I’ve compiled a list of my favourite three books from the English Literature reading list from the first semester of my second year. Enjoy!
3. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Robert Neville is the sole survivor of a disease that has infected the entire human race, leaving them with symptoms resembling vampirism.
With very scientific terminology, this definitely wasn’t my usual kind of book but I was actually enthralled by it, so much so that I read it within a day. The graphic depictions of the disease made me feel physically ill, so I can’t deny that the novel had an effect. If you’ve seen the Will Smith film, I definitely recommend reading this book because it is vastly different but, as you so often find with books, immensely better than the film.
2. Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
The story of a female vampire, Carmilla, and her relationship with an unsuspecting and innocent young girl, Laura.
Carmilla was everything a Victorian woman shouldn’t be – and I loved it! It was so delightfully refreshing to finally read about a female vampire. The very obvious sexual tension between Carmilla and Laura was both seductive and repulsive, which is something very characteristic of the figure of the vampire, and there was definitely a lot of Freudian content. Laura particularly fascinated me though; I wasn’t entirely convinced of her innocence. Please let me know what you think if you read it.
And finally, my absolute favourite…
1. Affinity by Sarah Waters
A Neo-Victorian novel centred around the Millbank Prison and its frequent visitor, Margaret Prior, an upper-class, depressed young woman, struggling with life at home. The main focus of the story is one particular inmate of the prison, Selina Dawes; a spirit medium who captures Margaret’s imagination.
When I was first started reading this novel, I was bored. Victorian fiction is definitely not my favourite and I found the characters of both Margaret and Selina annoying. But it grew on me. It grew on me so much that I became completely entangled in the words on each page. The novel’s worst crime was completely obliterating my heart. When I finished the last sentence at 3am one morning, I threw the book to the floor in complete fury. The ending made me so angry that I couldn’t bear it. But the ability to evoke that kind of passionate reaction only confirms how truly wonderful this novel is. Read it.