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Books Every Fresher Should Read

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges. Here’s The Badger’s list of some books to give an accurate and light-hearted reflection of university life to ease your transition!

These books incorporate a variety of different perspectives, making them relatable to anyone familiar with the hectic nature of university life, whether you’re a current or ex-student. As well as providing you with an insight into university, these books can provide you with an escape from the constraints of reading lists on your course. It is important to take some time for yourself amongst the bustle of beginning university, hence I felt these books would be a chance to read something relatable that can also give you a break away from your studies.

These books are enjoyable for anyone who is familiar with both the thrills and trials that come alongside university, so grab yourself a copy of any of these brilliant books to get a taste for what to expect.

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Starter for Ten, David Nicholls

Set in 1985, one working-class student starts university on a scholarship with an ambition to take part in the popular TV show, University Challenge. The story of his journey towards competing is intertwined with his own personal struggles with love, making for an entertaining tale of student life. The novel is evocative of university life and the trials and tribulations that come alongside it, giving readers a taste of what to expect when entering university for the first time.

Grounding this story around University Challenge, Nicholls engages with both the personal and educational sides of university life, making this novel a must-read for anyone heading to university and about to start freshers.

Nicholls’ extremely successful book has since been made into a movie with the amazing James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch, so if you don’t have the time to read the book… at least cheat and watch the film!

Nosh For Students, Joy May

May’s collection of cookbooks are an essential purchase to begin university life, providing you with the first steps for cooking away from home. Moving to university can be daunting for numerous reasons, one of which includes having to learn how to cook for yourself. Nosh is an easy introduction to student cooking, with May providing readers with extremely easy recipes that can be achieved at a low budget.

The cookbook gives you a cost breakdown with each meal, meaning you can live off something other than Pot Noodle throughout freshers week.

There are many varieties of Nosh, including vegetarian and gluten free options, meaning anyone, no matter the dietary requirements can get their hands on a copy. While you’re broke and grappling for things to cook out of very few ingredients you have left in your cupboard, Nosh will be an absolute lifesaver I guarantee.

Porterhouse Blue, Tom Sharpe

Following the story of Sir Godber and Skullion, the porters at a fictional college, Sharpe humorously explores life at his depiction of Cambridge University. His satirical novel follows both students and staff alike, drawing upon experiences from both sides of the university structure. Sharpe uses the differing opinions of Sir Godber and Skullion to ironically explore the relationship between tradition and reform, conflicts that are frequently battled out on university campuses.

Porterhouse Blue is one of Sharpe’s incredibly humorous novels that gives readers a lighthearted insight into the struggles that occur on a university campus, with social reform fighting for its place amongst students and staff alike.

If you are a fan of satire and university life, Sharpe’s novel is definitely one to read when heading to university, giving you a chuckle in the midst of the anxieties around starting university.

David Lodge, Changing Places

Drawing inspiration from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Lodge’s novel discusses the lives of university lecturers in both Britain and America. Telling a story of a six month academic exchange programme, two lecturers get the chance to experience differing academic systems and ways of life.

Lodge follows his two protagonists, academics Philip Swallow and Morris Zapp, through the trials of moving to a new country, and the mischief both characters get up to when plunged into this new lifestyle. Since, Lodge has released a sequel of this novel, determining the unanswered questions and the fates of his main protagonists, so you won’t be left at a loose end attempting to determine the characters’s fates. Humorously drawing parallels between both the professional and personal life, Lodge creates an image of university life that is relatable to both students and academics, imagining themselves juggling their workloads with their personal troubles and successes.

This is definitely a worthwhile read for students, allowing readers to imagine their own lecturers being thrown into the humorous and challenging situations Lodge faces his characters with throughout his novel.

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges. I felt it would be useful to provide a list of some books that might make this transition easier, giving an accurate and lighthearted portrayal of university life. These books incorporate a variety of different perspectives, making them relatable to anyone familiar with the hectic nature of university life, whether you’re a current or ex-student. As well as providing you with an insight into university, these novels can provide you with an escape from the constraints of reading lists on your course. It is important to take some time for yourself amongst the bustle of beginning university, hence I felt these books would be a chance to read something relatable that can also give you a break away from your studies. These books are enjoyable for anyone who is familiar with both the thrills and trials that come alongside university, so grab yourself a copy of any of these brilliant books to get a taste for what to expect from university life.

Kate Dennett

Books Editor

Featured image credit: Flickr

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Studying abroad?

vanessahtl - November 5, 2019

By Mehek Shahzad Looking for a way to broaden your horizons? Love travelling? Interested in immersing yourself in a completely different culture whilst working towards your degree?…