It’s so hard for me to believe that I’m done with my first year of university. I swear it feels like it was yesterday when I first stepped into the campus, bubbling with excitement. This semester has especially been a ride with some unexpected obstacles, the major one being online classes. Nevertheless, it’s all done and dusted and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll actually be returning to my university for the next semester.
At the end of last semester I did a blog post on the Authors I’m Taking Away From My First Semester which included some authors and books that I had fallen in love during my literature classes. Literature classes always offer me a wide array of authors that I usually haven’t come across so it’s a fun process and I certainly had a great time writing that post. So now I’m going to make it a semesterly addition. Okay, there’s no such word but you know what I mean!
Authors I’m Taking Away from My Second Semester
This semester I took two mandatory and introductory courses, Forms of Literature and Introduction to Creative Writing, both of which covered a lot of genres and had plenty of reading material to explore.
Full disclosure, I went through a minor crisis with my literature course because I wasn’t very fond of the texts that had been picked and couldn’t get myself to care about them. This has made me realise that I should be paying more attention to the reading lists before picking courses. Nevertheless, let’s have a look at the authors I found during the course of this semster 🙂
1. Kari by Amruta Patil
My literature professor introduced me to the wonderful Amruta Patil who writes graphic novels and is a wonderful artist. We read her book Kari which has amazing artwork and a fantastic story which sparked a lot of discussion in our class. I honestly don’t know how much I can say without ruining the story but this book is an OwnVoice book about an Indian lesbian cartoonist struggling with her identity and trying to make sense of the city she lives in. The whole narrative is so raw and pure, I really urge everyone to pick a copy, especially now that it’s available in ebook format!
I’m also heartbroken that our professor had been planning a surprise visit of the author to our university but freaking Corona ruined everything. Oh well, I’m basically enamoured by Amruta Patil and plan on buying all her other books as soon as I can!
2. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
In the beginning of the course my class read two tales from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and to my surprise I actually enjoyed them. I love how easily I was able to immerse myself into the lyrical stories and the fact that I didn’t have to read them thrice to actually understand what was going on certainly helped. Also some of the stories were actually insane and hilarious? I was honestly shocked while reading those stories and I’ve been wondering why we don’t have the more humorous classics for required reading rather than the inane and boring ones we have in school. But that’s a separate blog post in itself.
I’ll definitely be purchasing a copy of the complete tales and reading them sometime in the future.
3. Toba Tek Singh by Manto
I’ve had my eye on Manto since I read Ismat Chughtai’s works last semester. They were both prolific writer and good friends and were both tried in court for their works on count of obscenity. I found Chughtai’s stories very well-written and moving and Manto didn’t disappoint either. Toba Tek Singh is a moving account built around a man in a lunatic asylum during the India-Pakistan partition. Both Manto and Chughtai are revered writers in India and Pakistan and I really hope that all of you check out their most famous stories The Quilt (Chughtai), Toba Tek Singh and Thanda Ghost (Manto) if not their entire collections. I’m sure you can easily find translations on the internet so do go read them.
Oh and there’s a Netflix documentary on Manto’s life available on Netflix worldwide so watch that if you want to get a sense of his life.
4. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
I read brief snippets of this book in my creative writing class and I fell in love with Vuong’s writing style. The way he describes everything so beautifully and effortlessly is what made me pick up his book despite the fact I don’t usually read non-fiction books. I’m actually still unsure of whether I’ll be reading his other books because even though On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous was written as beautifully as I imagined, I wasn’t very fond of the structuring of the book. Will I read any of the author’s other works? Maybe, maybe not. But I do want to highlight him and his work because I’m sure it’s going to be well enjoyed by a lot of readers and it definitely deserves the attention it has been getting lately.
5. To Build A Fire by Jack London
I’m honestly in awe of Jack London and his storytelling style. He really captured my attention and told and the way he was able to capture human expression and emotions. I really can’t describe it, it’s an experience you go through only once you read it.
I don’t often read short stories but I’m going to try and get my hands on Landon’s other stories as well 🙂
Have you ever come across great books or authors in your university or school courses? If so, which one?
Have you read any of the authors I mentioned in this post? How did you encounter them?
Do you update whatever you read in classes on Goodreads or do you consider it separate from your reading progress?