Student Team Tips: Our Summer Reads and Movie Recommendations
Hello everyone! We’ve provided a lot of great tips about revision, planning and organizing your summer, and not enough about enjoying the summer. Don’t miss out on this time dedicated for you to wind down, relax and do what you love to do.
Read through as the student team shares some of their favourite movies and reads!
Best fictional book you’ve read
“The stationary shop of Tehran. This is a fictional book based in Tehran, narrated through Roya a 17 year old high school student obsessed with poetry, it starts in 1953 up to present day narrating the Iranian unrest, a lost love and betrayal. It’s a pretty fast read, and a really original, moving book.” Nuura, Architecture
“I have read a number of fiction books and “Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmole” (The forest of a thousand demons: A Hunter’s Saga ) by Daniel O. Fagunwa stands out. The novel had a significant influence on my imagination as a child.
I have reread the Yoruba novel as an adult and still find it fascinating. This novel followed a farmer on his journeys into the jungle where he met several folklore elements who taught him one virtue or another. This novel was so interesting that when it became adapted to a movie, I refused to watch it because I did not want it to spoil my perception of the events.
Things fall apart’ by Chinua Achebe is equally one of my favourites. I liked how he gave the reader a view of colonialism through the lens of a commoner called Okonkwo. The novel touched on how christianity and colonialism shaped the Igbo culture. Finally, I have read the five volumes of “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin loved it. I would recommend this book to anyone.” Fatimah, Law
“Recently it’s been YA Fantasy titled We Hunt the Flame, action filled and romantic. It’s the first of a duology and I don’t have the words to convey how much I’ve enjoyed it. It takes place in the land of Arawiya, and is inspired by ancient Arabia. It follows Zafira, a hunter disguising herself as a man, who follows the cursed forest to feed her people. She crosses paths with Nasir, a trained assassin nicknamed prince of death, obeying the commands of his father, the sultan. It’s my favourite world to immerse myself in.” Salma, Politics and IR
What is the strangest book you’ve ever read
“I read a book recently called ‘I only killed him once’. It’s about a robot hitman/detective that loses his memory after one day. It’s fun because we’re following the robot and his thoughts and are able to piece together things that he’s missed because of his tape based memory, even though he’s leaving little clues for himself for the next day. Someone who comes to see that he’s met before but doesn’t remember gives him a warning and the story gets better from there.” Fatima, Material science
“I read a book called ‘Verity’ and it was the strangest adult thriller I’ve ever picked up. It’s not for everyone, but I enjoyed the mystery and kept thinking about it long after I finished reading it. Lowen is a struggling writer who accepts the offer to ghost write Verity’s books. Lowen uncovers an unfinished biography Verity never intended anyone to read. It’s a mind bending book and it ends without the two conflicting truths revealed. I also thing of Agatha Christie’s book as really strange, the details to those mysteries both enticing and realistic.” Salma, Politics and IR
“Queen of the Damned is one of the strangest books I have read. I found it fascinating and scary at the same time. Even though it made my skin scrawl, I could not drop it until I read the last words.” Fatimah, Law
Most inspiring non-fiction books you’ve read
“Have you ever had a job where you felt like what you were doing was pointless, or even counterproductive? Well you’re not alone. A YouGov poll found that 37% of Britons are in jobs that they believe do not “make a meaningful contribution to the world.” The late anthropologist David Graeber calls these “Bullshit Jobs” in his book of the same name. In it, he presents his fantastic theory of how and why jobs that serve no purpose have come to exist and what we can do about it” George, Urban Design & International Planning
“It’s difficult to come up with what I consider to be the best movie. I will suggest some movies I have watched and enjoyed. These include The Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones. I liked how these movies combine innovative sounds, pictures and special effects. You never could guess what was coming till the end” Fatimah, Law
“One of my favourite films is Birdman. It follows an actor who was famous for playing a comic book superhero when he was younger but now wants to redeem himself as a serious actor by writing, directing and starring in a Broadway play. The acting and narrative are incredible, but the design is where this movie stands out. The entire film is edited to look as if it is one long shot, and most of the story takes place in one theatre. You can watch it through Amazon Prime Video (in the UK anyway — it might be different if you are in another country)” George, Urban Design & International Planning
Best international movies
“I like to watch a lot of Thai, Japanese and Chinese dramas. One movie that stands out to me for its beauty and powerful sense of life ambiguity is Hana-bi, a Japanese drama from 1997. It’s difficult to explain what the movie is about, but the whole atmosphere, along with Joe Hisaishi’s score for it, is dark, melancholic. It’s a desperate movie, whereby the audience sees a man getting in with the wrong people, struggling to pay for his wife’s medical needs as she is slowly dying from leukemia. The cinematics, the slightly off resolution, the music, the serious and professional acting all makes for the right kind of movie.” Sara, Biotechnology
Older movies that are worth watching
“An older kind of comfort movie that i like to watch, (even though it’s not really a comfort movie) is A bronx tale which is based in 1960s Newyork and starts with the main character as a young boy looking up to too different men in his life on completely different paths, it then goes into his teenage years and ends in a lot of heartbreak” Nuura, Architecture
“A classic that is definitely worth a watch is Glengarry Glen Ross. Based on a Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name, it follows a group of foul-mouthed salespeople who, under threat of losing their job, will do anything to sell real estate. And while the cast isn’t particularly diverse (something which can be said about a lot of films made pre-21st Century) it still manages to explore some interesting ideas about capitalism and morality that are relevant to a modern audience.” George, Urban Design & International Planning
Best movie sources
“Netflix is not the only place to find movies, series and documentaries. I enjoy finding interesting things to watch on www.arte.tv/en/ . There, you can find movies to watch from independent directors. It is also good if you want to practice immersing yourself in the target language you want to learn, you will find that for a lot of the content, you will be able to find different subtitles and dubbed versions in a myriad of different languages. I like watching my movies with German subtitles. One of the most exquisite movies I watched there was called Portrait of a Lady on Fire by the director Céline Sciamma. Imagine 18th Century France: a female painter is assigned to paint a woman who is to be wed soon. However, the woman refuses to be painted and so the painter must pretend to be her walking companion, stealing glances here and there to piece together the painting. The movie explores the relationship between artist and subject and how the finished product is an interplay of perspectives. One word: exquisite.” Sara, Biotechnology
Thanks for reading! Have a go and try some of these recommendations this Summer :)