When I finished reading Asking for It by Louise O’Neill a few weeks ago, I realised how much I had actually enjoyed it. I gave the book five stars in my review, so you’d think it’s obvious I enjoyed it. However, when it comes to books that deal with difficult topics, books that have terrible things happen to the characters, the ratings are often based on the importance of the book as opposed to the actual enjoyment of reading it. So today I want to ask you this: can you actually, genuinely enjoy difficult books?
The time has come for us first-year students to start thinking about modules for next year, and this has brought up a lot of questions for me. I’ve thought about what my interests are, what direction I want my degree to go in, what texts I want to study – but it has also made me think about something more controversial.
There are a lot of modules in my university’s literature course that focus on minorities. We have modules on women writers, Latin American literature, African writing, and many more. There is one module in particular called Queer Literature and Theory, and it’s the main reason I chose to study at the University of East Anglia. This module is for third-year students, so technically I shouldn’t even be concerned about this until next year, but I started thinking: what if I don’t get it? It’s a very popular module, and a lot of students don’t get it because there are just too many who want to study that particular area. This is where my idea for today’s discussion post originated.
I want to make perfectly clear that the question here is not whether minority students stand above everyone else and get to pick their modules first, the question is whether minority students should have the right to get to do the modules that represent their culture, background, and identity.
The other day, the lovely Booktuber Tilly uploaded a video that insipired me to start a little discussion.
The other day, one of my favourite people uploaded a video to her Youtube channel. It’s called Undone, and it’s about how we feel about poetry when we learn about it in school, and how amazing it can be to re-discover it and learn to love it when we’re free to interpret it the way we want.
What a strange title for a blog post, right? Well, I recently had a look at my bookshelves, and I realised that something was bothering me. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was, until I looked at my TBR pile.
Now, you should know that the books I have read are arranged on my shelves vertically – you know, the typical way. But on my TBR shelf, the books lie on top of each other. This wouldn’t be important, if it hadn’t helped me understand what was bothering me about my shelves: GERMAN SPINES ARE UPSIDE DOWN.