Have you read the book for this week? Have you? Have you read all of the books IN THE WORLD? Because you need to – immediately! You are an English student now and the most important thing about being an English student is making sure that you never do anything other than read, read, read, and read some more. If you haven’t read and made extensive notes on every text on your reading list before the first week of teaching then you have already failed your degree and might as well throw the lot of them in the Mersey right now.

Or maybe that’s not true. Maybe everything will be alright. Maybe you don’t need to read anything at all. Just sit back, make a cuppa, and spend the next 72 hours watching Netflix.

Or maybe, just maybe, we can find a healthy and reasonable balance here. Getting to grips with the amount of reading you are required to do at degree level is a tricky old business but try not to panic. It obviously is important that you do the reading – and being literature students you will hopefully want to do the reading – you like reading, right? – but working through a list of books you have to read is a little different to delightedly ticking everything off your Amazon wish list. So here are our top tips for keeping on top of the reading list:

1. Open Book.

2. Keep book open.

3. Check that the text is written in the English language because one day you might make fun of your friend for ordering a French copy of Great Expectations but later realise it’s surprisingly easy to order a book off the internet that seems as if it’s written in English but is actually in Dutch.

4. Seriously, don’t close that book.

5. The film is not the book but can be fun to watch once you’ve read the book. So read the book and then watch the film – that is the best order.

6. The devils over at Spark Notes are trying to ruin your life. Leave them to their evil doings. You’re so much better than that.

7. When you use Wikipedia to look things up (which I know you do all the time but I promise I won’t tell the tutors), remember to follow up your findings by actually locating them in the actual books that you’re supposed to be reading.

8. The secondary reading for each module is worth reading week by week. It may not always seem it at the time, but when you come to write your essays or revise for exams you’ll be grateful to yourself for being such a diligent student. It’s also interesting and fun to read secondary sources.

9. If you’re struggling to get through a book you are not enjoying, suck it up. Not everything you have to read is going to be fun for you but at least if you’ve read it you’ll be able to amaze your seminar group with your smart and considered opinions.

10. If your eyes begin to sting from the amount of reading you’re doing, listen to the audiobook.


-Katie and T.E.A


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