As someone who currently studies English Literature with Creative Writing at university, you could say I know something about reading under pressure. Now I’m moving into my second year, I’m pretty much required to read about 4 books a week. I know other English students, and avid readers alike, would find that easy, but for someone who can famously be a slow reader at times, this is a challenge. To make matters worse, not only do I have to read these books, but read them actively, which for me translates into having a pencil ready to underline anything and everything.
I’d like to think, from my experience in my first year, that I can still mildly cope with reading at this speed, partly because I know I have to, otherwise I’d be spending 9 hours a week in lectures with constantly glazed eyes. However, what this past long summer has taught be is that it’s okay to slow down when you’re reading for pleasure. Even now I have to remind myself when I’m reading my ‘pleasure book’ to put down the pencil and just read. I don’t have to start thinking of themes that I could use to connect this book with another, or consider the symbolism the author uses to foreshadow a big moment or revelation. I can simply snuggle up in my bed, light my trusty scented candle, and read.
Therefore, going into my second year, I’d like to set myself a goal: to take time to read a ‘pleasure book’. By this I mean taking a break from reading a book for my course and, even if it’s only for 30 minutes, read a book I’ve actually been excited to pick up!