Happy World Book Day! To celebrate, we asked our students to tell us about the best book that they’ve studied so far as part of their degree at the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies. Here’s what they said:
Nicole, 3rd year English Language and Literature
Book: Irvin Welsh, Trainspotting
Module: Introduction to Literary Studies
This was one of the first novels I studied at university and it has stuck in my mind! Even though it was pretty hard to understand because of the Scottish dialect, the message behind it is amazing. I loved T2 Trainspotting as well!
Rumaanah, 2nd Year, English Literature
Book: Kamila Shamsie, Burnt Shadows
Module: Making Memory
What I loved about this book was how much ground and history it covered; it starts in Japan on the day of the bomb, moves to India pre- and post-partition and then ends in the USA after 9/11. It includes characters of colour who are multi-faceted and complex, which I enjoyed. Not every book manages to avoid stereotypical representations. I enjoyed the module in general because we got to debate a lot of interesting topics and it felt very current. The reading list was also great.
Lois, 2nd Year, English Literature
Book: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
I loved reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Its complex monster and exploration of human morality really makes it a classic.
Lauren, 3rd Year, English Literature and Creative Writing
Book: Donna Tart, The Secret History
Module: The Novels and Novellas
The Secret History is a book I fell in love with during The Novels and Novellas Module. We read the opening in class and I wanted to know more, so I got a copy and didn’t put it down for a week. It’s now one of my dissertation texts.
Melissa, 2nd Year English Literature
Book: Matthew Lewis, The Monk
Module: Nineteenth Century
I like The Monk by Matthew Lewis not just because of the Gothic motifs in the text or it’s vivid imagery, but because of how it reflects the religious turmoil of the period in its narrative.
Mikki, 3rd Year, English Literature
Book: Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Module: Other Worlds
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Nikhat, 3rd Year, English Literature
Book: Rabindranath Tagore, A Grain of Sand
Module: Extended Essay
A Grain of Sand: Chokher Bali by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore is one of the texts I am using for my extended essay. I love the way in which Tagore portrays the complexities of human relationships and emotions through a simple narrative. I really do wish that I could fluently read Bengali or that Tagore himself was able to translate his novels as he did with his poetry and short stories. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading the novel and it was interesting to see how many of the issues he raised (like child marriage, women’s education and confinement to domestic spheres) are still relevant a century later.