I’ve always loved to read; as the daughter of two authors, it was somewhat unavoidable. At a younger age I consumed hoards of fantasy novels and realistic fiction, always yearning to disappear into my books and wander off to somewhere new. But I don’t think I’m alone in recognizing that as the years start to slip by it's easy to lose track of that feeling. Schoolwork, sports and jobs demand more and more of our attention and swallow up our free time. Nevertheless, I've decided to make a real effort to return to my old bookworm ways.
I had a little bit of a head start over the summer. The key, I found, was to take advantage of every spare moment that I encountered. I started carrying my books with me everywhere, reading on my breaks while waiting to meet up with friends. Soon enough I was blazing through my list, adding to it as I went. I read anything that caught my eye, my favorites including John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Zealot by Reza Aslan, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.
Although the new school year poses a problem to these habits, we still find time for exercise, shopping, and catering to our Lifetime movie addiction, so it should be feasible to sit down with a book now and then. For me, getting a quiet hour to myself once in a while is not only quite enjoyable, but recharges my brain for all the chemistry OWLs I’ve been avoiding.
As a quasi-adult, slipping into that how-long-have-I-been-sitting-here state of mind relies both on the physical and mental setting that you start with. When I'm sufficiently relaxed I can read anywhere- noisy neighbors be damned. But at the end of a long day, I need a comfy couch and my favorite xx album on repeat to sink into what I'm reading. It's not just what to read, but where to read. Any University of Michigan student with college experience longer than two weeks knows what places to avoid when they need to focus in a quiet atmosphere (i.e. the dorms, the Union tap room, the basement/first/second floor of the UGLI, etc). But even after a year and I can still feel unsure of where to go.
So armed with only a reading list, comfy socks, and a respectable supply of pixie sticks to appease my semi-serious sugar addiction, I’m dedicating myself to the quest for peaceful reading and for those rare, quiet nooks on campus that will take me there. And, if necessary, for that ideal playlist for the places (and people) that need a little help being drowned out.
I have decided to chronicle my literary endeavors not only because I happen to love to read, but also because I know firsthand how hard it is to find the time to make your brain happy during the school year. Hopefully this column will serve as a point of reference for those looking for book suggestions and reading nooks across campus, or simply as motivation for those who would like to read more and don't know where to start. What I'm reading, where I'm reading, and tips on how to become your best bookwormy self will all be at your disposal.
Excited to get nerdy,
- the Campus Bookworm