I hate writing book reports. I don’t do book reviews on my blog, and I don’t read the blogs others who do. Yet for my class this semester on the theology of the Pentateuch (which in itself has been pretty good), fully ten percent of my grade comes, not from merely reading the material, but from *writing book reports* on what I’ve read.
I’ve really enjoyed my time at seminary. I really have. It’s been a challenge, and I say that in a positive light. But one thing that rankles me, and other students who have come from other academic backgrounds, is the emphasis on fulfilling the reading requirements. I understand that the reading is an integral part of the education experience. As I’ve sort of hinted at before, I’d rather do the reading than show up for class. But making the reading part of your grade? This doesn’t even resemble what I came here for.
I have a complete outline I’m supposed to follow: 1) Summarize the book. 2) Discuss the high points of the book. Insights, strong arguments. 3) Discuss the weaknesses of the book. On points 2 and 3, I’m supposed to cite page numbers. Which is to say, while I was busy, you know, reading the text, I was supposed to have been keeping a little notebook by my side in which I kept a diary of my experience in the reading. You may recognize this as a bad idea. When I write essays, I don’t take notes, and only look up my quotes after the fact.
But this assignment falls to a new nadir in removing all my former joys in higher education: My reading is on a time schedule. This is a problem. I hold to reading schedules like a BMX bike holds to railroad tracks. But my professor has given me a list of which book reports are due – half of them on the date of our mid-term. Which is to say, Monday.
And as I said, I don’t wanna!
(This has been service reminder from the whining broadcast system. We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.)