Summer Lovin’ – More Like Summer Reading

After a hard and long year of critical analysis of dense texts, exams, fervent essay writing and reading, reading and more reading – what will I be doing with my summer?

Flat out on my back, preferably outdoors and sunny, indulging in all the voluptuous books that have been eyeing me up from my untouched bookshelf. What else hey?

A love of literature is essential for being an English Literature student, however, the time taken on your academic reading can eat into the time and energy you have for reading your novels of choice. I prefer to save the books that I am excited for the summer/ holiday breaks, allowing myself to get fully lost within them. This blog post will also hold me very accountable if I spend too much time on Netflix.

The School of Life, An Emotional Education – Alain De Botton

I am thrilled to read this book as I have never indulged in a self-help/ non-fiction text. I cannot wait to see all of the internal crises it gives me. Thank you to my partner who loving purchased it for me, is he trying to tell me something?

School of Life started as a YouTube Channel in 2010, harbouring a collective group of psychologists, philosophers and writers devoted to helping people lead a calmer and more resilient life. They have a range of videos discussing history, sociology, political theory, pop culture and psychotherapy. The topics attract me to explore myself deeper and understand how my relationships function. Questions posed such as “Why we love to Suffer”, “How to be Kinder to Yourself” and “Learning to be Angry” are just a few to confront yourself with.

The book promises to challenge and develop my emotional maturity and self-understanding, which is an experience unlike any other. Add this in with my daily meditation and I will be a functional adult in no time.

Small Island – Andrea Levy

Earlier this year, I could part in a local Instagram Book swap as my already weighted bookshelf needed new friends. Very luckily, I got a lovely array of books from a few old and new friends. Then this book, Small Island, turned up in the post a few weeks after. To this day, I do not know the mystery sender who gave me this book, I did not receive a note. It makes it all the more exciting to receive a book from a stranger.

The blurb tells a story of 1948, a narrative of London recovering from the Second World War. I usually do not tend to do for historical stories, the irony of my dual degree being in history, so I am anticipating my horizons to be broadened. It speaks of a story between Queenie Bligh, who takes in Nigerian lodgers Gilbert and Hortense Joseph much to the distaste of her neighbours.

I am interested in reading about the inter-racial relationships that Levy explore in her narrative, especially in a British context. It deservedly won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, a fantastic achievement which I am looking forward to indulging in.

-Hannah (Third Year, English and History)

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