10 More Books to Read in 2020 I Oxford Open Learning


    10 More Books to Read in 2020

    Ten More Books…

    The Other People, C.J. Tudor

    If you’re a fan of books that go ‘bump in the night’ then C.J. Tudor’s latest offering is sure to satisfy.

    Gabe’s wife and daughter, Izzy, were murdered in their home, but Gabe remains convinced that Izzy is alive. In this novel, Tudor takes us on a journey to the grotesque underbelly of the darkweb, showing the lengths that individuals will go to for justice.

    How We Learn, by Benedict Carey

    If you think you’re good at learning, think again. Carey delves into the world of neuroscience to show us that learning is not as black-and-white as we think. If you think distraction and forgetting is always a bad thing, you might be mistaken. If you want to learn how to learn, Carey’s book will provide exciting new insights, whilst busting myths along the way.

    The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins

    Collins is often called the Godfather of detective fiction, and The Woman In White shows us why. The novel has all the key ingredients of the sensation genre: the appearance of a mysterious stranger, unreliable narrators, an asylum, and a devastating crime. Although the novel is a hefty seven-hundred-and-thirty pages long, the plot and characters are so compelling that you won’t be able to get enough of the gothic creepiness and twists-and-turns of this inimitable classic.

    This Is Going To Hurt, Adam Kay

    When Adam Kay began keeping a diary during his time as a junior doctor, he probably never dreamed that it would go on to be a multi-million best-seller and top The Sunday Times Best-Seller’s list for six-months running. And yet it did. Kay, now a comedy writer for television, has a distinct way of capturing the grotesque, hilarious and shattering reality of life as a trainee doctor. Described by Kay as a ‘love letter to the NHS’, this outrageously funny and sad memoir will change everything you thought you knew about the medical profession.

    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain

    Sometimes it feels like the world is run by extroverts: from presidents, to pop singers and comedians, those who can ‘talk-the-talk’ are often rewarded and revered by society. Cain argues that this is not only wrong but also a tragedy.

    Famous introverts, from J.K. Rowling to Albert Einstein, have shown the world the incredible things that introverts can achieve. Cain contends that with greater attention to the unique qualities of introverts, we can create a world where introverts are not only truly valued, but also held in the same esteem as their chatty counterparts.

    The Power, Naomi Alderman

    Can you imagine a world where girls and women have physical power over men – where men live in fear of even walking down the street because of the threat of women? This is exactly the world that Alderman conceives in her dystopian novel, The Power. Alderman’s novel is an eerie reminder that unequal power – whether held in men or women’s hands – can turn the world upside down.

    How The Mind Works, Steven Pinker

    With a title as lofty as this, you’d better have the science and research to back it up, and Pinker does so in spades. If you’ve ever mused on some of life’s big questions such as nature vs. nurture, how we recognise that coffee-table in front of us, and why we fall in love, Pinker’s book will help us grapple with the answers. This is a book that will quite possibly change how you think about thinking forever.

    What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami

    If the freedom to exercise for hours is something that you’re missing during lockdown, this book might help you enjoy the outdoors vicariously. In 1996 Murakami took on a feat like no other when he decided to run an ultramarathon – that’s 62 miles in a single day! This book is about so much more than fitness, however. Murakami ultimately unpacks the connection between running, writing and the mind in this mesmerising part-memoir, part-meditation on the transcendent power of running.

    Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

    Whilst Pride and Prejudice may not share the experimental style of Emma or the pseudo-gothic delights of Northanger Abbey, it remains, if not Austen’s best novel, her most unreservedly charming. From the bickering Mr. and Mrs. Bennett to the sharp wit of her protagonist Elizabeth, few novels will make you grin from ear to ear in the way that Pride and Prejudice does.

    Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett

    Imagine a future in which time stands still. This is precisely what happens in Pratchett’s 26th discworld novel. Pratchett always favoured a messy cocktail of genres, and hilarity, pathos and the ridiculous all infiltrate Thief of Time. At its core, however, is a message of hope. Pratchett acknowledges that people make mistakes and fail; that the worst and best of humanity are forever on view. As his protagonist, Wen, says: Blink your eyes and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.

    In the turbulent and painful times that we’re currently going through, perhaps a dose of Pratchettian wisdom is exactly what we need.

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    Jessica is a freelance copywriter and content writer based in Richmond-Upon-Thames. With a degree in English Literature from University College London, she has experience as a private tutor for 14-18 years olds and adult learners. She has also worked in Widening Participation as a Mentor, Student Ambassador, and Student Leader. As someone who achieved A-Levels through distance-learning, Jessica has first-hand experience of the unique challenges and rewards that distance-learning offers. She regularly contributes content to educational websites including eNotes and Tutorful.