School and the Cost of Books

Taking a break is nice. I like to relax for a little while and let myself recharge. Especially when it comes to school, since early February can be a very busy time for assignments and such.

I hate to admit it but I spent more time goofing around and reading comic books, than getting ahead in my work. Honestly, I wish I had made the decision to get ahead in my readings but I didn’t like the books we were currently doing for school, and I wanted to take a break from reading novels. Being an English Major takes the fun out of books. A large majority of my classmates agree with me. There is a difference in being allowed to choose what you want to read versus being told what you have to read and not only do you have to read it, you have to tear it apart and find all the possible metaphors, and focus on the ideas behind the text…. Let’s make reading fun again? Can’t we do it where we study a book for a month, and really go into depth with it? Rather than cramming an entire novel in one week? I had books I was interested in reading, but couldn’t get to because I had to read a book I absolutely hated for an essay due the same week. The thing with English is that as long as you’re attending class, you can get a rough idea of what the book is about (depending on your professor).

Thinking about reading shouldn’t make me cringe. It should make me excited, like it used to when I was a kid. I still love to go to Chapters and browse, but now I find that I’m leaning more towards buying comics because it doesn’t drain me. Most of the time I finish them within a half hour. It doesn’t bother me that I finish them quickly, but I don’t feel the need to rush my reading, and I don’t feel as though I am obligated to continue with a book that I’m not enjoying.

I have several novels that I’ve either bought for pleasure or that have given to me as gifts, and I haven’t had then chance to read any of them.

Sometimes if a book for school doesn’t interest me, I don’t even bother purchasing it from our bookstore because it costs too much money. I can’t justify buying a novel that is $30. I have bills to pay, and I need to eat. I try to find some of the books at Chapters and for some reason they never have them in stock. I find this a bit strange…and of course, I have more own theories as to why this is, but it is possible that it is just that these books are unpopular.

At least when one is studying Shakespeare, it is easy to get access to his work online, as it is free to the public domain. It doesn’t cost a penny. If I don’t already own the play, I can pull it up and read it, or watch/listen to a performance on YouTube. I don’t have to worry about missing anything, and I don’t feel any sort of stress because I didn’t have the money to spend on the play.

I can’t understand how they can charge so much for books? The textbooks that my sister purchased are around $100 each. She needed about four of them for the entire year. With English and Language studies, they make you purchase several books between $20 and $30, weekly and or biweekly, in order to get the same amount of money out of you that they would with someone in Business, Psychology or Mathematics. It’s ridiculous the amount that they charge us for books on top of our classes, and for many first year students, on top of their residence fees.

As students, we shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not we should spend our $100 monthly budget on food or books.

The reason that myself, and many other students that I have spoken to about this, have stopped purchasing all of our books at the beginning of the year is because one cannot guarantee whether or not they will get their money’s worth out of the book. Why am I going to purchase a $60 Anthology on 20th Century British Literature, when I only need to read 3 pages of the entire textbook? Why would I spend $25 on a novel that I have will not have time to read, and may possible dread if there will be approximately 15 novels throughout the entirety of the course and I will have to option to write on at least 10 of them for the exam? Of course I’m going to choose buying food and paying my rent over spending a ridiculous amount of money on books that I may not read.

This is why it is easier to buy one or two books at a time for my courses, versus getting all of them at once. On top of that, you don’t get you $400 back. I attempted to return my books to our school bookstore last year, and got $42 for them. Many of the books they wouldn’t take back because they weren’t sure if they’d be used next year. For books that I had spent over $20, I may have only received 10 cents for them. Some I got a $1 or $2 for. It was ridiculous. From now on, I feel as though it would be better if I sold my books elsewhere or if I donated them. The majority of the books I’ve been forced to read for my courses, I really haven’t enjoyed. There are a few gems that I plan on keeping in my collection, but the remainder I’d rather get rid of. I don’t have a need for them, nor do I have the space. Still, it would be nice to earn back some of what I had spent on them, as they weren’t cheap.

I didn’t plan on writing this, but it has been bugging me all year.

I hope you’re all enjoying the weekend,

R.

Novel Update: Writer’s Block Has Been Defeated!

Yep, it is true. I’ve finally punched writer’s block in the face!

After arriving at university (as some of my earlier followers may know), the new atmosphere and being on my own for the first time caused me to lose my…I guess the drive that I had while working on my novel. The last time I worked on it was my first week here at university, and that was August. Finally in the last few days of February I opened up my novel, and with the help of my sister, I began a new chapter.

Though writer’s block is horrible, and it was my first time actually dealing with it, the experience allowed me to further my research for my novel, rather than rush into everything all at once. I also reviewed notes that I made for my novel, and revised them. I feel as though I have more knowledge on the world of my novel now, than I did when I began writing it a year ago.

It’s still incredible to think that my novel is now a year old. I don’t believe that I’ve spent that much time with a novel. I believe deep in my heart that this one is going to be the one that I share with the world. I’m looking forward to the day when it is published. I designed the cover a year ago, and I still love it…however, I’m not entirely sure if I will have someone recreate it or if I will try to do it myself. Anyway, that is something that I can think about once the novel is complete.

After going through writer’s block for the very first time, I think that my advice to those who are going through it is, instead of beginning a new project, expand on your current one. Do some research, review whatever notes you’ve made…like maybe a character’s personality. It’s a good way to sort of take your novel and see how it’s developed so far.

Happy almost Friday everyone!

— O. Ryder