A page in the life

A student is reading his paper at the turf ground behind the Student Union. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

College students are often so busy that “reading for fun” becomes a rare luxury.

As spring break approaches, I’ve found myself looking forward to some quiet time so I can unwind and finally finish the book I’ve been picking up this semester whenever I have free time. While thinking about this, I decided to ask some of my friends about what they’ve been reading lately.

Kailey Townsend, a third-semester communications major, recently finished “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a story about a young woman who moves to the United States from Nigeria to attend college and ends up staying for work.

“[It’s] a very racially driven [and] female-empowering story,” said Townsend.

David Scales, a second-semester history major, is currently reading “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, which follows a father and son trying to get to the coast of an ambiguously post-apocalyptic America while roving bands of cannibals rule the streets.

“So far I’m enjoying it,” said Scales. “The background to the story is pretty minimal, which allows for the relationship between the two main characters… to be at the forefront of a pretty dark atmosphere.”

Sixth-semester political science major Adam Kuegler is reading “Riders of the Purple Sage” by Zane Grey, one of the most popular Western novels of all time.

“I read a lot of news for fun too,” Kuegler noted.

“I try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction,” said Charlie Smart, a fourth-semester journalism major. “Right now I’m reading ‘Between the World and Me’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The book is written as a letter to the author’s son, reflecting on what it means to be black in America. [It’s] incredibly well-written and filled with very personal reflection on cultural, political, and social issues.”

As for me, I’m working through “The Joy Luck Club,” by Amy Tan, a Christmas gift from my aunt. It details the lives of four Chinese-American immigrant families in San Francisco, and although at first I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to relate to it, Tan’s writing is so moving and beautiful that I find it incredibly hard to put down whenever I pick it up.

However, most of my friends that I talked with admitted that they don’t really have time to read for fun during the semester.

When I asked Haley Morgan, a fourth-semester human and family development studies major, currently studying abroad in Florence, if she was reading anything outside of class right now, she replied, “I wish. I tried to download a book… but the WiFi was too [bad.] I need to find an American bookstore.”

Consumed by homework, extracurricular activities, work and their social lives, college students often find that they have less and less time for pleasure-reading. As an English and history major who’s always loved books, even I’ve found it hard to make time to read for fun after completing hundreds of pages of reading each week for my classes. Hopefully with spring break coming up, everyone will have time to experience the restorative powers of just curling up with a good book.


Helen Stec is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at helen.stec@uconn.edu.