When first year university students are given their reading lists – I mean after searching their uni website themselves to find them – we don’t really pay much attention to them.
“Ha, read in advance? Mate they said first year is a breeze so forget that!”
This leads to the inevitable first semester of each module where we all realise that we should have done at least some of the reading. Despite the odd fact that you can get away with not reading the set texts in the first year of your English degree, I certainly would not recommend it if you wish to make the most of your year – and your £9000+ tuition fees!
Admittedly, I was a bit lackadaisical in my first year when it came to reading but I am determined to not make the same mistakes. Last week I ordered a few books from the much loved/hated site Amazon. For a person who is not used to buying books, it was a bit of a should I?/shouldn’t I? moment when it came to actually ordering them. I decided I must go ahead and out went £35 from my account. A small sum for many, a large sum for students!
Of course, I also managed to get a few e-book versions but these were only of the more famous and popular texts. One of my modules that I will be studying is called Palestinian and Israeli Literature which has led me to discover a few great works.
Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape – Raja Shehadeh
When my reading list made me order this book, I had no idea that this book would be so great. I mean, any title with the word ‘walks’ in it conjures up ideas of a geography textbook but Shehadeh has written a marvellous piece on the vanishing landscape of his country. The narrative combines the description of the hills of Ramallah with his attempts to preserve the land of the Palestinians. The result is you get the sense of a man who enjoys the great outdoors and his pain and frustration with the occupation that forces him to abstain from enjoying them. A welcoming human perspective of the Palestinian struggle.
Titus Andronicus – William Shakespeare
Such is the life of an English student that you end up reading utterly different types of texts due to your different modules. Titus Andronicus is a terribly bloody play in which people drop dead and gruesome acts are committed on nearly every page. It tells the tale of a Roman army general who on his return from war does not take up the role of emperor despite the people wanting him to. This turns out to be a terrible choice because the person he nominates in place of him turns against him. One of the more livelier plays of Shakespeare, if you find it on your reading list then there is no need to sink into despair.
Until Next Time
A Worried Student