about reading

Recently, I have been a part of a few different conversations about reading: what people read, how, when, etc. I've always thought of myself as a reader, but now that I think about it, I guess I should really fess up that I'm not necessarily that. Readers make time to read, and, well, I don't.
On the other hand, I really love reading when it's actually happening...and usually, I get annoyed that I have to stop to, say, sleep. But I'm admitting, after these conversations, that I'm not "a reader" at this point in my life.

One problem I have is that I feel really ignorant about books, authors, "classics," and overall literary history. I'm not quite sure why such-and-such book is considered classic of this or representative of that, but instead of picking it up to read it, my ignorance makes me want to not read it "yet" until I've learned the basics of literary history. I feel that I wouldn't "understand" the book as well as I would if I had some context in which to place it.
In the end, I end up not reading it because I don't have that knowledge, that results in not reading, and I'm "stuck" in the same position I was in before. It's a vicious cycle, really.

Don't get me wrong: I've taken steps to remedy this. I copied my friend's syllabus from Columbia, bought The Illiad and just tried to start plugging away. Eventually, I couldn't get past the dense list-of-battle-groups section. I moved on.
Another time I bought the Oxford Anthology of Literature and was determined to conduct my own survey literature course with it. Well, that wasn't the lightest summer reading (literally and figuratively), so I left the project for another time.
Other times I just read a book randomly, highly enjoy it, but feel like I didn't "learn" as much as I could because of my lack of understanding of literature.

Part of this is my stubborness about knowing as much as I could. Part of it is motivation/lazy issues. A lot of it is availability. One thing's for certain, though...I don't like the fact that I'm not a "reader," and I'd like to find -- or make -- the time to change that.

Maybe after this whole LSAT thing...

1 comment:

Monty said...

If you're interested in the quote-unquote classics, a good place to start is Barnes and Noble (seriosly). The Barnes and Noble Classics section reprints older texts at afforadble prices. Likewise, the the requied reading sections for local schools. I recently got Candide, the Jungle and Farenheit 451 for under $7 each.