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 featuring a painting of Indian women dressed in yellow sharing alcohol
James McHugh (Christ's 1991)

The first comprehensive book on alcohol in pre-modern India, An Unholy Brew: Alcohol in Indian History and Religions uses a wide range of sources from the Vedas to the Kamasutra to explore drinks and styles of drinking, as well as rationales for abstinence from the earliest Sanskrit written records through the second millennium CE.

Front cover featuring half a union jack and six griffins
Sean Brunton (Christ's 1986)

This is a book about heroism. It consists of a collection of 6 mini-biographies or essays. The British heroes celebrated are Richard the Lionheart, Sir William Wallace, Lord Nelson, The Duke of Wellington, Albert Ball V.C. and Roger Bushell (aka ‘Big X’). Each essay provides an historically accurate biography of their lives and deeds, celebrating their patriotism, bravery and independence of spirit. However, each searches for and focuses on their own particular brand of heroism; for Wallace his defiant belief in freedom; for Nelson, his patriotic quest for honour.

Front cover depicting a zoomed in blue eye with the book title and author name in the pupil
Anil Seth (King's 1990)

The instant Sunday Times Bestseller and Guardian Book of the Week, Being You is an accessible and revolutionary book that will forever alter your relationship with the world - and with yourself.

Somehow, within each of our brains, billions of neurons work to create our conscious experience. How does this happen? How is it that we experience the colour red, the pangs of jealousy, the pain of toothache? Why do we experience life in the first person?

Front cover of book entitled Ghosted, featuring a person's torso and a face covered with flowers on a dark background
Jenn Ashworth (Newnham 2000)

One ordinary morning, Laurie's husband Mark vanishes, leaving behind his phone and wallet. For five weeks, she tells no one, carrying on her job as a cleaner at the local university, visiting her difficult, dementia suffering father and holing up in her tower block flat with a bottle to hand. When she finally reports Mark as missing, the police are suspicious. Why did she take so long? Wasn't she worried? It turns out there are many more lacunae in Laurie's account of events. At the time, she couldn't explain much of her behaviour herself.

Of Kings and Nobilities cover
B. J. Sadiq (Hughes Hall 2005)

Of Kings and Nobilities is a zany romp through world history, penned by writer B.J.Sadiq under the guise of his pseudonym "B. J. Hughes" the initials BJ are his own, whereas the inspiration for the last name is drawn not from the British poet laureate, the genius Ted, but from Hughes Hall, a Cambridge college, where the author of this book once lodged, and where he first thought of writing this epic satire.

The Man Who Died Twice cover
Richard Osman (Trinity 1989)

It's the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He's made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn't that be a bonus?

Tia Merauke cover
John Richens (King's 1970)

A study of culture, colonialism, and an epidemic in New Guinea. 

Enhancing Wellbeing and Independence for Young People with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties cover
Andrew Colley (Wolfson 2017) and Julie Tilbury

Bringing together the results of extensive UK and international surveys of over 100 teachers, school leaders and other practitioners who work with young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (pmld), this book explores what well-being, community participation and independence mean for young people with pmld and presents the many innovative ways in which schools are working to ensure young people with pmld have lives of

Don't Get Your Tutu in a Twist cover
Jenny Moore (Selwyn 1994)

Miss Gorilla is holding a dance show, but the rehearsals are not going well! Can they pull it all together in time for the big night?

'Don't Get Your Tutu in a Twist!' is a fun, rhyming picture book starring tip-tapping toe-tangled animals and a generous pinch of chaos. Illustrated by Barbara Bakos.

The Gate to China cover
Michael Sheridan (Jesus 1977)

The rise of China and the fall of Hong Kong to authoritarian rule are told with unique insight in this new history by Michael Sheridan, drawing on eyewitness reporting over three decades, interviews with key figures and documents from archives in China and the West

The story sweeps the reader from the earliest days of trade through the Opium Wars of the 19th century to the age of globalisation, the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China. It ends with the battle for democracy on the city’s streets and the ultimate victory of the Chinese Communist Party.

The Piano cover
Susan Tomes (King's 1972)

An astonishingly versatile instrument, the piano allows just two hands to play music of great complexity and subtlety. For more than two hundred years, it has brought solo and collaborative music into homes and concert halls and has inspired composers in every musical genre—from classical to jazz and light music.

Emergency Deep
Alfred Scott McLaren (Peterhouse 1981)

Captain Alfred Scott McLaren served as Commander of the USS Queenfish (SSN 651) from September 1969 to May 1973-the very height of the Cold War. As commander, McLaren led at least six major clandestine operations, including the first-ever exploration of the entire Siberian Continental Shelf, a perilous voyage detailed in his previous book Unknown Waters.

Preparing Dinosaurs cover
Caitlin Donahue Wylie (Clare Hall 2008)

An investigation of the work and workers in fossil preparation labs reveals the often unacknowledged creativity and problem-solving on which scientists rely.

Midnight in the Kant Hotel cover
Rod Mengham (Reader in Modern English Literature, and Fellow of Jesus College)

Midnight in the Kant Hotel is an absorbing account of contemporary art, composed over twenty years. The essays revisit the same artists as they develop, following them in time, changing perspectives as he, and they, develop.

Head First cover
Alastair Santhouse (Emmanuel 1986)

What does it mean to be well? Is it something in our body? Or, is it rather something subjective - something of the mind? In this profound collection of clinical stories, eminent psychiatrist Dr Alastair Santhouse draws on his experience of treating thousands of hospital patients to show how our emotions are inextricably linked to our physical wellbeing.

The Offset cover
Calder Szewczak (Natasha Calder and Emma Szewczak, both Corpus Christi 2013)

THE OFFSET is a work of science fiction that explores the issues of environmentalism and anti-natalism, positing a world in which, on their eighteenth birthday, every child must choose one of their parents to die as a carbon offset for their own life. The book has been compared to Sophie's Choice and The Handmaid's Tale, and described as "the science fiction novel for our times" by science journalist Angela Saini.

Xu Zhimo in Cambridge − life and poetry
Stuart Lyons (King's 1962)

In the ten years between his admission to King’s College in 1921 and his death in an air crash, Xu Zhimo transformed Chinese poetry.  This book illuminates his life and friendships in Cambridge, and his love of the Backs and surrounding countryside. It contains 24 poems in Xu’s original Chinese with Pinyin transliteration and English verse translations by the winner of the Stephen Spender Prize 2020 for poetry in translation.

The Misadventures of Nicholas Nabb cover
Jenny Moore (Selwyn 1985)

A botched bread roll robbery spells trouble for Victorian sewer scamp, Nicholas Nabb... BIG trouble. But when a mysterious veiled widow, Annie, steps in to save him, it looks like his luck might finally be changing. Only Annie vanishes before they can become properly acquainted, leaving Nick with nothing but questions. Who is the lady behind the black veil? Why does she have a baby photo of him inside her locket? And, most importantly of all, where is she now? Nick will stop at nothing to find out.

Troy cover
Stephen Fry (Queens' 1978)

'Troy. The most marvellous kingdom in all the world. The Jewel of the Aegean. Glittering Ilion, the city that rose and fell not once but twice . . .'

The story of Troy speaks to all of us - the kidnapping of Helen, a queen celebrated for her beauty, sees the Greeks launch a thousand ships against that great city, to which they will lay siege for ten whole and very bloody years.

Our Dear-Bought Liberty cover
Michael D. Breidenbach (Wolfson 2008)

How early American Catholics justified secularism and overcame suspicions of disloyalty, transforming ideas of religious liberty in the process.


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