The Reading Paradigm

I have to admit, I’m quite disappointed in myself. This year has been going great, I’ve been on top of homework, getting enough sleep, and I see my friends regularly, and always enjoy my time with them.

But I’ve been neglecting one very important part of school. Reading outside of class.

I’ve always been a ravenous reader, ever since I was little. A lot of times when we’d have library time in elementary school, my friends would look at the I, Spy books while I was looking at the chapter books, the ones that were “harder” and “above my reading level.” I still remember begging my librarian to let me read a book because it was about rabbits and it had won a Newberry Award, so it had a fancy ribbon on the front. It was two reading levels above the grade I was currently in, but I read it, and I was able to tell my librarian what it was about afterwards, so she knew I understood it. I don’t remember it now, but that experience of being told no but doing it anyways was always my kind of style.

My reading habits carried on with me through middle school, although I will admit I went through slumps. Luckily, many of my friends enjoyed reading, so it wasn’t like elementary school where I was the only one reading while everyone else was playing Pokemon on their GameBoys. I honestly couldn’t get my hands on new books fast enough, and I’d often ask my mom to take me to the public library for more.

Each time I went, I’d check out about 20 books. Most of the time, I read them all. But now, I can’t even dream of finishing five. Mostly because the Michigan coursework challenges me enough that I don’t have much time for anything. But there’s another reason as well. Anytime I’m not doing homework, I’m being ensnared by something far worse.

O Netflix, we shall duel once again!

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love Netflix just as much as the next overworked college student. I just don’t understand why I turn to it first when I’m taking a break or done for the day.

Sure, I have to finish all the episodes in a TV show, and sometimes, there are quite a lot. But after I’m done with one show…I start another. I don’t go to my bookshelf, or my Nook containing so many unread books it’s unimaginable. I go to Netflix, or to my DVD collection, or…well, you get the idea.

And I’m truly disappointed in myself. I love reading, I really do. Last semester I had a reading-heavy course (think 100 pages per week, on top of two English courses that had a lighter but still formidable reading schedule), so I was able to excuse myself from my leisurely reading, because if I wasn’t doing homework, I was procrastinating on reading for that class – I was always behind. But this semester, that’s not the case. I don’t reach for my books, and the only time I have is when I was rereading Harry Potter, since we’re reading it later in one of my classes.

I know what’s happened. Reading is so active that I shudder just thinking about picking up a book after doing homework. Instead I’d rather watch something on my laptop, something that feeds me information and pictures rather than me having to produce it.

It’s mental fatigue, but it’s all in my head. I’m disappointed that I’m almost afraid of my books because I think it’s just another aspect of my work. Reading is fun, and it’s something I’ve forgotten in the past few months.

But today, I found for the first time in a while that I wanted that to change. Recalling earlier posts, I’ve expressed my undying love for the Academy Awards, and today I read an article online about female under-representation in the film industry (as in directing, producing, etc.). It made me think about the Awards this year, and wonder if any of the screenwriters nominated were women (note: there are 2 in the list of 10 movies nominated for Adapted and Original screenplay, both accompanied by men in the screenwriting credits).

It also made me think of the time when I thought about adapting my favorite books into screenplays, one of which I still have a 40 page script for in my bedroom back home. It’s a dream, quite far away and almost unimaginable, but how am I going to adapt anything if I never read anything that needs adapting?

My love for film and TV is almost unparalleled. My friends ask who’s in a movie and I respond with the actor’s name almost immediately. But that love is completely surpassed by my love for reading, and that will never change. I just happen to forget sometimes.

Jeannie Marie

A Venn Diagram of hipster music, sappy romantic comedies, nerd culture, adorable puppies, film trivia, totally not rigged awards shows, random illustritive quotes with a dash of not-quite-there-yet charm.

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