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Book shelf

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Image (cropped) by Jessica Ruscello under CC0 1.0 licence

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

To have your book considered for inclusion, please submit your publication's details

Please note: to have your book considered for inclusion, its publication date must be either upcoming or it must have been published during the last 12 months. Unfortunately, we cannot include any details of books published prior to this time.

distraction trap cover
Frances Booth (Fitzwilliam 1998)

If you're worried that you're losing the power to concentrate, The Distraction Trap can help. Learn how you can easily release your life from the steely grip of modern technology where you're always available and always connected. Discover how you can radically boost your productivity by keeping your whole brain and both eyes on the task in hand.

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David Bennett (Sidney Sussex 1962)

Firefighters of Cambridge vividly recalls what life was like for a dedicated firefighter in a large and busy fire station between 1951 and 1981. David Bennett was himself a firefighter at Cambridge Fire Station from 1972 to 1977 so this book draws from his own experiences as well as those of his colleagues at that time. Fighting fires, extricating people from road accidents and attending a myriad of other emergencies are all described - exacting and sometimes dangerous work.

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Helen Lloyd (St Catharine's 2000)

Desert Snow is the story of one girl, one bike and 1,000 beers in Africa. By daring to follow a dream and not letting fear prevail, Helen cycled across the Sahara, Sahel and tropics of West Africa, paddled down the Niger River in a pirogue, hitch-hiked to Timbuktu and spent three months traversing the Congo, which she thought she may never leave...

Helen takes you with her on the journey through every high and low of her memories and misadventures. She describes a continent brimming with diversity that is both a world away from what she knows and yet not so different at all.

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Simon Thompson

In 1894, Martin Conway (Trinity 1875) became the first man to walk the Alps ‘from end to end’ when he completed a 1,000-mile journey from the Col de Tende in Italy to the summit of the Ankogel in Austria. On a midsummer’s morning, nearly 120 years later, Simon Thompson followed in his footsteps, setting out to explore both the mountains and the man.

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Honor Ridout (Newnham 1967)

For hundreds of years, Stourbridge Fair was the biggest fair in England and a high point of the Cambridge year.

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Mary Beard (Newnham 1973)

'This marvellous book won the Wolfson History Prize and is a model of subtle but accessible writing about the past' Judith Rice, Guardian

'Classicist Mary Beard has had a great time rooting about that ghostly place and she has brought it quite splendidly back to life' Nicholas Bagnall, Sunday Telegraph

'To the vast field of Pompeiana she brings the human touch ...this absorbing, inquisitive and affectionate account of Pompeii is a model of its kind. Beard has caught the quick of what was and, in our lives today, remains the same' Ross Leckie, The Times

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Jane Rogoyska (Christ's 1983)

In 1934, a young and beautiful Jewish émigrée, Gerda Pohorylles, met a Hungarian political exile, André Friedmann in Paris. They reinvented themselves as the photographers Gerda Taro and Robert Capa – and he would become the most important photojournalist of his generation.

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Simon Singh (Emmanuel 1987)

Some have seen philosophy embedded in episodes of The Simpsons; others have detected elements of psychology and religion. Simon Singh, bestselling author of Fermat's Last Theorem, The Code Book and The Big Bang, instead makes the compelling case that what The Simpsons' writers are most passionate about is mathematics.

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Christina Baker Kline (Selwyn 1986)

Nearly 18 years old, Molly Ayer knows she just has one chance. Months away from `aging out' of the welfare system and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman, Vivian Daly, clear out her home is the only thing keeping her out of dentention or worse.

Vivian has led a quiet life on the coast of Maine, but in her attic are the vestiges of a turbulent past. As Molly helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, she discovers they aren't as different as they seem.

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Eric Scerri (Darwin 1974)

In 1913, English physicist Henry Moseley established an elegant method for 'counting' the elements. Soon afterwards, it became clear that there were precisely seven elements missing from the periodic table-those that had yet to be isolated among the 92 naturally occurring elements from hydrogen (#1) to uranium (#92). In A Tale of Seven Elements, Eric Scerri presents the discovery of those seven elements, five of which are radioactive and three or possibly four of were first isolated by women.

welcome to the free zone
Nathalie and Ladislas Gara, translation and introduction by Bill Reed (Christ's 1968)

Welcome to the Free Zone is a vivid and dark humoured novel based on the true story of Nathalie and Ladislas Gara, Jews fleeing Nazi occupation during the Second World War, translated from the original French (St Boniface et ses Juifs). In 1942, several Jewish families have washed up in the sleepy French town of Saint-Boniface in the Ardeche. Lodged in guest houses and rented farmhouses, they are attempting to carve out new lives for themselves among the folded hills and isolated farmsteads.

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Tina Caba (Hughes Hall 1966) Ros Elliott-Ozlek and Celia Gasgil

For anyone with an interest in modern Turkey, this delightful collection of true stories is a must-read. Three British teachers record their varying experiences of living in the country, from daily life and local festivals to finding jobs and surviving earthquakes. These amusing and informative recollections provide insight into Turkish culture and also show how the authors have adapted to life in this fascinating world that all three have grown to love.

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Shahryar M Khan (Corpus Christi 1953) and Ali Khan (Corpus Christi 1992)

Pakistan is a country beset with politicised instabilities, economic problems, ethnic conflicts, religious fervour and crises of identity. It is also a country in which the game of cricket has become a nationwide obsession. How has that happened? How does a Muslim country, jealous of its independence and determined to forge a Pakistani identity, so passionately embrace the alien gentleman's game imported by the distant and departed former colonial masters? What do we learn of Pakistan from its attitudes and responses to cricket?

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Riad Nourallah (Darwin 1977)

The novel follows the journey of a prince who must forge new alliances to avenge the murder of his father in pre-Islamic Arabia. Considering themes of war, peace, freedom and tyranny, King is also a celebration of life and joys of and challenges of the physical world and human relationships.

John Devlin (St Edmund's 1979) and Sandra Adam-Couralet

This richly illustrated catalogue documents the exhibition John Devlin Nova Cantabrigiensis held in May 2013 at Galerie Christian Berst, Paris.

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Valerie Thornhill (Newnham 1954)

The endearingly frank memoirs of an optimistic nineteen-year-old student travelling alone across postwar Europe in 1955. Both a ‘rite of passage’ book, and a unique commentary on the social issues of a pre-feminist era without mass tourism, easy communications or the contraceptive pill.

a force that takes cover
Edward Ragg (Selwyn 1999)

In Edward Ragg’s poetry an extraordinary creative pressure is brought to bear on language to convey what ‘Note on Text’ calls the ‘silent messages / surrounding the truth of words’. Thoughtful, honed and exact, the depths of Ragg’s reflections are matched by the delicacy and precision of his metaphorical language. In poems that move from contemporary Beijing to Vancouver to rural England – or even Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley’ (‘Chateau Musar’) – the compelling force in operation is one that questions dichotomies.

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Dan Jellinek (Caius 1986)

Politicians have a notoriously bad reputation: one recent survey found people trust them less than used-car salesmen. Voter turn-out in most elections is shockingly low; and episodes like the MPs' expenses scandal of 2009 simply serve to confirm the opinion of many that 'they're all as bad as each other'. But deep down, most of us also know we are incredibly lucky to live in a democracy, with freedoms that billions of people across the planet would give anything to enjoy. So we are lucky - but still, we don't like our system and we don't trust our politicians.

Professor Janet Todd (Newnham 1961, President of Lucy Cavendish College)

Over the last 200 years, the novels of Jane Austen have been loved and celebrated across a diverse international readership. As a result, there is a bottomless appetite for detail about the woman behind the writing. Jane Austen traces her life and times; her relationships with family and friends; the attitudes and customs of the time that shaped her and were in turn shaped by her work; and the places where she lived, worked and set her novels, from rural Hampshire to fashionable Bath Spa. Chapters on each of her novels run throughout the book and place them in the context of her life.

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Professor Barbara Sahakian (Professor in the Department of Psychiatry) and Dr Jamie Nicole LaBuzetta

Making decisions is such a regular activity that it is mostly taken for granted. However, damage or abnormality in the areas of the brain involved in decision-making can severely affect personality and the ability to manage even simple tasks. Here, Barbara Sahakian and Jamie Nicole LaBuzetta discuss the process of normal decision making - our strategies for making decisions, biases that affect us, and influential factors - and then describe the abnormal patterns found in patients with conditions such as severe depression, Alzheimer's, and accidental brain damage.

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