With the start of another school year, lining up at the campus bookstore is one of the familiar rituals of getting the term going.
Strolling through earlier this week, I couldn’t help lingering and browsing as I checked out what students are reading in other courses – courses I’ve taken before that have changed their syllabus, and others which I may or may never take but am curious to look up anyway. Though the idea of spending any more time reading than you have to for class may seem crazy for many of us, it can be part of how you get ideas for programs you might want to take, or definitely decide are not for you.
Aside from this, there is the simple curiosity of bookworms. The kind that has us scanning top 100 book lists, futilely gauging how well read we’ve become. There is some comfort in knowing that despite the rapid changes of society, language, books and what people deem important today, famous novelists, essayists and various other masters of the written word have survived through the years, remaining a staple of university education.
Perhaps this is so because even though many of us like to think we are more advanced than ever, the truth is there are many lessons to be gleaned from the enormous depth of past Russian literature, endless debates to be had about Ancient Greek philosophers, and exceptional delight in reading and rereading the likes of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Bronte, and (occasionally) Karl Marx.
So, as this school year revs up, remember the intrinsic rewards of reading mainstay authors of past generations and eras, maybe simply because something about the cover intrigued you.
Likely though, these are not what you’d find at the top of your reading lists.
But as time goes by, there may emerge some sentimental attachment to what has been passed down and encountered during your undergraduate years. And one day, even if you know you may never fully get through it all, you just might just buy that thick Tolstoy sitting on a shelf in some bookstore at the start of term.