Saturday, September 13, 2014

Does Required Reading Ruin Reading?

In this post, I want to do something that I don't normally do. I want to talk about my life.
Sure, I drop little tidbits here and there are my daily going-ons, but rarely do I commit and entire post to it. Since I've been absent since the beginning of September, I thought you might enjoy reading about where I'm at. I know it's a break from the regularly scheduled topics, but I hope you enjoy it anyhow. So here goes:


This past week, I started university. I was high school graduate of 2013, then I took the year off from school to work. For the first few months, I just worked my part-time library job, which brought money in, but was still only pennies compared to the entire bill I knew I would be getting in September. In November of 2013, after weeks and weeks of applying to jobs and hearing nothing, my friend's grandma got me an in for an temporary Information Technology Service Technician job. Basically, I was a computer nerd for a year (even though I had no prior experience). That was a fulltime job and a total blessing from God. So I started working my two jobs and the bank account started growing and I couldn't have been happy. It was a wonderful year.

When September came around again (aka now), I had enough money saved, so I with many tears I quit my ITS job (kept my library job) and started university. I'm only taking four classes this semester (as opposed to five), because I took a dual credit course in high school. Even so, I have a lot of reading on my plate, since I'm taking two English courses and two History courses.


In high school, I never had required readings that were so intense that they took over my entire reading life. In short, I've always been able to have a "fun" book on the side. Now I'm looking at my reading schedule and seeing that reading my "fun" book might not be possible.

Now here's the question that's been bouncing around my head for the past week or so.

Does required reading take away the joy of reading?

When I expressed my concerns to my co-worker, who just recently graduated with a major in English, she told me that she banned "fun" books during the school year. She only read her choices in the summer; the rest of the year was dedicated to required readings. I've also heard a few people say that they never wanted to read another book after university. Those types of statements scare me a bit.

Will I never get to read any YA books? Is reading even going to be fun this year?
What if I grow to despise reading because it's forced upon me?

I took a breath and remembered why I was doing this.

This past year it's been rare for me to have the occasion to critically think about and discuss a book. And I really missed that. I didn't realize just how much I enjoyed analyzing and discussing books, until I didn't have it in my life anymore. Don't get me wrong, reading and writing book blogs helped fulfill that desire a lot, but there's nothing like the classroom. I love having an academic authority (aka a teacher) pushing me and the way I think about texts. For me that type of learning is part of the joy of reading. It's exciting that I'll get to experience that everyday, even if the readings being analyzed wouldn't be my first choice.

So am I going to despise reading by the end of this? I don't know. I hope not. I'll get back to you in May.

This post has been a bit of a brain dump for me, but I'm really interested in hearing your experiences with required reading. Did it sour your joy of reading? Did you get to have "fun" books on the side? Any tips on university in general? Leave me all your thoughts in the comment section.

P.S. I want to thank Jessica Nicole from Strung Out on Books for tagging me in the TBR tag. If you're interested in a post about my to-reads, feel free to check this one or this one out. And as always you're are welcome to friend me on Goodreads (I accept all requests)!

Reading: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (for school)
Listening: The Civil Wars
Watching: Once Upon a Time

12 comments:

  1. With college comes so much more reading, I think, than I will be prepared for. Still... I like to think that while I love analysis of books and poetry, I think I also love diving into the story for comprehension sometimes, and I would hate to leave that behind. Somewhere there's a balance, I hope.

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    1. Somewhere there is balance, I hope so too. Balance is key, and I'm going to have to try reaaallly hard to find it this year.

      Thanks for commenting:)

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  2. It's my third year of college, but all my required reading is papers and textbooks etc. I will never take another literature class, so I'm not sure what you're referring to? But oh well. I LOVE READING. And after these two years, I still love reading. Required reading hasn't really made me hate reading, but then again I'm reading completely different things that don't need to be fully analyzed all the time. So yeah. That's all I can say.

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    1. Haha, I'm glad that you still like reading. It gives me hope!
      Thanks for leaving me your two cents!

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  3. I will definitely be interested to see if you still love reading in May. ;) I have no idea! I've never done uni/college, but I did homeschool with a seriously HUGE emphasis on books. I always loved the books I was given, so for me it was quite alright. I'm not sure how I would handle classics these days though. I love to think about books, but I more enjoy just a brief dip into a story world or two or three or ninety-six.

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    1. Haha, thanks:) I've always loved books too, so I'm hoping that I'll make it through alright. It's those classic's that I'm worried about though.

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  4. I never read for fun in high school because we always had so many books to read in English class that I could not keep up. So required reading did ruin reading for me. I hope that doesn't happen to you.

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    1. Yikes! That's too bad. I really hope it doesn't happen to me:(

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  5. I grew up homeschooled. ALLLL my life I loved reading. I learned to read at four years old. When I was six, I read Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

    And in grade seven, I decided to go to school. I lasted one semester. We had to read 'The Hobbit' for school, I book I had read before and really liked. I HATED reading it for school - I couldn't read at my own pace - I hated having to answer a thousand questions about each chapter instead of enjoying the book!

    For the rest of that year, I did not read for recreation whatsoever. I had too much homework and too much assigned reading. The last straw was my teacher telling my parents at a parent teacher interview that I was a poor reader.

    He told her I had read Stephen King's IT when I was ten, and my reading wasn't the problem. I hated school. And I don't believe in assigned reading unless it's in later secondary school or post secondary. Why not encourage reading in other ways, like letting the kdis CHOOSE what they read?!

    If you can't teach a kid to love reading organically, it will always be a chore.

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    1. I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience:( I always loved the classes where teachers let us choose the novels we were going to study individually.

      Teaching kids to love reading organically is one of the biggest struggles parents face, but it's such a worthy pursuit.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing a bit about your experiences:D

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  6. Sometimes it can feel like required reading is ruining books, but I think it all depends on your attitude, and also your teacher/professor/lecturer. Often I find that I enjoy books more for looking at the themes/threads in a more in depth way!

    Anyway, good luck with this year and I hope you never stop enjoying reading! By the way, I've nominated you for the Liebster Award, if you want it :)

    http://wishingiwasnorthern.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/liebsterified.html

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    1. Ooo! Yes! Attitude plays a HUGE part in how it goes, as does the way a prof handles the text.

      Thanks so much for nominating me:) I'm honored.

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