Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein
Simply the name of this book is enough to send any 3rd or 4th year student into wailing despair. Tender Buttons is a nonsensical masterpiece that delves into the very meaning of what words can and cannot be. Don’t let this text scare you away, though you might want to prepare for battle before reading.
1984 by George Orwell
We all know this one; many of us read it in high school. 1984 is a classic, and one that should be given its yearly dues. Reading this book again at a critical turning point in ones life (like, say, the first year of university) is well worth the headache and feeling of impending doom brought on afterwards.
Merchants of Culture by John B. Thompson
If you thought we were sticking to fiction here, you guessed wrong. Whether you’re going into English to write or produce, knowing a little about book history and economics is always a plus. Though a little dry and difficult to power through, it goes without saying that this book is one of the go-to books on book production.
Brave New World by Aldus Huxley
Another classic that should be visited time and time again. Brave New World is a book that opens up hundreds and thousands of analytical doorways for a patron of the literary arts. Do yourself a favour and read (or reread) it.
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque
What could be duller than war fiction based on WWI? A whole lot it turns out. As realistic and brutal as it is beautiful and inspiring, All Quiet on the Western Front is an excellent starting point for anyone with an interest in historical fiction, and for those without it still stands as a powerful literary masterpiece.
The Waste Land by T.S. Elliot
If there’s one word to describe The Waste Land, it’s Intertextuality. For those new to the world of studying this, Elliot’s work is an excellent place to start, seeing as you can’t help but recognize at least one callout. Not to mention the fact that the poem is beautifully written and provides multiple sources with equally interesting and amazing writing.
Five Dialogues by Plato
I can hear you saying, “Plato? But we’re not philosophy majors.” No, you aren’t, but if you ever want to learn how to REALLY write an essay, read some Plato and Socrates. Literary essays are hard and analytical, and the best favour you can do yourself is to learn how to properly argue a point before your essay is due the next day.
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Have you ever tried to read a book about writing and found yourself falling asleep? Then read this book. On Writing Well is the perfect guide for students looking to hone their craft, and is also one of the most enjoyable reads you’ll ever have. It’s conversational, funny, and down right enjoyable, so give it a shot.
Developmental Editing by Scott Norton
Examples, examples, examples. This book is full of them. If you enjoy writing then you’ll understand the rush one gets when you find the perfect way to rephrase that sentence that you’ve been working on for 2 hours. This book can help you do that, as well as help beef up your knowledge on editing in general.
If you’re looking to shop local, why not check out Circus Books on the Danforth (866 Danforth Ave)? Or, if you’re hungry for more Danforth-book related information, check out Catherine Belvedere’s “6 Spots to Shop for a Literature Lover”.
All images are used under creative commons.
Danielle Staring is a 22 year-old editor and writer from the small town of Beeton, ON. She loves reading other people’s writing and through her business, Starling Editorial, aims to bring publishing to small Canadian towns. You can check out her website, www.starlingedits.com.