Reading. Something we are told to love from a young age, and unless you’re lucky, you never actually love it. You only love to hate it.
I, and the other girls, went to private school growing up. So naturally we were forced to still do academic stuff during the summer, when we were actually supposed to be on IM until 2 a.m. and making cool music videos to White Flag by Dido. Each summer it was either read the books first thing in June or wait until two weeks before school began and skim like a madwoman.
The only book I remember reading during the summer was Number the Stars. This book was my absolute favorite summer reading book because it was my discovery of the holocaust. It opened my eyes to history and all new things that happen in the world. However, shortly after the reading test I’m sure I was forced to take I probably forgot the entire plot.
Then in high school I used SparkNotes to get through every book I was “reading” in class. High school is the time in life when I had so much love and so much hate for reading. Like every normal teenager I didn’t like being told what to do, or what to read. So I did my best writing bull shitting paper after paper with what little help I got from class notes and the internet. Also, friends. Because we look out for each other. Friends rock because when we all decide to zone out we end up with spots in notes that can only be filled by with teamwork.
High school reading was also the time when I found out what type of books I enjoy reading most. Like most girls who graduated high school between the years of 2009-2012, I became obsessed with Twilight. I’m not ashamed to admit it because we all have our guilty pleasures. Plus, the last movie was actually pretty decent. It is literally impossible that I was the only 20 year old girl who screamed when (spoiler alert!!) CARLISE DIED. It was genius and you know it. I fell in love with the intense love that Bella and Edward shared and like any good book I developed a relationship with the characters. And so I say to you, Stephenie Meyer, thank you. You helped me rediscover how fun and personal reading can be at a time when reading was starting to really, really suck.
Then in college we all had to balance our newfound freedom with the expectations of parents. I will be totally honest here: I don’t read my textbooks. Let me explain before you call me a bad student and think about how disappointed my parents would be to hear this not so earth shattering news.
In college we are told to read textbooks, regular books, supplemental readings, and our freaking professor’s blogs (I’ve never read a professor’s blog, but you get the point). While I’ve been in school I’ve always had the best intentions of reading my textbooks, but now I’m at the point where I don’t like being told what to read. I totally get that there is information in the book that is important, but most professors lecture based on what’s in the freaking book! So if I’m going to be told what’s in the book, why would I read it beforehand? That’s not always my mindset, though. Because one time I took an intro to literature class and read most some of each of the books, and really enjoyed them, but again we discussed them in depth in class.
So here is my reading advice for anyone who doesn’t feel like reading two chapters for three different classes: just skim, you’ll be fine.
However, in high school we read The Great Gatsby junior year, and yes I did read the WHOLE BOOK. Accomplished, aren’t I? The movie comes out on Friday and I really want to read the book again before I see it. Will I? Who knows! But this is a lesson to readers everywhere: Some school books are totally relevant in everyday life. The Great Gatsby is about partying for goodness sake! If reading about rich people who have tons of personal drama and get to attend lavish parties all the time doesn’t sound like a good read, then what do you even know?