What I'm Reading Spring Semester 2015

Welcome to the semi-annual school book list extravaganza! Okay, so it's not that exciting. But I'm proud to say that this semester I have the extremely reasonable number of 11 books for the next three and a half months. MUCH better than 31. It helps that I only have three courses this semester (I'm trying to make my blog like a fourth class, but so far I'm rather failing at that...) and that only one is an English class.

Liberal arts for the win my friend.

What I'm Reading Spring Semester 2015 | Scribbling in the Margins blog

So, let's get started:

New Testament

This was a last-minute addition to my class schedule after Modern Latin American almost put me to sleep...on the first day. Having made the mistake of staying in a class I hated last semester, I escaped immediately. Sadly, I couldn't pick up another history class, but I'll make up for it next year.

BUT ANYWAY. New Testament books:

  • New Oxford Annotated Bible: NRSV. Because it wouldn't be a Christianity class without it.
  • Parallel Gospels: A Synopsis of Early Christian Writing, by Zeba Crook. So how similar are the gospels after all?
  • A Brief Introduction to the New Testament, by Bart D. Ehrman. Just your classic 100-level textbook.

Gender Across Cultures

I return to the anthropology world to learn about gender, one of my favorite subjects (if you get the chance, PLEASE take a women's studies class. It's such an important learning experience). Since this class discusses all types of gender, I look forward to learning more about societal influences on people's everyday lives.

  • Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective, by Caroline B. Brettel and Carolyn F. Sargent. Just the one textbook...what is this department??


I branch out of my writing comfort-zone into playwriting, where apparently acting is required. I'm nervous, but I think it will be good for me to put myself out there and do more public speaking. Since this is an English class, the book list is more extensive than the others:

  • The Clean House & Other Plays, by Sarah Ruhl. I read this for a class two years ago (I'm SO OLD) and really enjoyed it. I'm sure I'll enjoy it again!
  • Topdog/Underdog, by Suzan-Lori Parks. Apparently it's quite a big deal--lots of people in the class have read it before.
  • 4000 Miles, by Amy Herzog. But I would walk 4000 miles, and I would walk 4000 more...
  • Water by the Spoonful, by Quiara Alegria Hudes. A play that introduces the Internet to the real world. Say no more--I'm intrigued.
  • An Almost Holy Picture, by Heather McDonald. One-man show with lots to say.
  • The Pillowman, by Martin McDonagh. Judging from the back of the book, this does not include a pillow fight.
  • Take Ten II: More Ten-Minute Plays, edited by Eric Lane and Nina Shengold. To inspire me to write my future ten-minute play.

I think all the plays sound interesting; I don't know much about them yet but since Topdog/Underdog comes recommended, I think I'll put it at the top of my list. Which book sounds the most exciting to you?


Below the Line:

  • Recruitment starts today. You know what that means...sleepless nights and lots of food. And that's just for the sorority women.
  • Since this week has been so Greek focused, it's hard to believe I'm back in the school groove. I have to admit, I miss my internship. I loved the work I was doing, plus coming home and not having to worry about anything was a good life!

Reading for Fun in College

Reading for Fun in College | Scribbling in the Margins blog Let me be blunt: you won't have time to read for fun at college if you don't make time. I have 30 books assigned for next semester. THIRTY. 

So disclaimer: I probably will not be reading for fun this semester. These tips are more for people with reasonable reading assignments or who would rather give up eating than pleasure reading. And while no, I won't selecting what I read until December, most of the books I have to read are still great reading material. I typically like most of them. No textbooks for the English/History major!

But I digress. You're here because you want know how to read for fun at college. Or maybe you've just found yourself busy with your job, your high school work, your newborn baby, your car, your yard work- you get the picture- and want to fit reading into your schedule. Look no further: here's what you should try.

The most important thing to do is choose a book that can be easily put down for several weeks. It will be extremely difficult to read your book continuously over a couple of days. Last year, I brought along Life is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman to school. Over the course of the semester, I could pick up this book with weeks in between and not feel lost because of its building plot and memorable story.

I highly recommend any "auto-biographical" or "memoir" type book for that reason. It's fairly easy to jump in after being away for a long period of time. A couple other options are Ellen DeGeneres's Seriously...I'm Kidding (just don't listen to it as an audio book- surprisingly a bad idea) and Barbara Kingsolver's High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never.

You should also set aside a certain time to read. Even the most die-hard readers struggle to pick up a book spontaneously when faced with unfinished assignments and unread emails. In the past, I've set Saturday mornings as reading time. It worked maybe once. But I have generally stuck with Saturday mornings as my "chill" time. If I have a book I want to read during chill time, I totally can, guilt free. You can choose whatever time or frequency you want; it's all about what works best for you.

Finally, use your book as a reward. Tell yourself "if I finish this chapter before dinner, I can read Life is So Good for 30 minutes." Or, when the procrastination is running strong, tell yourself that every minute spent on Twitter is a minute lost on reading time. When you get your work done, you won't feel as guilty for taking time to read as you would when a blank Word document stares you in the face.

How do you find time to read for fun? What books do you recommend? I'd love to hear your suggestions!


Below the Line:

  • Another great post on this subject is by Katie at My College Advice. She writes more about why you should keep reading in college.
  • I FINALLY FOUND THE PLANNER. Whoosh, that was a frustrating, stressful process. I'll reveal my choice in another back-to-school post next week.
  • The clock is ticking on summer days, and I have quite a bit left to do. Like the big stack of books next to my full bookshelf that still needs a home. And the stack of boxes in front of my closet. And all the blog posts I was going to write and plan ahead...