8 Worst Books I Studied at University


Last week I did a post about the 10 Best Books I Studied at University so I’m back with the Worst Books I Studied at University this week. Once again I’m splitting them up into the year I studied them. However, I won’t be including any from my MA / fourth year because I loved them all.

Small disclaimer: I don’t actually hate all of these books. Some of them were just taught badly and so they’ve been added to this list. I’ll indicate these books when I get to them. However, I do genuinely hate some of the books mentioned. I apologise if you like them.

First Year:

Northanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen

I’m really sorry if you’re an Austen fan but I’m just not. I don’t like studying her novels because I don’t like reading them. I mean, I studied Mansfield Park in my second year and somewhat enjoyed it but I just don’t like Northanger at all.

I reviewed Northanger Abbey last year so you can read about why I don’t like it if you want to.

fight clubFight Club by Chuck Palahnuik

Where do I even start with this book? Ugh.

I just hated it. The teaching wasn’t bad (in the first year, it was terrible when I did it again in third year) but it’s an awful book with awful films. I wasn’t even impressed with the film because I don’t find Brad Pitt attractive. Also, the author is a massive douche.

first-love-last-ritesSolid Geometry by Ian McEwan 

In first year I had a module called ‘Writing for Academic Success’ which should have been subtitled ‘For People Who Don’t Know How to Use a Comma Properly’ because they literally taught us how to write an essay. Anyways, it’s not the story that I dislike but the teaching that accompanied this story. I had arguments with my lecturer about it because the story says ‘Maisie appeared to turn in on herself like a sock’ and my lecturer was convinced that she folded into so many pieces that she disappeared into thin air. I was convinced that she had died because it’s a story about a man who murders his wife.

Second Year:

Tristram ShandyTristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne

Okay, the reason I hated this book is because we studied it for six weeks. Just this book for six weeks. It was so bloody annoying. I just wanted to read something different. Also, reading a book like this on a schedule is awful. I may re-read it one day but I’m still traumatised from the first time I read it in 2013.

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I actually love this book but I still don’t know why it was included in my university education. My lecturer wasn’t impressed either because he just complained about everything being a bread pun. When your lecturer doesn’t want to teach a book then you’re basically screwed. The Hunger Games shouldn’t be on a university reading list in my opinion unless there’s a clear intention about why it’s being used.

The Eclipse of the CenturyEclipse of the Century by Jan Mark

This was on a module about classic children’s literature even though it’s not a classic children’s book. Only my class studied it. None of the others did. I’m still confused even to this day.

It’s not the best book ever written and it’s a bit weird to be honest. I may re-read it to see if I like it better when I’m not being forced to read it.

Third Year:

on the road coverOn the Road by Jack Kerouac

I’ve written about how much I dislike this novel before so I had to include it on the list. I just don’t get the appeal of this book. I hated every ‘character’ and the ‘plot’ was boring too. I don’t care if the way Kerouac wrote it was different or weird or whatever. I just didn’t like it and no one in my class did. Sorry

the passion of new eve coverThe Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter 

I mentioned this book in another post last week and I will repeat what I said then: this book made me feel like I was hallucinating. It’s just weird and awful. I don’t like most of Angela Carter’s work and this is the worst thing I’ve read by her so far. I don’t enjoy her writing style at all. I understand why it was on the module (Gender & Sexualities) but it’s just a terrible book.






11 thoughts on “8 Worst Books I Studied at University

  1. I studied The Hunger Games in my Intro to Lit class as well and it actually made me like the book more… I guess it all comes down to the professor’s attitude, because mine was so enthusiastic about teaching it haha. He had never read the series before, so he was pumped to feel “cool” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My lecturer didn’t care about being ‘cool’. He was just annoyed that he had to teach it. Most of us were annoyed that we had to study it too though. I guess our Lit degrees are a bit more traditional or something 🙂


    1. ‘Panem’ is part of a Latin phrase meaning ‘bread and circuses’. Then there was the fact that Peeta is a baker and everything revolves around a bit of bread he gave to Katniss. So, my lecturer just talked about bread for two weeks. He didn’t want to teach it.


      1. That was terrible. And everything else on the module was a classic science fiction novel or short story. So it was a weird choice in my opinion. Like the uni was trying to hard to be up to date.


  2. I love this post! As someone with an MA in literature I might have to make a similar one myself, because I had to study so many books I didn’t really like.

    I definitely think there’s a lot about THG that can be useful in uni though, I actually wrote my MA thesis on it (that, as well as The Handmaid’s Tale). I focused on performative gender and sexuality, especially in relation to the totalitarian government. I found the ‘bread and circuses’ bit very useful, haha. I was surprised at how many research papers have actually been written on it. But I understand how the professor’s enthusiasm greatly plays a part in how fun the lessons are. If the teacher doesn’t like teaching a book then the students probably won’t like it either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You see, that sounds like a great topic for a class on THG! I would have been so interested in that. But my lecturer just didn’t care.

      I’m always glad to find more people with an MA in English Literature 😊 I did my MA dissertation on Religion and Death on the Stage in the Early Modern Period. I’m an Renaissance nerd.


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