My 2019/20 Uni Reading List

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before on the blog but I am in the process of completing an English Literature and Creative Writing degree with the Open University. I’ve just finished first year and loved my course, but I’m even more excited for this year as it gets a little more specialised.

I’ve just been given my second year reading list and I thought it would be cool to share with you guys!

Being totally honest, I’m not hugely excited by many of these books (mostly because I’ll have to buy them because the library no longer has them) but I’m going to try and stay positive. I’ll have to read them either way and it’ll be easier if I pretend to be a bit more enthusiastic than I actually feel!

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download (1)Oroonoko by Aphra Behn

So, this book sounds awful! Lovely start!

From what I can gather, this is the story of ‘lovers cast into slavery’, and how their struggle for freedom brings about their own destruction. The synopsis goes on to say:

Inspired by Aphra Behn’s visit to Surinam, Oroonoko reflects the author’s romantic views of native peoples as being in “the first state of innocence, before man knew how to sin.” The novel also reveals Behn’s ambiguous attitude toward slavery: while she favoured it as a means to strengthen England’s power, her powerful and moving work conveys its injustice and brutality.

I really hope the course will be critiquing this work and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it in the slightest.

 

download (29)Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This is much more like it. I’m very excited to dive back into Wuthering Heights and get back to Heathcliffe and Catherine. I’m ready for the moors and the cold and… can you hear Kate Bush?

 

 

 

 

0ee1a4a9a542b27dfe0a39e8397175e3The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

I haven’t read this book and it’s perfect that it’s cropped up on this list because I’ve been wanting to dip back into Sherlock Holmes because I miss the stories and characters. I’m not looking up what this particular Holmes mystery is because I don’t want to get spoiled, but I have a very good feeling that I’m going to enjoy it. 

download (30)Dancing at Lughnasa

I had no idea at all what this book was about, so I’m going to copy the synopsis down below. I’m cautiously optimistic?

It is 1936 and harvest time in County Donegal. In a house just outside the village of Ballybeg live the five Mundy sisters, barely making ends meet, their ages ranging from twenty-six up to forty. The two male members of the household are brother Jack, a missionary priest, repatriated from Africa by his superiors after twenty-five years, and the seven-year-old child of the youngest sister. In depicting two days in the life of this menage, Brian Friel evokes not simply the interior landscape of a group of human beings trapped in their domestic situation, but the wider landscape, interior and exterior, Christian and pagan, of which they are nonetheless a part.

I love closed settings so I may enjoy this one.

Dubliners by James Joyce

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Was I naive to believe I would be able to do a literature degree and not have to read James Joyce?

Sigh. Come on, then.

The synopsis doesn’t give much away:

This work of art reflects life in Ireland at the turn of the last century, and by rejecting euphemism, reveals to the Irish their unromantic realities. Each of the 15 stories offers glimpses into the lives of ordinary Dubliners, and collectively they paint a portrait of a nation.

Okay, so there are fifteen stories in a 200 page book, which is making it seem a little more manageable. I think Ulysses gives this guy a bad reputation, but I’ll reserve judgement until I actually read this one.

 

71niZGvogSLThe Emigrants by W.G. Sebald

I have heard of this one, and I’ve been wanting to read it at some point. It’s never been a priority, just a periphery book, but I feel like that gives it more opportunity to surprise me (hopefully in a good way).

At first The Emigrants appears simply to document the lives of four Jewish émigrés in the twentieth century. But gradually, as Sebald’s precise, almost dreamlike prose begins to draw their stories, the four narrations merge into one overwhelming evocation of exile and loss.
Written with a bone-dry sense of humour and a fascination with the oddness of existence The Emigrants is highly original in its heady mix of fact, memory and fiction and photographs.

Again, I’m cautiously optimistic.

 

51fzxpx4vql._sx323_bo1204203200_.jpgThe Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon

I’m much more excited for this book as it explores racism from the perspective of a writer who actually experiences it. How quirky! How different and unique!

Not gonna hold back another sigh.

Sam Selvon, thank you for saving this reading list, honestly.

In the hopeful aftermath of war they flocked to the Mother Country—West Indians in search of a prosperous future in the ‘glitter-city’.
Instead, they have to face the harsh realities of living hand to mouth, of racism, of bone-chilling weather and bleak prospects. Yet friendships flourish among these Lonely Londoners and, in time, they learn to survive.

I hadn’t heard of this book before it appeared on the list, and it’s probably the book I’m most looking forward to reading.

 

othello_cover_dustedOthello by William Shakespeare

I’ve only read the children’s version of Othello back in school, so it’ll be cool to revisit the story I’m familiar with, but as a big girl now. I’m ready to get back to Shakespeare too, I’ve missed my dramatic boy.

 

 

 

aa4ed28f424e46575dc384d98a09d7cf.jpgFrankenstein by Mary Shelley

Whoa, I read Frankenstein a long time ago, back when I was maybe eleven? Many of the details have slipped from my brain. I’m actually really hyped to read my spooky gal again.

 

 

 

 

613af394648eab7714b717740a353593.jpgCandide by Voltaire

Know the title, not a clue about the story. Give me a second.

Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummelled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in “the best of all possible worlds.”

Can’t relate. I can’t even be entirely optimistic about this list.

 

 

 

51yQ9owiteL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster

All I know about this story is that it is a revenge tragedy with gore and dark humour, so I’m leaning more onto the side of excitement than dread at this one. It should also be pretty short while having enough to sink my teeth into.

 

 

 

 

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Have you read any of these books? Let me know and we can chat!

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