For the better part of this semester, my reading has been great. Yes, it would suffer when I would get busy with school. I was taking two classes and I had to put together my portfolio, after all. But that busyness only came in spurts. For a good part of the semester it was just me and my books. I did some incredible reading, which was just what I needed in so many ways. (Surely you haven't forgotten all of those whiney posts in which I complained about my lack of quality reading!)
Now that I'm officially done, though, I feel even better. I can read anything I want because I have all the time in the world! Never again for the foreseeable future will I have to come home and do work. I won't have anything hanging over me because work can stay at work. I won't have these asinine papers to research and write or these stupidly boring articles to read...or pretend to read because let's be real. I can come home at the end of the day and read.
So now that I'm blissfully done with everything, reading and deciding what to read has become so easy. Maybe because it's something I have time for. I am not putting off doing something else, so I don't have to feel guilty. It doesn't matter what I read because I can always read that book later because I really want to read this one right now. I am not being told that I have to read this or that--I can read what I want and I can just enjoy it as opposed to looking for talking points to flesh out my papers. Though I am still keeping my habits of underlining and writing questions when the mood strikes me. There's a lot more freedom in meandering my way through a book as opposed to looking for specific things. Reading has become a pleasure again, something I do for me.
So what have I been reading?
I recently finished Therese Raquin by Emile Zola...That book has been hanging over my head for a really long time. I really enjoyed reading it and will definitely review it on my personal blog soon. I think Zola's approach and message were very interesting. It was a very good study and a great example of the naturalist literature of the turn of the century.
I am currently co-hosting a readalong of Ulysses by James Joyce over on my personal blog. I haven't read as much of it as I would have liked--my goal is to read enough to be able to finish during a Bloomsday readathon on June 16. But I have read a few inspiring articles about other people's experiences with the novel and that has given me enough courage to just dive in head first without an aids. I'm not reading this book for credit, so it's OK if some of it goes way over my head! I can always look up things that I want to have clarified. Fortunately, I got a good night's sleep last night, so I think I can do that tonight!
Lastly, I am slowly beginning to discover Ann Patchett. Last week (or maybe the week before) I happened across her collection of pieces called This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, which contains articles about her writing, her relationships, and her life. Absolutely wonderful. One of the articles about her writing was really inspiring to me on a personal level and I immediately searched out a copy of the essay to print off so I can mark it up and take notes (and in the process, I discovered Byliner, which is a great website with original content by various authors and thinkers). This same essay also inspired me to purchase her debut novel, The Patron Saint of Liars, which is just lovely so far and has been such a pleasure to start. I don't know why I have never read anything by her!
Lately I've been reading like I've always wanted to as an adult! And that is such a wonderful feeling. Who knew that all along it was school that was standing in the way?