Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tainted by Required Reading

Used to be, I loved to read. Absolutely adored it.

Then, I went to a school where you were required to read certain books (usually at least seven)
over the summer.

I understand "Summer reading" - really, I do, but assign one or two books maximum. Half the point of summer reading is to keep students actively involved in learning by excerising their brain. The problem is, if you assign seven or more full length novels during a two and a half month time span, that leaves no time for students (who actually enjoy reading) to creatively and uniquely exercise their brain by picking out books they want to read. That was high school for me - reading essentially stopped. There was no time to read during the school year between class, homework, extra curriculars and some socializing. There was no time to read what I wanted during the summer because I had seven other books to be reading.

Now I'm in college. Freshman year, I thought, "Great, now I'll get to read for pleasure again." Not so. When you have over 100 pages of textbook reading, which is (usually) the most boring type of reading out there, a night in addition to the rest of the assignments you have to complete, you still don't have time to read. If I wasn't in class, I was doing homework. If I wasn't doing either of those, it was a club or organizational meeting. If, by any chance I wasn't preoccupied with those activities, I had work. When was I going to be able to pick up a book again?!

You learn. I carry a book with me during the school year. Most days, I only get through a page or two, but (loving reading as I do) I'll take what I can get. I get to class three minutes early, I pull out my book and read. I've got an additional office job this year - my downtime will be spent doing homework, studying, writing, and (you guessed it) reading.

I have been tainted by required reading. I do not read nearly as much as I used to; however, there are some amazing books that I probably never would have read if it weren't for required reading. Great books I've read through forced reading: Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Brave New World by Aldous Hexley, and The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde - just to name a few.

If you love reading and happen to still be in school. Every required reading assignment you recieve, look at it as an opportunity to discover an amazing book that you might not have picked up off the shelf otherwise. Will it always turn out to be an impressive piece of literature? Of course not, but the potential is always there.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh Boy, the Obligatory, Introductory Post

So here I am. Sitting with my laptop on my lap (imagine that) and I'm wondering what I should put for my first post.
Should I post about writing?
Why I made the blog?

Do not be fooled - I still have not come to a conclusion on the dilemma. I'm thinking (don't quote me on this) that I'm going to post about ALL of it. Here goes - in no particular order:

Who am I?
I am, of recent, Bug. My name is Crystal MacLean and, currently (January 2010), I am a junior in college. I have a double major in Business Administration and in Theatre on the Theatre for Youth. The craziest part? My majors don't relate to my career goal (something I realized recently). My intentions are to attend graduate school to obtain a MA in teaching to become a early childhood/elementary school teacher who will also be involved with the school's theatre program (if the school has one). I have a mother, father, sister, and dog; all of whom I love like crazy. Get used to hearing about my sister; she is my best friend and other half. In the spring, I will have two/three (it's an ish-situation) part time jobs as well as taking 15 credit hours, and doing an independent study. Interests include (but are in no way limited to): Writing, reading, eating, music (supposedly I'm teaching myself how to play the guitar), working, movies, blogging (apparently), and others. That's me in a nutshell.

Why did I make this blog?
I wanted to ensure that everyone got the chance to hear my ravings and rants.
Actually, I wanted to be able to share my advice and discoveries about reading, writing, and life. This blog is (for the most part) intended to be a venue where I can post ideas about the writing/creative process, review a movie, shamelessly plug things I've found and liked, and so much more. Because I'm a writer, you can expect to hear a lot about writing.

What do I have to say about writing today?
I say that music is love (often in this form: ♪♫=♥) but WRITING, writing is passion. Especially fiction. You have to create these characters and this world and then dive into it - sometimes knowing what is going to happen next and sometimes you're completely blind to the story that you're about to tell.

What do I have to say about reading today?
Reading is a guilty pleasure often tainted by requirement. That's all I'm going to say on the subject of reading today, but you can definitely expect to hear more about that statement in the near future.

What do I want from you?
A new question that I wasn't expecting to post about! As much as this blog is done by me, it's for you. So, if you would, leave a comment about what you'd like to see. Got a book you'd like a review for? Let me know, I'll read it (or find someone reliable who has if I don't have the time) and get you a review. Same goes for a movie. Have questions or want assistance with a writing piece you're working on, tell me! What do you want from this blog?