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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

I’m about to start my next course for the Open University, and therefore had a minor panic attack last night sitting on the floor in front of our book collection, trying to choose carefully what would probably be one of the last books I read for the next eight months without terrible feelings of guilt.

Studying means that any time you have free, you feel obliged to spend it poring over psychology text books and papers, or drafting new and more confusing versions of essays or assignments, or coming up with ever more rigorous experiments to compile the most basic and boring data possible (because they don’t set us anything interesting to investigate, for fear that we stare deep into the soul of human existence and become slightly dispirited).

I have, for the past three months, been reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, an excellent book, and also an excellent door stop, and also something you could probably use as a foundation stone for the building of your new home or for clubbing your neighbour to death with. It took me that long to read simply because every now and again I didn’t have the strength or energy to drag it to work and back with me, or to Dublin and back with me, and so in between times I read six other books. I was almost drawn into a conversation by someone who read up to the last 200 pages of JSandMN and then gave up. I couldn’t understand why he’d schlepped through over 600 pages to get that far, only to fall at the last hurdle, and at the point of the book where all your hard work is steadily and generously rewarded, and I would have asked him his reasoning behind this insane decision, only at the moment he had to run out and perform a comedy show in which he read extracts from Jodie Marsh’s autobiography (which turns out to be a lot less interesting than you would imagine it to be), so that question remains unanswered.

I decided, in light of the weight I had been carrying around with me all those months, to choose a lovely little book to get me back into the swing of things. He Who Only... helped in the selection process as I pointed out all the books I’d bought in the past four months that I hadn’t got around to reading yet, and he chose what he felt to be two suitable candidates, and also one from his own collection which I had been thumbing through just the week before. Completely ignoring him, I chose the smallest, pinkest book in my collection, and embrace the fact that I don’t need to carry two bags to work with me just to keep my reading up to date everyday. Well, at least not for another two weeks, after which I’ll be dragging text book from home to the office and then back home again, without actually once cracking the spine, for the next eight months.

I decided half way through the course last year that I was, finally, in my fourth year, going to learn from all my previous mistakes. I was going to start the required reading the day the books arrived, I was going to keep up with the study calendar, I wasn’t going to be beginning work on the essays two days before they were due in, I was going to be organised, I was going to be level headed, I was going to be a wonderful saintly student type with a study plan, highlighted notes, flow charts and everything.

Instead, I’m choosing to read my bright pink book entitled “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life” instead. And I feel I’ve made the right decision.


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