Hi. Well, this is awkward.
I haven’t been reading books lately. It’s horrible. Why?
Because I’m currently studying abroad in Bath, England! I am on a 5 week summer program that is now 2 weeks gone and I do not have time to read for pleasure. All the reading I do is for my two classes, and the rest of my time is spent gallivanting around England, because I’d much rather be out and about while I’m here then inside with a book (GASP!)
The two courses I’m taking are “Jane Austen in Bath” and “Citizens of the World: The Grand Tour in the Literary Imagination.” The former is pretty self-explanatory. Jane Austen lived in Bath for several years and the city is the setting to a few of her novels. We read 4 of her novels for the class – which is why the first month of my summer was spent reading exclusively Jane Austen and nothing else, hence why no reviews or updates regarding my reading life (there will be some Austen fun on here soon!). I read Pride and Prejudice (reread), Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Emma all in the month before I went to Bath. We are now reading criticism and other supplementary material throughout the course, like Austen’s letters and early reviews. Every week we take 1 class period to go explore some part of Bath significant to Austen’s life and times. More on this in future posts!
My other class, which sadly was my second choice as the spots filled up for the Tolkien and Lewis class (*bitter resentful shudder*), is shaping up to be at least a bit interesting. It is about the Grand Tour, which, for those who don’t know, was when bright (or not so bright) young Oxbridge grads in the 18th century would travel Europe for a few years to round-off their education. This is only a general definition, as many of the works we are reading are not from bright young Oxbridge grads, but simply travel logs from other men of the time, including famous authors and socialites of the period. We are reading travel journals, accounts, and some novelizations of travel in the period, talking of how each person views travel differently based on what and how they write during their travels. We are now moving into a discussion of the genre of travel writing. It has been interesting because we are writing our own travel journals for the class (convenient for me, who was going to do that anyway) and picking sections to publish into a class book at the end. It has been a good experience to really think closely about travel and how it is affecting me and how I see the world.
So that’s why I haven’t been reading! My Goodreads account is collecting dust. But I’ve spent every weekend away from Bath, seeing other places around England, as well as exploring and getting to know Bath during the week, socializing with my fellow students, and somehow finding time to do homework and class readings (and sometimes not 😛 ). I really want to use my time here to the fullest, so I’ve put my books back on the shelf until July 14th.
This does not mean I will not be posting on the blog, however, because I obviously am having a lot of literary study and adventures over here that I would like to share. I’ve somehow found time to write this post, so maybe I’ll be able to do those soon (or maybe not). Until then,
“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” – Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey