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MSc Archaeology

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” – Douglas Adams.

And then the academic text came along. As I am about half way through my master’s degree, I feel it is reasonable to say that academic texts can frankly be a struggle. They are written, as you well know, to convey knowledge in the third person with no narrator. That is, the complete removal of the word I. And while some break this mould, they still can’t shake off the style of “academicness”…which frankly doesn’t engage as well as a novel does. It isn’t their fault, it is just the way they are.

Reading for pleasure blog (1)But this isn’t true for all books. Not all books are equal. And just because you struggle with academic texts (don’t worry we all do) doesn’t mean you should ignore the other books out there. They are just as valid, and it is perfectly ok to read them to! You are a human being, not a machine, and reading a non-academic text once in a while will not lower your grade (so long as you get everything in on time, but that is another blog for another day).

Personally, I love reading. I don’t get much chance (as I am sure you don’t) because of my uni work. But I always carve out a little time here and there. Well…I say a little. It is more accurate to say that I can get completely obsessed with a book, to the point where I have sat down at 8am in the morning planning to read a little with breakfast and before I knew it, it was 2pm and I had finished the book and not done anything else. My bad.

And it is hardly a wonder! I mean there is so much to read out there, I promise you there is something that will work. Because with so many stories written, there will be at least one book which you will like. You just need to try some!

Like fantasy? Try a Terry Pratchett book. He wrote amazing work that included several murder mystery stories (in a fantasy setting), witches called Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, and an orangutan who was a librarian. Or David Eddings if you prefer a sword and sorcery feel on a grand (and powerful) scale.

Reading for pleasure blog (2)How about Douglas Adams for a bit of sci fi? Sometimes confusing but with laughs abound. For example: “”Ford!” he said, “there’s an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they’ve worked out.””

Maybe a biography then? My personal two favourites are Gerald Durrell and James Herriot (both with tears and laughter). Well worth a read, although I would start with My Family and Other Animals for Durrell.

There is so much out there. And these books, unlike the academic texts that plague our working hours, are designed to grab you by the ankles and force you to pay attention (after all they were written to be sold to the general public, and therefore don’t require any previous knowledge on a topic). Don’t give up on reading just yet.

And that is the point of World Book Day. To get people to read. Reading allows us to escape, explore, and learn. It gives us a safe place to understand the world better, explore the differences between good and evil, and indeed what it means to be human. And in the end, isn’t that worth exploring?

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