Eight Essential Books for Recent English and Writing Graduates


Jodie makes some recommendations to fill your post-graduation literary void.

As a recent Creative Writing graduate, this summer I was faced with a situation I hadn’t experienced in a while: there was nothing I had to read. No required reading, no looming deadlines, no recommended articles. I could read whatever I wanted.

It was nice to hear but it was also daunting too. Now with a degree in my pocket I had the feeling that I should be reading something…important. Something the me of three years ago wouldn’t’ve appreciated or ‘got’ in the way I would now. And something that would hopefully prepare me as I went from an academic to professional world.

A mix of fiction and non-fiction, here’s my list of essential reading for graduates (to fill the void where your Required Readings lists used to be). 


The Green Mile, Stephen King

In attempt to try out a style first popularised by Dickens, King wrote this hugely-popular piece in serial-novel form; the book is split into six instalments. If you’re a writer debating a more experimental style then perhaps give this a try.


Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

Best-selling novelist Mitch Albom meets with his old college professor as he gives the last, yet most important, lessons of his life. These are sort of things they don’t teach in class.



V for Vendetta, Alan Moore

It’ll leaving you feeling inspired, awake, and a little unnerved at how applicable this dystopian bestseller is to today’s society.


Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen

As a writer it’s not uncommon to feel lost – or even a little crazy sometimes. Kaysen’s memoir of time spent on a psychiatric ward ultimately looks at herself as a writer and someone growing up.


The Sellout, Paul Beatty

Blowing up in bookstores here and across the pond, this novel satirises race relations and perceptions in present day. In equal parts distressing, comical and uplifting, The Sellout proves its importance to the modern world and its worthiness as a Man Booker Prize winner.



Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss

If there was one word you wouldn’t expect to use to describe a book on punctuation it would probably be ‘funny’; yet Truss’s book is just that. A smart, savvy, but simple guide, it’ll give you a little extra confidence as you move forward with your writing.


Still Alice, Lisa Genova

An example of a self-publishing success story, Still Alice was Genova’s debut which went onto become a New York Times bestseller. It is one of the only (if not the only) novels to depict dementia from the first-person viewpoint of the person diagnosed.


Howards End is on the Landing, Susan Hill

From the author of The Woman in Black comes the perfect inspiration to do what you’ve been saying you’re going to do for years now: stop buying books and start reading the ones you own. If you’re a little short on cash then make this the last book you buy (at least for a while).

by Jodie R Reed