Introduction: For the Love of Learning

“I wanted them to love learning...”

These were the words our mother spoke when anyone asked her why she home-schooled us. Our education began in a large, airy room off our carport with our hands in glue and paint and, later on, holding pencils and scientific calculators. We measured the distance between the planets as we walked up the road, learnt about the joys of non-Newtonian fluids with cornflower and water, and made an entire Egyptian city complete with rivers and pyramids made from clay and bamboo skewers. 

Before we knew it, my sister and I found ourselves at University, hands out of clay and into textbooks (not the best exchange if you ask me). She to study a double degree in Business and Arts and I (a few years later) to complete a Bachelor in Communication. Rather a good mix I like to think. If you’ve read the ‘About Us’ page, you’ll know that Lydia has already ticked off a Masters degree and is entertaining strong notions of embarking on a Doctorate this year. I myself still have a good 12 months to go on my degree so prefer to push thoughts of post-grad study away from the forefront while I grapple with my fast-approaching final year! 

In order for you to understand how we got here, you should have a glance at Lydia’s myriad blog posts documenting her very intense thesis-writing journey. You can have a browse in the ‘Projects’ section. As part of her research, she read 53 novels, plays and short story collections, averaging out at about 2-3 books per week! As you would expect, she came across some pretty excellent literature and learned to weed out the bad from the good and the good from the great. As she often tells me, “Life is too short to read average books!” Although, I’m quite certain she didn’t come up with that herself. But do go and follow her on Goodreads here, and me here. We wanted a single location to document our combined reading list, as well as a place to publish our favourite essays and creative pieces that we felt should be shared more widely. For any of you who study, you’ll understand the frustration of putting countless hours into something only your lecturer will ever see and (hopefully) appreciate. And so, we find ourselves here, in The Alcove.

A little while down the track we’d like this to become a collective of creative people all contributing thoughtful, critical, insightful, and original work. But until then, we have a few goals of our own:

1) To compile top-quality reading lists to share with others
2) To critically engage with literature and share our thoughts in the form of reviews
3) To publish our own original work, whether that be an essay, a short story, or play
4) To discover a group of people with a similar appreciation for good books and great wine
5) To motivate others to go and become better readers, thinkers, and communicators

If it’s not too much to ask, we’d love for you to get involved! Tell us what you think about our reading recommendations, drop us a line and suggest something to add, and contribute your own thoughts on any of the topics discussed in The Alcove by commenting or sending us an email. We’re just beginning, so encouragement in the form of flattery will not be frowned upon.

In less than three weeks I’m off to continue my degree abroad, in London. If travel and theatre is something you’d like to hear anything about, let me know! We’ll continue to update our ‘Bookbag’ and share essays and thoughts with you about our own discoveries in the world of literature over the following months. Engage, discuss, and learn!