July 18, 2018, by Kate Snaith
Summer Reads 2018
Summer is in full swing and maybe you are struggling to find a good read… Fret not! Library staff have selected some of their favourites (all available in the UoN Libraries – you can find these and many more using our resource discovery tool NUsearch) for your delectation.
One of my favourite books I have read this year is “Mend the Living” by Maylis de Kerangal. It follows, in an incredibly lyrical way, the story of a heart transplant through all the people affected by it. It sounds grim, but I had a hard time putting it down and would recommend it highly. The language is beautiful and the story is heartbreaking but amazing at the same time. The book also features in our “Leisure Reading Collection” in Greenfield Medical Library.
Elizabeth Newall, Digital Literacy
Watching “Psycho” at a very young and impressionable age put me off watching or reading horror for what’s felt like a lifetime. However, in reading a number of titles in the Penguin Modern Classics series recently, I found “The Haunting of Hill House” listed and decided that a dip into this particular genre was long overdue. Four individuals come together at Hill House to take part in a paranormal investigation. The property is referred to on the first page as “not sane” and the reader is invited from that very moment to question why. Indeed, it is a compelling read for all that is left untold. First published in 1959, Stephen King has said of the book, ‘as nearly perfect a haunted house tale as I have ever read’. If, like me, you fancy a change in genre and have limited experience of horror, then “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson is an excellent route in and is likely to leave you wanting more.
Tony Simmonds, Research Support Team
Visiting a fantastic exhibition about Muriel Spark, who was born 100 years ago, at the National Library of Scotland (for more information about centenary celebrations see here) resolved me to try one of her novels. “Loitering with Intent” is among a dozen to choose from in Hallward Library. It’s the deliciously enjoyable tale of a young woman in post-war London, Fleur Talbot, who writes fiction but has to take a secretarial job to pay the bills. Her employer, Sir Quentin Oliver, turns out to be a manipulative crook who promises to look after the intimate memoirs of his vain clients, but really plans blackmail. Different sorts of storytelling weave through the book, as Fleur’s debut novel seems to merge into the unfolding schemes of Sir Quentin. There’s plenty of waspish humour, an array of eccentric characters and lots of tips for aspiring writers from one whose own success was won the hard way.
Kate Snaith, Teaching & Learning Support Team
Jeanette Winterson‘s first, and sort-of-autobiographical, novel “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” published in 1985 is a classic. Charting the coming-of-age of Jeanette, growing up in a small northern town, with her adoptive parents and their fervent Pentecostalism. Jeanette experiences childhood deafness and as a teenager falls in love with another girl. In doing so she defies the destiny she and her adopted mother had both envisioned, and faces harsh consequences for exploring her own sexuality and life path. Not always happy read, it is however beautiful, and infused with hope as Jeanette continually strives to find her place in a world hostile to her emerging identity.
In addition to the UoN Libraries “Reading for Leisure” collection, the University also has extensive literature collections by many different authors. Check “tags” on NUsearch to see some of these.
Nottingham public libraries are also a great source of reading material with large collections of classic and contemporary fiction. There are sixteen public libraries in the city (and many more in the county – including Beeston Library). Public libraries provide a vital service to all who need it and make a huge contribution to local communities – why not join to take full advantage of these resources?