Book shelf

Book shelf

Explore a selection of publications by alumni and academics, and books with a link to the University or Cambridge

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Book cover shows a starlit sky, transitioning from orange to deep blue, with Chinese lanterns hung above.
Shi Naseer (Trinity 2013)

Growing up in 1990s China, in a village where failure to observe the rigidly enforced one-child policy is deemed tantamount to a crime, Chen Di must fight to get the education she craves in a world in which boys are prioritised. Following her mother's untimely death, 16-year-old Chen Di's thirst for vengeance against those she holds responsible brings about her transformation from a gutsy, marginalised child into an aikido-practising young woman who braves Shanghai.

Book cover shows a blond woman in a red blouse holding a canvas in front of an easel. Beyond is the sky above St Paul's.
Jan Casey (Hughes Hall 1996)

When young painter, Sybil Paige, wins a coveted assignment from the War Artists' Advisory Committee, she is determined to tell the stories of women fighting their own battles on the home front. Armed with her sketchbook, she begins her journey across the country sketching everything from airfields and assembly lines to farms and factories. With each new commission, Sybil grows in confidence. But, like the many people she meets and sketches, she fears the future: will it bring hope or heartbreak?


Book cover in a deep blue with lighter blue wave patterning.
Chris D White (Downing 1999)

Our current understanding of nature is in terms of matter that is acted on by forces. There are four fundamental forces, of which three are described by so-called gauge theories, a type of quantum field theory. The fourth force, gravity, is best described by general relativity, and our traditional ways of thinking about gauge theories and gravity look completely different from each other.

Book cover shows two faces in profile with the universe contained within.
Chris D White (Downing 1999)

What is our universe made of? How did it get here, and how will it end? Why are many scientists currently so excited about these questions? And why is everybody else so scared of the one subject – physics – that promises to give us all the answers?

Book cover shows a mosaic of green tiles and orange circle representing an iris.
Katrina Porteous (Trinity Hall 1979)

330 million years ago, what is now the rocky shore close to Katrina Porteous’s Northumberland home was a tropical swamp inhabited by three-metre long predatory fish with huge tusk-like teeth. They belonged to a family of lobe-finned fishes which evolved to move on land as well as swim, and which are the ancestors of all four-limbed vertebrates, including humans. The fossil fish found in Northumberland is called the ‘rhizodont’.

Book cover shows a cartoon scene of a person in a wheelchair in hot pursuit of a boar clutching papers in its mouth.
Tom Shakespeare (Pembroke 1984)

Fred Twistleton is about to turn forty. Gathering with his friends to celebrate at a rented stately home, he finally hopes to get together with his college crush, the woman of his dreams, Heather. But Fred is also keen to publish his memoirs, and Heather realises the revelations they contain could threaten her career as a high-flying foreign correspondent.

Book cover shows a woodcut featuring a early modern nobleman sitting on an elaborate throne.
Jake Griesel (Peterhouse 2016) and Esther Counsell (Trinity 2015) eds.

This volume is the first collection of essays to focus specifically on how reformed theology and ecclesiology related to one of the most consequential issues between the Elizabethan Settlement (1559) and the Hanoverian Succession (1714), namely conformity to the Church of England. This volume enriches scholarly understandings of how reformed identity was understood in the Tudor and Stuart periods, and how it influenced both clerical and lay attitudes towards the English Church's government, liturgy and doctrine.

Book cover shows two naked individuals in an embrace.
Dr James Giles (Institute for Continuing Education)

We all experience it but exactly how and why does sexual attraction happen? Philosopher and psychologist James Giles explores the universal, yet highly individualised, experience of being sexually attracted to another person.

Incorporating interviews, research findings, and excerpts from romantic and erotic literature, lyrics, and film, 'Sexual Attraction: The Psychology of Allure' explores a subject that is central to the human experience and highly relevant in not only personal, intimate interactions, but also other relationships.

Cover shows three silhouetted figures walking through a foggy, lamp lit street.
V. R. Ling (King's 2005)

'King Street Run' is a satirical fantasy thriller set in contemporary Cambridge. Thomas Wharton, an archaeology graduate, becomes drawn into the problems of a series of anachronistic characters who exist in the fractions of a second behind our own time. These characters turn out to be personifications of the Cambridge Colleges; they have the amalgamated foibles, history, and temperament of their Fellows and students and, together with Thomas, must enter into a race against time to prevent their world being destroyed by an unknown assailant.

Book cover shows a swan sailing across rippled water as musical notes rise from the surface.
Henry Disney (Sidney Sussex 1959)

The final collection of poems by a scientist and poet near the end of an extraordinary life. The poems are poignant and straight to the point. There are no shades of grey. You will either concur with the poet or you may beg to differ, but you will not be neutral. Comments cover politics, current conflicts across the world, impacts of climate change and other concerns, which are treated with clarity and insight. You will be moved, you will be challenged and you will be stirred. The poems reflect on unusual incidents in the poet's life and comments on contemporary concerns of life today.

Book cover with a black background and title in bright orange text.
Edward Ragg (Selwyn 1999)

Edward Ragg won the 2012 Cinnamon Press Poetry Award and his debut collection was A Force That Takes (2013). His second volume, Holding Unfailing (2017), charted the rise of modern China, followed by the more experimental Exploring Rights (2020); and And Then the Rain Came (2022), an exposition on love and well-being forged under the global pandemic and climate crisis. This new work, Vital Signs, draws on the inspiration of the medical vital signs.

Book cover with a black and smoky background design.
Sarah Bartley (Homerton 2007) and Sarah Mullan

Crisis Theatre and The Living Newspaper traces a history of the living newspaper as a theatre of crisis from Soviet Russia (1910s), through the Federal Theatre Project of the Great Depression in America (1930s), to Augusto Boal's Teatro Jornal in Brazil (1970s), and its resonance with documentary forms deployed in the final years of apartheid in South Africa (1990s), up until the present day in the UK (2020s).

Book cover divided into pink on the top and black at the bottom.
Maxine Nwaneri (Murray Edwards 2007)

This book is one of "four guides to navigating and understanding the future of work." - Harper's Bazaar

It is the essential guide for every working mother who wants to learn how to prioritise herself and feel less overwhelmed in work and life. Do you feel like you never have enough time? Does everyone else’s needs come first? Do you keep pushing back on your dreams as you wait for the perfect time that just never seems to arrive? It’s time to stop simply surviving and start thriving in the life you were meant to lead.

Cover depicts the outside of a two story boat house on the river. A boat full of rowers glides past.
Naomi Davies (Jesus 1987) and Sara Rawlinson

Cambridge Boathouses, produced by Naomi Davies & Sara Rawlinson, is a compilation of the artists’ work with 56 full colour pages showing the splendour of all 22 Cambridge boathouses along the River Cam. Depicting them in unique combinations of photographs and watercolour, Sara & Naomi worked for two years to complete the series. Each of the boathouses is shown in this volume, along with architectural notes and details of the artistic process to make each image.

Book cover for The Day Before, featuring a rural, lakeside landscape with the sun shining through dark clouds.
Aoife Lyall (St John's 2009)

The Day Before beautifully captures the ordinary moments in life that crystallise in the face of crisis and threat. Focusing on the earliest weeks and months of the pandemic, these intimate and meticulous poems mark the lived experience of someone who must navigate a world she no longer understands, exploring first steps and last breaths, milestones, millstones, emigration, fly-tipping and the entire world to be found in the space behind the front door.

Book cover for In Whom We Trust, featuring a smoking high-rise building in the background.
Hamid Varzi (Trinity Hall 1969)

In Whom We Trust traces the lives of three Cambridge University graduates—one American, one English, and one Iranian—whose intimate friendship is severely tested over the years by conflicting career paths in a rapidly modernising world, where battle lines are often as blurred as the governmental policies that put them there. This remarkable story is a thrilling mixture of political and religious intrigue set against a backdrop of historical events from the 1950s to the present.

Book cover features a river and waterfall landscape with cartoon children in the foreground,
Hamid Varzi (Trinity Hall 1969)

This illustrated poetry book encourages children's awareness of climate change, in a novel and unique manner. Instead of featuring adults preaching to children, the author portrays Nature herself addressing children directly through a talking tree, the sea and a honeybee. The book places children in Nature's shoes. As with Animal Farm, the book is suitable for both children and adults.

Book cover has an orange and yellow background, with a white silhouetted map of Africa.
Nat Rubner (King's 2008)

A study of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, one of the most important documents in modern African history, that positions it within the African Lives Matter struggle to assert an African identity rather than as simply a human rights document. The book describes its underlying African origins and how the principles of the OAU influenced its path and content.

Book cover for 'Lovebroken' featuring a wrinkled piece of white paper with a drawing of a head and shoulders.
Finley de Witt (Murray Edwards 1984)

Have you ever struggled with your mental health, your terrible relatives or a dysfunctional relationship? Or simply wondered what the hell is wrong with you? This story is for you. Finley de Witt is a writer, bodyworker and trauma specialist with 30 years' experience. This account of her experiences with NHS psychotherapy and the cast of characters she encounters along the way will offer a message of hope to all. Trauma has never been so funny or so shocking.

A person in a white doctor's jacket and stethoscope around their neck holds a gun.
Michael Duggan (Clare 1981)

In a perilous era, only the most skilled are summoned to safeguard our way of life. Amidst the allure of sex and drugs, the deceit of crooks, and the intricate dance between the police and doctors, this tale offers a deep dive into the world of clinical medicine. It spotlights a unique cadre of practitioners determined to make a difference, even as they navigate the challenges of an underfunded NHS, a government stretched thin, and a public often left in the dark. Medicine is not just a profession; it's a calling.


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