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The Top 4 Books That Have Defined My Time as an English Major

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Lasell chapter.

A lot of people these days will say that English is a useless degree. They’ll argue that there aren’t many job prospects and ask what did you even learn anyway? I could write a whole essay about why English is still a valuable major (using the skills I learned as an English major!) but I’m here instead to show another side of the degree: how fun it can be! I have loved reading a wide range of stories over my time here at Lasell and find what really speaks to me as a reader. While there have been some books I didn’t find interesting, there have been many more that I absolutely loved. Here are my top four that have changed who I am as a reader, student, and person.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein was one of the first books I read in my first English class, Invitation to the Humanities. While I was initially intimidated about reading something written in slightly old English, Frankenstein has become my favorite book of all time. I became enamored with Mary Shelley and her life story. Frankenstein has stayed with me all these years and I still love it as much as when I first read it. 

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

I read House of Leaves a little later in my Lasell career. Like everyone, I was nervous about reading it as it’s a little over 700 pages long. However, as soon as I got into it, I could barely put it down. It was the first scary book I’d ever read and it had me on the edge of my seat constantly. House of Leaves is incredibly layered and complex and will have you dissecting it not only textually, but visually as well. I still find myself bringing it up in conversation, and hope to reread it soon. 

“Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx

Those who know me, know that “Brokeback Mountain” is essentially part of my personality at this point. I read the short story in the spring of my first year, and it has quite literally become one of the building blocks of my degree. I have written multiple papers about it, including my Senior Capstone. When I first read it, I had never seen the film and knew little about the story. Unfortunately, I chose to read it in a public place and ended up sobbing in the library when I finished it before class. “Brokeback Mountain” is currently tied with Frankenstein for my favorite stories of all time. 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

As we can see, I have a preference for spooky and sad stories. This is not something I ever knew about myself until I started my degree. Another one of the books I read my first semester here really started that obsession for me. I was instantly captivated by Wuthering Heights and its gothic imagery and tone. I even went on to present a paper on it at a conference in Baltimore. That project really sparked my love for engaging with other academics about literature. While it’s not one of my all-time favorites, it influenced how I went forward in my academic pursuits of literature.

Julia LaPlante is the Vice President and Editor-In-Chief of Her Campus Lasell. She oversees and assissts and E and S boards as well as the copy editing team. Away from Her Campus, Julia is a senior English major at Lasell. She works at Lasell's library as she studies towards her Masters in Library and Information Science. In her free time, Julia enjoys reading gothic literature, watching nerdy television shows, and walking in nature. Julia deeply believes in the importantce of mindfulness and chocolate to ones attitude.