August 24, 2015, by Dan Flatt

Summer Reads – The final installment

We’re getting closer to the start of term. The libraries are all nearly ready to go. Of course, you still have time to read a couple of books before the chaos of term starts up again. Here are our final suggestions on summer reads.

Tony Simmonds, Senior Librarian (Faculty of Social Sciences), Hallward Library

Khartoum 1885: General Gordon’s Last Stand by Don Featherstone (DT156.6.F4)

book 6


“A fast-paced, lightly-told story of struggle between colourful British generals and fervent Islamic rebels, in the baking hot deserts of Sudan.  Initial defeat put a big dent in Victorian imperial confidence, as General Gordon was overwhelmed in Khartoum.  A young officer called Winston Churchill took part in the final campaign to recover the capital, joining what turned out to be the final ever  cavalry charge mounted by the British Army.  Nottingham today reaches out to Sudan in peace; in May 2015, a delegation from our School of Law travelled to the University of Khartoum to help celebrate the inauguration of a Human Rights Centre, the result of several years of co-operation.”



Kate Snaith, Librarian, Teaching & Learning Support Team, Hallward Library

Slouching towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion (PS3554.I33)

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“A collection of essays on 1960s California from the ever-excellent Joan Didion, well worth dipping into between dips in the swimming pool.”









Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates (PS3575.A847) – Also available as DVD!

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“Classic exploration of the frustration and emptiness of suburban life in the mid twentieth century, and the compromises of those seeking to escape it. Not a happy read, but an excellent and thought-provoking one!”





Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys (PR6035.H94)

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“This moving and insightful novel is the prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” told from the perspective of Rochester’s wife and “madwoman in the attic” Bertha. Author Rhys was from Dominica and uses Bertha’s story to explore the experience of living as a female colonialist in the declining Empire. The book also examines the complex notion of home and belonging from the perspective of the demonised and troubled Bertha whose story is unexplored in the original text.”




Nickel and dimed : undercover in low-wage USA, by Barbara Ehrenreich (HD4918.E4)

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“I love this book! Journalist and activist Barbara Ehrenreich tries and make ends meet in low-wage jobs in the (pre-financial crisis) USA. It is a fascinating experiment and thought-provoking examination of poverty and unstable employment in a business-led consumer capitalist work culture, and it’s effect on the people at the bottom of the power structure.”





Reservation blues, by Sherman Alexie (PS3551.L35)

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“Victor Joseph, Junior Polatkin, and Thomas Builds-The-Fire are young men from a native American reservation in Washington state. They form a band and success follows. Sympathetic Thomas Builds-The-Fire leads us through the poignant ups and downs of band life, and gives an unsentimental glimpse into life on a modern native American reservation. Alexie is a writer of great skill and dexterity and this is one of his best.”




Black boy : a record of childhood and youth, by Richard Wright (PS3545.R815.Z5 RIC )

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“Richard Wright’s heartbreaking autobiography details his young life in the early twentieth century. As a child in the deep south, and a young man in Chicago as he develops his political and social conscience with the backdrop of the momentum of the civil rights movement. Very interesting look at a fascinating period from the eyes of an exciting and charismatic protagonist (who grew into a key twentieth century author). A must read.”




Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (PR9387.9.A343)

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“The story of Ifemelu and Obinze, childhood sweethearts whose lives diverge as they move abroad to study is a lovely meditation on diaspora, being a stranger and the concept of home as we grow up… A right riveting read.”





Kathryn Steenson, Archivist (Academic and Public Engagement), Manuscripts and Special Collections – King’s Meadow Campus

Oranges & Sunshine, by Margaret Humphrey (KMC East Midlands Collection Not 1.L63 HUM).

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“I saw the film based on this book a few years ago, which was a powerful drama about the Child Migrants Scheme. Thousands of British children were sent to Australia and Canada, many of whom suffered horrendous treatment in the institutions they were placed in. Only when I read the book did I realise that Margaret Humphreys, the Social Worker who brought this to the public’s attention and has helped reunite hundreds of former child migrants with their families in Britain, is from Nottingham.”




Rachel French, Senior Library Adviser, Hallward Library

Jamrach’s menagerie, by Carol Birch (PR6052.I72)

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“A wonderfully brutal, rip roaring maritime adventure. A young boy’s sea-faring tale of capturing a fabled dragon. Had me ‘hooked’ from the start!”






We hope you have enjoyed the Summer Reads series just as much as we’ve enjoyed reading the books. If you have any suggestions for us, make sure you put them in the comments!

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