Books for Books Sake.

Escapism, and the art of seclusion behind soft or hard covers lined with parchment, is one which I know not well, but one which I have been flirting with this evening.

For many years I have been avoiding my chance to leave present day and join in on another’s fantasy through the novel. Avoiding out of necessity, however, to leave room in the caveats of my brain for more information. And more information. And more.

Interestingly my brain doesn’t read books with the intention of learning and memorizing, very well at all. School seems to allow me no choice, whether they instruct me to enjoy the reading or not, because I respond to the pressure of learning with an imperfectly timed case of metal block. And it doesn’t leave until I read something solely for pleasure. This is often the case with my writing as well, but that is for another post.

I refer to Oscar Wilde who explains the conundrum well: “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

To bring you up to this present moment, I am no longer a slave to the memorizing machine (I’ve left classroom academia), and desire to avoid it for a little while. That is, until I am a teacher. Memorization out of interest, delight, and coincidence is more my way, and I hope to encourage that in my classroom. No need to stick it down their throats with strobe light, high pressure instructing. They won’t like it and they won’t remember the material. Or, I didn’t anyways.

This evening I purchased a few paper backs on discount and couldn’t be happier. I’ve already taken up Jane Austin’s Persuasion, and have stocked up on a few others that have a similar flow–I enjoy the old fantasy and classical tales which haven’t been touched by today.

These are my guiding lights for a while. They will tell me when to get out of bed, rather than an alarm clock. They will tell me when it’s time to eat lunch, rather than the end of a class. They will give me new insight to the past, rather than a history professor. And they will spark my curiosity, much to my delight.

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