Summer reading 2018

You wouldn’t tell from the view out your window, but summer’s almost here again; just a couple more days until the official arrival. We’re half-way through the exam period and the year really is almost over. Everyone’s making plans for their holidays and dreaming of adventure, relaxation, a sandy beach, a busy new city, or a peak to climb.

Every year, we ask staff and students from our department to write about the books they love and think you will love too. These are the books that we recommend you take to your vacation this summer and, just to make sure you do, we will send them to one of you for free!

The theme for the selection this year is illusion, a topic that you’ll see is interpreted differently by every one who contributed this year. In all cases, though, the books are guaranteed to keep your attention and trip your mind all through the summer.

To enter for a chance to win all five books, all you have to do is leave a comment in this post before July 1st.


Maybe you want to share with us your favourite summer book, or one that comes to mind most vividly when you think of this year’s theme. Even a quick hello will do! Whatever you share with us, we will pick one entry at random and send the lucky winner all five books, wherever they are in the world. The competition is open to everyone except the Mindwise editorial teams.

– The Mindwise Editorial Team



By Kurt Vonnegut

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

Kurt Vonnegut has done a great service to humanity by tirelessly poking holes to the illusory existence of a modern individual. If you are not familiar with his ironic, eloquent, occasionally (seemingly) senseless way of perceiving reality, I would recommend you give it a try. Vonnegut shows us how pathetic we truly are, and yet how marvelous, and full of potential, if only given the chance. Although his writing may seem lighthearted at first, a deeper glance shows a truthful and poignant observation of modern life, and the human character molded by it. One of the most well-known quotes by him: “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved”, is an underlying theme in all of his books, but especially in this one. There is an insistence upon reality in which we are always capable of loving, despite the fact, that we often do not know how to do it properly.

God Bless you, Mr. Rosewater is a story of a truly altruistic pursuit, and reminds us that despite the circumstances that we get placed in, we can still be good to those around us. The story shows the paradox of us humans at every turn expecting the worst of others, and yet still being capable of delivering the most reasonable version of ourselves, if only treated properly. I would recommend it as a summer reading for anyone, but especially to the secret admirers of life in sleepy, little villages, where days filled with nothing in particular, form into lives about nothing in particular, and finally to the closing of peepholes which will be remembered by no one. The question is, was there anything else to be done here, after all? So it goes. – Johanna Sopanen (Philosophy Master student)



By Oliver Sacks

Merriam-Webster defines an illusion as something that appears different from what it actually is. Sometimes, these illusions have their origin in the outside world, and we all experience the same misperceptions. This is the case with the Kanizsa Triangle, where we see a triangle where there is none. Sometimes, however, our brain generates illusions without any external precursor. You may call these illusions hallucinations. We generally think of hallucinations as something abnormal, something only experienced by clinical populations such as schizophrenics, or psychonauts who ingest motley ‘shrooms. In his book Hallucinations, Oliver Sacks illustrates how many “normal” people have such illusory experiences too. Have you ever heard someone calling your name, turning around to greet that person, just to realise that nobody’s there? Yes? Well, then you yourself have experienced a hallucination just there. Give it a try and this book will disillusion your views on hallucinations. – Emil Uffelmann (Psychology Bachelor student)



By Daniel Keyes

What is really going on in the mind(s) of a person with dissociative identity disorder? Billy Milligan was the first case in the U.S. who used the disorder as a defense in court after being accused of several felonies, including armed robbery and the rapes of three women. In his book, Daniel Keyes offers us an insight in Billy’s past, who has been a victim of child abuse himself. The tales of his abuses and his later crimes are surely horrifying. Yet, it is not meant to be a horror shocker, but more an in-depth description of his 24(!) distinct and ever competing personalities. While adults and children, men and women, all with different characteristics and abilities, are fighting in his head for his awareness, Billy himself has been suffering from memory gaps that extend over years. It fits the theme of Illusion, since the reader as well as lawyers and psychiatrists, introduced in the book, find themselves in a constant struggle between believing or not believing in his condition, paired with a frequent change of sympathy and dislike for the main character, Billy Milligan. – Vincent Busche (Psychology Bachelor student)


By Dave Eggers

“Like it, post it, share it. We take random pictures on Snapchat every couple minutes, during classes, during meals. We let other people know via Facebook which event we are going to attend or at least we are interested in.

Dave Eggers tells a story of a young woman and former psychology student Maebelline Renner Holland working in a company (“The Circle”) which tries to achieve a society in which no one has any secrets to anyone else. It is based on the assumption (or illusion) that any secret is immoral and any transparency is good. The intention is that total transparency leads to total security, pure democracy, and perfect protection against any crime. Everything that everyone does is recorded, streamed, archived, and made available for anyone and everyone to see. The Circle reveals the benefits of a centralized mass data collection but also how it influence and overshadows the comforts of privacy.

Eggers wrote an easy written thought experiment which I think is worth to read and think about.” – Fenja Kruse (Psychology Bachelor student)




By James Redfield

Read this story to be taken on an adventure that combines conspiracy and thrills with the search for spirituality and deeper connection to life and those around us. Star Wars left viewers trying to use the force on a distant remote control or cup of, ’The Celestine Prophecy’ will have you putting your fingers together in front of your eyes and getting eyestrain from squinting at plants. In my teens, the book was passed around my spiritually minded friends as a fun piece of pop spirituality. This story beckons you to shatter the illusions of society and start your path to becoming ethereally minded. – Calum Guthrie (Psychology Bachelor student)




Tassos Sarampalis on Twitter

Dr. Sarampalis is a lecturer at the Psychology department of the University of Groningen. He began his career in psychoacoustics in the UK where he worked with Deb Fantini and Chris Plack, before moving to California to work on hearing devices, first with Monita Chatterjee and then with Erv Hafter. His current research interests involve understanding the contributions of cognition in complex hearing situations and the interactions of cognition and hearing impairment. For more information, you can visit his website.

Select Publications

  • Everhardt, M. K., Sarampalis, A., Coler, M., Başkent, D., & Lowie, W. (2020). Meta-Analysis on the Identification of Linguistic and Emotional Prosody in Cochlear Implant Users and Vocoder Simulations. Ear Hear, 1. pdf

  • Pals, C., Sarampalis, A., Beynon, A., Stainsby, T., & Başkent, D. (2020). Effect of Spectral Channels on Speech Recognition, Comprehension, and Listening Effort in Cochlear-Implant Users. Trends in Hearing. pdf

  • Everhardt, M. K., Sarampalis, A., Coler, M., Başkent, D., & Lowie, W. (2019). “Perception of L2 lexical stress in words degraded by a cochlear implant simulation.” Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS). Melbourne, Australia. pdf

  • Pals, C., Sarampalis, A., van Dijk, M, Baskent, D. (2018). “Effects of Additional Low-Pass–Filtered Speech on Listening Effort for Noise-Band–Vocoded Speech in Quiet and in Noise.” Ear and Hearing, pdf

  • Baskent, D., Clarke, J., Pals, C., Benard, M.R., Bhargava, P., Saija, J., Sarampalis, A., Wagner, A., & Gaudrain, E. (2016). “Cognitive Compensation of Speech Perception With Hearing Impairment, Cochlear Implants, and Aging: How and to What Degree Can It Be Achieved?” Trends in Hearing, 20, 1-16. pdf

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  • Hanna June 21, 2018'

    Great books!

  • Christopher Madan June 21, 2018'

    Definitely sound like some interesting reads!

  • Johanna Klar June 21, 2018'

    A fine selection of books! Would be really happy to win them. 🙂

  • Sjieuwke June 21, 2018'


  • Ingo June 21, 2018'


  • Lilly June 21, 2018'

    I can also recommend Big Magic from Elizabeth Gilbert. A phenomenal book about creativity and how to use your own.

  • Lukas Basedow June 21, 2018'

    Lovely books again! Third time is the charm, so here we go 🙂

  • Celine Melgers June 21, 2018'

    My summer would be much better with these nice books!

  • Olivia June 21, 2018'

    If you enjoy being inspired to think about topics like time, love, luck, etc., I would advise to have a look at the books about the Psychiatrist Hector written by Francois Lelord. Have a great summer everyone! 🙂

  • Bruno June 21, 2018'

    Interesting choice, I would recommend any book by Julio Cortazar.

  • Marlies June 21, 2018'

    Nice reads! Alice in Wonderland is still one of my favorite books in this theme. And although it is not a book, I recommend the movie ‘The Lobster’ to anyone who likes strange, dystopian future scenarios.

    Have a nice summer!

  • Jacques Lafon June 21, 2018'

    When it comes to illusions I can recommend the book Factfulness by Hans Rosling. It’s about how wrong and out-dated negative assumptions about the world are (e.g., that the poverty rates are still very high in the world or that still a lot of people are still not vaccinated). It’s a very light read and it is a bit more away from all these psychology themed books.

  • Miruna June 21, 2018'

    Summer or finally having time to read whatever I want. All of them sound interesting, “The Minds of Billie Milligram” especially!

  • Daria June 21, 2018'

    Cool: books, books, books!
    and a little reading recommendation: Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman….

  • José Sleumer June 22, 2018'

    For my daughters 🙂

  • Sebastiaan Mathôt June 22, 2018'

    “Leaving the prison building is positively forbidden” — Rule #1 of the surreal prison from Vladimir Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading, where everything is an illusion.

  • Ben Sharpe June 22, 2018'

    Fingers crossed! A change from my PhD reading will do me a world of good! I can already see myself with a coffee by my side.

  • Stefan Veselinov June 24, 2018'

    Anything by Kurt Vonnegut is good.

  • Mila June 24, 2018'

    please be mine this year

  • Fiona Z. June 25, 2018'

    Hey! Oh, I always wanted to read the book about Billy Milligan since I once did a project concerning DID and it fascinates me. Also, the other books sound awesome!

  • Bao-Thi Van Cong June 26, 2018'

    For a nice summer evening with friends and/or family, they’re called summer rolls for a reason.
    I have never met anyone who didn’t love these!
    Fried tofu cut into sticks instead of shrimps and soy sauce instead of fish sauce also works well.

  • Lasse Henrichsen June 27, 2018'

    Ayyyy yes I would love some books so I can pretend I read

  • Jan June 27, 2018'

    This is a great idea!

  • Kimberly June 27, 2018'

    Interesting books and I cannot wait to read with hot sand between my toes.. B-)
    I can recommend the book “The Physicists” from Freidrich Durrenmatt – a great comic satire in line with the theme Illusion.

  • Guv June 28, 2018'

    Hey that’s pretty good!

  • Martin June 28, 2018'

    Very good idea 🙂

  • Laura June 29, 2018'

    Yes! I’m craving some books to take on the beach 🙂

  • Tsvetina Ivanova June 30, 2018'

    I was just reminded of a quote by Tolstoy : “What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.”

    Would love to see more about the illusions in those books! 🙂

  • calum book thief June 30, 2018'

    *cough cough*

  • Esther June 30, 2018'

    Since I need to study during summer I would love to have some great books for the breaks in between 🙂

  • Joel June 30, 2018  

    I could use some good reads for my vacation. 🙂

  • Arron June 30, 2018'

    Will add them to the ever growing reading list

  • Theresa Marschall June 30, 2018'

    Would be great to take a break from scientific papers on the topic and read a bit more about the real experience of hallucinations and illusions this summer!.

  • Johannes Reckweg June 30, 2018'

    Looks like a great ensemble!

  • Nadja June 30, 2018'

    Noice choice!

  • Lennart June 30, 2018'

    I recently started reading more so this would be great!

  • Niklas June 30, 2018'

    This comment is an illusion.

  • Valeria June 30, 2018'

    Fingers crossed.

  • Ornella serafino June 30, 2018'

    I want it all <3

  • Diana June 30, 2018'

    Hello!! ^^ Illusion is a really interesting topic, can’t wait to read those books..

  • Martijn June 30, 2018'

    “I’m not bipolar, I’m bi-winning!”

  • Marina June 30, 2018'

    “The Storyteller” -a collection of little stories, riddles, fables and dream sequences by Walter Benjamin brought to life by Paul’s Klee illustrations. It’s a nice little book, complex and unremarkable- just as dreams usually are.

  • Eve June 30, 2018'

    Such a good idea 🙂

  • Boris June 30, 2018'

    Commenting for the 5th year in a row, it’s now or never.

  • Nanda van der Zee June 30, 2018'

    Great books

  • Ton June 30, 2018'

    Would love it! Plenty of time to read this summer

  • Kersemer July 1, 2018'

    Owwwwww my book shelf really needs these

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