NINA COSDON, Editor-in-Chief—When was the last time you read for fun? When did you last read because you wanted to, and not because you were forced to for a class?
I like to work in the stacks on the second floor of the library. I do this because I get distracted very easily, so I have to work somewhere that is virtually silent with no windows. This is exactly where I was earlier this week when I noticed the books around me were largely fiction. Wow. I have never once considered checking out a fiction book from the Denison library. But there they were, surrounding me in all their glory.
On the shelf closest to me was William Golding’s classic, Lord of the Flies. I personally loved that book. Sometimes Golding’s imagery gets so flowery that you’re not sure what’s real and what’s imagined, but that’s also part of its charm. That, and it reminds you why a society should never be run exclusively by men. Anyway, seeing Lord of the Flies and remembering how much I genuinely enjoyed it made me think of all the people I knew who didn’t like it that much.
I realized that there was a pattern that appeared: those I’ve spoken to who didn’t care for Lord of the Flies were forced to read it at some point in their school career. I read it for fun, and so did the majority of other people who really liked the book.
This isn’t exactly a novel revelation; who wants to be forced to do something? Is the reason I always come back to Animal Farm but loathe 1984 because I was mandated to read the latter? I can’t say for sure. All I know is that if you end up at a liberal arts college, chances are you enjoyed reading at some point in your life. Or maybe you still love to read. I keep a couple “just for fun” books in my room, but I’m usually so burned out that all I want to do in my free time is watch something mindless and go to bed early.
I’m here to propose a way we can reclaim our love of reading. Two words, baby: Book. Club.
A book club is the perfect blend of reading for work and pleasure. You pick the book yourself, and you’re under no strict requirement to finish it, so it’s for fun. But, book club meetings give you a soft deadline that pushes you to read when you would otherwise not.
I was in a mother-child book club for a couple of years in elementary school, and it was nothing less than fantastic. Each week a different kid would suggest a book and a month later, we’d gather at their house to discuss the books with themed food and games (when we read Holes, we ate sunflower seeds and dug ditches outside).
So this is my pitch, Denison: Once a month, any interested persons will gather in a non-classroom space to discuss the book chosen at the prior club meeting. Snacks and insightful commentary should abound.
If you’ve read this far, you must be interested, so we might as well make this dream a reality.
Reading was fun once, and it can and should be again.
Possible suggestions, for posterity: My favorite books: · Catch-22 · The Phantom Tollbooth · Crime and Punishment · The Princess Bride · One Hundred Years of Solitude Books I’ve been meaning to read: · In Cold Blood · Jane Eyre · The Brothers Karamazov · In Dubious Battle · Heart of Darkness
Nina Cosdon ‘21 is a communication and anthropology/sociology double major from Meadville, PA.