Reading List: Second Semester

Today I'm sharing my reading list for next semester to see if anyone has delved into the depths into dystopian literature (yes, that was intentional alliteration) and / or the film adaptations of the work of one William Shakespeare.  Here's what's on my agenda for the next few months...

Paper 1:
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
The Player of Games - Iain M Banks (have started this, but am finding it quite hard going...)
Erewhon - Samuel Butler
Do androids dream of electric sheep? - Philip K Dick*
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley*
The Dispossessed - Ursuala Le Guin
Utopia - Thomas More
The Republic - Plato*
Gulliver’s Travels - Jonathan Swift*

Paper 2:
Richard III; *
The Taming of the Shrew;

West Side Story (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins 1961)
Kiss Me Kate (George Sindey 1953)
William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luhrmann 1996)*
10 Things I Hate About You (Gil Junger 1999)*
Hamlet (Michael Almereyda 2000)
Scotland PA (Billy Morrissette 2002)

(* = texts/films I've read/seen so far)

I'm looking forward to both of these papers - there's some interesting subject matter in the first, and it will be nice to reacquaint myself with Shakespeare in the second.   It'll also be good to be back in a lecture theatre again after two self-directed assignments this semester (lonely much?!) Please feel free to leave your thoughts /reviews/ advice etc if you've read / seen any of these.  In the absence of a book club (and with the hope of gaining a few insights prior to class starting) I'm keen to hear what you think!


  1. I love the Taming of the Shrew - it's my favourite Shakespeare play. I saw it with an all-male cast (Propeller) who had Petruchio as a drunken, loutish wife beater, and the man playing Katerina left a broken wreck at the end. You couldn't do that with a female cast, I think. 'She' was just the epitome of a broken, beaten wife, saying her lines like an automaton. I was so shocked that I was silent for a good two or three hours afterwards. If it had been a woman, I'd have got on that stage! It went from being a problem play to being a domestic tragedy in one fell swoop. The films and modern productions portray Kate as a vibrant woman who is 'tamed' for her own good - I think you have to with a female Katerina. But it was horrific watching Petruchio deliver his "I will be master of what is mine own.
    She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
    My household stuff, my field, my barn,
    My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything." speech - it was traumatic! How can you read these lines without all that possessive 'my' coming through. I don't think a male/female partnership can have that anger. That's what I love about Shakespeare. Elizabeth Taylor can do it one way, Julia Stiles another, and then have a man play it and it takes on a whole new slant. I always wonder about the purpose of the Christopher Sly bit too... Good luck with your reading - that's a fabulous reading list. I agree with you about Iain Banks - he's an amazing writer though, with a twisted, twisted view. I think I might read the couple I've not read on your list - Erewhon and The Dispossessed.

  2. Thank you so much for this - you've given me lots to think about. It sounds like you watched an incredible performance!

  3. that reading list for paper 1 is - what an excellent theme for a course! Gotta love a bit of dystopia. I am a huuuge atwood fan and Oryx and Crake is an awesome book. I reckon you're going to enjoy the next semester! :)

  4. I'm having flashbacks to my undergrad Shakespeare course. It was fantastic. We were in a cross-listed English and Theater Arts course and studied a lot of production history, which was incredibly interesting. Watching clips from different film versions bring out things you wouldn't have noticed otherwise.