Here’s Why You Should Read Books Outside Of Your Course  – OurWarwick
OurWarwick

Here’s Why You Should Read Books Outside Of Your Course 

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Victoria Heath | English Literature and Creative Writing Contact Victoria

When I began my studies at Warwick, one of the biggest changes that I felt from A-Levels was the volume of reading which was required each week. I was used to reading one text over the course of several months, but the demands of university readings were significantly larger. 

As I settled into Warwick, I learned ways in which to manage the academic reading load. But then, last year I also found myself rekindling my old hobby of reading books, finding a plethora of books which I couldn’t wait to read. And as my love for reading began to resurface, I found myself wanting to read more and more titles. The to-read list on my phone was enormous, fuelled by hours-long trips to Waterstones and bookstores.

And so, I found that my reading load had essentially doubled. There were now two piles of books to read: one for my course, and one outside of it. At times, especially during periods of multiple assignments, it felt tempting to abandon the latter pile, because the books for my course were something that I had to study, and the other books could theoretically ‘wait’. Initially, it felt like these books weren’t as important, and this is something which I want to explain is not the case.

Reading outside of my course has allowed me to define my own reading interests outside of an academic sphere. Whilst there are many books which I enjoy reading on my course, I think there is something special about going into a bookstore and picking out a book, simply because it interests and excites you. It isn’t something that you are told to read – you, completely on your own, picked out this book from hundreds lined up on a shelf. Even if you only read one page a day from a book outside of your course, it is so invaluable. With each page, you are refining your own reading taste, your style, your likes and dislikes. Whether it’s a fifty-page short story or a five-hundred page non-fiction, picking up a book and reading of your own accord instead of always with academic spheres is a great way to find further and deeper enjoyment in reading.

Especially as someone who has a keen interest in writing and publishing books, reading outside of my course (and therefore, reading more) teaches me even more about writing styles, narrative voices, pacing, tone, whilst simultaneously being something to immerse myself  as a reader into a plot, a story. I find that creative ideas come quicker to me. Titles for short stories float into my mind, snippets of plots suddenly flashing in my brain until I write them down on my Notes app. 

At first, without a prescribed style or genre, it might feel daunting to find books that you like. It is certainly a hit and miss experience – when I first began to look in bookshops, I was so overwhelmed by the amount of different books, plots, genres. But soon, I began to find specific styles and genres that interested me. I picked up some of them and began reading when I could. And soon, the habit of reading became integrated into my life, as with any habit. Now I can’t imagine not reading outside of my course, but a year ago it was something that I didn’t do.

Reading outside of your course is a great way to expand your viewpoint of books, moving away from them as being something purely for academia and prescribed on a module list, to something that is infinite, unique, something which you can choose yourself.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Victoria Heath | English Literature and Creative Writing Contact Victoria

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