Just finished my American essay. Actually finished about half an hour ago. This may be a bad post. And you might want to skip it. Just slowly getting ready for bed and reflecting on the last year at uni. This year I read exactly 29 books for 4 English Modules. That’s not including the mass amount of poetry and short stories I had to read as well. And The Waste Land is not an easy read. In 5 months that’s a lot. It’s more than one a week and when they’re books like The Mysteries of Udolpho (About 700 pages) and Tristram Shandy (About  750 pages. I’ll admit I gave up after 150) It’s a lot of reading. Especially with the ammount of garbage on the modules. I didn’t mind some of the books, though. 

I loved all of the Gothic books. Udolpho, Dracula (Obviously), Jeckyll and Hyde, Northanger Abbey, Carmilla, Baskervilles, Otranto. They all stand out as brilliant books. I’m glad I chose that module and can’t say a bad thing about any of them.  

American I liked the first two books, The Bell Jar and On The Road. New York Trilogy was alright, but other than that they were awful. 

For 18th Century. I thought Aphra Behn’s The Rover was good, even funny in places. Guliver’s Travels was alright. 

For Modernism I thought Voyage of the Dark was pretty good, and I liked Kathrine Mansfield’s short stories. The Waste land is alright after about going through it about five times and screaming at the paper every other time. We do this thing in that class were the lecturer goes round and asks us what we thought about each text. I was honest and said I’d read it and couldn’t make any sense of it. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one, and he helped me understand it, but it’s still… um… weird. I can’t describe it.

Now I have to have a little rant. Because some of these books should have been forgotten when they were written and no one should be forced to read them. Firstly The Way of the World by William Congreve. I hated this play. words cannot describe how much I hated this play. When I was speaking to others about I was told I don’t have to enjoy it but just appreciate it. I cannot appreciate this play. I hate it. It was the worst thing I’d ever read and that was week 2 of my 2nd year. Next comes What Maisie Knew by Henry James. One of the hardest books I’ve ever read. It’s up there with way of the world. I wanted to rip it in half. I wasn’t the only one who hated it. Tristram Shandy because I was really looking forward to this book but it was tedious and boring. And then the teacher told me “But that’s the point.”

I sincerely apologise to anyone who has read this far. I didn’t start this to moan about uni, it just turned out like that. I still have that feeling back from week 2/3 when I read The Way of the World and What Maisie Knew and it is horrible. I needed to write this just to reflect and get my thoughts down. I hate it when I haven’t finished an essay before 11pm. I stay awake for ages after that not being able to shut down. I’m listening to To Sheila by The Smashing Pumpkins. It’s one in the morning. I’m wide awake. 

The creative writing side of uni this year was also half/half. Non-Fiction was unengaging and unrewarding. There was never any good feedback and the weeks got more pointless as they went on. I stayed once for 1 and a half hours after I could go home to get some personal feedback. I handed her my short piece and said it’s too short and I need help extending it. She read it nodded handed it back and said it needed extending. I said I know can you help. She said it’s got a good tone, keep it up. I know I’m at uni now but I think anyone could have told me that. I knew it needed extending. I didn’t need someone to agree with me. 

Fiction was a highlight of this year. Apart from his overmentioning of his own books the teacher was very passionate about writing and his feedback was helpful. Every week I felt like I learnt something. It was a very good module. 

I’m really sorry for the amount of waffling I’ve done today, and I know it’s not really relevant to my writing or young adult, horror or fantasy books but I needed to write it. I’m going to go and watch a talk from Stephen King from last year. He’s a brilliant author and a great speaker. I watched a talk he did last December on youtube a couple of nights ago about where he gets his ideas from. It was interesting. 

Thanks for reading, 


About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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