Thursday, September 4, 2014

Just fiction, please! or Why I'm Not a History Major.

Last night confirmed something for me: I am not an academic or a scholar. Heck, maybe I'm not even as smart as I thought I was. Or maybe I just don't fit well into the confines of higher education. Or maybe I'm just not a history major. Yep, it's probably that one.

Sitting around a room full of my fellow students (most of whom are history majors) is a surefire way to make me feel... dumb. Put me in a religious studies classroom and I'm right at home! I can converse with you from here until Sunday. But put me in a room with a bunch of history majors and I'm completely out of my element. This past week was focused on a book called Silencing the Past, which, on the surface, sounds like it could be interesting. And, to a lot of people, it was!

Lord help me if my professor is reading this, but the language went directly up and over my head. While I was able to grasp the main concepts (I did make it to my senior year of university, after all), the book was clearly written for those who have a firm understanding of not only history, but the study of history. The worst part of the process is feeling like everyone but you has been completely enthralled by the material and sitting there during discussion with nothing at all to add (because, holy crap! it took everything I had just to make it through the required reading).  I have never heard the word "interesting" so much in such a short amount of time as I did last night - unless, of course, you count the two days I spent in that English class I decided to drop.

This, my friends, is why I'll stick to fiction, thank you very much. While there are a few exceptions to the "no non-fic" rule - for example, religion (my own area of study, but something I'll never review here) or anything Walt Disney related - they are few and far between. Whenever I read, I read to escape. I enjoy plot driven stories that take me to another time and place far from the real world. That's why I don't opt to read much contemporary fiction and I steer almost completely clear of depressing contemporary fiction. When I read I want something new and exciting and I most certainly do not want to have a dictionary on standby. Reading time is fun time.

I highly, highly doubt that I am the only one in the circle of book bloggers who feels this way - otherwise there would be far fewer book bloggers!

I'm realizing as I write this that it's very likely that many of these history majors find books like Silencing the Past (which is mostly about the process by which events become written and circulated history) just as fascinating as I find How Jesus Became God and maybe that's why they all found this particular book so "interesting." So maybe I'm being a little too critical of my fellow students. Maybe I simply ended up in a classroom overrun by people sharing a common interest that I don't necessarily understand. If that's the case (which it is), then I sincerely hope that my professor will take pity on me and what must seem like my clear lack of enthusiasm for some of these topics.

Well, this post took an unexpected turn.