and organic? Fish, Greenberg shows, are the last truly wild food we eat - for now. By understanding fully how it gets to our dinner table, we can start to enjoy fish in a way thatâ€™s healthy for us, and good for the world that exists off our coasts. Edward O. WILSON
The Diversity of Life 508 WIL In this book a master scientist tells the great story of how life on earth evolved. Professor Wilson eloquently describes how the species of the world became diverse, and why the threat to this diversity today is beyond the scope of anything we have known before. In an extensive new foreword for this edition, Professor Wilson (now retired from Harvard University) addresses the explosion of the field of conservation biology and takes a clear-eyed look at the work still to be done.
Dry Store Room No. 1 is an intimate biography of the Natural History Museum, celebrating the eccentric personalities who have peopled it and capturing the wonders of scientific endeavour, academic rigour and imagination. It is a fascinating and affectionate account of a hidden world of untold treasures, where every fragment tells a story about time past, by a scientist who combines rigorous professional learning with a gift for prose that sparkles with wit and literary sensibility. Terence D. ALLEN
The Cell : a very short introduction 571.6 ALL This Very Short Introduction describes the nature of cells - their basic structure, their varying forms, their division, their differentiation from initially highly flexible stem cells, their signalling, and programmed death. All living things on Earth are composed of cells. Cells are the basic constituent of life, and understanding cells and how they work is central to all biology and medicine. James WATSON
The Double Helix 572.86 DAW Written by one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA, this is a personal account of the race by the author and Francis Crick to make this breakthrough before Linus Pauling. By elucidating the structure of DNA, the molecule underlying all life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionised biochemistry. At the time, Watson was only 24. His uncompromisingly honest account of those heady days lifts the lid on the real world of great scientists, with their very human faults and foibles, their petty rivalries and driving ambition.
P R E PA R AT I O N 23
Richard A. FORTEY
Life 576.8 FOR Most of us have a dim impression of Earth evolving from a swirling mass of dust, solidifying to form a volcanic globe, briefly populated by dinosaurs, then by woolly mammoths and finally by our own hairy ancestors. This book, aimed at the curious and intelligent but perhaps mildly uninformed reader, brilliantly dispels such lingering notions forever. At the end of the book we understand the complexity of the history of life on earth, and the complexity of how it has come to be understood, as, perhaps, from no other single volume. The result is enthralling. Richard DAWKINS
Botanic Man 577 BEL Botanic Man was written in 1978 to accompany a television series tracing the evolution and adaptation of life on earth. Fully illustrated, it is written from a botanical angle and each chapter focuses on a different and spectacular world location. The programme was so popular in its time that Bellamy earned the nickname, ‘Botanic Man’!
Climbing Mount Improbable 576.82 DAW “Mount Improbable” is Dawkins’ metaphor for natural selection, and the central message of this text is that DNA transcends the significance of the organism, and that organisms are merely vehicles for genes. Dawkins considers the combination of perfection and improbability that we find in the seemingly ‘designed’ complexity of living things and builds a powerful and carefully reasoned argument for evolutionary adaptation as the force behind all life on earth. Richard DAWKINS
River Out of Eden 576.82 DAW Nearly 150 years after Charles Darwin formulated it, the theory of evolution is still a subject of debate. Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins is among Darwin’s chief defenders, and an able one - witty, literate, and capable of turning a beautiful phrase. In River Out of Eden he introduces general readers to some fairly abstract problems in evolutionary biology, gently guiding us through the tangles of mitochondrial DNA and the survival-of-the-fittest ethos.
The Variety of Life 578.012 TUD The Variety of Life can be read at many levels. Not least it is an illustrated summary of all the earthly creatures that have ever lived. From E coli to an oak tree or an elephant, this book will show you what kind of creature it is, and how it relates to all others. The book also explains the means by which systematists have attempted such a mammoth classification of so many various creatures, which in turn leads us into some of the most intriguing and knottiest areas of modern biology: evolutionary theory, molecular genetics, and the history of biological thought. Roger DEAKIN
Wildwood 582.16 DEA From the walnut tree at his Suffolk home, Roger Deakin embarks upon a quest that takes him through Britain, across Europe, to Central Asia and Australia, in search of what lies behind man’s profound and enduring connection with wood and with trees. Meeting woodlanders of all kinds, he lives in shacks and cabins, travels in search of the wild apple groves of Kazakhstan, goes coppicing in Suffolk, swims beneath the walnut trees of the Haut-Languedoc, and hunts bushplums with Aboriginal women in the outback.
P R E PA R AT I O N 24
Elisabeth Tova BAILEY
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating 594.38 BAI While an illness keeps her bedridden, Elisabeth Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence in a terrarium alongside her bed. In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, she shares the inspiring and intimate story of her close encounter with Neohelix albolabris, a common woodland snail. Intrigued by the snail’s world from its strange anatomy to its mysterious courtship activities she becomes a fascinated and amused observer of the snail’s curious life. Tim BIRKHEAD
The Wisdom of Birds 598 BIR In The Wisdom of Birds, Birkhead takes the reader on a journey that not only tells us about the extraordinary lives of birds - from conception and egg, through territory and song, to migration and fully fledged breeder - but also shows how, over centuries, we have overcome superstition and untested ‘truths’ to know what we know, and how recent some of that knowledge is. It was only in the 19th century that the ancient belief that swallows hibernated under water (!) finally gave way to general acceptance of the facts of migration…
In the Blood 599.9 JON This work is about human origins. It draws on knowledge from anthropology and archaeology, via genetics and evolution, to psychology and medicine. It tackles issues such as hereditary genes in criminal behaviour and homosexuality. Blood has always tied families and nations together. In the Blood shows how genetics is coming uncomfortably close to the questions asked by philosophy, theology and even politics. It deals with issues of fate, of life and of death. Gerald DURRELL
The Whispering Land FICTION DUR In 1959 Gerald Durrell founded Jersey Zoo. In this story Durrell heads off to South America to collect more animals. Along windswept Patagonian shores and in Argentine tropical forests, he encounters a range of animals from penguins to elephant seals. But as always, he is drawn to those rare and interesting creatures which he hopes will thrive and breed in captivity. Told with enthusiasm and without sentimentality, Gerald Durrell’s The Whispering Land is an often hilarious but always inspiring foray into the South American wilds.
P R E PA R AT I O N 25
Silent Spring 363.7384 CAR Now recognized as one of the most influential books of the 20th century, Silent Spring exposed the destruction of wildlife through the widespread use of pesticides. Despite condemnation in the press and heavy-handed attempts by the chemical industry to ban the book, Rachel Carson succeeded in creating a new public awareness of the environment which led to changes in government and inspired the ecological movement. Melvyn BRAGG
On Giants’ Shoulders 509 BRA The story of science unfolds in this account of the lives and extraordinary discoveries of twelve of its greatest figures: Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Lavoisier, Faraday, Darwin, Poincaré, Freud, Einstein, Marie Curie and Crick and Watson. Exploring their impact and legacy with leading scientists of today, Melvyn Bragg illuminates the core issues of science past and present, and seeks to convey the excitement and importance of the scientific past. Oliver SACKS
Uncle Tungsten 509.2 SAC From Oliver Sacks, distinguished neurologist and master storyteller, comes a magical account of childhood, told with the charm and power of his celebrated case histories. Sacks evokes, with warmth and wit, his upbringing in wartime England. He tells of the large science-steeped family who fostered his early fascination with chemistry. There follow his years at boarding school where, though unhappy, he developed the intellectual curiosity that would shape his later life.
Richard P. FEYNMAN
“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” 530.092 FEY Richard Feynman was one of the world’s greatest theoretical physicists, but he was also a man who fell, often jumped, into adventure. An artist, safecracker, practical joker and storyteller, his life was a series of combustible combinations made possible by his unique mixture of high intelligence, unquenchable curiosity and eternal scepticism. Feynman’s conversations with his friend Ralph Leighton were first taped and then set down as they appear here, giving a wise, funny, passionate and totally honest selfportrait. Marcus CHOWN
Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You 530.12 CHO The two towering achievements of modern physics are quantum theory and Einstein’s general theory of relativity. But, almost a century after their advent, most people do not have the slightest clue what either is about. Did you know that there is so much empty space inside matter that the entire human race could be squeezed into the volume of a sugar cube? Or that you grow old more quickly on the top floor of a building than on the ground floor? An entertaining science book and essential background reading for chemists!
P R E PA R AT I O N 26
Elegant Solutions 540 BAL This book offers ten suggestions for where beauty might reside in experimental chemistry. In some cases the beauty lies in the clarity of conception, and sometimes it is a feature of the instrumental design. But for chemistry, there can also be a unique beauty in the way atoms are put together to make new molecules, substances not known in nature. The ten experiments described here offer a window into the way that chemists think and work, and how what they do affects the rest of science and the wider world. John EMSLEY
A Healthy, Wealthy, Sustainable World
The Disappearing Spoon 540.9 KEA The periodic table is one of our crowning scientific achievements, but it is also a treasure trove of passion, adventure, betrayal and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, gold and every single element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.
540 EMS William H. BROCK What route to the future should we take? The road to a sustainable city beckons, but what effect will this have on chemistry, which appears so dependent on fossil resources? Its products are part of everyday living, and without them we could regress to the world of earlier generations when lives were blighted by disease, famine, dirt, and pain. In fact the industries based on chemistry could be sustainable and not only benefit those in the developed world but shared by everyone on this planet, and future generations. John EMSLEY
Molecules at an Exhibition
The Case of the Poisonous Socks 540.9034 BRO In 1868, The Times reported that poisons contained in dyes were affecting the public’s health. A doctor informed a London magistrate that brilliantly coloured socks had caused severe “constitutional and local complaint” to several of his patients. Respected chemist, William Crookes, offered to identify the poison if doctors would send him samples of the deadly socks. The story of how he solved the mystery gives this book of essays and tales about chemistry its title.
540 EMS Primo LEVI What is it in chocolate that makes us feel good when we eat it? What’s the molecule that turns men on? What’s the secret of Coca-Cola? In this fascinating book, John Emsley takes us on a guided tour through a rogue’s gallery of molecules, some harmful, some pleasant, showing how they affect our lives. Find out how Mozart met his death, how Hitler could have saved the Third Reich from defeat, and many more interesting snippets in this highly entertaining, and often surprising book.
The Periodic Table 540.92 LEV Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table is a collection of short stories that elegantly interlace the author’s experiences in Fascist Italy and later in Auschwitz with his passion for scientific knowledge and discovery. A chemist by training, Levi became one of the supreme witnesses to 20th-century atrocity. In these haunting reflections inspired by the elements of the periodic table, he ranges from young love to political savagery. A classic.
P R E PA R AT I O N 27
The Alchemy of Air 540.922 HAG This is the extraordinary story of a discovery that changed the way we grow food and the way we make war. At the dawn of the 20th century, humanity was facing global mass starvation. Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch discovered a way to make bread out of air, built city-sized factories and saved millions of lives, but the Haber-Bosch process was also used to make the gunpowder and explosives that killed millions during the two world wars. Both men were vilified during their lives; both, disillusioned and disgraced, died tragically. Kenneth S. DEFFEYES
Nanoscale 541.24 DEF This beautiful and fascinating book gives us a tour of the invisible nanoscale world. It offers many vivid colour illustrations of atomic structures, each accompanied by a short, engagingly written essay. The structures advance from the simple (air, ice) to the complex (supercapacitator, rare earth magnet). The amazing colour illustrations by Stephen Deffeyes are based on data from x-ray diffraction, a method used in crystallography. Hugh ALDERSLEY-WILLIAMS
Periodic Tales 546 ALD Welcome to a dazzling tour through history and literature, science and art. Here you’ll meet iron that rains from the heavens and noble gases that light the way to vice. You’ll learn how lead can tell your future while zinc may one day line your coffin. You’ll discover what connects the bones in your body with the White House in Washington, and the glow of a streetlamp with the salt on your dinner table.
Peter W. ATKINS
The Periodic Kingdom 546 ATK Using vivid imagery, ingenious analogies, and liberal doses of humour, P.W. Atkins shows us that the Periodic Kingdom is a systematic place. Detailing the geography, history and governing institutions of this imaginary landscape, he demonstrates how physical similarities can point to deeper affinities, and how the location of an element can be used to predict its properties. The periodic table, your map for this trip, is the most important concept in chemistry. Nick LANE
Oxygen 546.721 LAN As gripping as a thriller, Oxygen unravels the unexpected ways in which oxygen spurred the evolution of life and death. The book explains the size of ancient insects, and shows how oxygen underpins the origin of biological complexity, the birth of photosynthesis, the sudden evolution of animals, the need for two sexes, the accelerated ageing of cloned animals like Dolly the sheep, and the surprisingly long lives of bats and birds. The result is a captivating vision of contemporary science and a humane synthesis of our place in nature. K. C. NICOLAOU
Molecules that Changed the World 547.2 NIC This beautifully illustrated book presents around 40 natural products that all have an enormous impact on our everyday life. Each chapter is full of interesting and entertaining information on the facts, stories and people behind the scenes. Molecules covered span the healthy and useful, as well as the much-needed and extremely toxic, including aspirin, urea, camphor, morphine, strychnine, penicillin, vitamin B12, Taxol, brevetoxin and quinine.
P R E PA R AT I O N 28
Giant Molecules 547.7 GRA Giant molecules dominate our lives, from the proteins and DNA within us to the man-made fibres of our clothes and the many plastics that we use every day. They are set to have an enormous impact on the future, as scientists and engineers learn from nature (biomimetics), and utilize the full potential of tiny carbon nanotubes. The possibilities may seem like science fiction, but they are the subjects of cutting edge research. Leslie L. IVERSON
Drugs 615.1 IVE This book gives a non-technical account of how drugs work in the body. The 20th century saw a remarkable upsurge of research on drugs, with major advances in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections, heart disease, stomach ulcers, cancer, and mental illnesses. These, along with the introduction of the oral contraceptive, have altered all of our lives. It also looks at the increase in the recreational use and abuse of drugs in the Western world. John EMSLEY
The Elements of Murder 615.9 EMS
An Apple a Day 641.3 SCH The media is full of advice about what we should eat and warnings about what we shouldn’t. In An Apple a Day, bestselling author and chemistry professor, Joe Schwarcz dispels the confusion and applies his knowledge of food chemistry to today’s top food trends. With a healthy dose of humour, he also looks at the real science behind losing weight and cuts through the misconceptions that surround many popular fad diets. Luca TURIN
Perfumes 668.54 TUR This book features introductions to women’s and men’s fragrances, to trends and to history and chemistry. It is a unique and useful guide, written with a passion for its subject. The guide is the first major critical survey in English of the world of perfume, one bottle at a time. There are also in-depth essays and supplementary material that cover the what, how, and why of fragrance.
Emsley uncovers the dark side of the Periodic Table in this book about elements that kill. Mercury, arsenic, antimony, lead, and thallium can be lethal, as many a poisoner knew too well. Emsley explores the gruesome history of these elements and those who have succumbed to them in a fascinating narrative that weaves together stories of true crime, enduring historical mysteries, tragic accidents, and the science behind it all.
P R E PA R AT I O N 29
The Problems of Philosophy 121 RUS Bertrand Russell was one of the most significant philosophers of the twentieth century. His primary interest was in the foundations of mathematics. He also wrote widely on other areas of philosophy, and published a large number of writings on social and moral issues. This classic work, first published in 1912, is an approachable introduction to the theory of philosophical enquiry.
Where Good Ideas Come From 303.484 JOH
Thinking, Fast and Slow 153.4 KAH Thinking, Fast and Slow, by the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for Economics, offers a whole new look at the way our minds work, and how we make decisions. We make choices in two ways: fast, intuitive thinking, and slow, rational thinking. This book reveals how our minds are tripped up by error and prejudice (even when we think we are being logical), and gives us practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking. It will enable you to make better decisions at work, at home, and in everything you do. Tim HARFORD
Adapt 153.43 HAR In this groundbreaking new book, Tim Harford shows how the world’s most complex and important problems, including terrorism, climate change, poverty, innovation, and the financial crisis, can only be solved from the bottom up by rapid experimenting and adapting. From a spaceport in the Mojave Desert to the street battles of Iraq, from a blazing offshore drilling rig to everyday decisions in our business and personal lives, this is a handbook for surviving and prospering in our complex and ever-shifting world. Jonah LEHRER
How We Decide 153.83 LEH In his book How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer presents a variety of case studies and neuroscientific research to explain what happens inside our brains when we make a decision, and how people can make better use of their minds during the decision-making process. From a business point of view it is very powerful with regard to the impact of information overload, a really key issue in today’s increasingly complex world.
Steven Johnson has spent 20 years immersed in the creative industries. In Where Good Ideas Come From, he identifies the five key principles to the genesis of great ideas, from the cultivation of hunches to the importance of connectivity and how best to make use of new technologies. Most exhilarating is his conclusion. With today’s tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it. Nic COMPTON
Tweetonomics 330 COM We hear a lot about economics in the news these days, but how much do we really understand? For instance, what is a balance of trade deficit? Why do interest rates affect the amount of cash in circulation? Who sets interest rates? What are Fordism and Keynesianism, and who do they benefit? What are ‘sticky’ prices and what makes them so sticky? Tweetonomics pecks a hole in the jargon and explains the most important economic terms and concepts in 20 ‘tweets’ or less. Diane COYLE
The Economics of Enough 330 COY The world’s leading economies are facing not just one but many crises. The financial meltdown may not be over, climate change threatens major global disruption, economic inequality has reached extremes not seen for a century, and government and business are widely distrusted. Creating a sustainable economy, having enough to be happy without cheating the future, will not be easy. But The Economics of Enough starts a profoundly important conversation about how we can begin and the first steps we need to take.
P R E PA R AT I O N 30
Steven D. LEVITT
Superfreakonomics 330 LEV The sequel to the international bestselling phenomenon, Freakonomics. Steven Levitt, the original rogue economist, and Stephen Dubner uncover the hidden side of even more controversial subjects, from charity to terrorism and prostitution. Superfreakonomics transforms the way we look at the world. Nouriel ROUBINI
Crisis Economics 330 ROU In this myth-busting book Nouriel Roubini shows that everything we think about economics is wrong. Financial crises are not unpredictable ‘black swans’, but an inherent part of capitalism. Only by remaking our financial systems to acknowledge this, can we get out of the mess we are in. Will there be another recession, and if so what shape? When will the next bubble occur? What can we do about it? Here Roubini gives the answers, and lists his commandments for the future. John CASSIDY
How Markets Fail 330.01 CAS John Cassidy shows that the roots of our most recent financial failure lie not with individuals, but with an idea - the idea that markets are inherently rational. He gives us the big picture behind the financial headlines, tracing the rise and fall of free market ideology from Adam Smith to Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan. Full of wit, sense and, above all, a deep understanding, How Markets Fail argues for the end of ‘utopian’ economics, and the beginning of a pragmatic, reality-based way of thinking. Steven D. LEVITT
Freakonomics 330.01 LEV In Freakonomics, Levitt turns conventional economics on its head, stripping away the jargon and calculations of the experts to explore the riddles of everyday life and examine topics such as how chips are more likely to kill you than murder or a terrorist attack. Ultimately, he shows that economics is all about how people get what they want, and what makes them do it. Asking provocative and profound questions about human motivation and contemporary living, Freakonomics will make you see the familiar world through a completely original lens.
The Undercover Economist 330.1 HAR Looking at familiar situations in unfamiliar ways, The Undercover Economist is a fresh explanation of the fundamental principles of the modern economy, illuminated by examples from the streets of London to the booming skyscrapers of Shanghai to the sleepy canals of Bruges. Leaving behind textbook jargon and equations, Tim Harford reveals the games of signals and negotiations, contests of strength and battles of wit that drive not only the economy at large but the everyday choices we make. Robert L. HEILBRONER
The Worldly Philosophers 330.10922 HEI First published in 1953 and now in its 7th edition, The Worldly Philosophers defines the common thread linking the world’s greatest economic thinkers, and explores the philosophies that motivated them. It aims to enable us to see more deeply into our history in order to help us to better understand our own times. A new chapter conveys a concern that today’s increasingly ‘scientific’ economics may overlook fundamental social and political issues. John KAY
The Truth about Markets 330.12 KAY Leading economist John Kay unravels the truth about markets, from Wall Street to Switzerland, from Russia to Mumbai, examining why some nations are rich and some poor, why globalization hurts developing countries and why markets can work but only in a humane social and cultural context. His answers offer a radical new blueprint for the future.
P R E PA R AT I O N 31
Development as Freedom 330.122 SEN In Development as Freedom Amartya Sen explains how, in a world of unprecedented increase in overall opulence, millions of people living in the Third World are still ‘unfree’. Even if they are not technically slaves, they are denied elementary freedoms and remain imprisoned in one way or another by economic poverty, social deprivation, political tyranny or cultural authoritarianism. Amartya Sen is the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. George A. AKERLOF
Animal Spirits 330.122019 AKE ‘Animal spirits’ is a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe human emotion that drives consumer confidence and generate human trust. Akerlof’s book, Animal Spirits, offers a road map for reversing the financial misfortunes besetting us today. Read it and learn how leaders can channel animal spirits, the powerful forces of human psychology that are afoot in the world economy today. Barry J. EICHENGREEN
Exorbitant Privilege 332.4560973 EIC In Exorbitant Privilege, one of our foremost economists, Barry Eichengreen, traces the rise of the dollar to international prominence. He shows how the greenback dominated internationally in the second half of the 20th century for the same reasons that the United States dominated the global economy. But now, with the rise of China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies, America no longer towers over the global economy. It follows, Eichengreen argues, that the dollar will not be as dominant. Paul COLLIER
The Plundered Planet 333.7 COL How can we help poorer countries become richer without harming the planet? Is there a way of reconciling prosperity with nature? World-renowned economist Paul Collier offers smart, surprising and, above all, realistic answers to this dilemma. Steering a path between the desires of unchecked profiteering and the romantic views of environmentalists, he explores creative ways to deal with poverty, overpopulation and climate change, showing that the solutions need not cost the earth.
Joseph E. STIGLITZ
Making Globalisation Work 337 STI From Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, Making Globalization Work gives real, concrete ways to deal with Third World debt, make trade fair and tackle global warming. He shows how powerful organizations such as the UN, the IMF and the World Bank can be made to consider everyone’s interests. Another world is possible, he argues, and is not only morally right, but of benefit to us all. Raj PATEL
Stuffed and Starved 338.19 PAT To understand how our supermarket shopping makes us complicit in a system that routinely denies freedom to the world’s poorest, and how we ourselves are poisoned by these choices, we need to think about the way our food comes to us. Stuffed and Starved takes a long and wide view of food production, to show how we all suffer the consequences of a food system cooked to a corporate recipe. This is also the story of the fight against the unthinking commerce that brings it to us. Michael LEWIS
The Big Short 338.542 LEW While Wall Street was busy creating the biggest credit bubble of all time, a few renegade investors saw it was about to burst, bet against the banking system and made a fortune. From the jungles of the trading floor to the casinos of Las Vegas, this is the outrageous story of the misfits, mavericks and geniuses who, against all odds, made the greatest financial killing in history.
P R E PA R AT I O N 32
The Logic of Life 339 HAR If humans are so clever, why do we smoke and gamble, or take drugs, or fall in love? Is this really rational behaviour? And how come your idiot boss is so overpaid? In fact, the behaviour of even the unlikeliest of individuals (prostitutes, drug addicts, racists and revolutionaries) complies with economic logic, taking into account future costs and benefits, even if we don’t quite realise it. We are rational beings after all. Tim WU
The Master Switch 384.041 WUT The Internet Age: on the face of it, an era of unprecedented freedom in both communication and culture. In the past, each major new medium, from telephone to satellite television, has crested on a wave of similar idealistic optimism but, in time, become centralized and closed, as corporate power has taken control of the ‘master switch.’ Today a similar struggle looms over the Internet. As increasingly it supersedes all other media the stakes have never been higher. Ben GOLDACRE
Bad Science 507.2 GOL Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dodgy science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time, but he also goes further, showing us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves. Leonard MLODINOW
The Drunkard’s Walk 519.2 MLO Randomness and uncertainty surround everything we do. So why are we so bad at understanding them? The same tools that help us understand the random paths of molecules can be applied to the randomness that governs so many aspects of our everyday lives, from winning the lottery to road safety. They can reveal the truth about the success of sporting heroes and film stars, and even how to make sense of a blood test.
Avinash K. DIXIT
The Art of Strategy 658.4012 DIX Game theory means rigorous strategic thinking. It is the art of anticipating your opponent’s next moves, knowing that your rival is trying to do the same thing to you. Though parts of game theory involve common sense, much is counterintuitive and it can only be mastered by developing a new way of seeing the world. Using case studies, the authors show how nearly every business and personal interaction has a game theory component to it. F. Scott FITZGERALD
The Great Gatsby FICTION FIT Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby, young, handsome, fabulously rich, always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel. George ORWELL
Animal Farm FICTION ORW When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.
P R E PA R AT I O N 33
Recomended Viewing Black Gold DVD Black Gold is a 2006 documentary film about the international coffee trade and the ramifications for the farmers who grow coffee, with a focus on the coffee industry in Ethiopia. Images of those who enjoy the coffee produced are in stark contrast to the footage of the impoverished conditions faced by the Ethiopian coffee farmers and their families.
The Corporation DVD This documentary examines the modern-day corporation, considering its legal status and evaluating its behaviour towards society and the world at large as a psychiatrist might evaluate an ordinary person. This is explored through specific examples. It shows the development of the contemporary business corporation, from a legal entity that originated as a government-chartered institution to the rise of the modern commercial institution entitled to most of the legal rights of a person.
A Crude Awakening DVD A Crude Awakening examines our dependence on oil, showing how it is essential for almost every facet of our modern lifestyle, from driving to work to clothing and clean tap water. It asks the tough question, “What happens when we run out of cheap oil?” Through expert interviews, the film spells out in startling detail the challenges we would face in dealing with the possibility of a world without cheap oil, a world in which it may ultimately take more energy to drill for oil than we can extract from the oil the wells produce.
Dirty Oil DVD This film takes us deep behind the scenes into the strip-mined world of Alberta, Canada, where the vast and toxic Tar Sands deposit supplies the U.S. with the majority of its oil. Through the eyes of scientists, big oil officials, politicians, doctors, environmentalists, and aboriginal citizens directly impacted by the largest industrial project on the planet today, the filmmakers journey to both sides of the border to see the emotional and irreversible toll this black gold rush fueled by America’s addiction to oil is taking on our planet.
The End of the Line DVD In The End of the Line, a major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans, we see at first-hand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food. The film examines the imminent extinction of Bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing Western demand for sushi, the impact on marine life resulting in a huge overpopulation of jellyfish and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation.
Fast Food Nation DVD A fictionalized thriller inspired by Eric Schlosser’s bestselling non-fiction exposé of junk food companies. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths, from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate
P R E PA R AT I O N 34
David J.C. MACKAY
Sustainable Energy – without the hot air Free to download from www.withouthotair.com In case study format, this informative book answers questions surrounding nuclear energy, the potential of sustainable fossil fuels, and the possibilities of sharing renewable power with foreign countries. While underlining the difficulty of minimizing consumption, the tone remains positive as it debunks misinformation and clearly explains the calculations of expenditure per person to encourage people to make individual changes that will benefit the world at large. Bill McGUIRE
Global Catastrophes: a Very Short Introduction 363.34 MCG “There is a truism uttered by earthquake engineers: it is buildings not earthquakes that kill people.” Life on earth will come to an end. It’s just a matter of when. Global Catastrophes: A Very Short Introduction focuses on the many potential catastrophes facing our planet and our species in the future, and looks at both the probability of these events happening and our chances of survival. Brian CLEGG
Mark E. EBERHART
Why Things Break 530 EBE In Why Things Break, Eberhart leads us on a remarkable and entertaining exploration of all the cracks, clefts, fissures, and faults examined in the field of materials science, and the many astonishing discoveries that have been made about everything from the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger to the crashing of your hard drive. Understanding why things break is crucial to modern life, but as Eberhart reveals here, it is also an area of cutting-edge science that is as provocative as it is illuminating. Frank A. J. L. JAMES
Michael Faraday: A Very Short Introduction 530.092 FAR
A wonderfully informative and equally entertaining guide to what you can see from the air and precisely what is keeping you airborne, Inflight Science is your perfect long haul companion! Written by flying enthusiast Brian Clegg, this accessible and interesting book explains the phenomena of air travel and will help you enjoy your flight from start to finish.
Known as the discoverer of electro-magnetic induction, the principle behind the electric generator and transformer, Faraday has frequently been portrayed as the ‘father’ of electrical engineering from whence much of his popular fame derives. This Very Short Introduction dispels the myth that Faraday was an experimental genius working alone in his basement laboratory, making fundamental discoveries that were later applied by others. Instead, it portrays Faraday as a grand theorist of the physical world.
Mathematics: a Very Short Introduction
Engineering: a Beginner’s Guide
The aim of this book is to explain carefully, but not technically, the differences between advanced, research-level mathematics, and the sort of mathematics we learn at school. The most fundamental differences are philosophical, and readers of this book will emerge with a clearer understanding of paradoxical-sounding concepts such as infinity, curved space, and imaginary numbers. The first few chapters are about general aspects of mathematical thought. These are followed by discussions of more specific topics.
Focusing on the impact of engineering on society and the world, McCarthy details the development of the discipline, explains what makes an engineering mind, and shows how every aspect of our lives has been engineered: from gadgets to our national infrastructure. Long considered tinkerers, problem solvers, and visionaries, engineers hold the keys to our real and virtual future.
P R E PA R AT I O N 35
The Essential Engineer 620 PET The Essential Engineer is an eye-opening exploration of the ways in which science and engineering must work together to address our world’s most pressing issues, from dealing with climate change and the prevention of natural disasters to the development of efficient automobiles and the search for renewable energy sources. While the scientist may identify problems, it falls to the engineer to solve them. It is the inherent practicality of engineering that makes it vital to answering our most urgent concerns. Ioan JAMES
Remarkable Engineers 620.00922 JAM Engineering transformed the world completely between the 17th and 21st centuries. Remarkable Engineers tells the stories of 51 of the key pioneers in this transformation, from the designers and builders of the world’s railways, bridges and aeroplanes, to the founders of the modern electronics and communications revolutions. The author, Ioan James, is Emeritus Professor at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.
The Gecko’s Foot 620.0042 FOR The new ‘smart’ science of Bio-inspiration is going to produce a plethora of products over the next decades that will transform our lives, and force us to look at the world in a completely new way. The gecko’s foot is just one of many examples of this new ‘smart’ science. We also discover how a brush with the spiny fruits of the cocklebur inspired the invention of Velcro, how the shape of leaves opening from a bud has inspired the design of solar-powered satellites, and the parallels between cantilever bridges and the spines of bison. J. E. GORDON
The New Science of Strong Materials 620.11 GOR Why does glass sometimes shatter and sometimes bend like spring? What is a liquid, and is treacle one? All these questions about the nature of materials are vital to engineers but also fascinating as scientific problems. Materials scientists have found many surprises; above all, perhaps, that how a material behaves depends on how perfectly - or imperfectly its atoms are arranged. Professor Gordon’s account of materials science is a demonstration of the sometimes curious and entertaining ways in which scientists isolate and solve problems.
P R E PA R AT I O N 36
English If you wish to study English it is advisable to read as much and as widely as possible from the canon of classic and contemporary literature (see Sixth Form Reading List for suggestions). I have suggested here a range of literature with links to Cambridge as an example of the sort of selection which might be appropriate, but maybe you could research works which have links with other universities or cities to which you are applying. I have also included some standard texts with themes underlying many works of literature, such as the Bible and books of mythology and history. If you are familiar with these and can spot references to them, it can make your study of English Literature much more rewarding. In addition, keep an eye on the TLS (Times Literary Supplement) each week (to be found on the Newspaper rack in the Library).
The Bible : Authorized King James Version 220.52032 BIB The Bible is arguably the most important book in the history of Western civilization, and the most influential of all English biblical texts is the Authorized King James Version. This edition uses recent scholarship to demonstrate how and why the Bible has affected the literature, art and general culture of the Englishspeaking world. I recommend starting with Genesis, Exodus, the Gospels (Mark is possibly easiest), and Revelation, then move on to Job, the Psalms and the Song of Solomon. No need to read in one sitting! Peter BARRY
Beginning Theory 801.95 BAR Beginning Theory has been helping students navigate through the thickets of literary and cultural theory for almost 20 years. This new and expanded 3rd edition continues to offer students the best single-volume introduction to the field. The bewildering variety of approaches, theorists and technical language is lucidly and expertly unravelled. Peter Barry is a Professor of English at the University of Aberystwyth.
Doing English 820.712 EAG Dealing with exciting new ideas and the contentious debates that make up English studies today, this volume is an essential read for those students considering English at degree level. Robert Eaglestone is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London. The author explains the changing nature of the subject in the UK. At University level, these changes are often reflected by an ever-increasing range of approaches to literature. Virginia GRAHAM
(ed.) A Selection of Metaphysical Poets 821.308 SEL This book contains a selection of poems by the metaphysical poets John Donne, George Herbert, Thomas Carew, Richard Crashaw, Andrew Marvell and Henry Vaughan. It also contains a glossary and notes on each page and is aimed at the student studying English at Advanced Level. It offers a good selection of, and introduction to, metaphysical poetry.
P R E PA R AT I O N 37
Selected Poetry 821.7 BYR A Romantic emphasis on the personality of the poet is the hallmark of all Byron’s verse. Relishing humour and irony, daring and flamboyant, sardonic yet idealistic, his work encompasses a sweeping range of topics, embracing the most traditional and the most experimental poetic forms. This selection of poetry includes such masterpieces as ‘The Corsair’, ‘Manfred’ and ‘Don Juan’. There are many other less familiar works, and Jerome J. McGann’s introduction and notes give a fascinating insight into Byron’s world. William WORDSWORTH
Lyrical Ballads 821.7 WOR Published in 1798, Lyrical Ballads is a dazzling collaboration containing 23 poems by close friends, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, both major figures of English Romanticism. The volume heralded a new approach to poetry and expresses the poets’ reflections on mankind’s relationship with the forces of the world. Coleridge’s contribution includes the nightmarish vision of ‘The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere’, one of the works for which he became best known. William WORDSWORTH
Alfred, Lord Tennyson 821.8 TEN Tennyson was acclaimed in his own day as the chief poetic voice of his age, and he remains one of the most highly regarded masters of the music and mood of poetry. As Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign, his spellbinding poetry epitomized the Victorian age. Read excerpts from ‘Idylls of the King’ which show a lifelong passion for Arthurian legend, also seen in the dream-like ‘The Lady of Shalott’, or ‘Locksley Hall’ which provides a Utopian vision of the future. T. S. ELIOT
Collected Poems, 1909-1962 821.912 ELI Poet, dramatist, critic and editor, T. S. Eliot was one of the defining figures of 20th-century poetry. This edition of Collected Poems, 1909-1962 includes his verse from ‘Prufrock and Other Observations’ to ‘Four Quartets’, and includes such literary landmarks as ‘The Waste Land’ and ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’.
821.7 WOR Ted HUGHES The Prelude, Wordsworth’s great autobiographical poem, is crucial to our understanding of his life and poetry. Written between 1798 and 1805, the text was intensively revised in Wordsworth’s later years. The original version of 1805 was read to Coleridge. The poem was first published in 1850, after the poet’s death, and is also available in Wordsworth’s Poetical Works.
Birthday Letters 821.914 HUG Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters are addressed, with just two exceptions, to Sylvia Plath, the American poet to whom he was married. They were written over a period of more than 25 years, the first a few years after her suicide in 1963, and represent Hughes’ only account of his relationship with Plath and of the psychological drama that led both to the writing of her greatest poems and to her death. The book won the Forward Prize for Poetry in 1998.
P R E PA R AT I O N 38
Crow 821.914 HUG Former laureate Hughes dedicated this volume (first published in 1972) to the memory of Shura and Assia, his daughter and his ex-lover who committed suicide, as had Hughes’ wife, the poet Sylvia Plath, and it is hard to read these poems without remembering the violence of Hughes’ own experience. We read of women who are predators and victims, and they die bloody deaths. Sylvia PLATH
Ariel 821.914 PLA Sylvia Plath churned out her final poems at the remarkable rate of two or three a day. Even more remarkable, she wrote them during one of the coldest winters (1962-63) Londoners have ever known and her husband, Ted Hughes, had left her for another woman earlier that year. Despite all this (or perhaps because of it), the Ariel poems dazzle with their lyricism, their surprising and vivid imagery, and their wit. Rather than confining herself to her bleak surroundings, Plath draws from a wide array of experience. OVID
Metamorphoses 871.01 OVI Ovid’s sensuous and witty poetry brings together a dazzling array of mythological tales, ingeniously linked by the idea of transformation, where men and women find themselves magically changed into new and sometimes extraordinary beings. Interweaving many of the best-known myths and legends of Ancient Greece and Rome, Metamorphoses has influenced writers throughout the centuries from Shakespeare to Ted Hughes.
The Aeneid 873.01 VIR Inspired by Homer, and the inspiration for Dante and Milton, The Aeneid is an epic poem of the ancient world that lies at the heart of Western culture. Aeneas, son of Venus and of a mortal father, escapes from Troy after it is sacked by the conquering Greeks. He undergoes many trials and adventures on a long sea journey. All the way, the hero is tormented by the meddling of the vengeful Juno, Queen of the Gods, but his mother and other gods protect Aeneas from despair and remind him of his ultimate destiny, to found the great city of Rome. HOMER
The Iliad 883.01 HOM Homer’s Iliad is the greatest and most influential epic poem ever written, telling of the tragic and bloody climax to the 10-year siege of Troy. At its centre is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his refusal to fight after being humiliated by his leader Agamemnon. When the Trojan Hector kills Achilles’ close friend Patroclus, however, Achilles storms back into battle to take revenge, even though he knows this will ensure his own untimely death. HOMER
The Odyssey 883.01 HOM The Odyssey has won and preserved its place among the greatest tales in the world. It tells of Odysseus’ adventurous wanderings as he returns from the long war at Troy to the Greek island of Ithaca, where his wife Penelope and son Telemachus have been waiting for him for 20 years. After numerous legendary encounters he finally reaches home, where, disguised as a beggar, he begins to plan revenge on the suitors who have for years been besieging Penelope and feasting on his own meat and wine with insolent impunity.
P R E PA R AT I O N 39
The Isles 941 DAV Covering 10 millennia in just over a thousand pages, Davies shows how a sense of Britishness only emerged with the coming of empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. He is sensitive to the complex mixing and merging of tribes and races, languages and traditions, conquerors and colonised which has gone on throughout British history and which in many ways makes “our island story” much more like that of the rest of Europe than we usually think. An excellent resource for seeing how works of English literature are placed within their historical context. Samuel BECKETT
Collected Shorter Plays PLAYS BEC Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. He wrote one of his most famous plays, Waiting for Godot, in 1949 but it wasn’t published in English until 1954. Arranged in chronological order of composition, these shorter plays demonstrate the absurd humour, laconic economy and authentic compassion of Beckett’s dramatic vision. Christopher MARLOWE
Doctor Faustus PLAYS MAR Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), a man of extreme passions and a playwright of immense talent, is the most important of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Doctor Faustus, is perhaps the first drama taken from the medieval legend of a man who sells his soul to the devil. Although the play is over 400 years old, it can seem contemporary, cleverly managing to come across as both modern tragedy and morality play.
A. S. BYATT
Possession FICTION BYA Winner of the 1990 Booker Prize, this novel describes the romance between two 19th-century poets and the parallel relationship of their two biographers, and includes passages of “Victorian verse”. It is structured in the form of a literary and biographical treasure hunt. Following a trail of letters, journals and poems, the young scholars uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time. Charles DICKENS
Bleak House FICTION DIC ‘Jarndyce v Jarndyce’ is an infamous lawsuit that has been in process for generations. Nobody can remember exactly how the case started but many different individuals have found their fortunes caught up in it. Esther Summerson watches as her friends and neighbours are consumed by their hopes and disappointments with the proceedings, but while the intricate puzzles of the lawsuit are being debated by lawyers, other more dramatic mysteries are unfolding that involve heartbreak, lost children, blackmail and murder. E. M. FORSTER
A Passage to India FICTION FOR When Adela Quested and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in Chandrapore, they feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced ‘Anglo-Indian’ community. Determined to escape the parochial English enclave and explore the ‘real India’, they seek the guidance of Dr Aziz, a cultivated Indian Muslim. But a mysterious incident occurs while they are exploring the Marabar caves with Aziz, and the well-respected doctor soon finds himself at the centre of a scandal that rouses violent passions among both the British and their Indian subjects.
P R E PA R AT I O N 40
Roger Lancelyn GREEN
The Tale of Troy FICTION GRE A retelling of parts of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, including the stories of Helen and the judgement of Paris, of the gathering Heroes and the siege of Troy, of Achilles, reared by the Centaur on wild honey and the marrow of lions, and his vulnerable heel, and of Odysseus, the last of the Heroes, his plan for the wooden Horse and his many adventures on his long journey home to Greece. Good to read if you do not have time for the originals! Roger Lancelyn GREEN
Tales of Greek Heroes FICTION GRE Roger Lancelyn Green (1918-87), an Oxford academic, loved storytelling and was fascinated by traditional fairy tales, myths and legends from around the world. This book retells the mysterious and exciting legends of the gods and heroes in Ancient Greece, from the adventures of Perseus, the labours of Heracles, the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts, to Odysseus and the Trojan wars.
The Bell Jar FICTION PLA Esther Greenwood is at college and is fighting two battles, one against her own desire for perfection in all things and the other against remorseless mental illness. As her depression deepens she finds herself encased in it, bell-jarred away from the rest of the world. Highly readable, witty and disturbing, The Bell Jar, Plath’s only novel, is the story of Esther’s journey back into reality. What it has to say about what women expect of themselves, and what society expects of women, is as sharply relevant today as it has always been. Zadie SMITH
White Teeth FICTION SMI Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975. Her debut novel, White Teeth, won the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Guardian First Book Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, the Commonwealth Writers’ Best First Book Prize and the Betty Trask Award. Genetics, eugenics, gender, race, class and history are the book’s themes but Zadie Smith is gifted with the wit and inventiveness to make these weighty ideas seem effortlessly light.
P R E PA R AT I O N 41
Psychogeography 155.91 COV From urban wandering to The Society of the Spectacle, from the dérive to détournement , Psychogeography provides us with new ways of apprehending our surroundings, transforming the familiar streets of our everyday experience into something new and unexpected. This book conducts the reader through this process, offering both an explanation and definition of the terms involved, an analysis of the key figures and their work as well as practical information on psychogeographical groups and organisations. Richard H. THALER
Nudge 330.019 THA We are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions that make us poorer, less healthy and less happy. And, as Thaler and Sunstein show, no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way. By knowing how people think, we can make it easier for them to choose what is best for them, their families and society. Using dozens of eye-opening examples the authors demonstrate how to nudge us in the right directions, without restricting our freedom of choice. Rose MILLER
Hospitality & Events Management
Events Management Robin WILLIAMS
The Non-Designer’s Design Book 686.225 WIL In The Non-Designer’s Design Book, Robin Williams turns her attention to the basic principles that govern good design. This revised classic, now in full colour, includes a new section on the hot topic of colour itself. The book is aimed at ‘non-professional’ designers. This means those who design things in their work, such as flyers, event alerts, newsletters, reports, business cards, studies, articles, etc., but are not trained to do so. John BERGER et al. Ways of Seeing 701.15 WAY “Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak. But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” This is a book about the power of images.
647.94023 MIL Hospitality and events management prove very popular career choices as they often involve working with a lot of people, sometimes in a glamorous environment, and with lots of opportunities to travel. This book presents the industry in a completely realistic and factual way so that people who are interested in pursuing a career can have the hard facts about daily work, salaries, career progression, training and the real skills you will have to possess to enjoy a fulfilling and successful career.
Recomended Viewing The Wedding Planner DVD A light-hearted look at one area of events management. Mary Fiore is a successful wedding planner whose creative ideas make her clients’ dream weddings come true. She has been unlucky in love and is desperate to meet the perfect man before it is too late. When she meets Dr Steve Edison, Mary is smitten. But there is one problem - he is about to get married and his fiancée wants Mary to organise the wedding. This causes problems as the more time she spends with her clients organising their big day, the more she falls in love with the groom
P R E PA R AT I O N 42
Psychogeography 155.91 COV Psychogeography is the point where psychology and geography meet in assessing the emotional and behavioural impact of urban space. The relationship between a city and its inhabitants is measured in two ways - firstly through an imaginative and literary response, secondly on foot through walking the city. Psychogeography creates a tradition of the writer as walker and has both a literary and a political component. Daniel DORLING
So You Think Know About Britain? 306.0941 DOR In his brilliant anatomy of contemporary Britain, Sheffield University’s Professor Daniel Dorling dissects the nation and reveals unexpected truths about the way we live today, contrary to what you might read in the news. Exploring the key issues that make the headlines Dorling will change the way you think about the country and explain just why you should feel positive about the future.
No Logo 338.88 KLE By the time you are 21, you will have seen or heard a million advertisements, but you won’t be happier for it. This is a book about a generation which is being intelligent and active about the world in which it finds itself, a world in which all that is ‘alternative’ is sold. But, gradually, tentatively, this new generation is beginning to fight consumerism with its own best weapons; and it is the first skirmishes in this war that this abrasively intelligent book documents brilliantly. Al GORE
An Inconvenient Truth 363.73874 GOR
Globalization and its Discontents 337 STI In this hugely controversial book, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics argues that though globalization should be a powerful force for good, it has been badly mishandled by the West, and that the anti-globalizing protestors have much to say that we should listen to. Coming from a figure of Stiglitz’s background and authority, this is an explosive message which will change the way we regard modern global politics.
In this young adult edition of “An Inconvenient Truth”, adapted from his acclaimed book and film (DVD available in the Library), Gore writes about the urgent need to solve the problems of climate change, presenting facts and information on all aspects of global warming in a direct, thoughtful and compelling way, using explanatory diagrams and dramatic photos to clarify and highlight key issues. The overall aim is to gear the content to young people who will be dealing with global warming for the rest of their lives. James E. HANSEN
Storms of My Grandchildren 363.73874 HAN Professor Hansen, whose climate predictions have come to pass again and again, beginning in the 1980s when he first warned US Congress about global warming, is on the staff of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He paints a devastating but all-too-realistic picture of what will happen if we continue to follow the course we are on. But he is also a hard-headed optimist, and shows that there is still time to take the urgent, strong action needed to save humanity.
P R E PA R AT I O N 43
Late Victorian Holocausts 363.8091724 DAV Examining a series of El Nino-induced droughts and the famines that they spawned around the globe in the last third of the 19th century, Mike Davis discloses the intimate and destructive relationship between imperial arrogance and natural incident that combined to produce some of the worst tragedies in human history and to sow the seeds of underdevelopment in what later became known as the Third World. Tim F. FLANNERY
Here on Earth 550 FLA Here on Earth is a revolutionary dual biography of the planet and of our species. Flannery reimagines the history of Earth, from its earliest origins as a chaotic ball of elemental gases to the teeming landscape we currently call home. It is a remarkable story. How did life first emerge here? What forces have shaped it? Why did humans come to dominate? And when did we start to have an impact? More importantly, how has this changed us as a species? Tim BUTCHER
Blood River 916.751 BUT ‘Daily Telegraph’ correspondent Tim Butcher was sent to cover Africa in 2000. His extraordinary account of the Congo describes a country with more past than present, where giant steamboats lie rotting in the advancing forest and children hear stories from their grandfathers of days when cars once drove by. Butcher’s journey was a remarkable feat. But the story of the Congo, told expertly and vividly in this book, is more remarkable still. Jostein GAARDER
Sophie’s World FICTION GAA Sophie finds two questions in her mailbox: “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?” This is the start of her journey through the history of philosophy, guided by a mysterious mentor. To find the truth, we must understand the questions, but the truth is stranger than Sophie can imagine.
The Poisonwood Bible FICTION KIN The Poisonwood Bible tells the story of an American family in the Congo during a time of tremendous political and social upheaval. The story is told by the wife and 4 daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it, from garden seeds to Scripture, is calamitously transformed on African soil. Joe SIMPSON
Touching the Void FICTION SIM The true heart-stopping account of Joe Simpson’s terrifying adventure in the Peruvian Andes. He and his climbing partner, Simon, reached the summit of the remote Siula Grande in June 1995. A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frost-bitten, with news that Joe was dead. What happened to Joe, and how the pair dealt with the psychological traumas that resulted when Simon was forced into the appalling decision to cut the rope, makes not only an epic of survival but a compelling testament of friendship. Giuseppe TOMASI DI LAMPEDUSA
The Leopard FICTION TOM Tomasi di Lampedusa’s classic tale lovingly memorialises the details of a vanishing world while retaining its melancholic and ironic sense of time passing and the frailty of human emotions. It is set amongst an aristocratic family facing social and political changes in the wake of Garibaldi’s invasion of Sicily in 1860. The author was born in Palermo in 1896 and died in Rome in 1957. He lived the life of a literary dilettante, was familiar with the great literatures of the world, and was widely travelled.
P R E PA R AT I O N 44
Recomended Viewing The Age of Stupid DVD Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking back at archive footage from 2007 and asking: Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance? Pete plays the founder of ‘The Global Archive’, a storage facility located in the (now melted) Arctic, preserving all of humanity’s achievements in the hope that the planet might one day be habitable again.
Blood Diamond DVD In parts of Africa diamond mining fuels civil warfare, killing thousands of innocents and drafting preteen children as vicious soldiers. DiCaprio plays Danny Archer, a white African soldier-turned-diamondsmuggler who gets wind of a large raw jewel. Drawn into a web of exploitation is journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), who agrees to help if Archer will tell her the details of how conflict diamonds make their way into the hands of the corporations who sell them to the Western world.
Blood in the Mobile DVD The documentary, Blood in the Mobile, shows the connection between our phones and the civil war in the Congo. Director Frank Poulsen travels to DR Congo to see the illegal mine industry with his own eyes. He gets access to Congo’s largest tin-mine, which is being controlled by different armed groups, and where children work for days in narrow mine tunnels to dig out the minerals that end up in our phones.
The Day After Tomorrow DVD Sit back, relax and enjoy the awesome visions of the effects of global warming, with a tornado-ravaged Los Angeles, blizzards in New Delhi, Japan pummelled by grapefruit-sized hailstones, and Manhattan flooded by swelling oceans and then frozen by the onset of a modern ice age. It’s all wildly impressive, and director Roland Emmerich obviously doesn’t care if the science is flimsy, so why should you?!
Encounters at the End of the World DVD McMurdo, Antarctica is home to a hidden society. 1000 men and women live among some of the world’s most beautiful and unexpected natural wonders, risking their lives in the pursuit of cutting-edge science in extremely hostile conditions. Werner Herzog and his cameraman have been permitted to explore a previously unseen world and capture some of Antarctica’s breath-taking scenery and wildlife for the very first time, both above and below the ice cap.
The Painted Veil DVD Kitty Fane is the beautiful but shallow wife of Walter, a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. Unsatisfied by her marriage, she starts an affair with Charles Townsend, a man whom she finds charming, attractive and exciting. But when Walter discovers her deception, he exacts a strange but terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to his new posting in remote mainland China, where a cholera epidemic rages.
Slumdog Millionnaire DVD Jamal, an 18-year old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, is about to experience the biggest day of his life. He is just one question away from winning India’s Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. But the police arrest him on suspicion of cheating: how could a ‘Slumdog’ know so much? To prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life on the streets - picaresque tales of the Juhu slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of the girl he loved and lost.
P R E PA R AT I O N 45
The Road to Wigan Pier 305.562 ORW A searing account of George Orwell’s observations of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1930s, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, cramped slum housing, dangerous mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity. Margaret MacMILLAN
The Uses and Abuses of History 901 MAC In 2002, the Bush administration decided that dealing with Saddam Hussein was like appeasing Hitler or Mussolini, and promptly invaded Iraq. Were they wrong to look to history for guidance? Their mistake was to exaggerate one of its lessons while suppressing others of equal importance. History is often hijacked through suppression, manipulation, and, sometimes, even outright deception. MacMillan’s book is packed full of examples of the abuses of history. In response, she urges us to treat the past with care and respect. Roger CROWLEY
Empires of the Sea 909.0982205 CRO Empires of the Sea shows the Mediterranean as a majestic and bloody theatre of war. Opening with the Ottoman victory in 1453 it is a breathtaking story of military crusading, Barbary pirates, white slavery and the Ottoman Empire, and the larger picture of the struggle between Islam and Christianity. This is a work of history at its broadest and most compelling.
The Inheritance of Rome 940.1 WIC Chris Wickham’s acclaimed history shows how the Dark Ages, encompassing peoples such as Goths, Franks, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, were central to the development of our history and culture. From the collapse of the Roman Empire to the establishment of new European states, and from Ireland to Constantinople, the Baltic to the Mediterranean, this landmark work makes sense of a time of invasion and turbulence, but also of continuity, creativity and achievement. Mark MAZOWER
Dark Continent 940.5 MAZ Dark Continent is a searching history of Europe’s most brutal century. Stripping away the comforting myths and illusions that we have grown up with since the Second World War, Mark Mazower presents an unflinching account of a continent locked in a finely balanced struggle between tolerance and racial extermination, imperial ambition and national selfdetermination, liberty and the tyrannies of Right and Left. Anthony BEEVOR
Stalingrad 940.5421 BEE This is a timely analysis and re-creation of the turning point of World War II. The eventual victory of the Red Army, and the failure of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa was the first defeat of Hitler’s territorial ambitions in Europe, and the start of his decline. An extraordinary story of tactical genius, civilian bravery, obsession, carnage and the nature of war itself, Stalingrad acts as a testament to the vital role of the Soviet war effort.
P R E PA R AT I O N 46
A History of Britain 941 SCH Change, sometimes gentle and subtle, sometimes shocking and violent, is the dynamic of Schama’s unapologetically personal and grippingly written history. At its heart lie questions of compelling importance for Britain’s future as well as its past: what makes or breaks a nation? To whom do we give our allegiance and why? And where do the boundaries of our community lie - in our hearth and home, our village or city, tribe or faith? What is Britain - one country or many? Schama’s history covers Britain’s history from 3000 BC – AD 2000 in 3 volumes. David CARPENTER
The Struggle for Mastery 941.02 CAR The two and a half centuries after 1066 were momentous ones in the history of Britain. The struggle for mastery in the book’s title is in reality the struggle for different masteries within Great Britain. The book weaves together the histories of England, Scotland and Wales in a new way and argues that all three, in their different fashions, were competing for domination. The author, David Carpenter, is Professor of Medieval History at King’s College London. Linda COLLEY
Britons 941.07 COL How was Great Britain made and what does it mean to be British? Linda Colley explains how a new British nation was invented in the wake of the 1707 Act of Union, and how this new national identity was nurtured through war, religion, trade and imperial expansion. Reference is made to numerous individual Britons: heroes and politicians like Nelson and Pitt, bourgeois patriots like Thomas Coram and John Wilkes, artists, writers and musicians as well as many ordinary men and women whose stories have never previously been told.
The Norman Conquest 942.02 MOR An upstart French duke who sets out to conquer the most powerful and unified kingdom in Christendom. An invasion force on a scale not seen since the days of the Romans. One of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever fought. This book explains why the Norman Conquest was the single most important event in English history. Marc Morris is an historian and broadcaster who studied and taught history at the universities of London and Oxford. Keith WRIGHTSON
English Society, 1580-1680 942.06 WRI English Society brings together the results of recent historiography, together with much original research by the author, to provide a fascinating picture of society and social change in the period. The first section of the book discusses some of the enduring characteristics of society and the second half charts the course of social change. At every point, Keith Wrightson brings his material to life with his arresting use of contemporary diaries and texts. Orlando FIGES
A People’s Tragedy 947.083 FIG Vast in scope, based on exhaustive original research, and written with passion, narrative skill and human sympathy, A People’s Tragedy is the definitive account of the Russian Revolution of 1891-1924 for a new generation. It has won the Wolfson History Prize, the W. H. Smith Literary Award, and the Longman/History Today Book of the Year Award.
P R E PA R AT I O N 47
The Lion and the Tiger 954.03 JUD Using many revealing contemporary accounts, Denis Judd explores the consequences of British rule in India for both rulers and ruled. Were the British intent on development or exploitation? Were they the ‘civilizing’ force they claimed? What were Britain’s greatest legacies: democracy and the rule of law, or cricket and an efficient railway system? Easy answers are avoided in this immensely readable, lively, and authoritative book. Miguel de CERVANTES
Don Quixote Fiction CER For those interested in Spain: The father of the modern novel and a comic masterpiece, Don Quixote has acquired mythic status and remains as fresh today as when it first appeared 400 years ago. Inspired by tales of chivalry, Don Quixote of La Mancha embarks on a series of adventures with his faithful servant Sancho Panza by his side. James FORRESTER
Sacred Treason Fiction FOR London, 1563. England is a troubled nation. Catholic plots against the young Queen Elizabeth spring up all over the country. The herald William Harley, known to everyone as Clarenceux, receives a book from his friend and fellow Catholic, Henry Machyn. But Machyn is in fear of his life... What secret can the book hold? James Forrester is a pen name for historian Dr Ian Mortimer, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Rebecca SKLOOT
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Fiction (Real Life) LAC Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells, taken without her knowledge, became a multimilliondollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta’s family did not learn of her ‘immortality’ until more than 20 years after her death, with devastating consequences. Balancing the beauty and drama of scientific discovery with dark questions about who owns the stuff our bodies are made of, this book tells the story of a real woman, whose cells live on today in all four corners of the world.
John LE CARRÉ
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Fiction LEC Alex Leamas is tired. It’s the 1960s, he’s been out in the cold for years, spying in Berlin for his British masters, and has seen too many good agents murdered for their troubles. Now Control wants to bring him in at last - but only after one final assignment. In Le Carré’s breakthrough work of 1963, the spy story is reborn as a gritty and terrible tale of men who are caught up in politics beyond their imagining. Andrea LEVY
Small Island Fiction LEV Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, this is a profoundly moving novel of empire, prejudice, war and love. Gilbert Joseph was one of several thousand Jamaican men who joined the RAF to fight against Hitler. Returning to England as a civilian in 1948 he is treated very differently. In desperation he remembers a wartime friendship and knocks at Queenie’s door. His wife, Hortense, longed to leave Jamaica and start a better life in England, but she is shocked to find London shabby, decrepit, and far from the golden city of her dreams. Alexander SOLZHENITSYN
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Fiction SOL This brutal, shattering glimpse of the fate of millions of Russians under Stalin shook Russia and shocked the world when it first appeared. Discover the importance of a piece of bread or an extra bowl of soup, the incredible luxury of a book, the ingenious possibilities of a nail, a piece of string or a single match in a world where survival is all. Here safety, warmth and food are the first objectives. Reading, you enter a world of incarceration, brutality, hard manual labour and freezing cold.
P R E PA R AT I O N 48
Harriet Beecher STOWE
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Fiction STO The first American novel to become an international best-seller, Stowe’s story charts the progress from slavery to freedom of fugitives who escape the chains of American chattel slavery, and of a martyr who transcends all earthly ties. At the middle of the nineteenth-century, the names of its characters - Little Eva, Topsy, Uncle Tom - were renowned. A hundred years later, U ` ncle Tom’ still had meaning, but, to Blacks everywhere it had become a curse. Ivan TURGENEV
Fathers and Sons Fiction TUR For those interested in Russia: Fathers and Sons (1862), Turgenev’s masterpiece, represents in its hero, Bazarov, ‘the new man’, a nihilist liberated from ageold conformities and at odds with the previous generation, questioning the very fabric of society. A novel of ideas, Fathers and Sons is also a moving story of human relationships. Alice WALKER
The Color Purple Fiction WAL Set in the deep American south between the wars, this is the classic tale of Celie, a young poor black girl. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her no better than a slave. She is separated from her sister Nettie and dreams of becoming like the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and rebellious black woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the support of women that enables her to leave the past behind and begin a new life.
P R E PA R AT I O N 49
Silent Spring 363.7384 CAR Rachel Carson (1907-64) wanted to be a writer for as long as she could remember. Excerpts from her book Silent Spring were originally published as articles in The New Yorker. In what is now recognized as one of the most influential books of the 20th century, Carson exposed the destruction of wildlife through the widespread use of pesticides. Despite condemnation in the press and heavy-handed attempts by the chemical industry to ban the book, she succeeded in creating a new public awareness of the environment. Tim WU
The Master Switch 384.041 WUT The internet age: on the face of it, this is an era of unprecedented freedom in both communication and culture, and as it increasingly supersedes all other media the stakes have never been higher. Part industrial exposĂŠ, part examination of freedom of expression, The Master Switch reveals a crucial drama, full of indelible characters, as it has played out over decades in the shadows of global communication. Lynne TRUSS
Eats, Shoots & Leaves 421.1 TRU Perfect spelling and grammar are essential for anyone wanting to be a journalist. This is a witty, entertaining and impassioned guide to perfect punctuation, for everyone who cares about precise writing. Eats, Shoots & Leaves adopts a militant approach and attempts to recruit an army of punctuation vigilantes. Send letters back with the punctuation corrected. Do not accept sloppy emails. Climb ladders at dead of night with a pot of paint to remove redundant apostrophes.
Genius 530.092 FEY Richard Feynman was the most brilliant and influential physicist of our time. Architect of quantum theories, enfant terrible of the atomic bomb project, and caustic inquisitor on the space shuttle commission, he played a bewildering assortment of roles in the post-war era. In this brilliant interweaving of Feynmanâ€™s colourful life and a detailed and accessible account of his theories and experiments, journalist James Gleick offers a wonderful example of how to tackle the overlapping of science and public policy. George ORWELL
Homage to Catalonia 823.912 ORW An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in 20th-century literature. In Homage to Catalonia he brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity, describing with bitter intensity the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of the Spanish Civil War: the revolutionary euphoria of Barcelona, the courage of ordinary Spanish men and women he fought alongside, the terror and confusion of the front, his near-fatal bullet wound and the vicious treachery of his supposed allies.
P R E PA R AT I O N 50
Every Man in This Village is a Liar 909.83 STA Journalist Megan Stack, a 25-year-old national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, was thrust into Afghanistan and Pakistan, dodging gunmen and prodding warlords for information. From there, she travelled to war-ravaged Iraq and Lebanon and to other countries scarred by violence, including Israel, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, witnessing the changes that swept the Muslim world and labouring to tell its stories. Every Man in This Village is a Liar is her riveting account of what she saw in the combat zones and beyond. Ryszard KAPU CI SKI
Travels with Herodotus 910.92 KAP Kapu ci ski set out on his forays to India, China and Africa with the great Greek historian Herodotus constantly in his pocket. He saw Louis Armstrong in Khartoum, visited Dar-es-Salaam, and arrived in Algiers in time for a coup when nothing seemed to happen. At every encounter with a new culture he plunges in, curious and observant, thirsting to understand, and he reads Herodotus so much that he often feels he is embarking on two journeys – the first his assignment as a reporter, the second following Herodotus’ expeditions. George ELIOT
Middlemarch FICTION ELI In a panoramic sweep of English life during the years leading up to the First Reform Bill of 1832, Eliot explores nearly every subject of concern to modern life: art, religion, science, politics, self, society and human relationships. As journalist Vanessa M. Gezari says, the book “exemplifies the precise observation, psychological complexity, and generosity of spirit to which narrative nonfiction should aspire”.
Tatiana de ROSNAY
Sarah’s Key FICTION ROS Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a 10-year-old Jewish girl, is arrested by the French police in the middle of the night, along with her mother and father. Paris, May 2002: Julia Jarmond, an American journalist, is asked to write about the 60th anniversary of the Vél’ d’Hiv’, the infamous day in 1942 when French Police rounded up thousands of Jewish men, women and children, in order to send them to concentration camps. Sarah’s Key is the poignant story of two families, forever linked and haunted by one of the darkest days in France’s past. Evelyn WAUGH
Scoop FICTION WAU Lord Copper, proprietor of the Daily Beast, is persuaded to send fashionable novelist John Boot as a foreign correspondent to cover the civil war in the African republic of Ishmaelia, but, owing to a most unfortunate case of mistaken identity, he actually sends William Boot, a contributor of charming nature notes to the Beast who has rarely ventured out of his rural retreat. Waugh’s classic tale of an innocent abroad is a hilarious satire on journalism, set amidst the powerful currents of the 1930s.
Recomended Viewing Page One DVD The makers of Page One gain unprecedented access to The New York Times newsroom and the inner workings of the Media Desk. With the Internet surpassing print as the main news source and newspapers all over the country going bankrupt, Page One chronicles the transformation of the media industry at its time of greatest turmoil. The resources, intellectual capital, stamina, and self-awareness mobilized when it counts attest to there being no shortcuts when analyzing and reporting complex truths
P R E PA R AT I O N 51
Law Stella COTTRELL
Critical Thinking Skills 160 COT The 2nd edition of this leading guide helps students to develop reflective thinking skills, improve their critical analysis and construct arguments more effectively. It is a practical and detailed guide for students at all levels and particularly relevant for potential lawyers.
(ed.) What About Law?
Most young people have very little idea of what learning law involves and how universities teach law to their students. This book is designed to help 17/18year old students and others decide whether law is the right choice for them as a university subject and what to expect when they start their law degree. It shows how the study of law can be fun, intellectually stimulating and challenging. Using a case study approach, it introduces prospective law students to the legal system, as well as to legal reasoning, critical thinking and argument.
We all engage in the process of reasoning, but we don’t always pay attention to whether we are doing it well. By the end of this book students should be able to identify flaws in arguments, analyse the reasoning in newspaper articles, books and speeches, assess the credibility of evidence and authorities, make sound decisions, solve dilemmas and approach any topic with the ability to reason and think critically. Raymond WACKS
Learning the Law 340.07 WIL
Law underlies our society. It protects our rights, imposes duties and establishes a framework for the conduct of almost every social, political, and economic activity. This clear, jargon-free Very Short Introduction introduces the essentials of law and legal systems in a lively, accessible, and stimulating manner. Explaining the main concepts, terms, and processes of the legal system, it focuses on common law and civil law, but also includes discussions of other legal systems, such as customary law and Islamic law.
Learning the Law introduces legal problems and describes how to tackle them, how to look up points of law and how to make the best use of the time available for study. First published in 1945, it has been introducing students to the ‘foundation’ skills needed to study law effectively for almost 70 years. Presenting an overview of the English Legal System and covering the essential legal skills that students need to master if they want to succeed both in their legal studies and in their future careers, this is a must-read book for all new law students!
P R E PA R AT I O N 52
Nicholas J. McBRIDE
Letters to a Law Student 340.0711 MCB Letters to a Law Student relays all that a prospective law student needs to know before embarking on their studies. Written in a lively and entertaining style, this book offers clear and helpful answers to your questions about studying law, including: What do law students do? Should I study law at university? Have I got what it takes? How can I do well on the LNAT? How do I get to grips with reading cases and statutes? How can I make sure I’m getting the most out of my teachers? What can I do with a law degree? Geoffrey RIVLIN
Understanding the Law 349.41 RIV Geoffrey Rivlin uses all his experience as a judge to provide a wealth of fascinating detail about the legal system and the many people who participate in it, including judges, lawyers, and police officers. A selection of real-life cases helps bring the book to life, and there are questions to accompany each chapter to encourage the reader to engage with the material. This book is ideal for anyone considering a career in the law, preparing for university, or embarking on a law course at school or college. Charles DICKENS
Bleak House FICTION DIC ‘Jarndyce and Jardyce’ is an infamous lawsuit that has been in process for generations. Nobody can remember exactly how the case started but many different individuals have found their fortunes caught up in it. Esther Summerson watches as her friends and neighbours are consumed by their hopes and disappointments with the proceedings. But while the intricate puzzles of the lawsuit are being debated by lawyers, other more dramatic mysteries are unfolding that involve heartbreak, lost children, blackmail and murder.
P. D. JAMES
A Certain Justice FICTION JAM Venetia Aldridge QC is a distinguished barrister. When she agrees to defend Garry Ashe, accused of the brutal murder of his aunt, it is one more opportunity to triumph in her career as a criminal lawyer. But just four weeks later, Miss Aldridge is found dead. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, called in to investigate, finds motives for murder among the clients Venetia has defended, her professional colleagues, her family, even her lover. Harper LEE
To Kill a Mockingbird FICTION LEE “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice.
P R E PA R AT I O N 53
Mathematics Introduction The range of mathematics books now available is enormous. This list just contains a few suggestions which you should find helpful. They are divided into three groups: historical and general (which aim to give a broad idea of the scope and development of the subject); recreational, from problem books (which aim to keep your brain working) to technical books (which give you insight into a specific area of mathematics and include mathematical discussion); and textbooks (which cover a topic in advanced mathematics of the kind that you will encounter in your first year at university). Do not feel that you should only read the difficult ones: medicine is only good for you if it is hard to take, but this is not true for mathematics books. Any reading you do will certainly prove useful. All the books on the list should be obtainable from your local library, though you may have to order them. Most are available (relatively) cheaply in paperback and so would make good additions to your Christmas list. Some may be out of print, but still obtainable from libraries. You might also like to look on the web for mathematics sites. Good starting points are: NRICH (http://nrich.maths.org.uk) which is a web-based interactive mathematics club; Plus (http://plus.maths.org.uk), which is a web-based mathematics journal. Both these sites are based in Cambridge.
Historical and General One of the most frequent complaints of mathematics undergraduates is that they did not realise until too late what was behind all the material they wrote down in lectures: Why was it important? What were the problems which demanded this new approach? Who did it? There is much to be learnt from a historical approach, even if it is fairly non-mathematical.
Alan Turing, the Enigma (Vintage, 1992)
Makers of Mathematics (Penguin, 1989) There are not many books on the history of mathematics which are pitched at a suitable level. Hollingdale gives a biographical approach which is both readable and mathematical. You might also try E.T. Bell Men of Mathematics (Touchstone Books, Simon and Schuster, 1986). Historians of mathematics have a lot to say about this (very little of it complimentary) but it is full of good stories which have inspired generations of mathematicians. S. Kovalevskaya (trans. B. Stillman)
A Russian Childhood (Springer, 1978, now out of print) Sonya Kovalevskaya was the first woman in modern times to hold a lectureship at a European university: in 1889, in spite of the fact that she was a woman (with an unconventional private life), a foreigner, a socialist (or worse) and a practitioner of the new Weierstrassian theory of analysis, she was appointed a professor at the University of Stockholm. Her memories of childhood are non-mathematical but fascinating. She discovered in her nursery the theory of infinitesimals: times being hard, the walls had been papered with pages of mathematical notes.
A great biography of Alan Turing, a pioneer of modern computing. The title has a double meaning: the man was an enigma, committing suicide in 1954 by eating a poisoned apple, and the German code that he was instrumental in cracking was generated by the Enigma machine. The book is largely nonmathematical, but there are no holds barred when it comes to describing his major achievement, now called a Turing machine, with which he demonstrated that a famous conjecture by Hilbert is false. R. Kanigel
The Man Who Knew Infinity (Abacus, 1992) The life of Ramanujan, the self-taught mathematical prodigy from a village near Madras. He sent Hardy samples of his work from India, which included rediscoveries of theorems already well known in the West and other results which completely baffled Hardy. Some of his estimates for the number of ways a large integer can be expressed as the sum of integers are extraordinarily accurate, but seem to have been plucked out of thin air.
P R E PA R AT I O N 54
A Mathematician’s Apology (CUP, 1992) Hardy was one of the best mathematicians of the first part of this century. Always an achiever (his New Year resolutions one year included proving the Riemann hypothesis, making 211 not out in the fourth test at the Oval, finding an argument for the non-existence of God which would convince the general public, and murdering Mussolini), he led the renaissance in mathematical analysis in England. Graham Greene knew of no writing (except perhaps Henry James’s Introductory Essays) which conveys so clearly and with such an absence of fuss the excitement of the creative artist. There is an introduction by C.P. Snow.
You must read this story of Andrew Wiles’s proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, including all sorts of mathematical ideas and anecdotes; there is no better introduction to the world of research mathematics. Singh’s later The Code Book (Fourth Estate) is not so interesting mathematically, but is still a very good read.
(edited by B. Bollobas)
Marcus du Sautoy
The Music of the Primes
This collection, first published in 1953, contains some wonderful insights into the development and lifestyle of a great mathematician as well as numerous anecdotes, mathematical (Lion and Man is excellent) and not-so-mathematical. The latest edition contains several worthwhile additions, including a splendid lecture entitled ‘The Mathematician’s Art of Work’, (as well as various items of interest mainly to those who believe that Trinity Great Court is the centre of the Universe). Thoroughly recommended. The man who loved only numbers Paul Hoffman (Fourth Estate, 1999) An excellent biography of Paul Erd¨os, one of the most prolific mathematicians of all time. Erd¨os wrote over 1500 papers (about 10 times the normal number for a mathematician) and collaborated with 485 other mathematicians. He had no home; he just descended on colleagues with whom he wanted to work, bringing with him all his belongings in a suitcase. Apart from details of Erd¨os’s life, there is plenty of discussion of the kind of problems (mainly number theory) that he worked on.
This is a wide-ranging historical survey of a large chunk of mathematics with the Riemann Hypothesis acting as a thread tying everything together. The Riemann Hypothesis is one of the big unsolved problems in mathematics – in fact, it is one of the Clay Institute million dollar problems – though unlike Fermat’s last theorem it is unlikely ever to be the subject of pub conversation. Du Sautoy’s book is bang up to date, and attractively written. Some of the maths is tough but the history and storytelling paint a convincing (and appealing) picture of the world of professional mathematics.
Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman (Arrow Books, 1992)
Fermat’s Last Theorem (Fourth Estate)
Marcus Du Sautoy
Finding Moonshine: a mathematician’s journey through symmetry (Fourth Estate, 2008) This book has had exceptionally good reviews (even better than Du Sautoy’s Music of the Primes listed above). The title is self explanatory. The book starts with a romp through the history and winds up with some very modern ideas. You even have the opportunity to discover a group for yourself and have it named after you.
Autobiographical anecdotes from one of the greatest theoretical physicists of the last century, which became an immediate best-seller. You learn about physics, about life and (most puzzling of all) about Feynman. Very amusing and entertaining.
P R E PA R AT I O N 55
Number (Bloomsbury, 1991) The development of the theory of numbers, from Babylon to Babbage, written with humour and erudition. Hugely enjoyable.
To Infinity and Beyond
Recreational You can find any number of puzzle books in the shops and some which are both instructive and entertaining are listed here. Other books in this section do not attempt to set the reader problems, but to give an appetising introduction to important areas of, or recent advances in, mathematics. M. Gardner
Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers
(Princeton, 1991) Not much hard mathematics here, but lots of interesting mathematical ideas (prime numbers, irrationals, the continuum hypothesis, Olber’s paradox (why is the sky dark at night?) and the expanding universe to name but a few), fascinating history and lavish illustrations. The same author has also written a whole book about one number (e The Story of a Number), also published by Princeton (1994), but not yet out in paperback.
(CUP/Math. Assoc. of America, 1997) Ravi Vakil Or any other book by Martin Gardner: he has written numerous books in similar style, all excellent. His Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions and More Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions (both available in Penguin) and The Unexpected Hanging (Chicago) are classics. I. Stewart
Game, Set and Math (Penguin, 1997) Stewart is one of the best current writers of mathematics (recreational or otherwise). This collection (which includes a calculation which shows why you need only be marginally the better player to win a tennis match — whence the title) was originally written in French: some of the puns seem to have suffered in translation, but the joie de vivre shines through. You might also like Stewart’s book on Chaos, Does God Play Dice? (Penguin, 1990). Excellent writing again but, unlike the chaos books mentioned below, no colour pictures. The title is a quotation from Einstein, who believed (probably incorrectly) that the answer was no; he thought that theories of physics should be deterministic, unlike quantum mechanics which is probabilistic.
A Mathematical Mosaic (Mathematical Association of America, 1997) This is a bit unusual. I can’t do better than to direct you to the web site http://www.maa.org/pubs/books/mtm.html. It is not easy to get hold of (see also this website); but it is not expensive and I think it is brilliant. Don’t be discouraged by the profiles of exceptional young mathematicians – they are exceptional!
Readable Mathematics Kevin Houston
How to Think like a Mathematician (CUP, 2009) This sounds like the sort of book that elderly people think that young people should read. However, there is lots of good mathematics in it (including many interesting exercises) as well as lots of good advice. How can you resist a book the first words of which (relating to the need for accurate expression) are: Question: How many months have 28 days? Mathematician’s answer: All of them.
P R E PA R AT I O N 56
Mathematics: a very short introduction (CUP, 2002) Gowers is a Fields Medalist (the Fields medal is the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel prize), so it is not at all surprising that what he writes is worth reading. What is surprising is the ease and charm of his writing. He touches lightly many areas of mathematics, some that will be familiar (Pythagoras) and some that may not be (manifolds) and has something illuminating to say about all of them. The book is small and thin: it will fit in your pocket. You should get it. Terence Tao
Solving Mathematical Problems (OUP, 2006) Tao is another Fields Medalist. He subtitles this little book ‘a personal perspective’ and there is probably no one better qualified to give a personal perspective on problem solving: at 13, he was the youngest ever (by some margin) gold medal winner in International Mathematical Olympiad. There are easy problems (as well as hard problems) and good insights throughout. The problems are mainly geometric and algebraic, including number theory (no calculus). T.W. K¨orner
The Pleasures of Counting (CUP, 1996) A brilliant book. There is something here for anyone interested in mathematics and even the most erudite professional mathematicians will learn something new. Some of the chapters involve very little technical mathematics (the discussion of cholera outbreaks which begins the book, for example) while others require the techniques of a first or second year undergraduate course. However, you can skip through the technical bits and still have an idea what is going on. You will enjoy the account of Braess’s paradox (a mathematical demonstration of the result, which we all know to be correct, that building more roads can increase journey times), the explanation of why we should all be called Smith, and the account of the Enigma code–breaking. These are just a few of the topics K¨orner explains with enviable clarity and humour.
R. Courant & H. Robbins
What is Mathematics? (OUP, 1996) A new edition, revised by Ian Stewart, of a classic. It has chapters on numbers (including 1), logic, cubics, duality, soap-films, etc. The subtitle (An elementary approach to ideas and methods) is rather optimistic: challenging would be a more appropriate adjective, though interesting or instructive would do equally well. Stewart has resisted the temptation to tamper: he has simply updated where appropriate — for example, he discusses the solution to the four–colour problem and the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem. Ian Stewart
From Here to Infinity (OUP, 1996) This is a revised version of Problems in Mathematics (1987); revised of necessity, as the author says, because some of the problems now have solutions — an indication of the speed at which the frontiers of mathematics are receding. Topics discussed include solving the quintic, colouring, knots, infinitesimals, computability and chaos. In the preface, it is guaranteed that the very least you will get from the book is the understanding that mathematical research is not just a matter of inventing new numbers; what you will in fact get is an idea of what real mathematics is.
P R E PA R AT I O N 57
What’s Happening in the Mathematical Sciences (AMS, 1993, ’94, ’96, ’99, ’02) This really excellent series is published by the American Mathematical Society. It contains low(ish)level discussions, with lots of pictures and photographs, of some of the most important recent discoveries in mathematics. Volumes 1 and 2 cover recent advances in map–colouring, computer proofs, knot theory, travelling salesmen, and much more. Volume 3 (1995–96) has, among other things, articles on Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, the investigation of twin primes which led to the discovery that the Pentium chip was flawed, codes depending on large prime numbers and the Enormous Theorem in group theory (the theorem is small but the proof, in condensed form, runs to 5000 pages). Exciting stuff. P. Hoffman
Archimedes’ Revenge (Penguin, 1991) This is not a difficult read, but it covers some very interesting topics: for example, why democracy is mathematically unsound, Turing machines and travelling salesmen. Remarkably, there is no chapter on chaos. P.J. Davis & R. Hersh
The Mathematical Experience (Penguin, 1990)
The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers (Penguin, 1997) A brilliant idea. The numbers are listed in order of magnitude with historical and mathematical information. Look up 1729 to see why it is ‘among the most famous of all numbers’. Look up 0.7404 (= ¼/ p 18) to discover that this is the density of closelypacked identical spheres in what is believed by many mathematicians (though it was at that time an unproven hypothesis) and is known by all physicists and greengrocers to be the optimal packing. Look up Graham’s number (the last one in the book), which is inconceivably big: even written as a tower of powers (9 “ (9 “ (9 · · ·))) it would take up far more ink than could be made from all the atoms in the universe. It is an upper bound for a quantity in Ramsey theory whose actual value is believed to be about 6. A book for the bathroom to be dipped into at leisure. You might also like Wells’s The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Geometry (Penguin, 1991) which is another book for the bathroom. It is not just obscure theorems about triangles and circles (though there are plenty of them); far-reaching results such as the hairy ball theorem (you can’t brush the hair flat everywhere) and fixed point theorems are also discussed.
This gives a tremendous foretaste of the excitement of discovering mathematics. A classic.
C. Bondi (ed.)
J. A. Paulos
Beyond Numeracy (Penguin, 1991) Bite-sized essays on fractals, game-theory, countability, convergence and much more. It is a sequel to his equally entertaining, but less technical, Numeracy.
New Applications of Mathematics
Twelve chapters by different authors, starting with functions and ending with supercomputers. There is material here which many readers will already understand, but treated from a novel point of view, and plenty of less familiar but still very understandable material.
P R E PA R AT I O N 58
Reaching for Infinity (Tab/McGraw-Hill, 1990) A short and comfortable, though mathematical, read about different sorts of infinity. It has theorems, too, which are good for you. An example: @0 + @1 = @1. This probably needs a bit of explanation. Loosely speaking: @0 (pronounced ‘aleph’ zero) is the number of integers (which is the same as the number of rational numbers) and @1 is the next biggest infinity. There is another infinity, c = 2@0 , which is the number of real numbers. The continuum hypothesis says that c = @1, but it was not realised until 1963 that this cannot be proved or disproved. N. Hall (ed.)
The New Scientist Guide to Chaos (Penguin, 1991) This comprises a series of articles on various aspects of chaotic systems together with some really amazing photographs of computer-generated landscapes. Chaos is what happens when the behaviour of a system gets too complicated to predict; the most familiar example is the weather, which apparently cannot be forecast accurately more than five days ahead. The articles here delve into many diverse systems in which chaos can occur and include a piece by the guru (Mandelbrot) and one about the mysterious new constant of nature discovered by Feigenbaum associated with the timescale over which dynamical systems change in character. J. Gleick
Chaos (Minerva/Random House, 1997) Sometimes, at interview, candidates are asked whether they have read any good mathematics books recently. There was a time when nine out of ten candidates who expressed a view named this one. Before that, it was Douglas Hofstadter’s G¨odel, Escher, Bach (Penguin, 1980). Surely they couldn’t all have been wrong?
Readable Theoretical Physics John C. Taylor
Hidden Unity in Nature’s Laws (CUP, 2001) When I asked John Taylor which areas of physics his book covered, he said ‘Well, all areas’. Having now read it, I see this is more or less true. He takes us from the oldest ideas in physics (about astronomy) to the most modern (string theory). The book is obviously written for an intelligent and interested adult: difficult concepts are not swept under the carpet (there is a chapter on Least Action) and the text is not littered with trendy pictures or jokes. Everything is explained with exceptional clarity in a most engaging manner – almost as if the author was conversing with the reader as an equal. R.P. Feynman
QED: The Strange Story of Light and Matter (Penguin, 1990) Feynman again, this time explaining the exceedingly deep theory of Quantum Electrodynamics, which describes the interactions between light and electrons, in four lectures to a non-specialist audience – with remarkable success. The theory is not only very strange, it is also very accurate: its prediction of the magnetic moment of the electron agrees with the experimental value to an accuracy equivalent to the width of a human hair in the distance from New York to Los Angeles.
Fractals. Images of Chaos (Penguin, 1991) Poincar e recurrence, Julia sets, Mandelbrot, snowflakes, the coastline of Norway, nice pictures; in fact, just what you would expect to find. But this has quite a bit of mathematics in it and also a number of programs in basic so that you can build your own fractals. It is written with the energy of a true enthusiast.
P R E PA R AT I O N 59
The Cosmic Onion (Heinemann, 1983) Not a great deal has changed on the elementary particle scene since this absorbing survey was written: it was just in time to report first sightings of the Z and W particles. It even reports, with (as it turned out) well-founded scepticism on claims to have seen the top quark. The final chapter makes the all-important link between particle physics (physics on the smallest scale) and cosmology (physics on the largest scale). The energies required to study the latest batch of elementary particles are so great that the Big Bang is the only feasible ‘laboratory’. T. Hey & P. Walters
The Accidental Universe (CUP, 1982) All the buzz-words are here: cosmic dynamics; galactic structure; entropy of the Universe; black holes; many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, but this is not another journalistic pot-boiler. It is a careful and accurate account by one of the best writers of popular science.
The Quantum Universe (CUP, 1987) All you ever wanted to know about quantum mechanics, from fusion to fission, from Feynman diagrams to super-fluids, and from Higgs particles to Hawking radiation. With potted biographies, historical background, and packed with wonderful illustrations and photographs (including an electron microscope image of a midge). This is an excellent and unusual introduction to the subject. The same authors also wrote a splendid book on relativity (Einstein’s Mirror).
Readable Textbooks There is not much point in trying to cover a lot of material from the first year undergraduate mathematics course you are just about to start, but there is a great deal of point in trying to familiarise yourself with the sort of topics you are going to encounter. It is also a good plan to get used to working on your own; reading mathematics text books is an art not much practised in schools. Many of the following have exercises and answers and some have solutions. S.T.C. Siklos
Advanced Problems in Mathematics
Was Einstein Right?
(1996 and 2003)
(Basic Books, 1988) Einstein’s theory of General Relativity is a theory of gravitation which supersedes Newton’s theory and is consistent with Special Relativity. The basic idea is that space-time is curved and you feel gravitational forces when you go round a curve in space, in the same way as you feel centrifugal force when your car goes round a bend. This book is about observational tests of the theory, all of which have been passed with flying colours. In particular, there is a binary pulsar which loses mass by gravitational radiation and, as a result, its period of rotation increases by 76 ± 2 millionths of a second per year; General Relativity predicts 75. There is much to be learnt here about physics, cosmology and astronomy as well as about Einstein and his theory.
These are selections of STEP–like problems complete with discussion and full solutions. (STEP is the examination normally used as a basis for conditional offers to Cambridge.) The problems are different from most A-level questions, being much longer (‘multi-step’ is the current terminology) and sometimes covering material from apparently unconnected areas of mathematics. They are more like the sort of problems that you encounter in a university mathematics course, although they are based on the syllabuses of school mathematics. Working through one or both of these booklets would be an excellent way of getting your mathematics up to speed again after the summer break. The 2003 booklet (Advanced Problems in Core Mathematics) is in a sense a prequel, since it is based on a less advanced syllabus (basically the A-level core plus some mechanics and probability). Both these booklets can be downloaded from the STEP website http://www.stepmathematics.org.uk
P R E PA R AT I O N 60
Mathematical Methods for Science Students (Longman, 1973) This starts with material you already know and advances cautiously in traditional directions. You may not be bowled over with excitement but you will appreciate the careful explanations, the many examples and exercises and the generally sympathetic approach. You may prefer an entirely problems-based approach, in which case Worked examples in Mathematics for Scientists and Engineers (Longman, 1985) by the same author is for you.
K F Riley, M P Hobson & S J Bence
Yet Another Introduction to Analysis
Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering (Cambridge University Press 1998) Most of A-level pure mathematics consists of what could be called ‘mathematical methods’ — i.e. techniques you can use in other areas (such as mechanics and statistics). The continuation of this material forms a basic part of every university course (and would count as applied mathematics!). This book is a strong recommendation for any such course.
Groups: A Path to Geometry (CUP, 1987) Permutations, groups, matrices, complex numbers and, above all (or rather, behind all), geometry.
(CUP, 1990) Yes, another; but a very good one. And it has solutions to the many problems. Analysis is the study of all those things you think you already know how to do (such as differentiation, integration), from first principles. This book goes through functions, continuity, series and calculus at a brisk trot; essential material for any mathematician. Mary Lunn
A First Course in Mechanics (OUP, 1991)
A Concise Introduction to Pure Mathematics (Chapman& Hall/CRC Mathematics) This is really excellent. Liebeck provides a simple, nicely explained, appetizer to a wide variety of topics (such as number systems, complex numbers, prime factorisation, number theory, infinities) that would be found in any first year course. His approach is rigorous but he stops before the reader can get too bogged down in detail. There are worked examples (e.g. ‘Between any two real numbers there is an irrational’) and exercises, which have the same light touch as the text. John Baylis
What is Mathematical Analysis? (MacMillan, 1991) This book (now out of print, but available from libraries) is part of a series which is supposed to bridge the gap between school and university. It covers some serious analysis (the intermediate value theorem, limits, differentiation and integration) in a most accessible style: it never gets hard, though you will need to study carefully. The layout could be nicer, but do not be put off.
A bridge between the sort of mechanics you meet at A-level and the sort you are going to meet at university; not just a bridge, but also a good bit of road on the far side. M.R. Spiegel
Probability and Statistics (Schaum’s outline series; McGraw-Hill, 1982) Part of a large series of mathematics texts which are almost entirely problem based, and consequently are very suitable for home study. D. Harel
Algorithmics – The Spirit of Computing (Addison-Wesley, 1992) The aim is to impart a deep understanding of the fundamentals of machine-executable processes, and the recipes (algorithms) which govern them. Questions addressed include: ‘What problems can be solved by mechanical processes?’ and ‘What is the minimum cost of obtaining the answer to a given problem?’. The last chapter is about artificial intelligence.
P R E PA R AT I O N 61
Bad Pharma 338.476151 GOL Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make informed decisions, but instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which distort and exaggerate the benefits by design. When these trials produce unflattering results, the data is simply buried. All of this is perfectly legal. Ben Goldacre is Britain’s finest writer on the science behind medicine, and Bad Pharma is a clear and witty attack showing exactly how the science has been distorted, how our systems have been broken, and how easy it would be to fix them. Atul GAWANDE
The Checklist Manifesto 362.10218 GAW In this groundbreaking book, Atul Gawande makes a compelling argument for the checklist, which he believes to be the most promising method available in surmounting failure. Whether you’re following a recipe, investing millions of dollars in a company or building a skyscraper, the checklist is an essential tool in virtually every area of our lives, and Gawande explains how breaking down complex, high pressure tasks into small steps can radically improve everything from airline safety to heart surgery survival rates. Jean-Dominique BAUBY
The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly 362.19681 BAU In December 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor-inchief of French Elle and the father of two young children, suffered a massive stroke and found himself paralysed and speechless, but entirely conscious, trapped by what doctors call ‘locked-in syndrome’. Using his only functioning muscle, his left eyelid, he began dictating this remarkable story, painstakingly spelling it out letter by letter. His book offers a haunting, harrowing look inside the cruel prison of locked-in syndrome, but it is also a triumph of the human spirit.
A Short History of Nearly Everything 500 BRY A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bryson’s quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there is some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It’s not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know… Richard DAWKINS (ed.)
The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing 500 OXF Selected and introduced by Richard Dawkins, The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing is a celebration of the finest writing by scientists for a wider audience, revealing that many of the best scientists have displayed as much imagination and skill with the pen as they have in the laboratory. This is a rich and vibrant collection that captures the poetry and excitement of communicating scientific understanding and scientific effort from 1900 to the present day.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 62
Elegance in Science 501 GLY Ian Glynn, a distinguished scientist, selects historical examples from a range of sciences to draw out the role of beauty and simplicity in the principles of science, including Kepler’s Laws, the experiments that demonstrated the nature of heat, and the action of nerves, and of course the extraordinary episodes that led to Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA. The book also relates to important philosophical issues of inference, and ends by warning us not to rely on beauty and simplicity alone - even the most elegant explanation can be wrong. P.B. MEDAWAR
Advice to a Young Scientist
Biochemistry 572 STR This introductory text aims to cover the principles of biochemistry and to give the reader a command of biochemistry’s basic concepts and language. Discussions of the new areas of inquiry opened up by the growing partnership between biochemistry, cell biology and molecular genetics, including a chapter of reflection on molecular evolution, are featured in the last chapter of the book.
507 MED Denis NOBLE To those interested in a life in science, Sir Peter Medawar, Nobel laureate, deflates the myths surrounding scientists’ invincibility, superiority, and genius. Instead, he argues that it is common sense and an inquiring mind that are essential to the makeup of a scientist. He delivers many wry observations on how to choose a research topic, how to get along with collaborators, older scientists and administrators, how (and how not) to present a scientific paper, and how to cope with culturally superior specialists in the arts and humanities.
The Music of Life 576 NOB The view of life presented in this little, modern, postgenome project reflection on the nature of life is that of the systems biologist: to understand what life is, we must view it at a variety of different levels, all interacting with each other in a complex web. It is that emergent web, full of feedback between levels, from the gene to the wider environment, that is life. It is a kind of music.
Bad Science 507.2 GOL How do we know if a treatment works, or if something causes cancer? Can the claims of homeopaths ever be as true, or as interesting, as the improbable research into the placebo effect? Who created the MMR hoax? Are alternative therapists and the pharmaceutical companies really so different, or do they just use the same old tricks to sell different types of pill? Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dodgy science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 63
The Language of the Genes 576.5 JON Steve Jones’s highly acclaimed, double prize-winning, bestselling first book is fully revised to cover all the genetic breakthroughs from GM food to Dolly the sheep. Professor Jones is an authority in the field: a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012. Richard DAWKINS
The Selfish Gene 576.82 DAW As relevant and influential today as when it was first published, The Selfish Gene has become a classic exposition of evolutionary thought. Professor Dawkins articulates a gene’s eye view of evolution - a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. This imaginative and brilliant work not only brought the insights of NeoDarwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. Michael G. SARGENT
Biomedicine and the Human Condition 610.1 SAR How to avoid disease, how to breed successfully, and how to live to a reasonable age are questions that have long perplexed humankind. This book explores our progress in understanding these challenges, and the risks and rewards of our attempts to find solutions. Issues covered include the powerful influence of infectious disease on human society, the burden of our genetic legacy and the lottery of procreation. The author also debates the ethical checkpoints encountered.
The Human Brain 612.82 GRE Locked away remote from the rest of the body in its own custom-built casing of skull bone, with no intrinsic moving parts, the human brain remains a tantalising mystery. Susan Greenfield begins by exploring the roles of different regions of the brain. She then switches and examines how certain functions, such as movement and vision, are accommodated in the brain. The fate of the brain is traced through life as we see how it constantly changes as a result of experience to provide the essence of a unique individual. Oliver SACKS
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat 616.8909 SAC This bestselling collection of clinical tales from the far borderlands of neurological and human experience is by Oliver Sacks, a physician and the author of many books. The subject of this strange and wonderful book is what happens when things go wrong with parts of the brain most of us don’t know exist. Dr Sacks shows the awesome powers of our mind and just how delicately balanced they have to be. Siddhartha MUKHERJEE
The Emperor of All Maladies 616.994 MUK In The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee, doctor, researcher and award-winning science writer, examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with - and perished from - for more than five thousand years. Winner of the Guardian First Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction 2011.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 64
Middlemarch FICTION ELI In a panoramic sweep of English life during the years leading up to the First Reform Bill of 1832, Eliot explores nearly every subject of concern to modern life: art, religion, science, politics, self, society, human relationships. Among her characters are Dorothea Brooke, the heroine, idealistic but näive; Tertius Lydgate, the brilliant but morally-flawed physician; the passionate artist Will Ladislaw; and Fred Vincey and Mary Garth, childhood sweethearts whose charming courtship is one of the many humorous elements in the novel’s rich comic vein. Alexander SOLZHENITSYN
Cancer Ward FICTION SOL As a medical novel, Cancer Ward paints a picture of medicine as practiced in Central Asia in 1955. However, this is also one of the great allegorical masterpieces of world literature. Cancer Ward is both a deeply compassionate study of men facing terminal illness and a brilliant dissection of the ‘cancerous’ Soviet police state. Withdrawn from publication in the Soviet Union in 1968, it became, along with Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a work that awoke the conscience of the world.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 65
Music Arnold Whittall (Dent)
Music Since The First World War Jim Samson (Dent)
Music in Transition: A study of Tonal Expansion and Atonality 1900-1920 Grout/Palisca (Norton)
Concise History of Western Music George Perle (University of California Press) Charles Rosen (Faber)
The Classical Style
Serial Composition and Atonality David Poultney (Prentice)
Howard Brown (Prentice)
Music In The Renaissance
Studying Musical History Reginald Smith Brindle (Oxford)
Joseph Kerman (Faber)
Musical Composition Claude Palisca (Prentice)
Reginald Smith Brindle (Oxford)
The New Music
Baroque Music Ian Bent (Macmillan)
Leonard Ratner (Schirmer)
Analysis Joseph Machlis (Dent)
Arnold Schoenberg (Faber)
Fundamentals of Musical Composition
Introduction to Contemporary Music Joel Lester (Norton)
Arnold Whittall (Oxford)
Musical Composition In The Twentieth Century
Analytical Approaches to Twentieth Century Music Leonard Ratner (Schirmer)
Paul Griffiths (Dent)
Romantic Music: Sound and Syntax Allen Forte and Steven Gilbert (Norton)
Jonathan Dunsby and Arnold Whittall
Music Analysis in Theory and Practice
Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis Kofi Agawu (Princeton)
Joseph Straus (Prentice)
Introduction to Post Tonal Theory
Playing With Signs: A Semiotic Interpretation of Classic Music
Arthur Hutchings (Faber)
Wilfred Mellers (Faber)
The Baroque Concerto
Bach And The Dance of God
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 66
Natural Science Most books for us are straightforward text books for university, the first four on this list are ones that students have found helpful. Most other post A level books are too difficult and would probably put students off the subject. There are very few general “chemistry interest” read round the subject type of book but the ones I have included are both entertaining and informative.
Why Chemical Reactions Happen Keeler and Wothers
Organic Chemistry Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Worther
Chemistry of the Elements Greenwood and Earnshaw
Physical Chemistry Atkins
Molecules Atkins Oliver Sacks
Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a chemical boyhood P. Le Couter, J. Burreson
Napolean’s Buttons: How seventeen molecules changed history Molecules of Murder: Royal Society of Chemistry The Chemistry of Chocolate: Royal Society of Chemistry
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 67
How the Mind Works 150 PIN Steven Pinker, Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT, considers human evolution, and abilities in computation, in this fun and informative survey of modern brain science. Pinker argues that a combination of Darwin’s theories and some canny computer programs are the key to understanding ourselves, but he also throws in apt references to Star Trek, Star Wars, history, literature, Mozart, Marilyn Monroe, surrealism and experimental psychology… Jamie WARD
The Frog Who Croaked Blue 152.189 WAR How is it possible to experience colour when no colour is there? Why do some people experience touch when they see someone else being touched? Can blind people be made to see again by using their other senses? How does the food industry exploit the links that exist between our senses? Does synaesthesia have a function? The Frog Who Croaked Blue explores all these questions in a lucid and entertaining way, making it fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in the intriguing workings of the mind. Malcolm GLADWELL
Blink 153.44 GLA Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking offers a revolution in the understanding of the mind. A firefighter suddenly senses he has to get out of a blazing building. A speed dater clicks with the right person...This book is all about those moments when we ‘know’ something without knowing why. Here Malcolm Gladwell explores the phenomenon of ‘blink’, showing how a snap judgement can be far more effective than a cautious decision. By trusting your instincts, he reveals, you’ll never think about thinking in the same way again.
How We Decide 153.83 LEH The first book to use the unexpected discoveries of neuroscience to help us make the best decisions. Since Plato, philosophers have described the decisionmaking process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate, or we blink and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the mind’s black box with the latest tools of neuroscience, they are discovering that this is not how the mind works. Nicola MORGAN
Blame My Brain 155.5 MOR Contrary to popular (parental) opinion, teenagers are not the louts they occasionally appear to be. During the teenage years the brain undergoes its most radical and fundamental change since the age of 2. This carefully researched, accessible and humorous examination of the ups and downs of the teenage brain deals with emotions, sleep, the urge to take risks, gender difference and the reasons behind addiction or depression. This revised edition contains important new research, including information on mirror neurons and their effect. Claudia HAMMOND
Time Warped 529 HAM Have you ever tried to spend a day without looking at a clock or checking your watch? It’s almost impossible. Time rules our lives, but how much do we understand about it? And is it possible to retrain our brains and improve our relationship with it? Drawing on the latest research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience and biology, and using original research on the way memory shapes our understanding of time, the acclaimed writer and broadcaster Claudia Hammond delves into the mysteries of time perception.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 68
The Private Life of the Brain 612.82 GRE How do drugs act on the brain? How might an understanding of the science of emotion help us better understand schizophrenia and depression? What is the relationship between pleasure and fear? Why is it impossible to maintain a state of high arousal for more than a brief period? With passion and learning, Susan Greenfield addresses the most fascinating aspects of neuroscience, revealing exactly what happens to the brain when we are in the throes of an intense experience. Oliver SACKS
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat 616.8909 SAC This bestselling collection of clinical tales from the far borderlands of neurological and human experience is by Oliver Sacks, a physician and the author of many books. The subject of this strange and wonderful book is what happens when things go wrong with parts of the brain most of us don’t know exist. Dr. Sacks shows the awesome powers of our mind and just how delicately balanced they have to be.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest FICTION Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electroshock therapy. But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy, the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin who resolves to oppose her rules on behalf of his fellow inmates. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an exuberant, ribald and devastatingly honest portrayal of the boundaries between sanity and madness. George ORWELL
Nineteen Eighty-Four FICTION George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece. Inwardly, Winston Smith rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In The Student’s Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience. 2nd ed. (2010) Jamie Ward wonders, “If George Orwell had written Nineteen Eighty Four during our times, would he have put an MRI scanner in the Ministry of Truth?” …
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 69
The Empty Space 792 BRO Groundbreaking director Peter Brook draws on a life in love with the stage to explore the issues facing any theatrical performance. Here he describes important developments in theatre from the 20th century, as well as smaller scale events. Passionate, unconventional and fascinating, his book shows how theatre defies rules, builds and shatters illusions, and creates lasting memories for its audiences.
Performing Arts Antony SHER
The Year of the King 792.028 SHE
Impro 792 JOH A leading figure in the theatre, Keith Johnstone lays bare his techniques and exercises to foster spontaneity and narrative skill for actors. These techniques and exercises were evolved in the actors’ studio, when he was Associate Director of the Royal Court and then in demonstrations to schools and colleges and ultimately in the founding of a company of performers called The Theatre Machine.
Antony Sher was born in South Africa and shot to fame as an actor for the Richard III that is the subject of this book. His mesmerizing performance, for which he won the Standard Award for Best Actor of 1985, was warmly received by both critics and audiences. This book records the making of this historic theatrical event, following the events of a year in his life, both as the character and himself. David WESTON
Covering McKellen 792.028 WES
Colin Counsell takes a historical look at theatre as a cultural practice. He has been a university lecturer in Theatre Studies and has worked in the theatre both as a performer and as a director. Signs of Performance covers the whole of 20th century theatre, from Stanislavski to Brecht and Samuel Beckett to Robert Wilson.
Winner of the 2011 Theatre Book Prize. Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Trevor Nunn and their colleagues set off to take the world by storm with their new production of King Lear. As understudy to the King himself, Weston’s frank and funny account takes us from the London rehearsals to the historical Stratford Season, back to the West End, and then out across the globe. With hilarious celebrity anecdotes, travelling tales, and lessons for any aspiring thespian, Weston deftly lifts the curtain on the RSC’s tour and reveals the chaos underneath.
Michael HUXLEY (ed.)
The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader
Stephen Berkoff and the Theatre of Self-Performance
The Twentieth-Century Performance Reader is the key introductory text to all types of performance. Extracts from fifty practitioners, critics and theorists from the fields of dance, drama, music, theatre and live art make up an essential sourcebook for students, researchers and practitioners.
Steven Berkoff is the playwright, director and actor whom theatre scholars have chosen largely to disregard. Since the 1960s, however, this notorious Cockney enfant terrible and ‘scourge of the Shakespeare industry’ has left an imprint on modern British theatre that has been impossible to ignore. This is the first thorough and in-depth study of this contentious artist.
Signs of Performance 792.01 COU
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 70
An Actor Prepares 792.09 STA An Actor Prepares is the most famous acting training book ever to have been written and the work of Stanislavski has inspired generations of actors and trainers. Stanislavski deals with the inward preparation an actor must undergo in order to explore a role to its full. Constantin Stanislavski died in 1938 and is possibly the most influential person in actor training to date. Matthew BEVIS
Comedy: a very short introduction 809.917 BEV What is it that writers and speakers enjoy and risk when they tell a joke, indulge in bathos, talk nonsense, or encourage irony? This Very Short Introduction explores comedy both as a literary genre, and as a range of non-literary phenomena, experiences and events. Matthew Bevis studies the classics of comic drama, prose fiction and poetry, alongside forms of pantomime, comic opera, silent cinema, popular music, Broadway shows, music-hall, stand-up and circus acts, rom-coms, sketch shows, sit-coms, caricatures and cartoons. Jonathan BATE
Shakespeare: the world as a stage 822.33 BRY Bill Bryson celebrates Shakespeare as a writer of unimaginable talent and enormous inventiveness, a coiner of phrases (“vanish into thin air”, “foregone conclusion”, “one fell swoop”) that even today have common currency. His Shakespeare is like no one else’s - the beneficiary of Bryson’s genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and his gift for storytelling. Paul INNES
Shakespeare: the barriers removed 822.33 INN This book makes Shakespeare accessible to students as well as general readers interested in the subject. It makes no assumptions about prior knowledge of the plays and poems and places them in their historical context, thus making it easier for the reader to understand what the Bard meant in his works. Dr Innes provides chapters on characterisation, genre, setting, structure, performance and history.
Shakespeare: staging the world 822.33 BAT Authoritative, surprising, evocative and original, Shakespeare: staging the world offers a completely new approach to one of the most exceptional creative imaginations in history. This richly illustrated book presents an extraordinary collection of objects from the British Museum’s unrivalled collection, as well as other key pieces, showing how while matters of religion, trade and war were being contested, the role of the playwright developed to inform, persuade and provoke debate on the concerns of the day.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 71
Philosophy: Flew, A.
An Introduction to Western Philosophy: Ideas and Argument from Plato to Popper Thames and Hudson (1991) Thompson, M.
Philosophy: An Introduction Hodder & Stoughton (1995)
Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies
Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction Routledge (1998)
Philosophy of Religion:
Morton, A. Mc Grath, Alister
A Guide through the Theory of Knowledge Blackwell 3rd Ed (2003) Knowles, D.
Political Philosophy Routledge (2001)
The Dawkins Delusion SPCK McGrath, Alister
God Dawkins: Genes, Memes and the Meaning of Life Blackwell Publishing
Plato, Meno, Dawkins, Richard
Phaedo or Republic in ed. Cooper J. M Plato - Complete Works.
The God Delusion Bantam Press
Hackett (1997) Clack, B &B Aristotle
Physics in ed Barnes J The Complete Works of Aristotle
The Philosophy of Religion. A Critical Introduction Polity (1998)
Princeton (1984) Adams M, M and Adams R.M Descartes, R.
Meditations on First Philosophy, in Descartes: Selected Philosophical Writings, trans by Cottingham Stoothoff and Murdoch CUP (1988)
The Problem of Evil OUP (1994) Plantinga, Alvin
God, Freedom and Evil Harper Row
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and Other Writings ed by S Buckle
The Existence of God Clarendon (1991)
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 72
The Miracle of Theism Oxford University Press (1992) Pals, L.
Seven Theories of Religion Oxford University Press (1996)
Ethics: Gensler, H
Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction Cassell Singer , P.
Ethics OUP (1994) Singer, P.
Practical Ethics Cambridge University Press 1993 MacIntyre, A.
After Virtue Duckworth (1985) Warnock, M.
An intelligent Personâ€™s Guide to Ethics
Theology: Ford, David F.
Theology: A Very Short Introduction OUP (2000) McGrath, Alister. E.
Christian Theology: An Introduction Oxford: Blackwells (2001) Highton, M.
Christian Doctrine London SCM Press (2008) McConville, G.
Teach Yourself the Old Testament Hodder and Stoughton (1996) E.P. Sanders
The Historical Figure of Jesus
Allen Lane (1993)
The Cambridge Companion to Christian Ethics
Need, Stephen W.
Cambridge University Press (2001)
Truly Human and Truly Divine SPCK (2008)
Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth Oxford University Press
The New Testament World Cambridge (1990) Turner, D.
The Darkness of God Cambridge (1998)
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 73
Religious Studies: Alridge, A.
Religion in the Contemporary World Polity Press (2000) Barker, E.
The Making of a Moonie: Brainwashing or Choice Blackwell (1984) Bruce, S.
Religion in the Modern World OUP (1996) Hamilton, M. B.
The Sociology of Religion Routledge, 2nd Ed (2001) McCutcheon. R.T.
The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion: A Reader Cassell (1996) De Lange, N.R.M.
An Introduction to Judaism Cambridge (2000) Waines, D.
An Introduction to Islam Cambridge (1997) Lipner, J. J.
Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices Routledge (1994)
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 74
A Short History of Nearly Everything 500 BRY A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bryson’s quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there is some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It’s not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know… Simon FLYNN
The Science Magpie 500 FLY Shortlisted for Physics World’s Book of the Year 2012, this is a compelling collection of scientific curiosities. Expand your knowledge as you view the history of the Earth on the face of a clock and learn how to measure the speed of light in your kitchen. Skip through time with Darwin’s note on the pros and cons of marriage, take part in an 1858 Cambridge exam, meet the African schoolboy with a scientific puzzle named after him and much more. Stuart CLARK
The Sun Kings 520.92 CLA The Sun Kings transports us back to Victorian England, into the very heart of the great 19th-century scientific controversy about the Sun’s hidden influence over our planet. In this riveting account, Stuart Clark tells for the first time the full story behind Richard Carrington’s observations of a mysterious explosion on the surface of the Sun and how his brilliant insight, that the Sun’s magnetism directly influences the Earth, helped to usher in the modern era of astronomy. Paul DAVIES
The Goldilocks Enigma 523.1 DAV In The Goldilocks Enigma, Paul Davies tackles all the ‘big questions’ and introduces the discoveries that have allowed scientists to piece together the story of the universe in unprecedented detail. And he explains why cosmologists are more divided than ever. Why is everything just right for life on earth? And how have we tried to explain this? How has belief shaped the scientific debate? What do we really know about our place in the universe?
The Universe in a Nutshell 523.1 HAW In a fascinating and accessible discussion that ranges from quantum mechanics to time travel, black holes to uncertainty theory, to the search for science’s Holy Grail - the unified field theory (or in layman’s terms the ‘theory of absolutely everything’), Professor Stephen Hawking contributes to our understanding of the universe. Michio KAKU
Parallel Worlds 523.1 KAK Getting a grip on the creation and ultimate fate of the universe is one of the great scientific stories of the twentieth century. In the twenty-first, the story is expanding to enfold many universes. Michio Kaku’s dazzling book tells that story. Using astronomical data, he explores the Big Bang, theories of everything, and our cosmic future. His wonderfully clear scientific account leads to some mind-boggling speculations about the human implications of this story. Richard FEYNMAN
The Feynman Lectures on Physics 530 FEY “The whole thing was basically an experiment,” Richard Feynman said late in his career, looking back on the origins of his lectures. The experiment turned out to be hugely successful, spawning a 3-volume book that has remained a definitive introduction to physics for decades. Ranging from the most basic principles of Newtonian physics through such formidable theories as general relativity and quantum mechanics, Feynman’s lectures stand as a monument of clear exposition and deep insight.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 75
The Flying Circus of Physics 530 WAL Hurry! Hurry! Come one, come all. Meet a man who can pull two railroad passenger cars with his teeth and a real-life human cannon ball. Come face to face with a dead rattlesnake that still bites. And unlock the secrets to the magician s bodiless head. Welcome to Jearl Walker s The Flying Circus of Physics, where death-defying stunts, high-flying acrobatics, strange curiosities, and mind-bending illusions are all part of everyday life. You don t need a ticket; you only need to look to the world around you to uncover these fascinating feats of physics. Gordon FRASER (ed.)
The New Physics for the Twenty-first Century
Genius 530.092 FEY A brilliant interweaving of Richard Feynman’s colourful life and a detailed and accessible account of his theories and experiments. Feynman was the most brilliant and influential physicist of our time. Architect of quantum theories, ‘enfant terrible’ of the atomic bomb project, caustic inquisitor on the space shuttle commission, ebullient bongo-player and storyteller, he played a bewildering assortment of roles in the science of the post-war era.
530.0905 NEW James GLEICK Underpinning all the other branches of science, physics affects the way we live our lives, and ultimately how life itself functions. Recent scientific advances have led to a dramatic reassessment of our understanding of the world around us, and made a significant impact on our lifestyle. In this book, leading international experts, including Nobel prize-winners, explore the frontiers of modern physics, from the particles inside an atom to the stars that make up a galaxy, from nano-engineering and brain research to high-speed data networks. Frank A.J.L. JAMES
Chaos 530.1 GLE In Gleick’s book, the reader meets dozens of extraordinary and eccentric people. For instance, Mitchell Feigenbaum, who constructed and regulated his life by a 26-hour clock and watched his waking hours come in and out of phase with those of his coworkers at Los Alamos National Laboratory. As for chaos itself, Gleick does an outstanding job of explaining the thought processes and investigative techniques that researchers bring to bear on chaos problems.
Michael Faraday 530.092 FAR
E=mc2 Michael Faraday is one of the best known scientific figures of all time. Known as the discoverer of electromagnetic induction, the principle behind the electric generator and transformer, he has frequently been portrayed as the ‘father’ of electrical engineering. In this book James also provides a commentary on the rapidly changing place of science in nineteenthcentury society, especially in regards to its role in government and the growth of a professional scientific community.
530.11 BOD Just about everyone has at least heard of Albert Einstein’s formulation of 1905, which came into the world as something of an afterthought, but far fewer can explain his insightful linkage of energy to mass. David Bodanis offers an easily grasped gloss on the equation. Bodanis’ book pays homage to Einstein and, just as importantly, to predecessors such as Maxwell, Faraday, and Lavoisier, who are less well known than Einstein today.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 76
Why Does E=mc2? 530.11 COX This is an engaging and accessible explanation of Einstein’s equation that explores the principles of physics through everyday life. Professor Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw go on a journey to the frontier of 21st century science. Breaking down the symbols themselves, they pose a series of questions: What is energy? What is mass? What has the speed of light got to do with energy and mass? In answering these questions, they take us to the site of one of the largest scientific experiments ever conducted, the Large Hadron Collider. Paul DAVIES
How to Build a Time Machine
Relativity 530.11 STA 100 years ago, Einstein’s theory of relativity shattered the world of physics. This authoritative and entertaining Very Short Introduction makes the theory of relativity accessible and understandable. Using very little mathematics, Russell Stannard explains the important concepts of relativity, from E=mc2 to black holes, and explores the theory’s impact on science and on our understanding of the universe.
530.11 DAV John GRIBBIN Inspired by the work of science fiction writers H.G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke, Paul Davies has thought long and hard about ways to travel in time. Here, he finally reveals how it can be done without breaking the laws of physics. Since time is money, time travel is a costly business. But with the help of a handy black hole, or better a wormhole, and a bit of luck, Davies’s guide illustrates how this new mode of travel could yet be a viable option. Stephen W. HAWKING
A Brief History of Time 530.11 HAW
In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat 530.12 GRI In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat tells the complete story of quantum mechanics, a truth stranger than any fiction. John Gribbin takes us step by step into an even more bizarre and fascinating place, requiring only that we approach it with an open mind. He introduces the scientists who developed quantum theory. He investigates the atom, radiation, time travel, the birth of the universe, super conductors and life itself. And in a world full of its own delights, mysteries and surprises, he searches for Schrodinger’s Cat - a search for quantum reality.
Big science simply explained. Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries? To this day A Brief History of Time remains a staple of the scientific canon, and its succinct and clear language continues to introduce millions to the universe and its wonders. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time, from the Big Bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and string theory.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 77
The New Quantum Universe 530.12 HEY The New Quantum Universe provides an accessible introduction to the essential ideas of quantum physics, and demonstrates how it affects our everyday life. Quantum mechanics gives an understanding of not only atoms and nuclei, but also all the elements and even the stars. The book explains quantum paradoxes and the eventful life of Schrödinger’s Cat, along with the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox and Bell’s Inequality, using simple non-mathematical language. J.P. McEVOY
Introducing Quantum Theory 530.12 MCE Quantum theory confronts us with bizarre paradoxes which contradict the logic of classical physics. At the subatomic level, one particle seems to know what the others are doing, and according to Heisenberg’s ‘uncertainty principle’, there is a limit on how accurately nature can be observed. And yet the theory is amazingly accurate and widely applied, explaining all of chemistry and most of physics. Introducing Quantum Theory takes us on a step-by-step tour with the key figures, including Planck, Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg and Schrödinger. John POLKINGHORNE
Quantum Theory 530.12 POL Quantum theory is the most revolutionary discovery in physics since Newton. This book gives a lucid, exciting, and accessible account of the surprising and counterintuitive ideas that shape our understanding of the sub-atomic world. It does not disguise the problems of interpretation that still remain unsettled nearly a century after the initial discoveries. The main text makes no use of equations, but there is a mathematical appendix for those desiring stronger fare.
Four Laws that Drive the Universe 536.71 ATK The laws of thermodynamics drive everything that happens in the universe. From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas to the cooling of hot metal, and from the unfurling of a leaf to the course of life itself, everything is directed and constrained by four simple laws. They establish fundamental concepts such as temperature and heat, and reveal the arrow of time and even the nature of energy itself. Peter Atkins’ powerful and compelling introduction explains what the laws are and how they work, using accessible language and virtually no mathematics. Frank CLOSE
Particle Physics 539.72 CLO In this compelling introduction to the fundamental particles that make up the universe, Frank Close takes us on a journey into the atom to examine known particles such as quarks, electrons, and the ghostly neutrino. Along the way he provides fascinating insights into how discoveries in particle physics have actually been made, and discusses how our picture of the world has been radically revised in the light of these developments. Brian GREENE
The Elegant Universe 539.7258 GRE In a rare blend of scientific insight and writing as elegant as the theories it explains, Brian Greene, one of the world’s leading string theorists, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where all matter is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. Greene uses everything from an amusement park ride to ants on a garden hose to explain the beautiful yet bizarre realities that modern physics is unveiling.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 78
QED 539.756 FEY Quantum electrodynamics, or QED for short, is the ‘strange theory’ that explains how light and electrons interact. Thanks to Richard Feynman, it is also one of the rare parts of physics that is known for sure. In this lucid set of lectures, Feynman provides the definitive introduction to QED. Feynman was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his work on QED. Robert HARRIS
The Fear Index FICTION HAR His name is carefully guarded from the general public but within the secretive inner circles of the ultra-rich, Dr Alex Hoffmann is a legend - a visionary scientist whose computer software turns everything it touches into gold. Together with his partner, an investment banker, Hoffmann has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that tracks human emotions, enabling it to predict movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. But then a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of their lakeside house…
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 79
The Examined Life 150 GRO In simple stories of encounters between a psychoanalyst and his patients, The Examined Life reveals how the art of insight can illuminate the most complicated, confounding and human of experiences. These are stories about our everyday lives. They are about the people we love and the lies that we tell, the changes we bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but how we might find ourselves too. Steven PINKER
How the Mind Works 150 PIN MIT psychologist Steven Pinker considers human evolution, and abilities in computation, in this fun and informative survey of modern brain science. Pinker argues that a combination of Darwin’s theories and some canny computer programs are the key to understanding ourselves, but he also throws in apt references to Star Trek, Star Wars, history, literature, Mozart, Marilyn Monroe, surrealism and experimental psychology… Viktor E. FRANKL
Man’s Search for Meaning 150.195092 FRA Among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud, Man’s Search For Meaning is undoubtedly one of the seminal pieces of literature to emerge from World War 2, including both a moving account of Viktor Frankl’s experiences in Auschwitz and a description of the psychotherapeutic method that Frankl pioneered as a result of his experiences in the concentration camps. Paul GILBERT
The Compassionate Mind 152.4 GIL Professor Paul Gilbert explains how new research shows how we can all learn to develop compassion for ourselves and others. He describes how studies have also shown that developing kindness and compassion can help in calming down our threat system: as a mother’s care and love can soothe a baby’s distress, so we can learn how to soothe ourselves. Professor Gilbert outlines the latest findings about the value of compassion and how it works.
Thinking, Fast and Slow 153.4 KAH Thinking, Fast and Slow offers a whole new look at the way our minds work, and how we make decisions. We make choices in two ways: fast, intuitive thinking, and slow, rational thinking. This book reveals how our minds are tripped up by error and prejudice (even when we think we are being logical) and gives practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking. It will enable you to make better decisions at work, at home, and in everything you do. Sue GERHARDT
Why Love Matters 155.422 GER Why Love Matters explains why love is essential to brain development in the early years of life, particularly in the development of our social and emotional brain systems, and presents the startling discoveries that provide the answers to how our emotional lives work. It is a lively and very accessible interpretation of findings in neuroscience, psychology, psychoanalysis and also biochemistry. Gillian BUTLER
Manage Your Mind 158.1 BUT Just as simple measures such as regular exercise and a sensible diet keep your body fit, there are attitudes and skills you can develop to build a healthy mind. In this book two leaders in their fields, one a psychiatrist and the other a psychologist, set out strategies that will stretch, strengthen, and tune your mind, to help you cope with the rigours of everyday life.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 80
The Happiness Hypothesis 170 HAI A brilliantly original exploration of what we can learn about the meaning of human life and how we should live our lives, drawing both on the wisdom of the great thinkers and on the insights of science. Every culture rests on a bedrock of folk wisdom handed down through the generations. But are these ‘truths’ really true? Psychologist Jonathan Haidt exposes traditional wisdom to the scrutiny of modern science. Ian LESLIE
Born Liars 177.3 LES Ian Leslie takes the reader on an exhilarating tour of ideas that explores the role played by lies, both black and white, in our childhoods, our careers, and our health, as well as in advertising, politics, sport and war. Drawing on thinkers as varied as Augustine, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud and Joni Mitchell, the author argues that, far from being a bug in the human software, lying is central to who we are; that we cannot understand ourselves without first understanding the dynamics of deceit. Simon BARON-COHEN
Zero Degrees of Empathy 179 BAR Is it possible that, rather than thinking in terms of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, all of us instead lie somewhere on the empathy spectrum, and our position on that spectrum can be affected by both genes and our environments? From the Nazi concentration camps of World War II to the playgrounds of today, Simon Baron-Cohen examines empathy, cruelty and understanding in this fascinating and challenging look at what exactly makes our behaviour uniquely human. Caitlin MORAN
How to Be a Woman 305.4 MOR A new look at feminism from Caitlin Moran, one of our funniest writers. It’s a good time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain... Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should we use Botox? Do men secretly hate us? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby? Part memoir, part rant.
Freakonomics 330.01 LEV Modern life can be baffling and chaotic. Is there any way of making sense of it? Steven Levitt shows us that economics is all about how people get what they want, and what makes them do it. Asking provocative and profound questions about human motivation and contemporary living and reaching some astonishing conclusions, Freakonomics will make you see the familiar world through a completely original lens. Ben GOLDACRE
Bad Science 507.2 GOL How do we know if a treatment works? Do journalists understand science? Why do we seek scientific explanations for social, personal and political problems? We are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory and sometimes even misleading information. Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dodgy science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time, and shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, giving us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves. Susan GREENFIELD
The Private Live of the Brain 612.82 GRE How do drugs act on the brain? How might an understanding of the science of emotion help us better understand schizophrenia and depression? What is the relationship between pleasure and fear? Why is it impossible to maintain a state of high arousal for more than a brief period? With passion and learning, Susan Greenfield addresses the most fascinating aspects of neuroscience, revealing exactly what happens to the brain when we are in the throes of an intense experience.
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 81
Prozac Nation 616.8527 WUR An account, both harrowing and amusing, of the author’s dependence on Prozac, prescribed for her after a series of suicide attempts and breakdowns. She describes her experiences and her determination to get herself off medication, and how she managed to live through particularly difficult periods while completing college and working as a writer. Oliver SACKS
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat 616.8909 SAC This bestselling collection of clinical tales from the far borderlands of neurological and human experience is by Oliver Sacks, a physician and the author of many books. The subject of this strange and wonderful book is what happens when things go wrong with parts of the brain most of us don’t know exist. Dr. Sacks shows the awesome powers of our mind and just how delicately balanced they have to be.
The Danish Girl FICTION EBE The Danish Girl is a tale of a passionate and unusual marriage. Dressing as a woman in order that his wife might finish a painting, Einar Wegener realises that he might in part be a woman. The novel is loosely based on the life of the Danish painter who, in 1931, became the first man to undergo a sex-change operation. Ebershoff considers the transgender issues but also the mysterious and ineffable nature of love and transformation in relationships. Mark HADDON
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time FICTION HAD
Henry’s Demons 616.898 COC Two months after his 20th birthday, Henry waded into Newhaven estuary and almost drowned. The trees, he said, had told him to do it. He was admitted to a hospital mental ward. 10 days later he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. With remarkable candour, Patrick writes of the 7 years Henry has since spent almost entirely in mental hospitals. Schizophrenics are at high risk for suicide, and his parents live in constant fear for Henry’s life. The book also includes Henry’s own accounts of his experiences. Greg BOTTOMS
Angelhead 616.8980092 BOT Set in Virginia, in the 1980s and early 1990s Angelhead documents the violent, drug-addled descent of the author’s brother, Michael, into paranoid schizophrenia. From Michael’s first psychotic break aged 14 through a series of petty crimes, bizarre disappearances, and suicide attempts to the shocking crime that landed him in the psychiatric wing of a maximum-security prison, Angelhead presents the fragmenting of a mind and a family.
This is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone, who is 15 and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down. Dennis LEHANE
Shutter Island FICTION LEH A classic of psychological suspense. It is the 1950s and experiments with drugs, conditioning and brain surgery are all the rage both in the psychiatric profession and in the shadow world of government agencies. US Marshal Teddy Daniels has come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to find an escaped murderer. How has a barefoot woman escaped from a locked room? Who is leaving them clues in the form of cryptic codes? And what really goes on in Ward C?
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 82
The Bell Jar FICTION PLA Esther Greenwood is at college and is fighting two battles, one against her own desire for perfection in all things and the other against remorseless mental illness. As her depression deepens she finds herself encased in it, bell-jarred away from the rest of the world. This is the story of her journey back into reality. Originally published in 1963, what it has to say about what women expect of themselves, and what society expects of women, is as sharply relevant today as it has always been. Lionel SHRIVER
We Need to Talk About Kevin FICTION SHR Eva never really wanted to be a mother, certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, 2 years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevinâ€™s horrific rampage, in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband. Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
Recomended Viewing A Beautiful Mind (DVD) Award-winning biopic based on the life of the groundbreaking mathematician and paranoid schizophrenic John Nash. Arriving at Princeton in 1947, Nash resolves to make an important new contribution to his field and begins developing his insights into game theory. After this work proves a great success, Nash moves to MIT, where he dates and then marries his student Alicia.
Breathing (DVD) Roman Kogler is 19 years old and has lived all his life in institutions. Abandoned by his mother as a young child and raised in an orphanage, he is now serving time in a juvenile detention centre having accidentally killed a boy of his own age in a brawl. A solitary boy with an uncommunicative attitude, he has no friends, family or connections to turn to in the outside world.
Girl Interrupted (DVD) New England, the 1960s. 17-year-old Susanna is diagnosed as suffering a borderline personality disorder and sent to Claymore psychiatric hospital. Once there, she rejects the treatment of psychiatrist Dr Wick and nurse Valerie, turning instead to her fellow inmates - the disruptive Lisa, compulsive liar Georgina, and spoilt rich girl Daisy, who suffers from an eating disorder.
One Flew Over the Cuckooâ€™s Nest (DVD) An allegory of repression and rebellion set in a mental hospital in the early 1960s. Randle P McMurphy is a livewire troublemaker who unwisely cons his way out of prison and into a mental institution without realising he has switched from serving a sentence with a release date to being committed until adjudged sane by the same people he is winding up on a daily basis
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 83
Oxbridge Interview Questions University
Are humans still evolving?
Was Shakespeare a rebel?
What trees did Disraeli plant at Hughenden Manor?
Is the Bible a fictional work? Could it be called chick lit?
If you could go back in time to any period of time when it would be and why?
Don’t you think Hamlet is a bit long? No? Well I do.
Is nature natural?
What was the most beautiful proof in A-Level Mathematics?
Would you trade your scarf for my bike, even if you have no idea what state it’s in or if I even have one?
You have a 3 litre jug and a 5 litre jug. Make 4 litres. (it’s from die hard 3)
Should there be an intelligence test to decide who could vote?
How would you travel through time?
Why are you sitting in this chair?
Do you know who decided to put English Literature on to the school syllabus?
Are there too many people in the world?
Tell me about these eggs?
When are people dead?
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 84
Mathematics and Philosophy
What makes you think that I am having thoughts?
Economics and Management
What do you think of teleport machines?
Economics and Management
Should a Wal-Mart store be opened in the middle of Oxford?
Is someone guilty of an offence if they did not set out to commit a crime but ended up in doing so?
If you could make up a word, what would it be? Why?
Economics and Management
Why would you consider Toys R Us to be a failing business?
Why is there not a global government?
What is fate?
Economics and Management
Why do firms exist?
Is being hungry the same thing as wanting to eat?
Is wearing school uniform a breach of human rights?
Economics and Management
What is the difference between buying and selling of slaves and the buying and selling of football players?
What makes a strong woman?
Is the Angel of the Lord is the pre-incarnate Jesus?
Why did Henry VIII call his son Arthur?
I am an oil baron in the desert and I need to deliver oil to four different towns which happen to lie on a straight line. In order to deliver the correct amounts to each town, I must visit each town in turn, returning to my warehouse in between each visit. Where should I position my warehouse in order to drive the shortest distance possible? Roads are no problem since I have a friend who is a sheikh and will build me as many roads as I like for free.
Would you give a 60 year old woman IVF treatment?
What do you think of assisted suicide?
Is there a difference between innocence and naivety?
Tell me about drowning
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 85
What food (out of a choice) was best to eat before an interview?
Physics and Philosophy
If I could fold this piece of paper an infinite number of times how many times must I fold it to reach the moon?
What is ‘turning you on’ in chemistry at the moment?
Will the bag ever become empty?
History and Economics
Explain why teachers might be changing jobs to become plumbers.
If you entered a teletransporter and your body was destroyed and instantly recreated on mars in exactly the same way with all your memories in tact etc, would you be the same person?
What problems do fish face underwater?
Physics and Philosophy
One grain of wheat does not constitute a heap. If one grain doesn’t make a heap neither will two. If two don’t make a heap neither will three..... If 9,999 grains of wheat don’t make a heap 10,000 don’t make a heap….
Who is your favourite Metaphysical poet? (Bear in mind this was a MATHS interview)
What are the origins of your Christian name?
What is the most pieces of pizza I can get from ‘n’ cuts?
Do we have the right to interpret the story of the birth of Christ as a comment on Tony Blair’s current political situation?
How high can I go up a mountain having only eaten a mars bar?
Theology and Religious Studies
There is a Christian priest who regularly visits India and converted to be a Hindu priest. When he is in England he still practices as a Christian priest. What problems might this pose?
Modern and Medieval Languages
Chekhov’s great, isn’t he?
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 86
How do you make a place peaceful?
Is it moral to hook up a psychopath (whose only pleasure is killing) to a reality-simulating machine so that he can believe he is in the real world and kill as much as he likes?
If a carrot can grow form one carrot cell, why not a human?
Social and Political Sciences
How would you describe an apple?
Should historians be allowed to read sci-fi novels?
What books are bad for you?
What would you say if Gordon Brown were to take a report which shows that people who go to university earn more than those who do not, and then proclaim that going to university causes you to earn more?
Modern and Medieval Languages
Think of a painting of a tree. Is the tree real?
Imagine you are hosting the BBC4 Radio Show on New Year’s Day, what message would you send to the people using this programme?
“Emma has become a different person since she took up yoga. Therefore she is not responsible for anything she did before she took up yoga.”
Social and Political Sciences
What is Christmas?
Modern and Medieval Languages
Why do we psychoanalyse historians?
Social and Political Sciences
Should obese people have free NHS treatment?
Why does the word ‘God’ and ‘I’ have a capital letter?
Modern and Medieval Languages
Are you surprised that there is no Russian word for “privacy”?
Do you think Feminism is dead?
Why did they used to make the mill chimneys so tall?
Define ‘at fault’
How would you reduce crime through architecture?
How does global development would affect your life personally?
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 87
Theology and Religious Studies
Is emotion an important part of religion?
Do you feel that music is an art incomparable to history in that history cannot be performed?
On a hot day, what should you do with a fridge?
In the 1920s did the invention of the Henry Ford car lead to a national sub-culture or was it just an aspect of one?
How would you simulate altitude in your living room?
How would you compare Henry VIII and Stalin?
What is the point of using NHS money to keep old people alive?
Do you think Chairman Mao would be proud of the China of today?
Should someone sell their kidney?
How many animals did Moses take on the arc?
Was it fair that a woman’s planning application for painting her door purple in a conservation area was declined?
How would you describe a human to a person from Mars?
What do you like most about the brain?
Is there such thing as ‘race’?
Modern and Medieval Languages
Why does French food interest you?
Modern and Medieval Languages
Was Romeo impulsive?
The stage, a platform for opinions or just entertainment - what are your thoughts?
Are fair trade bananas really fair?
Make Poverty History is a commendable thought; is it a practical one?
What would happen if the Classics department burnt down?
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 88
If you could have half an hour with any mathematician past or present, who would it be?
Do you think that getting involved in poverty abroad is interfering with others’ freedoms?
Is the environment a bigger crisis than poverty / AIDS etc?
Where does honesty fit into Law?
If you were to form a government of philosophers what selection process would you use?
Is it more important to focus on poverty at home or abroad?
What do you think about those who regard global warming as nonsense?
Why is the pole vaulting world record about 6.5m, and why can’t it be broken?
Theology and Religious Studies
Do you believe that we should eradicate Christmas on the basis that it offends other religious groups?
What is the population of Croydon?
Physics and Philosophy
Can you imagine a world without laws?
Should the use of mobile phones be banned on public transport?
Modern and Medieval Languages
What is the purpose of comedy?
Does a girl scout have a political agenda?
Estimate the number of pebbles on Brighton beach. If one was given to each person, would there be enough for the entire population of the world?
Do you believe that a deterministic society caused the MP’s expenses scandal?
Can music be made by a robot?
Why isn’t this chair acting as a wave?
How is it possible that a sail boat can go faster than the wind?
OX B R I D G E
P R E PA R AT I O N 89