Recently I have been thinking back on my reading journey and how I have developed as a reader. But not in the sense of growing up and finding new reading tastes.
I was always a reader, even through high school, I read for pleasure and hated to dive too much into things. I also actively was suspicious of books we read in class and looked for reasons to hate them. However, I defend this position by the fact that the books I read in class that were annoying, boring or terrible vastly out numbered those that were ok or good (in my opinion, everyone has different feelings about school books).
Starting my own creative writing projects has really helped in my ability to critically read and evaluate books. While I’m never going to be an author (outside of the science sense to the term) and I’m not as good at others in critiquing and evaluating books, I come miles compared to past self. It makes me wish I’d taken more of an interest in creative writing earlier in life. One, because of all the friends I’ve made from it, but also because it would have made English classes easier and interesting. I would have gotten more out of them, from the basics of grammar to the fancy terms and techniques used to keep people interested.
There are just so many things I could have learned in high school that might have stuck with me but didn’t because I wasn’t interested in ‘that type’ of writing at the time. Essays and scientific reports, sure I wanted to improve, but I never really wanted to learn and apply creative writing techniques to my own writing. I could understand why they existed and why they might be used to spruce up writing, but this information for me was just that: information. It wasn’t really something I was interested in actually learning. At the time.
Now that is a different story.
Part of it was the way all this was taught to me. It wasn’t in a way I was interested in. For example I remember a long discussion on what the meaning of the colour of the curtains in a scene in a book had to do with the overall story. It was something like they were blue which reflects the main character’s depression, but the main character wasn’t even in the room and really did the author really care that much about the curtains? This memory and others like it still haunt me and to this day I still dislike thinking about symbolism in books, even though I know it can be interesting to learn about and add depth to the books. Themes in books is another area that I I love and hate to think about.
This is slowly changing, and I am becoming more interested in these sorts of things in the books I read, yet, I feel if I had taken more of an interest in creative writing or book reviewing sooner I would have appreciated English class more.
It’s amazing how much more I would get out of high school classes if I took them now that I’m done all schooling then when I was forced to take them.