About this time of year, it dawns on most students that their time of being such persons has ended, and therefore all critical thinking is turned off for the consecutive days, weeks, and months until that unruly professor peeks his head back into the room and begins yacking away like the inconsiderate boob that he may be. No one can blame anyone for a mental vacation (I take multiple daily), but I often feel light years away from where I want to be intellectually as if I long to be on Alderaan but am stuck on earth and that longing got blown up at the beginning of things. Despite these frustrations, nay due to these frustrations, it is important to continue striving intellectually even when out of school. Numerous activities and events must be said no to in the course of being a year-round student, and as much as I want to be a monk and waste my days away by filling my head with useful and non-applicable information, it cannot be done. And so I begin to give in detail a midsummer night’s dream, though it’s not summer and I see it more like a conceivable plan than a dream.
The plan consists of continuing my literary education outside of the classroom by placing myself among a plethora of literature during my summer. I have other goals too concerning what I would like to learn this summer, but this being a literary blog, I will stick with the lit.
#1. A book a week is by no means an unattainable task. One has to be persistent in his nature at doing so. But if we remember that we are still in school, we are still required to keep learning even when that unruly professor isn’t staring down his nose at us with wide open eyes as we fumble for an answer. Thus, my classes will consist of a book a week (and Lord Willing a post to go with it!)
#2. Mr. Bennet stated in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that “A fortnight’s acquaintance is certainly very little. One cannot know what a man really is by the end of a fortnight” and if a man how much more a woman? (I draw my foot to my mouth as I speak.) But I believe Mr. Bennet has some good insight here, for men are complicated creatures in their own right. My point in this quote is to discuss the content of my summer course, and that is works by female authors. Obviously, I am beginning with Austen’s masterpiece (and so far it is quite delightful). Other works I have on my list include works by the Bronte’s and George Eliot’s Middlemarch. The reasoning behind this is that I find I read so little by female authors, and I believe this is a shame. It is very important for me to expand my horizons in my reading. To counter all this I have begun reading The Pickwick Papers again by issue as it was originally written and produced (so a few chapters a month in other words).
#3. My final literary goal this summer is to be reintroduced to poetry. Much like my attempt to “figure out the female” in reading books by women, I find I understand very little about poetry, and so I will endeavor to figure it out. I will more than likely focus on nineteenth century poetry as that would be what I focus on in graduate school (LW!).
#4. At least 3 very good philosophical books need to be read. I’m halfway through Chesterton’s Everlasting Man right now and I promise this will be my last Chesterton for some time. I have yet to think of where I will head after this.
#5. Lastly, I need to expand on my literary criticism a tad, and I will fain do this this summer by getting a hold of some T.S. Eliot and E.B. White if I am so lucky.
Enough about me and my silly plans, I do hope that this may encourage my readers to pick up a book or two this summer and engage their minds as much as they can. It is a shame that our country has devolved into settling for TV shows and pool parties to fill up their summers instead of growing intellectually. Mr. Feeny once said that people in the old days would wait months for something to read, and yet we get upset waiting six minutes for a webpage to load (on a TV show ironically). Though a comedy to us, it is a tragedy for our generation.