What does a PhD student need on her shelves?

So, what exactly does a PhD student need on her shelves? Well my dears, it depends entirely upon the student and her subject.

In my case, my PhD topic is tentatively entitled:

‘Why women aren’t welcome on the internet: a study of female students experiences online.’

So yeah. Boom.

Now lets skip to the part where I’m moving out and I need to choose what goes with me, what stays, what gets donated to Oxfam, and what gets squirreled away in my brother’s room whilst he’s away so I can pass it off as his and not have to sacrifice either it or the space it would take up on my own shelves.

Study books

Have I read all these books, you ask? Well, that would be telling…

I will- or maybe that’s I should. Yes, that’s probably more likely. I should be spending a great deal of my time in the library – endless resources that I can use to my hearts content. However, sometimes it is still useful to own copies of the books that I use a lot, especially for referencing purpose. For any of you who have never had the misfortune of learning how to Harvard reference, let me tell you: it’s an unimaginable labyrinth of terror. Owning/having a physical copy of said book in your hand means you can turn to the front page and have all the relevant info right in front of you.

Anyway, here’s a list of study related books I’ve decided should make the journey up to Norwich with me:

  • Personal Connections in the Digital Age –  Nancy Baym
  • Gender Trouble – Judith Butler
  • Feminism and Popular Culture – Rececca Munford and Melanie Waters
  • Girl Up and Everyday SexismLaura Bates
  • Planning Your PhD
  • Media, Culture, and Society: A Critical Reader
  • Ways of Knowing – Jonathon Moses and Torbjorn Knutsen
  • Backlash – Susan Faludi

And much, much more. I’m not going to bore you with them all, have no fear. Suffice it to say that they are mostly feminist works that have helped inform my view of the world, discuss women’s relationships with social media/new technologies directly, or give a solid foundation on why women are/are not welcome in the public sphere. #SmashThePatricarchy.


Old favourites


Poems and stories with witches and wolves

  • Burning Your Boats – Angela Carter
  • Soulless series – Gail Carriger
  • Hemlock – Josceline Fenton
  • New Selected Poems – Carol Ann Duffy

Some of my old favourites. I was introduced to Angela Carter in sixth form and Burning Your Boats collects almost all of her short stories, including feminist reworkings of fairy tales. Changeless is the second in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger – my go-to comfort series. Carol Ann Duffy is my favourite poet (saying that, I don’t read a lot of poetry,,,) and this collection includes my favourites from her World’s Wife anthology.

Hemlock is an absolute gem. It’s an online comic about a witch, Lumi, who lives in a giant snail shell, and who happens to be married to a monster. At the beginning of the story, a hapless human, Tristan, accidentally becomes her new familiar, and neither are happy about it. The comic is heavily inspired by Finnish and Scandinavian folklore and it’s brilliant. I picked up the print copy at Comicon and met the creator, Josceline. You should definitely check it out!


Not yet reads


  • The Grace of Kings – Ken Liu
  • Lonely Planet guide Reykjavik
  • Fellside – M R Carey
  • The Julius House – Charlaine Harris
  • The Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry
  • The Tiger and the Wolf – Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Chasing Embers – James Bennett

So many books, so little time. Here’s a little snippet of my current  TBR pile. I’m beyond excited for M R Carey’s Fellside having obsessively consumed The Girl With All The Gifts (and badgering Luna into reading it). Potentially I will review all of these when I finish them.

To Keep My brain happy


  • How to be happy (or at least less sad) – Lee Crutchley
  • Calm – Michael Acton Smith
  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Colouring Book – Paul Kidby

Adult colouring has become the trend over the last year or so, and i have definitely fallen into the trap of buying lots of them when new exciting ones come out. I think out of all the ones I’ve seen, though, The Discworld Colouring Book is by far and away my favourite. i love Paul Kidby’s art, and now I can colour his pictures to my hearts content.

The other two are both books that centre around mindfull practices, which I’ve found very helpful during stressful periods in my life.

To keep my body happy


  • The Lunchbox Book
  • Mug Cakes

I’ll be cooking completely for myself now, and I’m pretty bad at planning meals ahead of time – but hopefully I can use these to make super yummy lunches and maybe even save some money. Who knows? Anything can happen!

Could not bear to part with


  • The fangirl’s guide to the galaxy – Sam Maggs
  • Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
  • Adulthood is a Myth – Sarah Andersen
  • Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
  • Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie

There are a few graphic novels here – but only my absolute favourites! Nimona follows a mischievous shapeshifter who wants to become the apprentice to the villainous Lord Blackheart.

Adulthood Is A Myth is a selection of comics about the trials and tribulations of adulthood and how we never really feel like we’ve grown up.

Okay, so maybe the line is a little blurred between old favourites and could not bear to part with, but it’s my list so I can do what I want. I’ll probably do proper reviews for the others, so stay tuned!

Have you guys moved out recently? What books made it onto your new shelves? What did you take to college, or what would you take if you went?


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