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    Well I'm going to be studying English BA Hons at uni and today they finally put some reading lists up on their website. There's a lot of books on there and the prices are appalling even on places like Amazon. Second hand ones seem better but they still all add up to an unholy total.

    Is it best to just wait until I get there and see which books are 100% essential and work best for me or should I buy them all now?

    I don't really have the money atm but I wouldn't want to feel like I'd be starting behind everyone else or expected to know what the lecturer's going on about from day one...

    I would try and borrow some from the library or find cheaper similar texts. Maybe email and ask which are essential. I've heard that what's on some reading lists aren't even convered once you're at uni they're more of an introduction or taster.

    Definitely e-mail. Are you aware of your course structure? Perhaps buy the books that you're going to cover at the start of term? Some places do victorian lit first, thus you should buy those covering that era, for example.

    I assume the expensive books are critical, or specialist texts. A unit can only cover a certain number of books so it should not be that bad. I guess if you wrote a list of the books in this thread then I could tell you what you will be studying, and what is essential.
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