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.

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Two exams down, and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m definitely going to go for a run tomorrow so that I can clear my head and work off all the sugar I’ve been eating.

The school year is ending…and soon all three kids will be out of my parents house. A lot’s going to change over these next few years. The changes are coming pretty fast. I’m a little sad that all my old friends are growing up but we’re all making new friends who we’ll probably still hang out with when we’re old and grey.

I do miss my friends from high school. I miss our conversations, the stupid fights and the awkwardness that came with being a teenager. I grew up with some of them. They’re like a second family. We’ve been through a lot together…and I want to continue growing with them, if that’s where life brings us.

My new friends, I’m going to miss some of them because they’re graduating. They’ve been like big brothers and sisters to me this year and I appreciate them. I hope to be that person for a first or second year student next year and the years to follow. I like that my new friends don’t have stupid fights, and that our conversations are either hilarious and very random or that they’re focused and insightful. I like how we can joke around while we learn, and while we teach one another. I love that we take ourselves seriously, but not too seriously and that we know who we are.

Friends are so important to me…and for those who’ve followed my blog for a long time, my first year of university was very rough because I left all of my friends behind. I had a difficult time making friends with people no matter how hard I tried…I was a huge loner; lets face it that’s why I put on so much weight and put my novel on hold. It was pretty depressing…and honestly it was scary. Since my summer job helped me learn the skills I needed to make small talk, and the courses I took this year forced me to get in front of groups of people and speak I gained a lot of confidence. That confidence in myself…it feels amazing. I’m not as shy anymore and although I’ve always said hello to people, I actually can carry a conversation (which comes in handy when talking to bae…sorry for anyone who hates that term. I turned 20 a month ago. I’m still a child).

Well this post is getting pretty long…and it doesn’t have pictures which bothers my younger sister, so I’ll just finish off here. I was just watching a television show and the kids on it were graduating high school, and two of my friends are graduating and my sister and our friends back home are graduating and I just…wish that at my graduation that I got the chance to say goodbye to people who meant a great deal to me and who I wish…I hadn’t lost contact with. Some times I wish I could still be hanging out with my old friends but we’re growing up and doing our own thing now. We still talk once in a while and meet up…but it isn’t the same as seeing them every day.


I’m hyper and deleted another 600 words of me babbling about random things in my life because I didn’t want that one person to read that far and think, “This guy should never drink coffee.”

For the safety of others I only drink tea…but I let my tea get super dark today and it was bitter and I still drank it and then I was running around my house doing chores and–To bed, to bed! I tell you yet again Banquo is buried; he cannot come out on’s grave! Goodnight sweet prince. Parting is such sweet sorrow…. Tomorrow…tomorrow…tomorrow.

 

 

Reading Plays for School

Back in elementary school and high school (primary and secondary), whenever we would read a play, we would read it aloud and act it out.

Last semester, when I started university, we read two plays, which our professor had playing on the screen for us. We would read along. Sometimes he would read each passage two us. The entire time we read the plays together. He said, “Plays are meant to be heard and seen, not just read.” He told us of the importance of acting out the play and explained that it was the only way one could be impacted by the play.

Even this semester, our professors tell us that the best way to understand a play is to read it aloud. They say that it is easier to hear the characters voice that way…however in our lectures and seminars we rarely read anything aloud. Why? Because everyone thinks that we students do not want to.

Yes there are people who loathe the idea of reading aloud in front of the class…especially if they have to act. However there are people who do enjoy it. So why not have those people perform a scene then have the rest of the students discuss it? It’s a win, win for everybody. We would all benefit, as the actors would be in character, therefore understanding the play that way and the audience would get an understanding of the play by watching it.

It’s so odd not actually reading anything aloud to one another or acting things out. My first year is practically over and though I’ve enjoyed all of my classes, I feel as though we should either have some sort of way to properly approach plays, or not even bother studying them. I mean, what’s the point of simply opening up a play and reading the dialogue? I’m almost positive that a lot of people pop it open and only read the dialogue. They don’t really care about the stage directions. Why do they matter if they’re not acting it out? It’s just extra reading to do, and when you’ve got 4 other books to read on top of that the play seems pointless.

If the play is interactive (as it was meant to be), then people take more interest in it and maybe I’m just being bias here but I think they enjoy it more.

You should not and cannot simply read the lines of a play. It has to be approached the way it was meant to be performed. If it isn’t done that way then there’s absolutely no point in reading it at all. It is impossible for people to completely understand a play by just skimming the dialogue.

Well, that’s my little rant for the day but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this? Feel free to answer one or all of those questions in your comments.

Do you agree or disagree? Are plays just a pain in the but to study period (whether performed or simply read)? What was your favourite play to study in school?

Denmark

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Oh morbid Denmark, you wreak of rotting flesh. Blood stains the tapestry that hangs in your castle.

In your state, all that once flourished, withers into nothing: even, rue, the flower of repentance cannot grow here.

This dreadful prison, was once home to a prince, who mourned for his father daily. Now the ears of this head have become filled with poison, and all who caught the disease now lay in an eternal sleep.

Bodies lay in rows, dressed in white, but the purity of their garments touches the filth of the earth.

Even the clouds growl at the sight of Denmark, where the prince once walked, dressed in black, up and down the looming halls. His words bounced off each wall, crumbling them; crushing those who were too slow to get away.

Now the castle lies in ruins and worms eat at its flesh.

All is rotten in this state.