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The Monthly Read

Course Times & Enrolment

(Code LI318-202) Classes 10:00-13:00, Thursdays: 23/01/20, 20/02/20 and 19/03/20 LG47 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: David M. Wingrove AB (Magna) MA BFI Cert
This course is now closed for enrolments
(Code LI318-302) Classes - 30th April, 28th May, 25th June. All 10.00 - 13.00. Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Rachael King MA
Sorry, this course is cancelled

Course Summary

Through this monthly, tutor-led reading group, we aim to celebrate the joy and reward of reading a good book, and sharing our reflections with others. The Monthly Read will enliven the reading process and is open to everyone, from those who have read fewer books than they would like, to those who are avid readers but who would benefit from guided discussion.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prerequisites. In order to get the most from each class, students should read the book before each session. 

Content of Course

The Monthly Read will encourage participants to read novels closely and carefully, to enjoy identifying the elements of a great novel, and to share their personal reflections. The novels will be selected to cover a range of genres, eras and countries, and to relate to the termly theme. For each novel the following elements of fiction will be considered: plot, structure, characterisation, setting, dialogue, narration, descriptive language and historical / social / political contexts. At the end of the term, participants will be asked to compare and contrast the three novels, examining the way each author deals with the connecting theme. In order to get the most from each class, students should read the book before each session. The texts for each term are as follows:

Term 1 - On Campus:

1. Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis

2. The History Man, Malcolm Bradbury

3. The Secret History, Donna Tartt

Term 2 - Patricia Highsmith:

1. Strangers on a Train, Patricia Highsmith

2. The Talented Mr Ripley, Patricia Highsmith

3. Carol, Patricia Highsmith

Term 3 - Real Lives in Fiction

1. Regeneration, Pat Barker

2. The Hours, Michael Cunningham

3. Larchfield, Polly Clarke

Teaching method(s)

First and foremost, The Monthly Read endeavours to promote reading as a fun and rewarding experience, especially when shared with others. The tutor will give an introductory presentation and then facilitate a discussion, encouraging all to
participate. The tutor will offer guidance on literary terminology and theories as appropriate. The tutor may identify key passages of text to act as a focal point for discussion, and refer to contemporary reviews and critiques.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Communicate ideas and arguments about a text using recognised literary terminology;

  • Consider and identify the tools and techniques (such as setting, characterisation, dialogue and narration) used by writers to engage readers;

  • Compare and contrast texts, identifying any common themes that emerge;

  • Place texts within their historical, political and social contexts.


Core Readings


  • The three texts as per term (any edition)


  • Lodge, D. 2011. The Art of Fiction. London: Vintage

  • Mullan, J. 2006. How Novels Work. Oxford: Oxford University Press

  • Forster, E.M., 1962. Aspects of the Novel. Harmondsworth:

  • Penguin


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.