How to Keep the Heat Between the Sheets… Of Your Assigned Readingby Arielle Schussler on Sep, 19 2012
As a philosophy major, I have a wide variety of texts thrown at me to read: from Nagel’s “What it’s like to be a bat?” to Foucault’s The Order of Things. While I am committed to saying that philosophy interests me as a whole, some specific readings do not: cough-TheOrderofThings-cough. Unfortunately, considering that everything is game for finals or essay topics, I find myself slaving away at my desk, contemplating a purchase akin to those Clockwork Orange eye-hooky things because I just can’t force myself to read any longer. Well, let your tired eyes and restless spirits rejoice for I have compiled for you, gentle reader, a list of 3 easy ways to put the spice back into your assigned reading. Not only will you find yourself finishing readings without pondering any eye- gouging behavior, but hopefully you will be entertained as well!
1) Batman Voice!
Last year, I had to read The Leviathan TWICE (once each semester). And I HATED it. How did I keep it fresh and popping amidst the sawdusty dry heave that is Thomas Hobbes? By reading it out- loud in a BATMAN VOICE. The beauty of the Batman voice lies in the fact that everyone can do it. Just pretend that you are hocking a giant lugi and let your inner Linda Blair out. You will sound so ridiculous that you’ll want to keep reading… and because you need to know your lines before you perform them, you will have to pay super attention to the text (aka no eye- glazing as you read the same passage over and over again!). So Madame Bovary a la Batman, anyone?
2) “Real Talk”
I discovered this method in high school when I had to read the soul- sucking tale commonly known as Beowulf. Long story short- written in verse and totally yawn- worthy (think Ben Stein droning on “Bueller… Bueller…” for a couple hundred pages). To keep my sanity intact, I developed this second technique: annotating the crap out of the book with the liberal use of expletives. What better way to take notes and relieve your frustration all at once? Transform any drab boring story, like the one about the Puritan adultress Hester Prynne into a colorful and enticing work featuring a sex- crazed hussy, a Shining- esque demon child, a shitty baby daddy, and Chris Brown- and you have got gold. This way, you can keep your sanity by verbally bashing the plot and characters (can we say “catharsis?”) AND have some bomb- ass notes that Spark- Notes wishes they had the balls to write.
Last fall, I had to study properties and forms in my Ancient Philosophy class. To nutshell it: if you see a big tree, the tree is big because it partakes on the form of “Bigness.” As truly fascinating as the concept was, I was not able to fully cement it into my memory until I drew a less than flattering doodle of an ex, to which I labeled “Douche- A.” Then I added that “Douche- A” possessed the property of “being a douche” because he partakes on the form of “Douche-ness.” This approach can be utilized in any class at all. Learning about Pavlov’s Dog in psych class? I promise you that drawing a picture of someone you dislike illustrating the phenomenon will forever adhere it to your memory. Maybe you are learning about Mitosis in bio, capture the process to which Kanye West reproduces himself. The possibilities are endless.
Of course there are many other ways to study and do your reading — some more fun than others. If you get stuck in the middle of Moby Dick and you just can’t continue onwards, don’t despair. Feel free to use any of these tools to avoid an angsty Ben and Jerry’s sess with Twilight. Got your own special way of keeping the heat between the sheets? Comment with suggestions and tips below. Happy studying — god knows we have tons of it in the months ahead.