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Reading for fun has been shown to benefit mental health, improve academic performance, and inspire people to make a positive change.

Here are 37 brilliant books to help you crack university and beyond, from essential skills and fantastic fiction to books that will inspire you to help create a more inclusive society. Take a peek below at ten books recommended in the guide, or check out the full guide.

Don't forget to also enter to win £1,000/€1,100 of National Book Tokens with our Book Bursary.

Download the full 2020 guide

View last year's guide

What's going on?

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It explores issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race. 


Women Don't Owe You Pretty

Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

Women Don't Owe You Pretty is an accessible leap into feminism, for people at all stages of their journey who are seeking to reshape and transform the way they view themselves.

Look after your mental health and wellbeing

It's Not OK to Feel Blue (And Other Lies)

It's Not OK to Feel Blue (And Other Lies) by Scarlett Curtis

It's Not OK to Feel Blue (And Other Lies) is a collection of stories and essays from those who have suffered through the worst, and know what it's like to fight to feel better.


Jog On: How Running Saved My Life

Jog On: How Running Saved My Life by Bella Mackie

Bella explains with hilarious and unfiltered honesty how she used running to battle crippling anxiety and depression. With the help of a supporting cast of doctors, psychologists, sportspeople and friends, she shares a wealth of inspirational stories, research and tips that show how exercise often can be the best medicine.

Let's create a more inclusive society

Diversify: Why Inclusion is Better for Everyone

Diversify: Why Inclusion is Better for Everyone by June Sarpong

Putting the spotlight on groups who are often marginalised in our society, including women, ethnic minorities, those living with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community, Diversify uncovers the hidden cost of exclusion and shows how a new approach to how we learn, live and do business can solve some of the most stubborn challenges we face.


Gender Explorers

Gender Explorers by Juno Roche

In this life-affirming, heartening and refreshing collection of interviews, young trans people offer valuable insight and advice into what has helped them to flourish and feel happy in their experience of growing up trans.

Juno Roche gives voice to a generation of gender explorers who are making gender work for them, and in the process, reveals a kinder, more accepting world, that we should all be fighting for.

Take a break with some fantastic fiction

Such a Fun Age

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for 'kidnapping' the white child she's actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix's desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know –  about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.



Loveless by Alice Oseman

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia's ready to find romance. But when her plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever. Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

Life hacks for university and beyond

The Green Roasting Tin

The Green Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer

With the seventy-five recipes in The Green Roasting Tin – half vegan, half vegetarian – you simply pop your ingredients in a tin and let the oven do the work. Every recipe is vegan or vegetarian (with an option to make it vegan), and all of them are simple, healthy and delicious.


How to be a Study Ninja

How to be a Study Ninja: Study Smarter. Focus Better. Achieve More. by Graham Allcott

In the world of smartphones, instant internet access and on-demand documentaries, studying should be easier than ever. Yet all this background noise can make us unfocused and inefficient learners. With nine Ninja techniques to learn, there is a solution here for everyone who wants to learn better – and they don't involve giving up the rest of your life. 


View the full survival guide to print out and display in your university library or student union, share with book-loving students, or simply keep at home as a handy reading list.

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