Students reading for fun

Last summer I read a fantastic little book written by a professor at Otago University (where I studied as an under-graduate).

The Torchlight List: Around the World in 200 Books by Jim Flynn

In this short book, Jim Flynn lists 200 books which he urges us to read in order to learn about the world around us. The books listed include Classics, History books, Science books, modern novels, and much more.

What I took away from this book of books was that reading is one of the most effective ways of learning that we have access to. And it won’t cost as much as a university degree (trust me…damn you study link). Think about it, a lot of uni papers (and here I am coming from an Arts perspective) involve a whole lot of reading about which you write a few essays and then sit an exam at the end of semester. Would you learn any less if you just bought the set texts and read them?

Another point Flynn made was that students at university tend to read only within their subject area…the old ‘learning more and more about less and less’ syndrome. He urges his readers to read widely and read outside of our discipline.

At the time of reading this, I wholeheartedly agreed. I ran straight to the book shop and bought a book on science…which I read and felt extremely multi-disciplinary in doing so.

And then I went back to uni. This year I have been studying the MTeach secondary at Melbourne Uni. And it is rather busy. 3 semesters work compressed into 2, on top of school placements. And I truly do not have time to read much more than 5 mins at night in bed before I fall asleep with the book in my hands. I want to broaden my mind and read more than just educational pedagogy (as you might be able to imagine) but I have such little time to do it in.

So the tousle between what I would like to be doing and the lack of hours in a day continues…

Regardless of my feelings on this point, one thing is for certain. The Torchlight list is a great place to get inspired for your next read. On the most basic level, it is a list of fantastic books.

The Torchlight List: Around the World in 200 Books New Zealand: Awa Press, 2010. ISBN 9780958291699

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