What was the last book you read for fun? Personally, I have to think about the answer to that question for a while before I can come to a conclusion. At this point in the semester, it’s hard to imagine taking any time off of studying for midterms or writing papers to do something as simple as reading when every second counts. However, when my “study breaks” turn into Netflix binges, it’s hard for me to explain the reason that I didn’t pick up one of the old paperbacks I have in my dorm room instead.
As an English major, I firmly believe that reading is one of the best ways to fill spare time, whether it be a bus ride (if you are one of those lucky souls who can read in a moving vehicle), a meal by yourself, or simply some time between classes. Reading is a way to gain knowledge, and to escape the routine of everyday life through the words on a page. I read plenty of interesting and influential texts—whether it be poetry of prose, or a combination of the two. However, I noticed that despite all of the reading I do for class, I am lacking in the “reading for personal enjoyment” category.
With midterms (hopefully) drawing to a close, I challenge you over the next few months to reach for a bestselling novel when you are about to watch the second (or third, or forth…) episode in your weekly Netflix binge, or to grab a collection of poetry when you are on your way to the dining hall, instead of begging a friend to come along. After all, autumn is the perfect time to curl up with a good book, a fuzzy blanket, and a warm cup of tea. I am going to try and hold myself to the same task, but I can’t guarantee anything.
If you’re clueless about what to read next, I strongly suggest picking up Sula, by Toni Morrison. I recently read this work of Morrison’s for a class, but don’t let that deter you. Sula is a relatively easy-to-read story about two close friends and their relationship as they grow up and experience life. Morrison weaves a beautifully complicated tapestry of Nel and Sula’s lives, their interactions with one another, and the larger part they play within their community. The novel is written in prose, but like all of the other works I’ve read by Morrison, it reads in an overwhelmingly poetic way. Not only is the story fascinating, but the words themselves, and the way Morrison arranges them on the page, also make the book worth reading.
So there you go! A challenge for the months that lie ahead: to actually read for fun, to fill up the time spent on useless things with books, and to explore unfamiliar worlds through the words on a page. I’ve even provided a suggestion to get you started! And, by the way, if you have any suggestion for my next “reading for fun” book, let me know!!