Over the course of my degree my addiction to books has only increased. I have been introduced to new genres and authors. As a result I have been adding books to my “to read list” and to my “to buy list” I have also bought several and added them to my bookshelf to be read at a later date. I find I have so much reading to be done for school that any reading time needs to be spent on schoolbooks. I have not finished a book since I started my degree that was not for school. I have started several, though, and I pick them up every few months and read a bit more when I need a break.
I am learning to rediscover reading for pleasure. It is a very different form of reading than reading for academia. Whether they are books I thoroughly enjoy or books I struggle through, reading for school is inherently different. Each passage is read closely, looking for symbols, themes, or deeper meaning. Trying to decipher why the author is saying that; what could it be foreshadowing; why was it said in that manner and at this point? When I pick up a book to read for pleasure I can skim over slow parts, or read while I am half-asleep. I still get involved in the book and care for the book, but it does not have the same pressure as reading for class.
I recently started reading I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. This book has reignited my love for pleasure reading. It related back to some of my course work and I find I am getting more information from it now than I would have previously. I am not only being entertained by it, but I am feeling educated by it?I can feel my education coming into play as I read the passages written by this young girl. While I’ve found my previous education coming into play reading other novels for course work, this is an entirely different feeling.
I have found that reading this novel has rejuvenated by commitment to my courses. When you are buried in academic readings it can feel as though these are things that happened ages ago. They have real-world connections but are not always modern issues. The history of women’s issues, in this case, is important to understand. Having a book like I am Malala helps to bring those issues forward, to see how far society has come and yet how far it has to go. It helps to make these events more personalized. This novel, and I have only just started, is bringing to light issues that surround the Middle East; issues that are glossed over in newscasts or lost completely.
It can be difficult to apply a humanities degree to daily life, to see the progress you are making and the knowledge you are gaining. It can be done, though, by simply taking the time to do something you love?read. Remember to read for pleasure, to seek information outside the coursework and university life. In this way I have found I am able to clearly see how far I have come, and how far I have yet to go. It is always beneficial to pick up a book, whether it is one with cultural significance or a mystery. Regardless of what it is, it will help you to see where you have come.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature