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    Hi all!

    I'm in year 12 and super keen to study modern languages (Spanish and French) at university but I have no idea how to start with wider reading. I really love literature and history and want to study a literature-orientated course- how should I tackle my reading? Should I stick to one era or several? How many books should I ideally read before submitting my UCAS application?

    Help!!

    Thank you!
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    (Original post by vessel)
    Hi all!

    I'm in year 12 and super keen to study modern languages (Spanish and French) at university but I have no idea how to start with wider reading. I really love literature and history and want to study a literature-orientated course- how should I tackle my reading? Should I stick to one era or several? How many books should I ideally read before submitting my UCAS application?

    Help!!

    Thank you!
    Read as much as you can, as widely as you can - even in translation. Here is a list (which I also posted elsewhere on this site a few weeks ago) for stuff to read in French and Spanish:

    French novels:

    Antéchrista by Amélie Nothomb
    Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Koran by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
    La femme sans sépulture by Assia Djebar
    L'enfant de sable by Tahar Ben Jelloun
    No et moi by Delphine de Vigan

    And, a bit older but real-life drama:

    Anna et son orchestre and Un sac de billes by Joseph Joffo

    Modern “classics”

    L’Etranger by Albert Camus
    Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier
    Le Noeud de Vipères; Thérèse Desqueyroux by François Mauriac
    Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    Read in translation any novels by Balzac, Flaubert, Zola, Victor Hugo; plays by Corneille, Racine, Molière.

    There's plenty of French poetry: try 20th century Appolinaire or Jacques Prévert in the original as they're not too hard. More classical poetry includes the poets Verlaine and Rimbaud - neither of these are very difficult if you choose their shorter poems. As you say you like history, try Victor Hugo's poems, some of which are a pretty vitriolic criticism of Napoleon III.

    Spanish novels:

    Historia de una maestra by Josefina Aldecoa
    El príncipe de la niebla by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (this is a top contemporary Spanish writer; if you like this there's plenty more)
    Como agua para chocolate by Laura Esquivel is one that is often on the A level syllabus; I've not read it myself but keep on telling myself that I must!
    Doña Perfecta by Perez Galdós is a bit out of fashion at the moment but is an interesting reflection on 19th century Spain.

    Spanish plays:

    Anything by Buero Vallejo - not difficult but you need to be aware that he wrote in the Franco period and needed to dodge the censors by using symbolism and personal relationships to reflect his criticism of the regime.
    Anything by Lorca (who also comes under the heading "Poet" as he combines the two. Heavy symbolism and very intense stuff, but not particularly difficult.
    The great "Golden Age" playwrights are Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca and Tirso de Molina. A bit more difficult but very satisfying - maybe try these in translation first.

    Poets:

    Frederico García Lorca, as mentioned above.
    Antonio Machado (19th / 20th century) is a personal favourite of mine. Browe his Campos de Castilla.
    Pablo Neruda is a famous Chilean poet.
    Eduardo Pondal is less well known: try browsing Rumores de los Pinos. He also wrote in Galician, so make sure you get the Spanish work! I declare in interest here as he was the grandfather-in-law of a close family friend who died recently in his nineties.
 
 
 
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