At an annual education research conference last week we discussed the importance of reading for pleasure - beyond academic journals and textbooks. This can have an enormous impact on the quality of your writing - no matter what your discipline or your level. We had the pleasure of chatting to Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer about the benefits of reading a wide range of literature in conjunction with (but not related to) your research.
Some academics argue that if a researcher has time to read for pleasure, they’re not working hard enough. But this is a dangerous attitude. Many researchers struggle with writing and the majority of researchers have neither the time nor the skills to offer meaningful guidance. Encouraging academics to read widely and read well is a fast and effective way to improve their writing. It’s also a powerful way to promote the sort of work-life balance practices that are essential to surviving life as an academic! (And if that weren’t convincing enough, there’s also the fact that intellectual cross-pollination of exactly this sort has been responsible for some serious scientific breakthroughs!).
This comes from Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer, who has written about the importance of "non-required reading", including a suggested list of readings to inspire and challenge.
--- replaced by To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee for those who can't access it. June: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks July: The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart by Ruth Behar August: Cloud Street by Tim Winton September: Shakespeare on Love edited by Michael Kerrigan October: Little Black Book of Stories by A.S. Byatt November: Joe Cinque’s Consolation by Helen Garner December: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
After posting the full list on social media we have received positive responses from many women who would be interested in reading these together as part of an online book club. So here it is. We're kicking it off with April's book:
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill
Share your thoughts and ideas on the book here as we go. At the end of each the month we can discuss it in detail, wrap up for this book and get ready to move on to May's reading.
Anyone is welcome. We look forward to reading with you all!