I’m a final year student, in my final term, writing my final blog post and it’s so tempting to talk about something I’ve learned or my favourite thing about being a student, but I will refrain. There are other posts that sum it up much better than I could.
Nonetheless, I love reflecting, so I thought, as an English Literature student, I would recommend my top five books that I’ve studied and think everyone should read. We usually look at three texts a week… so that’s three multiplied by… how many weeks in a term… 12? Three times twelve, times six, plus the extra books for extended reading… I think that equals… a lot.
But these are (some of) the texts that have stayed with me, the ones that I think you should shuffle around and make some room for. I know it’s exam season, but perhaps over summer you can come back and check some of these out. They’re worth it.
1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
This one I read recently and then promptly lent to my mum. It’s a non-fictional novel, which officially means an account of a real event written in the style of a novel. Unofficially, it means you can’t tell where the line between reality and fiction can be drawn. It’s a murder not-so-mystery that challenges your compassion, morality and how you decide what truth is.
2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
There’s a reason this is a classic. If you’ve never picked it up, I think you’ll be surprised at the way it’s written and the perspectives it takes. It’s not like you see in the movies. This is about a man and a monster that might be a man.
3. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
This was a book I read in first year and I haven’t forgotten. The prose is unusual and, I admit, a little difficult to begin with. It’s a stream-of-consciousness from a young girl struggling with violence, family ties and her own sexuality. But it’s rich with overlapping images and snapshots of thought that swallows you. You won’t have read anything like it.
4. Under The Skin by Michel Faber
It’s strange, cryptic and the kind of book you want to read in one sitting. The kind of book where the word ‘human’ becomes confused and… hairy.
(P.S. Don’t watch the film. Spare yourself.)
5. King Lear by William Shakespeare
My favourite Shakespeare play. It’s a masterpiece about old age, love, cruelty and madness. If you ever get the chance to watch an adaptation, don’t turn it down!