Sunday 2 October 2016

What I'm Taking to Uni

So this past few months, many exciting things have been happening for me, which have been better documented on instagram and twitter. I had another packed Edinburgh Fringe, full of brilliant comedians, poets, and theatre pieces. I've had some great times with my friends, which is just as well because we're now scattered across the country and the continent,  because we're all off to uni! I can't believe I was in Year 8 when I started this blog and I now I've got a place at my first choice university to study Classics and French, but hey, time flies!

Along the many bags of clothes and equipment I have packed before I move into the college tomorrow, obviously, I have books, and I thought I'd share what I'm taking. But first, exciting news... 

I got nominated, alongside Sally of The Dark Dictator, and Andrew of The Pewter Wolf, in the UKYA Blogger Awards for Champion of Diversity! Thank you for everyone who nominated me, in despite of the fact that my championing of diverse books, at least this past couple of years, hasn't really been via my blog, more in person- see my TEDx Talk on why you should read diversely, which I might vlog some day seeing as I'm not sure what happened to the footage, the We Need Diverse Books board we put up at my school that stayed in a main corridor for over a year, and anyone who has read Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda because they asked me for a recommendation and that's been my go to book to pass on. I hope to be able to step up both my blog and my promotion of a range of books in the future, and it's nice to have a little spur to do so. And congrats to everyone else who got nominated, in all categories! You can find a list of all categories and nominees here (until it gets buried when they tweet other things).

The main post is under the cut- the books I'm  taking-and hopefully keeping up there, if they fit on whatever shelving they give me!

My Course Books

The books that I'll be studying. I've read all the required bits, so here's a summary of what they're about  and what I thought of them.

  • The Poems of Catullus, translated by James Minchie. My copy of this is falling apart, so I put it in a binder ring. I love most of Catullus' works-it's often funny or emotional or both- he crosses the line a lot though!
  • Juvenal's Satires, translated by Peter Green. Using anecdotes, it reads like a long list of complaints about Roman society, pointing out all the various moral failings that have come through.
  • En Attendant Godot (Waiting For Godot) by Samuel Beckett. It's a play of two men who are waiting for Godot. They contemplate life, meet a handful other people, and wonder why they do so. It feels like Rosencrantz and Guildernstern, a lot of talk, less things happening, good to study, probably boring to watch.
  • Supplement au Voyage de Bouganville (Supplement to Bougainville's Journey) by Denis Diderot, I liked the depiction of Tahitan society, and also the way it contrast Tahitian and European society and ideals.
  • The Poems of Propertius, translated by H. E. Butler, of which I read Book 1. Mostly love poetry, describing his relationship with Cynthia, but there's a couple of poems for friends too.  
  • Essais (Essays), of which I read Des Cannibales by Michel de Montaigne, Again contrasting  European society with another. I liked the challenge of reading the 16th century French.
  • The Satyricon by Petronius. A pair of lovers go wandering around the continent, meeting the weirdest of society. Ends abruptly, though probably due to losing the text, but the various episodes, satirising different figures in society, are...interesting.
  • Cicero's Defence Speeches, of which I read Pro Caelio. Here Cicero is trying to defend Caelius against charges of violence andmurder, which he does by presenting Caelius as a young man of outstanding virtue, even if he has made some mistakes, and by presenting Clodia Metelli, whose evidence would be important to the case, as a whore. It's funny in some places, misogynistic in many more, and is basically blaming a woman for anything a man does wrong.
  • The Aeneid by Virgil. Following Aeneas, a Trojan noble who flees Troy after its defeat, as he wanders, searching for a new place for his people to settle down. A fair bit of travelling gives way to some really graphically battles. I have a lot of love for Camilla, the warrior woman who's featured in book 11.
  • Phedre by Jean Racine. The mythological story of a queen who falls in love with her stepson and the husband/father's rashness is presented here in a play. I enjoyed the rhythm of this as I read this aloud, and I liked how it didn't completely villainise Phedre (ok, the blame all shifts on to the Nurse but I feel Phedre gets presented in a worse light in Euripedes' and Seneca's versions so it's nice she gets a little more sympathy here)

Supplementary Books 

Books kind of relating to Classics and French, but not directly relevant (this term)- intended for when I want to do something different but also feel productive! 
  • Les Femmes Savantes by Moliere
  • Les  Fleurs de Mal by Charles Baudelaire
  • Les Mains Sales by Jean Paul Sartre
  • World Mythology by Mark Daniels
  • Bisexuality in the Ancient World by Eve Cantarella
  • The Latin Love Poets by R.O.A.M. Lyne
  • Frangine by Marion Brunet (and then I can finally give this back to Caroline- sorry for keeping this so long!)
  • Goddesses, Whores, Wives, & Slaves by Sarah Pomeroy

Fun Books

The ones that will be for pleasure, for review, and for hopeful enjoyment!

  • The Hypnotist by Laurence Anholt. Set in 1960s America, this historical thriller plus hypnotism looks intriguing.
  • Life: A User's Manuel by Georges Perec. I picked this up for the title. I'm hoping for good things from the many many characters.
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. I haven't read Everything, Everything yet either, but I've heard lots of people enjoyed it.
  • Girl Trouble by Carol Dyhouse. A looking at how society perceives women and what they do throughout the 20th century.
  • Daughters of Time - A History Girls Anthology. I love how there's a range of time periods the women at the centre of each story is drawn from, and a range of things they do. 
  • The Genius and the Goddess by Alduous Huxley. I got this as a surprise gift, so I don't know what to expect. I didn't mind Brave New World, and I'm hoping i like this as much as I did that, or more.
  • As I Descended by Robin Talley. This is the one book I've been waiting for all year, and I'm slightly scared to read it with such high expectations (lesbian contemporary Macbeth!). I'll get to it soon though.
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Between Shades of Grey was such a beautiful book, I have high hopes for this one as well.
  • Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton. A mute girl falls for the new girl. I remember getting excited for this, but never getting round to it.
  • The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. I love this fantasy series with the detailed world building and the clever characters (especially the ship of lady pirates introduced in book 2). I also hear we get to meet the main character's lost love in this book, something I've been waiting for.
I know I'm being very overoptimistic with my for fun books here, considering I have eight weeks and a lot more reading I'll get once I'm there, but at least I won't be running out of things to get through!  What books would you suggest I get through first? And what would you take from a packed to-read shelf to last you for a couple of months?

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Thanks for taking time to read this!
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Nina xxx

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