Could any current BPTC students at City recommend any textbooks, etc to get started on some reading for next year?
Hate to sound super keen, but I've got an empty summer ahead and figured that I might as well fill it with something useful.
If you want a really good headstart, start getting to grips and finding your way around a copy of The White Book (Civil Procedure Rules). There should be copies in any of the Inn libraries. Try finding out how a personal injury claim wends its way through the civil courts and follow all the rules from pre-action protocol to settlement/trial/costs. If you really feel like getting into it, research the commentary/case law along the way.
If you really feel compelled to do some reading then Kessler's advice is good - try and get a feel for how the white book (and blackstones criminal practice) are set out. The practitioner's books can be a bit of a nightmare on their own (however some people insist on using them all the time even when there was an easier way to find the answer...). With that in mind, you could try and lay your hands on a copy of Sime's APA Civil procedure. This is the book that City will give you (not sure who at City made that decision) and it is rather useful. As for crime, the manual you receive from City (Criminal Litigation and Setencing) is good, but try and find a copy of John Sprack's 'Criminal Procedure', which is very user friendly.
You will find the White Book and other practitioner's texts at the Inn libraries - not sure whether you will find the other books I mention there though...
May be worth looking for a basic book on evidence to get you started on terminology and such.
Other than that, I would just suggest you enjoy your summer!