Thursday, February 23, 2012

Put down the remote, pick up a novel or 2

Editor encourages using library, limiting distractions, reading for enjoyment

By Jessica Trondsen, Opinion Editor

I can’t remember the last time I sat down and read a book, just for the pure enjoyment of it.

Assigned reading? Yes. I have read chapter three and the article on Sakai, and I’ve even completed the related homework.

But reading just to read? It’s been a while. And that’s a shame.

I love reading, and I should. I used to walk through bookstores and libraries until I had a stack of books so high I could barely see over the top. And I used to read everything I gathered. Reading invited me to think, imagine and create. I miss that.

I don’t know when this stopped. I guess it has something to do with over access to the internet. It might be because of an increase in the amount of work and studying I have now. It probably has a lot to do with my continual decision to pick up a TV remote instead of a novel.

In any case, my priorities have shifted.

I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for prolonged internet stumbling or even less-than-stimulating television viewing.

I consume information from both media all the time, although my penchant for stupid television and wasting time online rarely allows me to be actively engaged. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

So, friends, I have a challenge for us.

That’s right, I will be joining you.

There is this place on the corner of upper campus called Mortvedt Library. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Maybe you’ve even used it for a quiet place to study. Go there.

The first floor has movies and magazines and computers. It’s pretty nice, actually. Walk past that.

Go up to the second floor, the third, even, if you feel like it. Find the rows and rows of books, but more specifically, the ones that intrigue you. Pick up something off the shelf, and take it back to the first floor to check it out at the front desk. The librarians would love to help you and will even give you a library account number if you are new to the club.

Are you still with me? Ok, good. Now, read it. Return it to the library when you’ve finished or when it’s due, whichever comes first. If it’s due before you finish, renew it.

If you hate the book, return it and get a new one. That’s the beauty of the library—there are always more books.

If you’re like me, you probably even have books in your room you haven’t read. It’s time to read them or get rid of them. Maybe it’s time to do both.

I, for one, will pick up a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. I can’t believe I haven’t read it.

In a week, I want you to ask me about it. In turn, I will ask for your reading recommendations.

I look forward to your suggestions.