It is often said that going to university is truly a time to broaden your horizons and challenge your perception of the world around you. And with the University of Leeds’ five libraries housing three million items, what better way is there to expand your mind than picking up a good old book?
Freakonomics – Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt
Reading around your degree subject is an imperative part of becoming a well-rounded student and this non-fiction debut from the super-pairing of a University of Chicago economist and New York Times journalist is a perfect chance for anyone looking to step outside their comfort zone (assuming you are not an economics student, that is). Committed to exposing ‘the hidden side of everything’, Freakonomics will enlighten you on the similarities between the KKK and estate agents, the clandestine corruption of the sumo wrestling industry and the real reason that drug dealers still live with their mums. You will never see society in the same way again after reading this, and will always have a barrage of facts to impress guests at pre-drinks.
Starter for Ten – David Nicholls
Adapted into the successful 2006 film starring James McAvoy, this book chronicles the first-year escapades of gawky yet endearing fresher Brain Jackson, as he vies for a spot on the University Challenge team while manoeuvring a new world of sex, drugs and general knowledge quizzing. As well as packing in laughs aplenty, Nicholls also skilfully explores the issue of class struggle in higher education as his protagonist is caught between trying to ingratiate himself into the elite and sometimes snobby university social scene, while staying true to his working class roots. For those moments when diving into a completely new lifestyle makes you feel like a fish out water, this light-hearted read is perfect for finding reassurance.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
A novel that should be read by everyone in their lifetime and not just those at university, Leeds students would do well to read this Brontë classic to discover and appreciate a fundamental piece of Yorkshire culture. After being adopted as an urchin by the wealthy Earnshaw family, Wuthering Heights follows the dark, brooding Heathcliffe and his destructive relationship with headstrong Cathy amidst the dramatic backdrop of the breathtakingly wild and stark Yorkshire Moors. Seething passions, deathless love and virulent grief collide as Emily Brontë pens arguably the most revered novel in the English language; definitely one to cross off the reading list at uni.
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Shocking, scintillating and disgusting in equal measure, Nabokov’s masterpiece still sends shockwaves around the world for its frank depiction of paedophilic love. In the novel, Humbert Humbert – the ultimate unreliable narrator – delves into his lifelong desire for ‘nymphets’ as he becomes obsessed with twelve-year-old Lolita in a tale that twists your sympathies inside-out and dizzies and repulses you from start to finish. Be prepared for any pre-uni remnants of youth and innocence to be ripped from their roots as this subversive and sublime read proves itself as one of the most controversial books of the twentieth Century.