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    Hey, sorry if this is a common worry/question.

    I have been looking at my module reading lists (I will be doing History) to try at get a head start, but I'm slightly overwhelmed/ scared by the sheer number of books on there. One of my modules (taken at random) has 121 books listed. the other modules are all similar.

    Of those 121, three are listed as "essential" and a further six as "reference" while the rest are split into sub-sections.

    Is it the case that I should be reading/ buying the "essential" ones and then reading a few from the other sections when they come up in essays?? if that is the case how do I know which books are really useful to read?

    Many thanks
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    (Original post by Kemosabe99)
    Hey, sorry if this is a common worry/question.

    I have been looking at my module reading lists (I will be doing History) to try at get a head start, but I'm slightly overwhelmed/ scared by the sheer number of books on there. One of my modules (taken at random) has 121 books listed. the other modules are all similar.

    Of those 121, three are listed as "essential" and a further six as "reference" while the rest are split into sub-sections.

    Is it the case that I should be reading/ buying the "essential" ones and then reading a few from the other sections when they come up in essays?? if that is the case how do I know which books are really useful to read?

    Many thanks
    Generally read the essential ones, maybe the reference ones and then decide which of the others you feel would be beneficial for you to read, so with non essential ones i d normally go to the library and have a look through the index/contents and decide if any of it is relevant. It's not often i ve needed to read the entire of a book in university so bare in mind you might only need specific chapters and pages in some of the books on your reading list.
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    (Original post by Kemosabe99)
    Hey, sorry if this is a common worry/question.

    I have been looking at my module reading lists (I will be doing History) to try at get a head start, but I'm slightly overwhelmed/ scared by the sheer number of books on there. One of my modules (taken at random) has 121 books listed. the other modules are all similar.

    Of those 121, three are listed as "essential" and a further six as "reference" while the rest are split into sub-sections.

    Is it the case that I should be reading/ buying the "essential" ones and then reading a few from the other sections when they come up in essays?? if that is the case how do I know which books are really useful to read?

    Many thanks
    I did History for my BA, and currently teach undergraduates, and don't worry, this is a very common reaction from history students!

    I would begin with the essential texts - these are likely quite broad books that give you an overview of a time period or topic, and will help you get a grasp on the chronology, the chief characters/events, and the major debates within the subject, so it's worth reading a couple of these. My gut feeling with regards to the 'reference' texts with history is that they might be useful for looking up specific people or events to help you get a further grasp on particular things. You can also use online resources such as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography to help with this - it's a database of major figures in British history, and gives a potted biography for each person.

    You will find that often the subsections within the list will follow the lectures as given by the lecturer. One way of trying to figure out what is worth reading is taking a look at the footnotes or references of one the essential texts, and see what they have relied upon when writing about that particular topic. If you have to read for a seminar with a specific topic, look for journal articles that might help you get to the point much quicker than reading a book; as claireestelle said, looking at the index and contents page of books can also help you get an idea of what the book contains, and you may only have to read 1-2 chapters from that book. For journal articles, learn how to search JSTOR and Google Scholar effectively, and use databases such as the Bibliography of British & Irish History (for things dealing with British & Irish history, obviously ) to find any pertinent articles.

    Above all, don't panic! You are not expected to read absolutely everything on the list! Part of the challenge is meant to be learning how to choose what to read, how to find further things to read, and most all learning to read critically. If you've any further queries I'd be happy to help
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    (Original post by gutenberg)
    I did History for my BA, and currently teach undergraduates, and don't worry, this is a very common reaction from history students!

    I would begin with the essential texts - these are likely quite broad books that give you an overview of a time period or topic, and will help you get a grasp on the chronology, the chief characters/events, and the major debates within the subject, so it's worth reading a couple of these. My gut feeling with regards to the 'reference' texts with history is that they might be useful for looking up specific people or events to help you get a further grasp on particular things. You can also use online resources such as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography to help with this - it's a database of major figures in British history, and gives a potted biography for each person.

    You will find that often the subsections within the list will follow the lectures as given by the lecturer. One way of trying to figure out what is worth reading is taking a look at the footnotes or references of one the essential texts, and see what they have relied upon when writing about that particular topic. If you have to read for a seminar with a specific topic, look for journal articles that might help you get to the point much quicker than reading a book; as claireestelle said, looking at the index and contents page of books can also help you get an idea of what the book contains, and you may only have to read 1-2 chapters from that book. For journal articles, learn how to search JSTOR and Google Scholar effectively, and use databases such as the Bibliography of British & Irish History (for things dealing with British & Irish history, obviously ) to find any pertinent articles.

    Above all, don't panic! You are not expected to read absolutely everything on the list! Part of the challenge is meant to be learning how to choose what to read, how to find further things to read, and most all learning to read critically. If you've any further queries I'd be happy to help
    Is it worth buying these essential books or just using the library when I get there? I have read loads about "freshers mistakes" of buying all the reading list ect... but by the same token its nice to get ahead and if these books are actually "essential" then it would be a big help to have them... (although one module I have lists 21 books as essential)
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    (Original post by Kemosabe99)
    Is it worth buying these essential books or just using the library when I get there? I have read loads about "freshers mistakes" of buying all the reading list ect... but by the same token its nice to get ahead and if these books are actually "essential" then it would be a big help to have them... (although one module I have lists 21 books as essential)
    Honestly, I would try to hold off buying any books just yet - wait and see what your uni has. You might purchase one of the 'essential' texts and find you don't like the style, or find how it's organised confusing, etc. If you want to start reading, maybe check your local library to see if they have any of the books recommended? I found my own local branch had quite a few of the broad-based books, as obviously they are good for general readers and schoolkids doing projects etc. Or, being sneaky, get yourself down to a couple of bookshops and browse for any titles that they have, and use the opportunity to look through the different texts and see if any of them appeal to you before you take the plunge & buy a few. I only bought a few books every year during my history degree, and often (especially in the later years) they were editions of primary sources that I needed for an essay etc, rather than secondary texts.
 
 
 
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