Saturday, 19 December 2015

String of Unread University Books

Hey blogosphere! *waves excitedly* Now that my university has broken up for the Christmas break, I've sat down and counted how many of my semester one books I have not read. Guys, it is not pretty...

.... Out of 35 books, I've officially read 23. Read 'em and weep.

Let me just start off saying that as an English Literature student, I study four modules. This means that on average I have to read four separate books a week unless one book is studied for two weeks. I know I should start them one or two weeks earlier - scratch that, I should have started in the summer - but my New Year's Resolution is exactly to do that. It's just that I try to read on the days that I'm not in university but my mum is currently very ill and not having my grandma around anymore means that she's often alone to do things at home. The perks (according to my mum) of living so close to university is that I can help her so that's where most of my free time is dedicated. I Rest My Case!

Since my books for semester two are still in transit, I'm going to try and finish some of the books pictured above.

1) Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte: Part of my Victorian Fictions module but I previously studied this for my A-Level English Literature coursework so I didn't feel like I needed to re-read it. This is an amazing book about poor and plain Jane Eyre's journey from an orphan growing up in a hostile family then later a corrupt boarding school for girls to an independent governess who softens the stoic heart of Mr Rochester. It's a beautiful classic and one to re-read again and again.

2) Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte: Studied this in week 1 of Victorian Fictions and I really wish I had started it before. It was fascinating to explore the relationship between Heathcliffe and Catherine and to see how this isn't just a love story but one with bitterness and greed and jealousy. I will definitely finish this!

3) Bleak House, Charles Dickens: Urgh. Just urgh. 200 pages was the furthest I went into this 740 paged monster. You just read more and more, trying to consume the pages and it becomes even less enjoyable. It's meant to be this huge commentary on the hypocrisy and futility of the Chancery court using the case of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce hence why so many characters are introduced but you're just left with a great headache. To this day, I still have no idea what the bloody hell the case is about! That said, I did prefer Esther's narrative over the omniscient third person narrator's but I don't plan on finishing it anytime soon because just imagine trying to write an essay on that?

4) Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie: My baby. I will definitely finish this because it's the first text I've studied in my 'Post Colonial and Global Literature' module based on post-colonial India. Rushdie implements magical realism into this important historical narrative to highlight the difficulty in creating a new identity for India and its neighbours after the British finally leave. It's such a deliciously complex book that's so well written you can't help just pausing and thinking "damn".

5) The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins: This is another one that I am definitely finishing because I LOVE IT. It's a sensational crime mystery about the Koh-I-Noor diamond but what I love about it is the voice of the head butler who narrates the case to the reader. He's really witty, knows which characters to confide in and I can just imagine him hobbling around the house of his mistress's with his walking stick. Cute stuff.

6) Vanity Fair, William Thackeray: I honestly knew I was never going to finish reading this beast even if I studied it for two weeks. I just watched the 2004 movie adaptation. Like Bleak House, this novel is a commentary on society. It follows the journey of clever Becky Sharp in her rise to power and affluence using first, employment and later, marriage. It questions whether you blame the opportunist or the society that makes opportunism necessary. Unlike Bleak House however, Thackeray's writing is SO much more enjoyable and wittier so it'll be one for the summer holidays I think.

***How about you guys? Any books that you couldn't get into or just could not complete? I'd love to know why so I don't feel like the worst example of a literature student.***

Thank you for reading!