Top Books I’ve Studied at University – Graduation Edition

Guess who graduated last month? This girl! After three years of hard-work, thousands of cups of tea and a few too many mental breakdowns, I made it. I am beyond proud of all of my achievements and those of my fellow peers and friends, so a huge congrats to them. Getting all dressed up in my cap, gown and colours was also a fabulous experience and I would happily wear them every day! Whilst studying English Literature I’ve had the perfect opportunity to read a range of texts and discover new life long favourites, so I thought why not share them with the world! Hope you enjoy!

  1. The Pursuit of Love/Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford – Mitford has a gift for creating light-hearted and joyful books that you can’t help but love and savour. She easily steals my heart with her wonderfully awkward characters and storylines that centre around love, class and relationships. I flew through both of these books and the TV adaptation which is equally as fabulous.
  2. The Ladies Paradise by Emilie Zola – I think this has to be one of my favourite books I’ve read during my entire degree, everything about it was wonderful and they’ve even adapted it into a TV show which is an added bonus! I read this book for my Fashioning Fiction Module which explores the different clothing and accessories in novels. In the words of Virginia Woolf, ‘Clothes are but a symbol of something hid deep beneath’. The story itself is set in and around a department store in Paris and follows the journey of Denise who must adapt to the inner workings of such a new and influential model of retail.
  3. Atonement by Ian McEwan – My entire dissertation was centred around Ian McEwan so be prepared for a couple of his books to appear on this list. Many of you have probably watched the film adaptation which beautifully portrays McEwan’s incredibly heartbreaking storyline but you also need to read the book, because it too is amazing. McEwan has carefully crafted a beautiful novel that explores the themes of love, war, guilt and forgiveness through its brilliant narrative, prose and characters. My love for this book will never cease and I will continue to rave about it till I’m old and grey!
  4. Ethan Froome by Edith Wharton – Again another book from my American Literature module that I utterly fell in love with. As someone who loved studying and analysing the ever-changing landscape of the American pastoral, this book was perfect and an ideal wintery read.
  5. Game of Thrones by George R.R.Martin – I had so much fun analysing one of my favourite fantasy series and spending my seminars discussing female empowerment and all of the other different elements of Martin’s incredibly detailed series.
  6. Flash Fiction by Various Authors – I discovered Flash Fiction during my first year and its a style of writing which has heavily inspired my creative outlets and pushed me to start writing pieces of my own. Flash fiction for those who don’t know is a piece of fiction characterised as being only a couple of hundred words, that sometimes centres around a snap-shot filled with open-ended questions and a shroud of mystery.
  7. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan – I told you there’d be some more McEwan on this list! This one is a little different from Atonement but it is still such a great read with loads of little hidden details that are perfect for analysing.
  8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – A classic among all literature students and a book that I’ll never not enjoy reading and analysing. I adore all the descriptions about parties, clothing and of course the landscape!
  9. The Handmaids Tale by Margret Attwood – I was a little worried that this book wouldn’t live up to all the hype it was receiving, but I’m very pleased to say it did! Again from an English students perspective this book was a gold mine of symbolism and metaphors as well as a powerful storyline that will stay with you.

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