There, I said it.
Lecturers if you’re reading this please don’t take it personally. It’s not you it’s me. Steve, Literature editor, please try not to recoil in disgust.
It wasn’t always like this, I remember a time when we (books and I) were inseparable. Long summers were spent on beaches or in the garden with piles of novels at my side. Winter evenings tucked up in bed with a literary classic were what brought me real joy.
And so I applied for a literature degree hoping to take this bond to the next level.
Fresher’s week came and went in the blink of an eye and there I was in my first lecture with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness plonked in front of me. Talk about easing us in; it was undoubtedly all down hill from then on.
Weekly I have to read at least one novel, play or selection of short stories for each module I take. Combine that with pages and pages of literary critiques, additional articles and contextual readings. What we literature students lack in contact hours, we make up for with hours in the library.
So once that’s all done and dusted and I can’t stomach the sight of John Ryland’s any longer the last thing I want to do is get home and sit down with a “good old” book.
Even if I do get an out of character urge to sit down and flick something open, before I’ve even begun said book is already ruined. It is impossible to get out of the over analytical mindset that’s been forced down my throat for the last two years.
So instead of being encapsulated by the enigmatic and intriguing protagonist or being on the edge of my seat as the novel reaches its climax I’m instead dissecting the structural framework and reading over a particular sentence more times than is probably considered normal.
It leaves me fairly hopeless when trying to read anything more highbrow than Harry Potter or Sophie Kinsella’s most recent chick lit creation; and even that’s a struggle at times.
There is a book shaped hole in my life one that just can’t be filled by reality TV or magazines. I’m hoping this is just a rough patch, a rut if you like, and that once my degree is complete we’ll be back on track. Fingers crossed, we’ll get through this but for now I just can’t bring myself to mix business with pleasure.
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