The Joseph Rowntree School

Reading List

Widen your interest outside of lessons 

Wider reading... the following list of suggested reading is a combination of books suggested by Oxbridge tutors and a selection added by your very own subject teachers.  When it comes to writing a personal statement as part of your university application, a better candidate would have attempted to read outside of lessons.  



A Pattern Language and The Timeless Way of Building, Christopher Alexander

The Penguin Dictionary of Building, James H MacLean and John S Scott

Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth, Gitta Sereny

Modern Architecture, Kenneth Frampton


Art / Photography

Micheal Freeman, The Photographers Eye, Ilex

Micheal Freeman, The Photographers Mind, Ilex

Micheal Freeman, The Photographers Perfect Exposure, Ilex

Andrew Graham Dixon, Art the definitive Visual Guide, D&K

Edward Lucie Smith, Art Today, Phaidon

Art Now, Uta Grosenick, Taschen

Alan Pipes, Foundations of Art and Design, Lawrence King


Biological Sciences

Climbing Mount Improbable, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Evidence for Evolution, or The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins

The Single Helix, Steve Jones (A few years old now, so not fully up-to-date but still fascinating.)

Darwin’s Island, Steve Jones

Bugs Britannica, Peter Marren and Richard Mabey


Business Studies

The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE – Tom Peters

In search of excellence – Tom Peters and Robert Waterman

Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us – Daniel Pink

Essential Drucker (classic Drucker collection) – Peter F Drucker



Elements of Physical Chemistry, Atkins         

Inorganic Chemistry, Shriver and Atkins (you will also use this during the course)

Foundations of Organic Chemistry, Hornby and Peach


Computer Science

Computer Science: A Modern Introduction, Les Goldschlager and Andrew Lister (Prentice-Hall, 1988)

The Pleasures of Counting, Tom Körner (Cambridge University Press, 1996)

The New Turing Omnibus, A Kee Dewdney (Computer Science Press, 1993)

The Mythical Man-month, Fred Brooks (Addison-Wesley, 1995)



The Keynes Solution, Paul Davidson

Understanding Modern Money, L. Randall Wray

Keynes: The Return of the Master, Robert Skidelsky

The Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy, Warren Mosler

The Return of Depression Economics, Paul Krugman

Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The State We’re In – Will Hutton

Freefall – Free markets and the sinking of the global economy – Joseph Stiglitz



Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Adrian Vaughan
The biography of one of the greatest engineers who ever lived.

Mathematical Methods for Science Students, G Stevenson

The New Science of Strong Materials and Structures, J E Gordon

Cats’ Paws and Catapults, Steven Vogel

What Engineers Know and How They Know It, W G Vincenti



Anything and everything by David Crystal for English Language!

The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson

Listen to your Child, D. Crystal

The language Instinct, S. Pink

The Adventure of English, M. Bragg


Literary criticism

David Lodge's The Art of Fiction is a good place to start.

What is Literary Theory? Terry Eagleton

Norton Anthology of Criticism – great selection of literary theory used for undergraduate courses

The Emigrants, W.G. Sebald
An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle
Bertens Literary Theory: The Basics

The English Studies Book’ R. Pope


Novels which stand out from the crowd

Oroonoko, Aphra Behn (seventeenth century, slavery, racism)

The Monk, Matthew Lewis (18th century gothic)

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Lawrence Sterne (18th century, experimental narrative, funny)

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James (Freudian late Victorian)

The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman (short, Victorian, feminist)

Tess of the D’Urbervilles or Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy (Victorian, dark)

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (nineteenth century love, violence)

The Waves, Virginia Woolf (experimental modernism)

A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf (feminist modernism)

Tender is the Night, F.Scott Fitzgerald (American, 1930s)

Finnegans Wake or Ulysses, James Joyce (modernism for the ambitious!)

The Unicorn orThe Bell, Iris Murdoch (modern female philosopher – good and evil, sexuality, consciousness)

Guerillas, V S Naipaul (post colonial)

A House for Mr Biswas, V S Naipaul (post colonial)

A Child in Time, Ian McEwan (modern)

Anything by Haruki Murukami (modern, quirky Japanese lit)

Disgrace, J. M Coetzee (modern South African)



WB Yeats, Walt Whitman, WH Auden, Phillip Larkin, John Keats, Robert Frost, Alfred Lord Tennyson (Maud is the best), Sylvia Plath, Seamus Heaney, William Blake

Norton Anthology of Poetry is a good buy– great selection across time of decent poetry used for undergraduate courses



Harold Pinter, John Webster, Christopher Marlowe, Tom Stoppard, Joe Orton, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams.


Experimental Psychology

Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks

Mindwatching, H J and M E Eysenck (Prion, 1995)

How the Mind Works, S Pinker (Allen Lane, 1997)

Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology, R L Atkinson, R C Atkinson, E E Smith, D J Bean and S Nolen-Hoeksema (Harcourt Brace & Co., 1996)

Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour - R D Gross (Hodder and Stoughton, 1996)



Global Geomorphology, Michael Summerfield

Glaciers and Glaciation, Douglas Benn and David Evans

The City in History, Lewis Mumford

Spaces of Culture, ed. Mike Featherstone



A People's History of the US, Howard Zinn

British Political History, Malcolm Pearce and Geoffrey Stewart

Imperium, Ryszard Kapuscinski
Witnesses of War, Nicholas Stargardt
Le Feu (‘Under Fire,’ in English), Henri Barbusse

Britons: Forging a Nation, Linda Colley
Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky
More recommendations:

What is History? - E H Carr

In Defence of History - Richard Evans

History in Practice, Ludmilla Jordanova

The Nature of History, Arthur Marwick

History would also recommend George Orwell’s, Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighteen Four and Homage to Catalonia.



About Law, Tony Honore

Understanding Law, Adams and Brownsword

The Law Machine, Marcel Berlins, Clare Dyer

A Theory of Justice, John Rawls



Chaos, Making a New Science, James Gleick

100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know, John D. Barrow

Fermat's Last Theorem, Simon Singh

The Code Book, Simon Singh

The Simpsons and their mathematical secrets, Simon Singh

Alex’s Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Numbers, Alex Belllos

It Must be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science, edited by Graham Farmelo

Alice in Numberland, Baylis and Haggarty

The Problems of Mathematics, Nature's Numbers, From Here to Infinity, Game, Set and Math and the Magical Maze, Ian Stewart

What is Mathematics? Courant and Robbins

Mathematics: The Golden Age, Devlin

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park, Sinclair McKay



The Guardian Newspaper - Media section - available to buy every Monday. The Media Student's Book - 5th Edition - Routledge.

Image and Representation - Nick Lacey - 2nd Edition - Palgrave, Macmillan.

Narrative and Genre: Key concepts in Media Studies - Palgrave, Macmillan.

Media, Institutions and Audiences: Key concepts in Media Studies - Palgrave, Macmillan.



C; Because cowards get cancer too, John Diamond

Emperor of all Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee
Immunobiology, C A Janeway

Human Physiology, Gillian and Christopher Richards

Evolutionary Medicine, ed. Wenda Tervathan


Midwifery / Nursing

Careers uncovered: Nursing and Midwifery, Richmond, Trotman Publishing

A Midwife’s Story, Penny Armstrong & Sheryl Fieldman

The Nursing & Midwifery Council

The Royal College of Nursing


Modern Languages

Prospective Modern Language students might be interested to read Edith’s Grossman’sWhy Translation Matters.

This is a short list of possible authors you could look at:

French:  Rousseau; Voltaire; Hugo; Balzac; Stendhal; Flaubert; Baudelaire; Verlaine;

German:  Goethe; Schiller; Holderlin; Keller; Hoffmann; Schlegel; Heine; George;



The Journal of Music - subscription-only web-based journal

Instrumentation and Orchestration, Alfred Blatter.
Music Instinct, Philip Ball
Schenker Guide, Tom Pankhurst
Powder Her Face, Thomas Ades
Greek, Mark-Anthony Turnage
The Ring Cycle, Richard Wagner
Leonard Bernstein
The father of modern musical theatre. West Side Story, Mass, and Candide are all brilliant music-theatre works.

Harrison Birtwistle The Minotaur, The Io Passion, The Corridor, and Panic give a full overview of this dynamic modern British composer's works.



Utilitarianism, J.S Mill
The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

Straw Dogs, John Gray
Consolations of Philosophy, Alain de Botton

The problems of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell

Philosophy; The Basics, Nigel Warburton

A History of Western Philosophy, Bertrand Russell


Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) 

The Prince, Machiavelli
Britain Since 1918 – David Marquand

Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem through the Islamic Revolution, Sattareh Farman Farmaian and Dona Munker

Language, Truth and Logic,  A J Ayer

Microeconomics, Katz and Rozen

The Economy under Mrs Thatcher, G Maynard

The State We’re In and The State to Come, W Hutton



A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson

A Briefer History of Time, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, Leonard Mlodinow
Fermat's Last Theorem, Simon Singh and David Rintoul

"Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman", Richard Feynman

Several different works of Richard Feynman, from Six Easy Pieces to Six Not-so-easy Pieces, right through to his Imaginative Lecture series.


Sociology / Social Sciences

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi 

The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx

Involvement and Detachment (Part I), Norbert Elias,

Suicide,  Émile Durkheim

Mind, Self and Society, George Herbert Mead

Thinking Sociologically, Bauman, Zygmunt and Tim May

The Prince, Machiavelli

The Sociological Tradition, Robert Nisbet


Speech Science

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby



The Imitation of Christ, Thomas Kempis
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamad

God is Back, How the Global Revival of Faith is Changing the World, Micklethwait and Wooldridge


Veterinary Medicine

The Textbook of Veterinary Anatomy, Dyce, Sack and Wensing (Second Edition, 1996)

Getting into Veterinary Science, J Handley

Careers Working with Animals, Helen Young

Go Top