Tuesday, 3 September 2013

English Literature Degree: Reading List

So you've started Uni, and you're in the middle of freshers week- no doubt you've drank way too many jagerbombs, already had an argument with one of your new housemates over the washing up and blown most of your student loan.

No worries, the next three years of doing your English Literature degree are going to be awesome- here's a list of books that might just help get you through: 
English Literature, graduate, reading list, books

1. Compact Oxford English Dictionary for Students (ISBN: 9780199296255):  Trust me, you're not going to know half the words your lecturer says, but that's ok with a good dictionary you can soon swot up and get developing that pretentious self-conscious English Lit student vocabulary. 

There are a ton of of dictionaries out there, but I favour this one as it tells you how to phonetically pronounce the words. I know some people thing dictionaries are obsolete because of spell checker etc. but dictionaries do give a lot better definitions.    

The downside of dictionaries, is of course, that they're bloody enormous. You might want to consider investing in an electronic dictionary. They can be rather expensive, I have a Franklin Collins Paperback Dictionary/Thesaurus, which retails for around £48.00, although I got mine for free through my Disabled Student Allowance. The best thing about this electronic dictionary is its phonetic spell-correction, an absolute god send if you're dyslexic. 

2. The Adventure of English, Melvyn Bragg  (ISBN: 9780340829936): The English language is constantly evolving, just last week 'twerk' and 'selfie' were added to the dictionary. This highly enjoyable and accessible book takes you through the origins and developments of language. My favourite chapter is about dialect, as I speak with a pretty strong (and often mocked) regional accent.   
3. Oxford Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms, Chris Baldick (ISBN:9780192801180): Another dictionary, but this one is probably even more important than my first suggestion as it is aimed directly at English Literature students. Aiming for a first? Insert some of the fancy-pants words included in this dictionary and impress your professor!

4. The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker (ISBN: 97808264800378): As I mentioned in my previous post, I've just started reading this and I'm very impressed. Be sure to read it if you're thinking of writing your first novel, it'll completely crush your dreams as you realise just how unoriginal you really are.   

5. Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, Peter Barry (ISBN: 9780719043260): Literary Theory was the hardest thing for me to wrap me head around during my degree. This concise book gives you a simplified, mini introduction to the main theories, including; structuralism, post-modernism, post-colonialism and feminism. This book helped me blag my way through a lot of seminars in third year. 

6. How to Write Better Essays, Bryan Greetham (ISBN 9780333947159): No doubt by the time you finish Uni you will have developed your own unique and confident essay style. In the meantime you'll probably need some pointers- so give this a quick read. 

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