Top 5 Friday – Books Studied at University

Throughout my time at university I had the opportunity to study a variety of books as we had a lot of very different modules available to us. There were many that I loved, many that I just about tolerated and some that I forced myself to finish (as I did try to read as many of the novels as possible) or just gave up with.

So, I thought I’d go through my five favourite books that I studied at university! As always, this list isn’t in any particular order. 

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

I studied this dystopian novel in my Health, Illness and Technological Imaginaries module (like I said, our modules were different) and loved it. My entire dissertation was around dystopian novels so they’re usually a win for me. I just loved how this was pretty much the reverse of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. It’s also one of the only dystopian novels that I’ve read where I felt genuinely unsettled as it felt like the idea of this society could actually come to fruition in reality. 

Dawn by Octavia Butler

I’ve briefly mentioned this book before, but this was a novel I also studied in my Health, Illness and Technological Imaginaries module. Unfortunately, I missed our discussion seminar on this novel (as I was failing my driving test at the time) which is a shame as I had so much I wanted to say about the novel. I thought this was a really interesting take on the idea of a small number of humans left alive and it remains one of my favourite sci-fi novels. Perhaps I will re-read this one to review it properly, as well as give the rest of the series a shot!

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Now, I’m going to be honest, I’m not a fan of Jane Austen at all. I’ve read four of her books at this point and this is the only one that I have enjoyed (sorry to all the fans of Mr. Darcy out there). This novel came up in my Gothic to Goth module which looked at the progression from Gothic literature to the ‘Goth’ subculture. What Austen does with this novel is very clever and it’s a brilliant parody of the classic ‘gothic’ genre and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

This novel was included in my Postcolonialism module and it was just amazing. When I used to see a long book on my reading list, I would feel a bit of dread as it could very well derail your reading for the entire week for other modules, but that dread was totally unfounded with this book. The novel is set in 1970s India which sees four different characters come together during India’s ‘State of Internal Emergency’. A Fine Balance is both hopeful and heartbreaking, and a novel I highly recommend. 

The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles

I’m fairly certain this novel was in my first year module The History of Literature. I had heard of the book before but I didn’t really know anything about it. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this novel so much is because it wasn’t what I expected at all, it also opened my eyes to post-modernism. I loved the sudden change in narration and it made the novel feel fresh and left a big impression. 

BONUS – Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello

Now, the reason this is a bonus entry is because it isn’t actually a book it’s actually a play that I studied in my Modernism module. I love it when texts break the fourth wall, so to speak, and this is something this play does brilliantly. With the characters storming the stage, demanding that their author finish their stories. I would love to be able to see this play performed in person. 

Have you read any of these texts? Do you have favourite texts you’ve studied at school or uni? Tell me what they were! Also, let me know if you’re interested in a post going over the worst books that I studied at university. 

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