I haven’t done a favourites post in a very long time. And since I’ve had a recent clear-out of books recently, I thought why not make a post on my favourite novels I discovered through my time at university. I wasn’t a very good student and didn’t read every single recommended read (because that’s just ridiculous to me, come on) but some of the novel I actually read were pretty fab, so here are some of my faves:
1. Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
My first Woolf novel, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Mrs Dalloway follows numerous characters over the course of a day in London. I liked the modernist techniques of the casual switching between character POVs, and the characters themselves were all really entertaining to me. I also like that you sort of get a mini tour of London between the descriptions and the numerous POVs. I still haven’t read any more Woolf novels but I hope to in the future.
2. The Residue Years – Mitchell S. Jackson
I chose the novel myself for an independent piece, and I think one of the reasons I actually enjoyed that assignment was because of how much I liked both this novel and the author. The Residue Years follows mother and son Grace and Champ, as they work on their relationship following Grace’s stint at a drug rehab program. Champ’s dream is to buy back the family home they lost, and in order to get the money, he sells drugs. This novel has autobiographical components, and it’s so important. I really recommend picking it up!
3. Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
Okay, this book was a long one! I still can’t believe I actually read it, but I got there eventually. Alias Grace is a reworking of the infamous case of Grace Marks, who was accused of murder as a teenager. Took me a while to get into it but by the end I was hooked!
What I liked about this novel was how confusing Grace was. You’re never really sure whether she’s guilty or not. And of course, there’s lots of feminist critique within the novel, which I’m always interested in reading about – I wrote a long-ass paper on it, even. I think Grace is very entertaining character (enough to keep me reading this 500 page long book, that’s an achievement for me!)
4. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart was such an interesting novel for me, both in reading and studying it. The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, a man famous across West Africa for his strength and stoicism. But all his hard work on becoming a respectable member of his community goes up in smoke after he accidentally kills someone.
It’s a classic, and while the novel is pretty bleak (I mean obviously, it’s a tragedy), with an unlikable protagonist, Achebe’s depiction of the Igbo culture and his critique of previous depictions of African people in fiction make this novel a really insightful read.
5. The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
This novel was so interesting! I haven’t read many novels containing magical realism but I enjoyed it a lot in this! The novel follows the eventful lives of soldier-chef Henri and gambler Villanelle, before their paths cross and their stories come together.
What I loved about The Passion was the Venice setting and the writing is so beautiful and enchanting. Really cool characters, too! Again, I need to read more of Winterson’s works, but I think this novel is a good place to start if you’re interested in reading fiction from this author.
I also have uni books that I still haven’t read yet but I’m interested in reading, so I’m gonna list some of them:
So those are a few novels I studied and enjoyed at uni. What novels have you discovered and loved through college, school, etc. I’d love to have some recommendations!