Right now, I’m sure many of us never want to read another book from the university library again. I get it. After spending weeks staring at a screen and now being in the middle of frantic essay writing, I cannot wait for the chance to switch off over summer. However, university is an investment, one that some would say doesn’t really feel worth it this year. If online teaching isn’t for you, you might feel like you have paid an awful lot for a reading list and a subscription to JSTOR. So, as a cheapskate to my very core, I have decided to make use of the fantastic array of ebooks we have at our library over the summer.
Firstly, we have Gloria Jean Watkins, or her more famous pen name, bell hooks. If you search for ‘bell hooks’ and filter the results by only looking at ebooks, you will find an array of her work on race, gender, and its intersections, the impact of class, transforming education into a truly emancipatory tool, love as a transformational social force, and so much more. Being both an academic and activist, her work is multifaceted and visionary. If you are as bored of reducing social movements to infographics as I am, then consider spending some of your summers reading her work.
Secondly, we have ‘Sister Outsider’ by Audre Lorde. I’ve known that this was an ebook at the library since Women in Work hosted a book club session about it at the start of term. This book is incredible! It’s a series of writings by the ‘black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet’ about living at the intersection of all of her identities. It is compulsively readable because of how personal it is, while at the same time being an incredibly profound piece of social justice literature.
And finally, I’m recommending ‘Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics’ by Cynthia Enloe. While a chapter of this did make one of my reading lists this year, I continually came back to this book throughout the semester and am making plans to sit down and read it properly over the summer. Far from feeling like a dense, academic text, Enloe investigates the myriad of roles women play in international politics that have been overlooked and undervalued from garment workers to wives.
The library has digitised a bunch of works because of the past year of online learning, so whatever you’re interested in, I recommend having an investigation and seeing if you can access some free books!