In Reading For College, Don´t Forget About the Past

May 22, 2009
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I miss those slow-paced, lazy days of elementary school, where other than a half-hour's worth of homework I was free to do whatever I wanted.

I could go to the park by my school; I could scribble wild, incoherent fantasy stories with flawed logic in one of my dozens of notebooks (usually based after an author I'd just read); I could spend a cozy hour in the public library and read whatever I wanted.

Alas, high school affords no such freedom. Nowadays, it's all about grades and honors courses, studying for the SAT, and juggling extracurriculars in the hope of someday attending a top university. My schedule, as well as the schedule of countless others, is crammed with homework and practice and club activities.

While I don't regret any commitment that I have, I sometimes look back with fond remembrance of the early days. My favorite author was- and still is- Diana Wynne Jones, although it's been several years since I last read one of her novels.

My first encounter with Jones was in third grade, when I picked up Witch Week. The first time I read it, I confess that I didn't like Jones's writing very much. The book left me confused and frustrated, so I didn't read another Diana Wynne Jones book until a year later, when I found the same book and re-read it.

By then, I had matured and was now able to keep up with the plot. I devoured Witch Week and started looking for more. In the course of two years I had read almost every one of her books and short story anthologies.

I read with particular voracity the book Howl's Moving Castle (I read it three times and watched the animated film). I was fascinated by the Calcifer the fire-demon; that interest led me to the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, another of my admired children's authors.

My reading load these days contains such hefty classics as The Grapes of Wrath and Great Expectations. In preparing for AP English next year, I have sacrificed my dabbling in the pleasant, playful realm of children's fantasy.

I don't doubt that John Steinbeck and Charles Dickens were great writers. It's just that they don't invoke the same reaction I have when I'm in the library and I see someone reading a Diana Wynne Jones book. What's that feeling again... oh, nostalgia?

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

unearthlyhaphazard said...
Jul. 13, 2009 at 2:22 pm
It's very sweet. I love the ending. Nice job with descriptions. I totally get what you're saying about the Diana Wynee Jones book. I've felt that way numerous times, too. All in all, good job!
pinksage33 said...
Jun. 1, 2009 at 8:07 pm
You have a really good point.
ackmn5 said...
May 30, 2009 at 1:17 am
This seems like it belongs more in the "What Matters" section, rather than Opinions.
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