Come July this year I am moving to Cambridge! So of course, a reading list is in order. Campus life is deliciously studious and mysterious so I have decided to include books from Oxford as well.
Residence at Cambridge by William Wordsworth: The third chapter to Wordsworth’s The Prelude is about his time at Cambridge Univeristy. On a dreary morning that matches the poet’s mood Wordworth’s ponders academia and the pursuit of knowledge.
The Humans by Matt Haig: A Cambridge maths professor has solved the Riemann hypothesis, incidentally, Extra Terrestrials see this as a threat to the universe and and alien impostor comes to earth in order to destroy all evidence. Curious Incident meets Hitch-hikers Guide, the alien has a rough time figuring out how to be human, and pondering the ugliness of noses.
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman: Alas, the Oxford in this book is an alternative Oxford, it is the same, but different. Dedicated to discovering the nature and meaning of the elusive ‘Dust’ this Oxford is as picturesque and intriguing as the real one.
Atonement by Ian McEwan: The deliciously snobby and prim Cecilia spends the summer following her time at Girton College idle in her family mansion, smoking, reading, being confused about her feelings, and accidentally receiving dirty letters.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: The Bodleian Library is almost a character in this novel as it presents our protagonist Diana (mistress of the moon) with a lost book. Diana comes from a long line of witches, but she is spellbound. The arrival of the bewitched book forces her to accept that there is a stirring in the magical world.
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald: I read this while staying in a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere when winter was slowly replacing autumn. The memoir of a Cambridge Scholar who trains a goshawk while grieving after the death of her father. This book made me want to begin falconry, maybe while in Cambridge I might just do that.
Photo by Lisa Smit.