Four Years of English Classes: Best and Worst Reads

Being an English Major, I’ve done a LOT of reading over the past four years.  From novels to plays to poetry, it’s been wonderful experiencing all the different texts.  There have been many works I’ve absolutely loved, and several that I couldn’t stand.

Although I’m looking forward to pleasure-reading for the rest of my life, I thought I’d take a moment to look back at the best and worst reads of my undergraduate career.  Below are my lists and in parenthesis are the classes I read them for.

Worst Reads:

  • Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown (Survey of American Lit I)
  • The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right (Courtly Love)
  • The Waves by Virginia Woolf (Woolf Lit)
  • The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (Victorian Lit)
  • The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Cappellanus (Courtly Love)
  • The Romance of the Rose (Courtly Love)
  • Antony & Cleopatra by William Shakespeare (Shakespeare)
  • Moses, Man of the Mountain by Zora Neale Hurston (Senior Seminar)

Fun Fact: I hated Wieland so much that I literally threw it at a wall.  That book brought forth so much rage in my sophomore heart.


  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (Survey of Brit Lit II, Woolf Lit)
  • Dracula by Brahm Stoker (Victorian Lit)
  • Coming Up for Air by George Orwell (Unhomely Homes)
  • The Faerie Queene (Book I) by Sir Edmund Spenser (Survey of Brit Lit I)
  • The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff (Senior Seminar)
  • Idyls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Courtly Love)

These are texts I would recommend in a heartbeat–they left a deep impact in my heart and I know I will revisit them in the future.

Now that I’m done with literature classes, I’m really excited to start tackling classics for fun again.  Bleak House has been on the back-burner for FAR too long.

3 thoughts on “Four Years of English Classes: Best and Worst Reads

  1. Holly Gruntner May 4, 2015 / 1:16 pm

    I love these lists, and agree on so many levels! I’ve been assigned “The Red Badge of Courage” three separate times in my life…each time, it felt like a cruel joke.

    • Amelia May 4, 2015 / 1:29 pm

      I know exactly what you mean! I was tempted to put Wuthering Heights on the “Worst” list. I’ve been forced into it twice and, despite it being such a classic, found it awful. But my loathing isn’t strong enough for it to make the list.

      Also–I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on The Danish Girl. You should add that to your reading list. 🙂

      • Holly Gruntner May 4, 2015 / 1:32 pm

        My love for Wuthering Heights endures…probably because I’ve never had it assigned.

        It’s so funny because that title jumped out at me from your post! I was just about to add it to my “want to read” on Goodreads 🙂

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