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Which set texts did you have for school/college/uni and would you recommend them?

(39 Posts)
CakeBeTheFoodOfLove Mon 04-Feb-19 17:13:57

Just interested to know as I'm a very avid reader and surprised at the amount of set texts I haven't actually read! I can't remember all of the ones I did but secondary school was Of mice and men and Macbeth, college was Great expectations and I had too many to name for uni really (did an OU degree so lots of different modules with many books).

After talking to my sister who is doing GCSEs currently I've vowed to read Animal Farm (only read bits up until now), To kill a mockingbird and Jekyll and Hyde.

OP’s posts: |
MyOtherProfile Mon 04-Feb-19 17:16:30

TKAM is one of my favourite books ever. I've been delving into my memory and can only remember that we did a Shakespeare. No idea what else we read so it obviously didn't impress me much.

QuaterMiss Mon 04-Feb-19 17:18:00

Le Grand Meaulnes - Alain-Fournier, French A'Level.

No. hmm

limerancevictim Mon 04-Feb-19 17:19:44

I love TKAM

My friend has challenged me to read Les Mis since I'm loving the adaptation so I'm trying that next.

DD is reading Bram Stoker's Dracula, which I have never read and I'm itching to get at her copy when she finishes it.

limerancevictim Mon 04-Feb-19 17:20:40

You know if you're looking for classics you can get them for free for e-readers, kindles and the like via either the amazon store or project gutenburg (I think that's how you spell it).

tobee Mon 04-Feb-19 17:25:01

Howard's End was one we did. I read it again a couple of years ago and understood it in a different way. I recommend.

We also did The Mayor of Casterbridge at o level and then Tess of the D'Urbervilles at a level. I don't recommend these personally as I found I'm bored rigid by long descriptions of the countryside and yokel types.

We also did Chaucer, Shakespeare and TS Eliot long poems which I did enjoy.

tobee Mon 04-Feb-19 17:26:04

PS we did Chaucer's The Miller's Tale which went down well with a bunch of 17 year olds.

Girlwhowearsglasses Mon 04-Feb-19 17:29:34

I did theatre studies. If you haven’t read the following they are ‘must reads’

Lorca: Blood Wedding
Strindberg: Miss Julie
Brecht: Mother Courage
Hedda Gabler
The Cherry Orchard

QuaterMiss Mon 04-Feb-19 17:31:30

Nooooo ... How can anyone be bored by The Mayor of Casterbridge? grin Stunning opening and one of the most absorbing and multi layered stories in all of English literature. I re-read it occasionally and I'm amazed every time.

MyOtherProfile Mon 04-Feb-19 17:33:33

@QuaterMiss I loved that! I can remember the French books much better than the English.

I did just remember that we did a Thomas Hardy but can't remember which. Possibly Casterbridge.

MyOtherProfile Mon 04-Feb-19 17:34:23

No, it was the Trumpet Major.

Somethingsmellsnice Mon 04-Feb-19 17:42:49

I did Jane Eyre (Bronte) and The Trumpet Major (Hardy) at school together with Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night and Richard III as Shakespeare, then An Inspector Calls as drama piece and Lyricla Verse (war and Love themes)

DS did as gcse last year Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe which I hadn't ever read so did. Definitely worth a read! He did Macbeth and Inspector Calls as well as 16 poems and unseen poetry.

FranKatzenjammer Mon 04-Feb-19 19:21:36

I studied Bleak House, As You Like It, Anthony & Cleopatra, The Lyrical Ballads (Wordsworth and Coleridge- this was for A level, having already done a fair amount of Coleridge for GCSE), Keats and Milton. I would recommend all of these. The only set texts I didn't particularly enjoy were Washington Square (Henry James) and John Clare's poems.

tobee Mon 04-Feb-19 19:41:32

Ha! I knew people would react like that re Hardy!

But I love Dickens and loads of people can't stand him. We did no Dickens at school.

wigglybeezer Mon 04-Feb-19 19:49:01

I Did Advanced Higher English (Scottish 6th year Qualification) and had to do three Thomas Hardy novels in one year, at the same as Yeats' poetry and King Lear, it was hard work! I enjoyed the Hardy though.

SamSpade Mon 04-Feb-19 19:56:30

Sunset Song. Love it! And a lot of Thomas Hardy. And Lolita at university, which I don't recommend and probably isn't read so much anymore!

GrouchyKiwi Mon 04-Feb-19 20:00:18

I did an English Literature degree so had loads of set texts. One semester I had 40 books to study.

Favourites would be:
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Possession: A Romance by AS Byatt
The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner (sounded so boring; was actually fascinating and brilliant)
Dracula by Bram Stoker (I reread this often)

GrouchyKiwi Mon 04-Feb-19 20:01:24

Oh. And I do NOT recommend
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner or
A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce.

But Pale Fire by Nabokov is marvellous.

ClaraMatilda Mon 04-Feb-19 20:20:42

Lord of the Flies for GCSE. I read it the summer before and really enjoyed it. Studying it ruined it though.

Romeo and Juliet, which was fine, and A View From The Bridge which didn't leave much of an impression on me either way.

I also had to memorise the poem 'Ozymandias' for reasons which I can't recall. I can still recite it now, though!

Sadik Mon 04-Feb-19 20:47:28

For A level all the plays we studied were excellent: Dr Faustus (still one of my favourite plays ever), Volpone by Ben Jonson & Othello.
Also studied the Metaphysical poets particularly Donne & loved them, & quite enjoyed the Chaucer we did (Nun's Priests Tale) for the interesting language.
I really struggled with Nostromo by Joseph Conrad - have wondered whether I should read it again as an adult and if I'd like it more now.

snozzlemaid Thu 07-Feb-19 20:38:46

I remember loving Brighton Rock.

ChoccyJules Thu 07-Feb-19 20:41:53

I enjoyed A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens at school.

At Uni we read an odd but memorable book called The Tin Drum by Gunther Grass. It was very marmite within the group.

HowardSpring Thu 07-Feb-19 23:48:18

I remember The Tin Drum - the eels!!!! (urgh)

Loved The Metaphysical Poets - still do. The "Death be not Proud" sonnet is still the one I read.

QuaterMiss Fri 08-Feb-19 05:29:34

I also remember The Tim Drum - or at least, the fact of reading it, in German, on a coach going through Germany. Pre-O'Level exchange trip. I remember absolutely nothing of the story.

On the other hand, I remember pretty much everything of Gerard Manley Hopkins' The Wreck of The Deutschland, which I read for O'Level English Lit. So profoundly psychologically disturbing. It led to a teenage obsession with all his work, and to this day I've never encountere another poet who comes close in terms of disruption.

Aethelthryth Fri 08-Feb-19 06:01:38

O Level
-Brighton Rock- brilliant
-Pride and Prejudice- brilliant
- Taming of the Shrew- interesting but not a favourite
-The Importance of being Earnest- enjoyable but not a favourite

A level
- Hard Times- OK, more interesting as history than literature
-Decline and Fall- hilarious
-Mansfield Park- brilliant, although all the characters are horrible
- Brideshead Revisited- brilliant
- Passage to India- brilliant
- Murder in the Cathedral- absolutely brilliant
-Othello- a favourite
-A Winter's Tale- makes me cry
-The Prologue and the Pardoner's Tale- brilliant: best read as part of the whole

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