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The Not-So-Boring Books I’ve Read as an English Major

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

When I tell people that I’m an English major they normally groan and say, “But don’t you just hate reading all those boring books??!!” The answer is yes, I do hate reading the boring books. But like any major, there are the good readings and the bad readings. Since I love my major and am tired of being told it’s boring, here is a roundup of the top five books I have read over the course of my undergrad that I think everyone should read, regardless of their major.

Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates

If you were once an angsty teenager, this is the novel for you. Foxfire is the story of five girls in high school who have always struggled to fit in. Before you roll your eyes and think this is going to be another sappy story about friendship, let me finish explaining. These five girls band together and form a gang, bonded through blood, and go after all of the people that have ever wronged them. From bullies in high school and perverted teachers to sexual assaulters and animal abusers, these girls are willing to do anything to prove their worth in society.

The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou

With the Olympics just ending a few months ago, it’s safe to say we’re all still thinking about how we can live out our Olympic dreams. The Bone Cage follows two athletes, a swimmer and a wrestler, who train out of the same facility. When one of them has a career-ending injury right before they are set to go to the Olympics, the story transitions from one of triumph and excitement to one of grief, loss and resilience.

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

When I came into my first year, I had no clue what to expect from university, especially from my courses. The first novel that I was set to read was Indian Horse. After three classes, we had to stop lecturing on it as too many students had run out of class crying. I knew very little about what actually happened in residential schools at the time. As such, this novel opened my eyes to a world of hurt that I had been ignorantly unaware of. Whether you are well educated on the dark history of our country or looking to gain some insight, I believe that everyone should read this powerful novel about a young boy’s life in a Canadian residential school.

Richard III by William Shakespeare

You had to know that there was a Shakespeare coming, I am an English nerd after all. While I have always tolerated (okay, I won’t lie…enjoyed) Shakespeare, this was the first play that I studied that I loved. It’s the story of the family black sheep, determined to take on the throne and all of the crazy things he does in order to get there. It’s dark, it’s violent and it will definitely make you keep one eye open around your weird cousins from here on out because clearly you never know what they are plotting.

Paradise Lost by John Milton

Just kidding…If you ever see this on a syllabus leave the country and don’t look back.

Overall, I‘ve been lucky to have read some great novels and some horribly boring novels throughout my time as an English major. With that said, before you jump down an English major’s throat about what they’re reading, think back to the last chapter of your advanced microbiology textbook that kept you on the edge of your seat all night.

Emma Soden

Wilfrid Laurier '22

Emma is a 4th year English student at Wilfrid Laurier University with minors in Global Studies and Criminology. She is passionate about reading, writing and fitness. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism with a focus on sports.
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