Book of the month

Each month, staff and students of the English Seminar introduce books they enjoyed and wish to recommend. If you'd like to post your favourite book, please write to

February 2021

The Penguin Book of First World War Stories

Svenja Schürmann recommends The Penguin Book of First World War Stories:

"If you are interested in reading about the First World War, The Penguin Book of First World War Stories and its companion piece The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry are a good place to start. The short story collection edited by Barbara Korte is divided into four sections - Front, Spies and Intelligence, At Home and In Retrospect - with each story focusing on a different aspect of the war or its aftermath. The collection features stories by a diverse set of authors, among them Arthur Conan Doyle, Katherine Mansfield, Winifred Holtby and Muriel Spark. My favourite story from the collection is probably "Evermore" by Julian Barnes, the moving tale of Miss Moss whose whole life is defined by her brother's death in 1917. Even fifty years after the war she visits her brother's grave and the war memorials and cemeteries in France every year. While the story focuses on the grief of one person, the reader is left with larger questions: Is there a responsibility to remember the war and the people who died in it and if so, how do we remember them? I think these questions are still relevant today."

January 2021

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Sarah Berndsen recommends Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez (2019):

"An eye-opening book about how politics, medicine, design of public places and items for everyday usage, are based on a gender data bias which sets men as the default and unconsciously, yet systematically, ignores women. The consequences of being thus invisible include not only discomfort, but also health risks and the perpetuation of unequal power structures. It is at times overwhelming and frustrating, but always interesting and surprising how small and seemingly unimportant aspects of everyday life are designed in a way that makes life harder and more dangerous to women. I recommend reading Invisible Women because it illustrates why it is necessary that women are included in research and decision-making concerning all areas of life."