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    I'm planning on starting a German and English degree in 2015 (I hold a deferred offer) but I'm starting to have doubts about the English part of the degree because of the reading involved. Obviously I knew about the reading involved in a literature degree before applying, but that hasn't stopped my doubts creeping in after applying. I love to read, and I used to devour books one after the other, but I get headaches now and sometimes they last for a long while, affect my eyesight, and basically make it almost impossible for me to read for days in a row. I know that all degrees involve a certain amount of reading, but I can't help but wonder whether studying literature will just be a step too far for me because you obviously have all the novels/plays to read on top of the background reading and commentary, and some of the novels on my university's reading list are quite substantial.

    Basically I'm just wondering how other students have found the reading involved in a literature degree, and whether there's any advice regarding choosing modules wisely to limit the amount of reading involved (this won't be possible in the first year-all modules are compulsory, but I'm thinking obviously a poetry course, or a course focussed on language development, might possibly involve less hours of reading). I'd especially like to hear from anyone who has problems like I do (migraines, eye issues)-have you been offered any extra help with regards to keeping up with the reading? Or have you found any helpful ways to 'read' when you can't cope with physical books, like audio books or skim reading?
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    (Original post by mscaffrey)
    I'm planning on starting a German and English degree in 2015 (I hold a deferred offer) but I'm starting to have doubts about the English part of the degree because of the reading involved. Obviously I knew about the reading involved in a literature degree before applying, but that hasn't stopped my doubts creeping in after applying. I love to read, and I used to devour books one after the other, but I get headaches now and sometimes they last for a long while, affect my eyesight, and basically make it almost impossible for me to read for days in a row. I know that all degrees involve a certain amount of reading, but I can't help but wonder whether studying literature will just be a step too far for me because you obviously have all the novels/plays to read on top of the background reading and commentary, and some of the novels on my university's reading list are quite substantial.

    Basically I'm just wondering how other students have found the reading involved in a literature degree, and whether there's any advice regarding choosing modules wisely to limit the amount of reading involved (this won't be possible in the first year-all modules are compulsory, but I'm thinking obviously a poetry course, or a course focussed on language development, might possibly involve less hours of reading). I'd especially like to hear from anyone who has problems like I do (migraines, eye issues)-have you been offered any extra help with regards to keeping up with the reading? Or have you found any helpful ways to 'read' when you can't cope with physical books, like audio books or skim reading?
    It is never necessary in an English degree to actually do all the reading prescribed. While I try to do the reading, I have for several weekly essays simply picked a few pages / verses at random--avoiding the most obvious passages--in the given reading and then based my essay on whatever I happened to come across. This has the advantage of giving the impression that I have read the whole thing and decided that I find one obscure image in one obscure section of a text particularly interesting--I have, it seems, passed over the obvious stuff in favour of pursuing my own interests. As for secondary reading, it is rarely necessary: the standard things to do are either to steal an idea from a critic's discussion of one passage and apply it in a New and Interesting way to another passage, or to simply flag up a critic very briefly and then dismiss him/her. The markers are always more interested in what you have to say rather than a regurgitation of the established criticism.

    If it is any help, I have managed to make it through two years of an English degree, getting a pretty good 2:1, without reading or being examined on a single novel and otherwise reading the very bare minimum. Definitely do-able. (And, as you say, migraines are going to screw you over regardless of what degree you choose, so you may as well pick something you like.)
 
 
 
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