Early last Wednesday morning as you were all tucked up in bed, I like so many of my fellow students was pacing the floors, waiting for 9 o’clock when my leaving cert results to be released. Never before have I been so calm and so nervous at the same time. Most of the nerves you feel at that moment are the ones you think you’re supposed to have, you see your friends almost in tears beside you and think that you must also react in that way. But when the principal’s door opens and you’re summoned in to collect that ominous brown envelope, you don’t care how you were feeling moments before. I can only speak for myself, we each have our own reactions, but a strange calm came over me. I thought before hand that I would have a problem opening the envelope, that the nerves would get the better of me, but they didn’t. I opened it quickly, taking only a moment to remember the huge amount of work that I’d put into the exams and accepting, in advance, anything it might hold. But I didn’t have to worry, when I pulled out the form the most important grade was right there at the top…A1 in English…top grade. Not many are lucky enough to get it despite being good enough. I’m delighted but also grateful, grateful to myself for getting the work done, grateful to my mom for believing in me and grateful to my teacher who made me believe it was possible. To remember where I came from and the work that went into getting where I am today is a strange, wonderful thing, but it makes me believe that whatever I decide to do in the future will work, simply because I’m too stubborn to let it fail and because I’m surrounded by people who won’t let it happen.
Ok, so before I get ahead of myself, I technically I haven’t been accepted into college yet. The stressful experience of waiting for that acceptance letter will continue until the 20th of August. But I threw an e-mail off to the wonderful people at the school of english in the college I hope to attend anyway, asking
beggging to be notified as soon as the reading list was published…and it’s arrived!! YAY!!
In first year English we take a general compulsory course and then specialise in year 2 and 3. For Drama we’re studying
- The Bald Prima Donna – EugeneIonesco
- Look Back in Anger – John Osbourne
- The Caretaker – Harold Pinter
- Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
Scarily I haven’t read any of these, actually I haven’t heard of most of them (except obviously Shakespeare :P). I look forward to the challenge. I do wish we were doing a different Shakespeare play as while I haven’t read Romeo and Juliet, those I’ve spoken to don’t rate it as one of his greatest works. But then again it is Shakespeare, so I can’t imagine it’s going to be anything but a pleasure to explore in greater detail.
For Fiction we’re studying
The Picture of Dorian Gray – OscarWilde
- Dubliners – James Joyce
- Vilette – Charlotte Bronte
- The Member of the Wedding – Carson McCullers
This group fairs a little better as I’ve either heard of or read all but McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding. I read The Picture of Dorian Gray a couple of months ago and adored it. I was in the middle of exams at the time so no doubt a lot of the messages and symbolism most likely went unnoticed but I loved what I did manage to catch and look forward to going through it with a fine tooth comb. 😛 I’m actually reading Dubliners at the moment. It’s…strange…but I’ll hold off further judgement until I get into it properly (after I finish Inheritance :().
There’s also a poetry class but I won’t know exactly what we’ll be studying until I get started. Last but not least WE’RE STUDYING OLD AND MIDDLE ENGLISH! Ok maybe, possibly, I shouldn’t be so excited to study this. I know more than one person has given me a funny look when I’ve mentioned that I can’t wait to study it but I can’t. My old English teacher did a little with us in a class before Christmas and myself and a friend of mine were absolutely hooked! (not that I’ve actually attempted to learn anymore but in my defence I was studying for other exams) I’m not great with languages, but still find them fascinating. I was even tempted to take a latin module in 1st year of college but thought better of it. I can’t wait to learn how English as we know it evolved through the ages from that in The Canterbury tales to Shakespearean to what we consider English today. We’re studying Beowulf and I’ve already been told to get the translation as fast as possible so I’ll definitely do that.
All in all I’m really excited to get started, if not a little apprehensive as well. I’m also going to be taking classes in Psychology, Archaeology and History in my 1st year. I hope to then continue on to get a History and English degree. I’ve loved the college I’ve applied to for years, ever since I visited it on an open day. I fell in love with the old stone buildings and the character that it exudes. What can I say it appealed to the historian in me. Fingers crossed I get that acceptance letter in the post.
If anyone has actually read any of the above, drop me a line. *Goes to hunt down copies of the aboves*
P.S I will most likely miss my weekly review on Monday as my Debs/prom is tomorrow and I won’t get a chance to finish anything by Monday, unless there’s a miracle (or it rains). I’ll hopefully get something posted by mid-week though my exam results are also being realeased Wednesday followed by that all important college acceptance letter so I’m not sure when I’ll next be online.
Started: 3rd August 2012
Finished: 5th August 2012
Why I have it: Picked it up when book hunting with friends. *Looks guiltily at bookshelf of unread books* Probably shouldn’t have.
Despite the pinch of salt you always have to take his books with, Linwood Barclay is a wonderful author. In ‘The Accident’, he presents us with his characteristic male protagonist, Glen Garber. Glen has just lost his wife in a car accident where it appears she was to blame. While battling to come to terms with his wife’s unexplainable actions, he must also contend with the revelations of what she was involved with in the weeks leading to her death.
If there is one thing Barclay does perfectly it’s creating a central character we can champion. From the start it never enters your mind that they could be the culprit. I’m not sure if he wants you to doubt them or not but taking the clues he gives us into consideration and the rate at which I figured some of the plot out, I doubt it. He also doesn’t demand a lot from his reader, which allows you to sit back and enjoy the story as it unfolds. In the past I’ve read other novels by Barclay that have needed me to suspend my disbelief a little more than I would have liked to accept the resolution but in ‘The Accident’ he ties everything up plausibly enough. I can’t quite put my finger on what he does to make you want to accept these little stretches of the imagination but it certainly works.
Another aspect of Barclays work that apppeals to me is that you can actually work with the main character to solve the mystery. You’re often wrong but once you’ve got a hold of the kind of story he’s trying to weave then you’ve only got to scratch the surface to uncover the truth. I’ve read a lot of the Sherlock Holmes series over the last year and I have to say speaking in terms of letting your reader work with you in solving the mystery, A.C. Doyle has lost me a couple times whereby Barclay is always engaging.
Actually I read this to try and break my Sherlock addiction and what should pop into the story but several references to the man himself. I’m being haunted!
A fault that I did notice is that Barclay has a tendancy to repeat himself. I found myself reading people’s titles everytime they came into a scene. Maybe I’m over analysing but in other novels once you get to know a characater by name then it’s unnecessary to give them their full title. I lost count of the number of times one of the detectives was introduced as, Detective Rona Wedmore of the Milford police’. It got annoying after a couple of chapters. It felt as if he didn’t trust his reader to pay attention to what was happening.
Barclay is a really good writer and I’d recommend this book to anyone whose looking for a quick engaging read. I’d also recommend ‘No time for Goodbye’ as well as ‘Never Look Away’. Though the latter was the less plausible of the two, both were really enjoyble and read at times I needed something to get me back into reading after exams. Which says a lot about the books in my opinion as my head can get so far into study and deadlines I often find it hard to concentrate on books I’m not studying.
What I’m currently reading: I’m finally biting the bullet and finishing the ‘Inheritance cycle’. This series which started sith ‘Eragon’ all those years ago, has been with me throughout my teens just as Harry Potter was with me when I was younger. The character’s mean a lot to me and I want it to go out with a bang. But from what I’ve heard I may be disappointed…I’ll keep you updated.
Also sorry if the spacing is weird between paragraphs, WordPress wasn’t cooperating!