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.

Best:

  • 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.

Finals have arrived

Last night, I had a dream I met Barack Obama.  I’m taking this as a sign that finals will go well.

After a wonderful weekend of hanging out with friends, studying, and praising Jesus, it’s time to tackle those tests.  The next couple days are going to be busy.  With extra library shifts, study sessions, exams, packing for break, and saying goodbye to friends who won’t be here next semester, I’m expecting the time to pass quickly.

What have I got in terms of tests?

Today I take my Visual Journalism final.  It shouldn’t be too bad.  It’s open book, open note because the professor never talked about any of the assigned readings in class.  Half the test will be on these readings and the other half will be activity-based.  We will be given a story prompt and will have to describe how we go out and capture it.  Studying for this involves organizing all the information available and knowing where to find things.

Tomorrow is the Grammar & Language final.  This is probably the hardest test I’ve had thus far in college.  We’ll be tested on the complete history of the English language, tracing the phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon from Old, Middle, Early Modern, Modern, to present day English.  It’s a LOT of information.  I started studying last Thursday and have been nosing my way into various study groups with classmates.  It’ll be challenging, but I think it will go well.

That’s it!  Two exams stand between me and a month off.  Let’s do this.

If you’re in the midst of finals right now, best of luck!  What are some of your coping mechanisms?

Learning to speak Old English

We have to do recitations in Old English in my Grammar & Language class.  I’m currently working on a passage from Beowulf.  It’s strange, speaking in an ancient language.  The words feel so foreign in my mouth.  It’s weird to think that from them came the modern English we speak today.

Watch out, world.  Soon I’m going to be this guy:

Just kidding.  I don’t think I’m dedicated enough to become a full-out Old English scholar, nor do I have time to take up the lyre (or whatever instrument that is).

But it’s fun to think about.