The weather’s gross, work is gross, life is gross. Faced with these facts of life I decided to ask strangers on middle path for book recommendations that might make me cry. Here’s what they said:
Ah, the delicious thrill of class participation. You raise your hand, tentatively at first, before fully solidifying your thought and thrusting your hand into the air. But how will you distinguish yourself from every other well-prepared student in the class? You can’t just comment on the author’s intentions or ask a question about figures mentioned in a study, no, you must do something that catches the attention of your professor and makes them think, “Wow, this kid knows their stuff,” and not, “Why is this school full of fucking normies…God, I wish I was teaching at Oberlin.”
I’m like you. Don’t worry, not entirely, but like you, I miss the library. I find the mods frustrating, and frankly, I don’t understand where our books are. I have questions, and I’m sure you do too. Where are our books? Why can’t I see them? Will I ever read again? How can I get books on this campus?
Now that I am an old and grumpy senior, I have begun to spend my time one of two ways. The first way is by complaining about how crowded the servery is at noon and attributing the crowd to the extra 90 students that admissions allowed to enroll this year and the year previous. (Related: admissions, if you are going to get rid of the supplemental essays, you better get ready to really, really improve your enrollment math because the servery just can’t handle any more of us). The second way I spend my time is by reflecting on how much and how well I’ve read during my years at Kenyon. I thought my fellow seniors (and some extra-smart juniors and sophomores) might also feel that they’ve become very well-read during their time here, so I asked a bunch of them to recommend the classes they’ve taken that have had the best reading lists.
We are all college students here, which means we’re supposed to enjoy reading. “Reading” refers not simply to the act of interpreting the written word, however. “Reading” means curling up with a work of Literary Fiction printed on dead tree matter and looking at all the words on all the pages. This kind of capital-R Reading is the only virtuous form of time-wasting. Think about it: you’d never admit to staying in on a Friday night to watch Instant Netflix, but you’d totally tell your friends if you stayed in to finish reading Lolita.
I think of myself as a person who reads. I enjoy a book from time to time, but I’m much more likely to spend an afternoon browsing Tumblr or watching TV than cracking a book. And yet, if someone says they Don’t Read Books I eye them askance. This is wrong of me.
The whole hierarchy of reading is super dumb. Guys, reading is supposed to be fun. If capital-R Reading is not fun for you, you do not have to do it. Allow me to elaborate: