Putting Required into Reading
Being a part-time university/college student doesn't mean I'm free from required reading lists, and when I was first stepped into the world of "English Majors", I was very excited to receive my first required reading books.
Subsequently, I wanted to do this.
As the wise Wes Ayers from The Archived trilogy said,
Requirement ruins even the best of books.
BUT DOES IT?After two years and counting, I've come to acknowledge the fact that it's my problem of being unable to conquer classics, or books of the 18th and 19th centuries, or Shakespeare's texts. Here are some of the texts I'm supposed to have fully read but really, I've skimmed them for the sake of writing assessments and examinations.
- Shakespeare's Macbeth
- Shakespeare's The Tempest
- Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
- Jane Austen's Mansfield Park
And for this semester, here are some of the books I'm supposed to be tackling,
- Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders
- Jane Austen's Persuasion
- Fanny Burner's Evelina
- Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things
- Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
Admittedly, when I also saw Pride & Prejudice alongside Persuasion, I was slightly mollified because it was the one book I had read up to 60% before I gave up. It's probably a sign that I should try harder, which I am! I'm about one-fifth into Moll Flanders, and I have an essay about it due next Monday. I think I'm on a good course, now that I know what my problem is.
I'm beginning to feel that it's the type of hand that the books were written in that deter me so much from reading. I am at least, somewhat looking forward to reading The God of Small Things. Plus, if you think that I did not complete ALL the books on my required list, then you're a little wrong. There are books from certain modules that I've completed, such as,
- E.B. White's Charlotte's Web
- Karen Levine's Hana's Suitcase
- Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
There are also books that I'm interested in completing but my books are out on loan to others and have not returned... (I am actually rather worried, lol!) One of which I enjoyed is Joyce Carol Oates' Wild Nights!.
I also think the lecturers and tutors that assist you in breaking down the book plays a big part in making the "requirement" part more fun, especially when analysing. I've been in a 19th century literature class that makes me want to cry, even though I was quite interested in Jane Eyre (because of Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy, if nothing else, haha). Then I've also been in a Jacobean Drama class that I had been apprehensive in enrolling because of the time period (dude, 1500s to 1600s!!), BUT the lecturer was so enthusiastic and passionate about the subject that I found the plays hilarious even though they were little monsters waiting to eat me up.
At the end of the day, many factors play into it. Mostly personal and situational, but the books are innocent! But I feel that if someone gave me the books for free waaaaaaay before the classes, I'll happily eat them all up. The idea of having to use the novel as a textbook probably puts me off more than I am consciously aware of, in addition to the many self-serving justifications I have tried to use above. /coughs
What do you think about "required" readings? Anyone else having problems tackling their required readings?