Reading Around the World is a feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.
Oxford is known as the city of dreaming spires, and it is so beautiful there; the streets we walked through, the buildings we passed, the churches we wandered in and the colleges students studied in all had such incredible architecture and all seemed steeped in history. My mum and I were only in Oxford for the day, so we had to do a quick tour but we still saw a lot the city had to offer. We went to the Divinity School in the Bodleian Library and saw the grounds of New College where scenes from Harry Potter had been filmed, visited St. Mary’s Church and climbed the Saxon Tower. Oxford is a very affluent city, but it’s a must-visit location for any bookworm.
The first series, and the main one, that comes to mind when I think of Oxford is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Northern Lights is set in Lyra’s version of Oxford, which is slightly different to the Oxford I visited, I didn’t see Jordan College on my trip there that’s for sure, but we do get glimpses of our Oxford when we’re introduced to Will Parry in The Subtle Knife.
The first book in Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Season series is also set in Oxford. When Paige is captured by the Scion she’s taken to Sheol I, a penal colony in the heart of Oxford. While it’s not quite the Oxford I saw one of the things I love about Samantha Shannon’s books is that even though they’re set in a dystopian version of our world there are still recognizable locations and sights
Have you ever been to Oxford before; what was your favourite part of the city to see and explore? Also what are some of the amazing books you’ve read set in Oxford, or England, that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments.