Delve deeper with Sophie...

Expand your mind and satisfy your curiosity with books, articles, podcasts and videos recommended by current Oxford undergraduate students. 


Image of Sophie McDonald Growing up, I was always quite shy, but had I had a big imagination, and I loved escaping into exciting, new worlds by reading books. This is where my passion for literature started, and I have now chosen to study English Language and Literature at university. As I have grown, books have become not just a form of escapism, but a way to feel emotions and see experiences outside of my own life. In a world where difference so often defines us, it is fascinating to find the thread of shared human experience. - Sophie McDonald, English Language and Literature

If you would like to find out more about the way in which the afterlife has been explored in literature, Sophie recommends: 

Dante’s Divine Comedy

A 5,000 line epic poem written in the 14th century, Dante’s Divine Comedy takes an imaginative look at a journey through the different layers of the Christian hell and towards heaven. Some famous figures pop up, and we get an interesting view of medieval thought on the afterlife.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

An intriguing and challenging novel that explores six connected stories in different times and places, who all have a shared birthmark that suggest they are reincarnated versions of one soul.

More Than This by Patrick Ness

A thrilling young-adult book that follows a teen boy who has died, and woken up in a place he thinks is hell. With some help from new friends, he finds out facts about what death and the real world really are. It’s a really unique, modern perspective on what an afterlife may or may not be.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

A spooky fantasy novel where an orphaned boy is adopted by the ghosts and other creatures that live in a nearby graveyard. While it looks less at life after death, it engages with the possibility of ghosts and the nature of death in a fun manner.