Reading? Not for fun? For school?!
Don’t worry. It’ll be okay . . . Probably.
As an English major I’m always trying to find a way to enjoy what I’m being forced to read. Just saying that makes it sound horrible. Forced reading. But, really, if I decide not to do it then I’ll probably fail some quiz, test, or essay, and where’ll that leave me? Well, not as an English major anymore.
Besides, if all of this stuff is supposed to be great, so good that it’s being read all across the world (or at least, presumably, to let me get a job in the future) I think that I should be able to enjoy some of it. What is it that makes this literature so different from what I choose to read on my free time?
For one, everything I decide to read myself is a lot easier to digest. More of the great literature of our generation won’t be read in classes until far into the future. Everything I’m reading now, from the Odyssey to Shakespeare to The Great Gatsby, is a little old. Sure, the Great Gatsby has nothing on the Odyssey, and all of these books have themes and ideas that we can still relate to in modern times. But the language they’re written under, what makes them so lasting and powerful, can be a lot to trudge through when you’re under a time constraint.
I think I’d be able to enjoy these a lot more if I got to pick them up on my own and discover them that way, with as many days or weeks or months as I needed to read and enjoy them. Maybe it’d take me a month to get through one of the classics and two days to get through a Percy Jackson book.
That said, I haven’t hated all of the books I’ve been forced to read. I’ve found a few I know I’ll love forever. Pride and Prejudice, which I never really expected to like, is now one of my top books. Which also goes to show that maybe required reading is good because it pushes you out of your comfort zo
ne as a reader and lets you discover new (well, old) things.