Does Studying Books Make Them Less Enjoyable?

It’s a question that has been on my mind ever since reading The Book Thief in class and wishing I could have read it on my own (because I knew I would have enjoyed it, it’s a pretty good book) instead of tearing apart each tiny detail and writing essays about it.

Another time I wondered about this is when I found out that some people study Pride and Prejudice for their exams. I was torn between wishing I could have studied it, and being glad I wasn’t studying it because it would probably end up ruining one of my favourite books.

I think that when a class is forced to read a book that they probably wouldn’t go near otherwise, it is not going to be enjoyable anyway. But the question is does reading it in class make it even worse? Reading books in class can be good because it helps you to understand them and their context more, and it can be interesting to analyse them. However in some cases, for example when reading a Shakespeare play, it can feel as if you are consuming the text in the wrong way. Shakespeare is meant to be performed and watched, not read and over-analysed, so of course reading it in class will not give the same enjoyment as watching it on stage.

Similarly, when studying books at the beginning of secondary school (before you start reading GCSE texts), sometimes (if you’re lucky) you might get to read a more modern novel (such as The Book Thief). While I think this can be good for engaging children more in English, it can still become boring. When the book chosen is one that some people might have wanted to read, reading it in class can become annoying because you read at a slow pace while analysing things that children might not find particularly interesting.

I like studying books, because I find it interesting, but I like reading them on my own more.

So, does reading books in class make them less enjoyable? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

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5 thoughts on “Does Studying Books Make Them Less Enjoyable?

  1. thelibrarylizard says:

    I think it really depends on the book and the teacher. I read The Book Thief on my own and it’s one of my favourites – I think learning/analysing it more in depth would be good, but it would depend on how this was done. If other people in the class don’t like it, it usually slows down the whole process/makes it less enjoyable.

    You makes an interesting point about plays – in my earlier secondary school years we got made to read a play called “Whispers in the Graveyard” – it wasn’t bad, but I felt that simply reading something that’s supposed to be performed meant that it lost a lot of it’s appeal. Which is why the only Shakespeare I’ve ever enjoyed so far was As You Like It because I got to see a live production of it – made it so much more engaging.

    As someone who loves analysing books and writing about them, the only times I’ve felt that learning about them/writing essays on them in class was a negative experience were with plays because they were never really examined as pieces of live performance. However, I do also feel that for people who don’t enjoy the over analysing, being forced to do it probably puts them off reading entirely, which is a minor tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Helena Gouveia says:

    I think this is a very interesting topic to discuss about and I think it always depend on the teacher, because studying books is not a bad thing imo. I think it is great to study the characters behaviour and why they took such decisions that are often based on the period they live. It is important to study peoples behavious. Ive had really bad experiences with reading books for school though.

    Like

  3. notsomoderngirl says:

    I think studying books in class can often make them more interesting, I’m studying ‘The Bell Jar’ as part of my coursework and, although I loved the book when I read it, by researching and looking into it I’ve loved it even more!! 🙂

    Like

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