If you’re majoring in literature, the chances are the thought of voluntarily reading a novel outside of class strikes you with just a little bit of horror. However, university reading lists can’t ever cover all aspects of literature, and it’s likely that even with all the reading you’re doing, you’re going to miss out on some fabulous books. Whether you dedicate some time over the summer to reading for pleasure, or squeeze an extra half an hour in each evening, these novels will make some excellent additions to you ‘to be read’ pile.
Toni Morrison’s Beloved
Although the canon is gradually being expanded to include more writers from diverse backgrounds, it’s still rare to come across Black female-authored texts on university reading courses. This 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning novel takes one of the most famous European myths, the myth of Medea, and reinterprets it for a Black American context with incredible skill and dexterity. This novel is both incredibly moving and stunningly beautiful, and its relatively short length means it can be squeezed around you other reading commitments.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The archetypal Gothic novel remains as thrilling, entertaining and as shocking today as when it was published in 1897. If you tend to struggle reading anything pre-Modernist, rest assured that the plot and characters of Dracula are so well written, you’ll soon forget you’re enjoying a Victorian masterpiece.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Everyone knows the basic story of Moby Dick, so when you come to read the novel the extended chapters on the technicalities of whaling may come as a surprize. There’s no denying that compared to some modern literature, reading Moby Dick takes some serious concentration and commitment. However, that focus pays off with getting to experience Melville’s deep knowledge of human nature, and his awareness of the difficulties which can arise when humans pit themselves against the natural world, rather than regarding themselves as part of it.