I am an English literature student and I have to read a lot of worthy books so here is my list of those books I think you should take a look at, and some books that unless you are studying English like me I wouldn’t bother with!
Take a Look:
Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
This story is a retelling of Iphis and Ianthe and that might not make you want to pick it up, but I have to tell you it is as far from a clunky heavy text as you can get. The story focuses on two sisters Imogen and Anthea. I love how Anthea embraces true love, and Imogen embraces life. My favourite moment is where she stands up for what she believes in – something I did not think she’d do at the beginning of the book!
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
|Quote from Slaughterhouse-Five|
I wasn’t sure I’d like this book but I ended up writing my essay about it. This book is strange and a little bit confusing, the main character ‘time travels’ to different points in his life, but it is also a little bit brilliant. My favourite quote is: “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” I also love the Tralfamadorians view of the world – I might not agree with all of it, but you can’t say it’s not written about beautifully.
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
This book is coming up after Easter but I read it and really enjoyed it. It tells the story of The Odyssey but through Penelope’s point of view, and as it’s written by Atwood you know it’s got to be good!
Give it a Miss:
Galatea by John Lyly
This is a crazy play that has a main plot, and then a subplot that is in no way linked to the main plot. It’s got fairies and shepherds and is supposedly a comedy (I’m not sure who is laughing) – I’d give Galatea a miss.
A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney
This play is important in terms of theatre history but it’s not that interesting. The story follows a seventeen year old working class girl Jo, and her mother Helen. Nothing too much happens and the character’s are not very nice to each other.
The Odyssey by Homer
The introduction was 61 pages long in the version I read…61 pages! The Odyssey is regarded as one of the most important works in western literature but it is not an easy read, it is heavy and a little bit confusing (well more than a little bit). This is certainly not a beach read!
Now here’s one that I couldn’t put in a category – The Rover by Aphra Behn. Whilst I know it’s unlikely that you’ll pick up this medieval play for a bit of light reading you should definitely look up Aphra Behn – she was the first British professional writer! I also cannot write about The Rover without mentioning some of the brilliant words Behn uses my favourites being:
tatterdemalion – a shabby, ragged person
and picaroon – a pirate, a rogue, a scoundrel
If anyone can casually drop either of those words in conversation I will be very impressed!
What books have you read that you think people should try or not try? Any books you think I should review next?
Have a wonderful week,