Skip to Main Content

Reading for Pleasure

Selected resources from the University of Birmingham Library collection to help develop a lifelong love of reading.

Reading Fiction

Although the library is primarily a source of academic books, we also have a growing collection of books, particularly fiction, that can be read for pleasure.
According to The Reading Agency, “reading increases our understanding of own identity, improves empathy and gives us an insight into the world views of others”.
One of the exciting things about fiction is that it can transport you to another world, to experiences not your own. It’s a great way of learning about other cultures and engaging with perspectives that might be different to your own.
If you are an international student, reading fiction can be a great way of improving your English language skills, becoming more familiar with idioms, colloqualism, and cultural references. 

What to read?

Icon of Resource Lists - a magnifying glass.
Click on the icon above to access our Resource List that showcases a selection of books that are enjoyable, diverse in theme and style, and represent writers from all across the globe. 
These are a few of our favourites:



Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A Nigerian student experiences what it means to be a black woman in modern day America.

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen: A moving short-story collection that explores being displaced from the place you once called 'home'.  

Small Island by Andrea Levy: Set in 1950s London, it depicts the experiences of Jamaican immigrants as they establish lives in the 'motherland'.


Fiction set in Birmingham

Over the years there have been some fantastic novels set in Birmingham.

Why not try one of the following novels and experience Brum in a new way.


Anita and Me by Meera Syal: The story of nine-year-old Meena, growing up in the only Punjabi family in a Black Country mining village.

The Rotters' Club by Jonathan CoeSet in Birmingham during the 1970s, and inspired by the author's experiences at King Edward's School, Birmingham.

Astonishing Splashes of Colour by Clare MorrallTaking its title from a description of Peter Pan's Neverland, this novel follows the life of Kitty, a woman who, in a sense, has never grown up.


MoreBooks@Bham makes it easier for Students to suggest books to the Library.

Our 3 Goals:

  • To diversify our collection and increase the range of books we stock by BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), LGBTQ+ and disabled authors. Recommendations that amplify, celebrate and tell the history of under-represented groups are also most welcome.
  • To support students at the University by increasing our wellbeing and study success collections.
  • To supplement core reading with modern, academic material that enables students to read around their subject more widely and to make connections/explore new areas of inquiry.

How easy is it to make a suggestion?

It's really easy. Just go to MoreBooks@Bham, read the instructions and fill out the form.

Did you know...?

......We will automatically buy more copies of a text when it is reserved by four or more people?


Accessibility statement