#UICEmajor guide to reading

book blogI’m an avid reader. W.E.B. Du Bois said that one must read at least four hours a day to achieve optimal knowledge. Now, I don’t expect anyone to have enough time for four hours of recreational reading during the semester; however, a little personal reading before you go to sleep or in between classes can be very beneficial. A lot of the time, the daily personal reading I do — a few hours before I go to sleep — helps me understand my assigned course readings better and more thoroughly.

I’m notorious for carrying around handfuls of books around campus and having my face planted within the pages of a novel. And thus, other students have come to me for reading recommendations and tips on how they can enjoy the process. They usually say, “I have no time to read,” or “I don’t like to read,” or “Reading is boring.” Being one of the #UICEmajors (UIC English major) these are merely excuses to me.

I usually tell students who say they don’t enjoy reading that they’re not reading books that interest them. Start with books that you enjoy, whether it be science fiction or non-fiction or anything else. Once you start reading these books, they will lead you to other similar books, then you will be sucked in to a whirlwind of reading. I enjoy fiction novels, so I recommend people with similar tastes to start with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Beloved by Toni Morrison, A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan or The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

A good amount of the books I read are recommended to me by professors in the courses I most enjoy. I suggest speaking to your professors and asking them about books that changed their lives, books that keep them inspired or anything they’ve had published themselves. This is also a great networking tool and an excellent way to get to know your professors better.

Use the hashtag #UICEmajors on Twitter to keep up with the English major lifestyle, our reading suggestions and other helpful tips to boost your understanding of literature, writing, studying and the world. Studying novels is important to understand the human condition. The head of the English department, Dr. Lisa Freeman, told me the other day that “the best thing you can do is read everything.” And that couldn’t be more true.


Bernie WilliamsBernie Williams is a senior majoring in English with a concentration in media, cultural and rhetoric studies. She hopes to practice and master an assortment of mediums, including screenwriting, writing for the New York Times, lifestyle blogging, fiction and radio broadcasting. Bernie has a passion for creating and sharing stories. The heightened diversity of the city atmosphere surrounding UIC is perfect for her. Bernie’s side hobbies are indulging in TV shows (specifically Scandal, Girls and Law and Order: SVU), interior design and Instagram.

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