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To continue my bookcase series, here is one of my loveliest friends, Rachel’s bookcase. I’ll let her explain the rest…

Hello! I’m Rachel Cartwright, a 21 year old English Literature and Creative Writing student. My literature taste in 5 words? Traditional, Contemporary, Witty, Controversial and Immature…

You’ll see what I mean…

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Welcome to my bookcase! Being a Literature student is it very important, of course, to have all necessary reading to get me the shiny First I’m aiming for, however, in my three years studying I’ve found it also really important to surround myself with the other works of literature that I love (and not just because I should). Unfortunately my little flat in Newcastle only allows space for a certain amount of hardbacks, but I thought instead of showing you the extended version at home, this would be a nice depiction of the novels that manage to make the grade and keep me going through the North East’s chilly winters and the North East’s chilly summers.

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Firstly, don’t fret; you won’t be the first person to feel a little confused at my prime selection of books, there’s war, classics, war classics, comedy, parodies, critical works, conspiracy theories and a splash of Disney. Which self-admittedly form various parts of my personality stacked side by side on the shelf, from the winter night Rachel who drinks hot chocolate whilst swooning over Stephen Wraysford or the Sunday Morning Rachel who giggles with Silvia in the bath. The books I’ve grown up with, Dickens, Fielding, French, have definitely encouraged my writing style as it is now. I tend to adopt and then adapt a lot of genres and ideas; a good thief makes a great writer!

For my 21st birthday, a friend bought me a first edition of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times. Even by its title you can probably understand how unpopular it was during A Level Literature, but our eyes met across the classroom and I fell in love with Dickens immediately (potentially also influenced by a main character being named Rachel. Fickle? I think not). So, with its ink splashes and hand drawn illustrations, it is very dear to me indeed! A set of books that are missing from my Newcastle collection are the entire Series of Unfortunate Events, if ever an author inspired me to write as a child, it was Lemony Snicket.

The little red notebook on my shelf is completely forbidden to all eyes but mine. This literally includes every idea, every phrase, every feeling (heaven forbid) that has ever popped into my head – since it fell into my hands mid-October. I try to carry it with me wherever I go; I can be in a lecture, eating soup, even on the loo and all of a sudden an idea will come to me. Watch this space, one day that book will be worth millions!

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I admit am looking forward to a time where University won’t necessarily dictate my reading. However, I find taking a Literature course an excellent excuse to read all the classics in a short amount of time. I have come to appreciate classic literature a lot more than I used to and now feel that in my spare time, the novels on my coffee table will be Ulysses and Gatsby, instead of Cosmo (which I’ll save for bath time). I am definitely not a bin-a-book kinda gal, if anything I sell or donate – which is not the same. Books that I have been given that are not particularly influential or personal, I tend to pass on. The photos here fail to show the 3ft stacks of secondary reading piled up in front my bedroom mirror, which apart from meaning that I am completely unaware of how well I dress from the hips down, also show that pickiness is vital when it comes to a long term relationship with a book.

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