Obviously, as students, we do get given a reading list full of wonderfully different texts, but to me there are 5 books that you should indulge yourself into if you want to feel a little more cultured and more ahead of the rest:
1. A Shakespeare play. (I recommend Romeo and Juliet)
Not only is this man a complete genius, you’ll study him at least once (if not constantly through the three years).
My favourite is Romeo and Juliet, so this is the play I would strongly suggest, plus most people know the story already so when you read it, it becomes a lot easier to try to decipher it as a whole. Plus, who doesn’t love a great love story!
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
Stick with this, it’s very difficult to get accustomed too, however it really is a fantastic novel. The characters are real, the story is fantastic, with every line you fall more and more in love with not only literature as whole but of wanting to study it.
Of wanting to know why Charlotte brought these characters to life and why and how you feel like you’re laying right next to Jane in the cold and lonely moors!
3. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.
This piece of science fiction is utterly fantastic, having never heard of her before I got to Worcester I am now cursing my secondary school teachers from keeping her off the syllabus.
Yes, I am a huge geek (I’m talking about making sure for the past month that I have been in front of the telly every Saturday night in time to watch the latest Doctor Who) but this is not why I recommend this novel.
I tell you to go hence and read it because it’s bloody fantastic! It makes you think about how you see the world around you, how you conduct yourself and what the implications of your actions will be.
She’s got more than just this book, but this is a great place to start!
4. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.
I’m not talking about sitting tight and watching the whole HBO’s first series of their adapted T.V series of the books, I mean read the first title of the collection A song of Ice and Fire.
Not only do they give so much more depth to the story of the characters that we all now love and fear that George is going to kill off brutishly and quickly, this book gives you a challenge. Something that doing a course in English Literature is bound to give you.
You’re going to need to learn to read big books quickly, so why not teach yourself with an enjoyable piece of mastery first!
5. Any book that you read the blurb and want to give ago!
Whether this is the whole series of Harry Potter, some work by William Blake or J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, there is something in every one of these books to be learned.
A story to unravel, words to learn, a way of writing to discover. So make sure that you’re heading to a library and immersing yourself in a different world each week make sure you’re filling up your own head or even shelves with pages and pages of the written word.
After all, to be prepared for an English Literature course is to be the most well read you can be!