With midterm season looming over us, we’re all feeling crunched for time and probably very overwhelmed. In times such as these, an escape would be nice. I’m here to tell you all that an escape is possible! It’s literally right in front of you and accessible anytime. Now would be a great time for a drumroll, but since I can’t do that through writing, I’m going to just tell you what it is: books.
Ester, come on. Books? We read those all the time! Assigned readings and--
I know, it’s probably not what you were expecting. It seems counter intuitive to suggest that you read more when you’re already drowning under a mountain of novels and textbooks, especially if you’re an English major like I am.
I was talking to my boyfriend a few weeks ago about books. He’d asked me how far along I’d gotten in a book he’d recommended to me months before, and I had to sheepishly admit that I hadn’t progressed very much since the last time he’d asked. I then went on to explain how much reading I had to get done for my classes. “I just feel really guilty reading anything that’s not related to school at this point,” I remember saying to him. His response really made me think: “Well, you still need to read things for the sake of enjoyment; isn’t that the point of being an English major?”
He’s right. Prioritizing is crucial as far as keeping afloat where schoolwork is concerned, but it wouldn’t be reasonable to drop absolutely everything you do for fun under the guise of doing well in school. Up until that conversation, I hadn’t realized that in reading all the books I was instructed to, my love for reading was slowly turning into a robotic action. What was meant to encourage me to love books even more was the very thing that was changing my view of the sole purpose of reading, and that purpose is enjoyment. I’m not advocating that we all toss our textbooks and read sci-fi all day after day; what I want to stress here is that you absolutely need to back up a bit if you’re feeling overwhelmed and schedule free time in your days. “Free time” probably sounds like a thing of fairy tales and dreams, but I promise you, it’s always available if you make it so. Scotiabank’s slogan is “you’re richer than you think” and I think that this holds true for free time—it’s more available than you think!
Instead of reaching for your phone or the TV remote next time you have a few moments to breathe, try grabbing a book. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace; the cool thing about books is that the genres are endless! Like music, there’s something for everyone. There’s short books and long books, fiction and nonfiction, fantasy and drama, old books and contemporary—there’s a whole world of literature waiting to be explored, and rather than exploring, we’re allowing them to gather dust in our shelves, and I think that’s really sad.
I understand that reading may not be your thing, but I encourage you all to at least give it a shot. If you don’t know where to start, there are many ways you can get recommendations! Ask a librarian, reach out to a friend, talk to your parents, or just wander through a library and pick whatever looks interesting. Audio-books are also something to consider if you focus better via hearing. I know that this isn’t your typical entertainment piece, but if you think about it, books are a form of entertainment too! Let’s not leave them behind. Now, off to finish A Clash of Kings.