Remembering to read for pleasure

Alice Mottram 30 April 2015

Reading for pleasure? I’ve already forgotten the concept. 

At Cambridge, you instead spend your ‘free time’ in Life, with that guy from Caius you always see but whose actual name you can’t even remember, despite having asked three times. You have a couple of great, short-lived hours, then suddenly the lights go on, the music stops, and you wander home with your real friends. 

In the case of an MML student, these ‘real friends’ are my beloved, tea-and-tear-stained grammar books. Reams of pages on the Spanish subjunctive; how could I betray them by casting a glance at anything else? Reading for pleasure in Cambridge is analogous with getting a First in a supervision essay: an alien concept rarely seen, spoken of with reverence and incredulity. 

In exam term you need to take time for yourself, and how better than by reading for pleasure? Whilst Tindr biographies can be great literature in their own right, perhaps it’s time to broaden your horizons. Why not go to the General Fiction section in your college library (yes, it does exist) and finish that Jacqueline Wilson classic? Or maybe read some poetry and feign being cultured? After all, it’s well-known that the brevity of a haiku was designed with Cambridge students in mind. Why not even write your own poetry? It will be worth a fortune when you appear on Question Time forty years hence. Or, not that we are given to taking the easier option, continue flicking through those dating app biographies and pretend they are exerts from classic novels. Just keep swiping left until you find that special one.