Literature – the Existant the Assistant to your Existence Mon, 06 Aug 2018 10:44:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Literature – the Existant 32 32 Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:04:59 +0000 the Existant
Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why

paper books vs e-books

Worried e-books are taking over the print industry? Hoping for e-books to gain normalcy? Find out what 92% of college students actually prefer!

Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why

the Existant
Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why

paper books vs e-books


The rise of the use of electronics in every day life has brought about huge changes in the way that we live our lives- and one extremely popular and relatively new debate is the paper books vs. e-books.


We communicate using a phone in every single way- from calls to text to messaging to Facebook live- everything that we do is mediated by some sort of electronic device.


Not surprisingly, the innovation of E-books and E-readers felt like an alarm sounding for the industry of print publishing. The newfound experience and popularity of reading books in electronic version brought remorse and panic for our book-lovers.


After all- there is nothing like the feeling of a book in your hand and the smell of its pages at your fingertips.


If you are worried that E-books are taking over the market and pushing aside our printed ancestors, then think again.


Although books are read by people of all ages, from early elementary years through middle and high school, through college and adulthood- the interesting age range to zoom into is definitely the age where the most amount of money is spent on textbooks in particular- for college-going students.

paper books vs e-books2


  • Recent Study Shows Which One Is Preferred

In a recent research between 2010 and 2013  researchers asked over 400 students in the United States, Slovakia, Japan, and Germany whether they prefer reading from print textbooks, or using e-books.


In this survey, which was part of American University’s linguistics professor Naomi Baron’s book Worlds Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, researchers found that 92% of college students in the United States preferred print over digital.


With such alarmingly high numbers, it is interesting to explore why students preferred one over the other.


Of course, as of any popular debate, there are pros and cons to each side.


Here is a list of some very strong pros (and cons!) for each side in the paper books vs. e-books war.



E-book PROS

paper books vs e-books


  • Quick and Easy:

It is easy to skim through book selections and purchase a book on your fingertips- and be able to start reading right away!


  • Portability:

It is easy to carry your entire library around on your one device!


  • Price Advantage (sometimes!):

Sometimes, e-book versions can be found as much cheaper than print versions of the same book!


  • Cool features:

There are many available features in the majority of e-readers or e-book softwares that make reading enjoyable and engaging. You can highlight quotes, find popularly highlighted quotes, click on a word to immediately find its dictionary definition, highlight pages, share books with others you know for short periods of time, and more!



E-book CONS

paper books vs e-books


  • Permanency of Purchase:

As easy as it is to pick a book, you are less likely to think your purchase through as you would with a physical book. If you buy a book you are not satisfied with or do not wish to keep, buying it as an E-book (unless it is a rental), you are stuck with it forever!


  • Price Disadvantage:

Although sometimes e-books are cheaper, a lot of the times they are the exact same price. Seems unfair when considering that the print version provides you with a physical copy!


  • Unease of Page-Flipping:

Although you can bookmark and travel from one page to another at your own will, it is very difficult to do so- and of course impossible to look at two places simultaneously as you could with print.


  • Distractibility:

Whether you read your digital copies from your phone, laptop, or e-book device, it is easy to become distracted with other features when engaging with a digital version, taking away from the experience of reading!


  • Difficulty Engaging:

Even with awesome new features, it is never the same as highlighting, dog-earing a page, or writing notes in the margins. You can personalize and engage with a physical book in a more real way.


Especially as a college student when you need to take notes, sometimes you need to flip back and forth and take notes with Post-Its galore- something you can’t quite do with a digital version


  • Eye-strain:

The strain on the eyes from reading excessively from any type of screen is the biggest complaint of college students in the above study. With the need to read for hours on end, the strain on the eyes from a digital version can make it difficult to concentrate, causing headaches, vision blurriness, and difficulty focusing on the information in front of you.


  • Tech Issues:

There is always the issue of needing to charge your device especially if you are in a place where you can’t charge it, if there are technical issues, if for some reason the battery stops working, or some error causes your books to be deleted or God knows what else! What if your book just suddenly disappears? You would never have such issues with a printed version!


Print Books PROS

paper books vs e-books


  • Kinesthetic Enjoyment:

Nothing compares to the feeling of holding a book in your hand and reading. The feel of the pages, the smell of the book.


  • Retention Boost

Research findings suggest that reading from a page on a book allows for better retention, understanding, and overall engagement. People who read from the paper books were more likely to retain information such as plot points and even details than those who read digital.


  • Reading Amount:

Research findings also suggest that when reading on a page, you are more likely to read through the entire page- and through a device you start off reading the top of the page thoroughly, the further you go down on the page the less time you spend absorbing the information. This is called an F-model of reading.


  • Return-ability:

You can ACTUALLY return a print book, or resell it at a used bookstore, or give it to a friend, or put it in a library. It will not go to waste in your shelf as it would in your e-book- and even the book-sharing features on your e-books are faulty and unsuccessful!


  • Variability of Engagement:

Even with the cool features of bookmarking and highlighting on a digital version, the amount of ways you can personalize your engagement when reading on a print over digital- use post its, dog-ear your book, write in the margins, highlight your favorite passages, you name it! Being able to handle your print physically automatically changes your level of engagement and absorption of what you read!


  • Intellect Illusion:

Just seeing your books on a shelf makes you feel smarter, researches show. You are more motivated to not only read, but the accumulation of books is a physical manifestation of an accumulation of actual knowledge as well!


  • Flippability:

Another one of the key arguments by college students is that it is easier to flip from one page to another while reading from a paper book, you don’t have to remember page numbers in the same way.


In an e-book, you can easily forget what is on the other page, and lose your place once you flip. With a paper copy, you can flip around, put your fingers between the pages, see the entire book physically at once rather than as a line of dots or page numbers on the bottom of a screen!


  • Motivation to Read:

Visibly seeing a book in your bookshelf or in piles around the room makes you more willing, and easily pick up a book to just read in the way you wouldn’t be able to make the effort for in a digital version.


Not only that, but the tactile sense of progress of visibly seeing and feeling how many pages have been read and are left to go helps in motivation to continue reading and complete the book thoroughly, rather than skipping around or stop reading when not knowing your progress.


Paper Books CONS

paper books vs e-books


  • Paper Cuts:

This doesn’t seem like much of a CON now does it? Flip your pages carefully!


  • Difficult to carry around

Interestingly, despite the fact that paper books are enjoyable, sometimes we have a weight limit when we are traveling and we can’t carry the amount of books we would like to. Good books are often left behind because of this sad reality.


  • Takes up too much space:

It is very rare to find a person who complains of books taking up too much space. The visual aesthetic pleasure in piles of books and bookshelves in a room not only makes one feel more intellectual, and it just looks beautiful!




Do you prefer e-books over print, contrary to research findings? Or do you consider yourself as a part of the 92%?


Comment below with your own experiences of both e-books and paper books, and your own personal Pro’s and Con’s of both sides of this heated debate!


Where do you stand on the paper books vs. e-books debate?

Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why

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This Is How Pursuing An English Major Changed My Life- For The Better Thu, 16 Mar 2017 06:49:16 +0000 the Existant
This Is How Pursuing An English Major Changed My Life- For The Better

English major

I was always told that the English Major has no benefit to offer. When I embarked on this journey through English Lit, my life changed- for the better.

This Is How Pursuing An English Major Changed My Life- For The Better

the Existant
This Is How Pursuing An English Major Changed My Life- For The Better

English major

There are many things in life that shape us, that change us.


It can be experiences of loss, of success, of achievement, of failure. Sometimes, life thrusts its difficulties on us and makes us who we are. Sometimes, our choices make or break us.


I am proud to say that one of the most defining experiences that shaped not only my life, but my outlook for the rest of my life was my almost instinctive and thoughtless choice of the English major.


My story is not unlike many other college students struggling to find their way and to find success, and the actions that took me to that destination


But here’s the thing:


My story is not about action alone, per se. Nor is it about reaching the destination.


My story is about thought, about the mind. How the mind changed my course, adjusted my sails. And just how powerful the mind is in changing our lives, our vantage points. Not the destination in itself, but the roads we choose on the way to the destination.


My story is about how important it is to know how we choose to perceive the world and take every itty-bitty step towards our destinations, whatever those destinations may be.



How My Journey Started

english major


I started off my college career as any student might- confused and uncertain.


My life was not something that I took as seriously as one straight out of college looking for a job. All that mattered to me was that I somehow figure out something that I can make a living out of, something that I would enjoy.


It seems almost a no-brainer that I would end up as an English major. I was always the top of my class in English. I loved reading and writing, and not in the way that the majority of students said they did. I got thrills and rushes from writing, writing essays and formulating analyses and understandings of texts in-depth gave me this rush of passion.


It was as if the makings of the English major ran through my core.


Interestingly, the last thing I expected was to turn to the English department, and it was a long time before I took that route.


But when I did, it flipped my world around with a total 180.


Starting off as a freshman, and before that throughout my high school years, I always felt impassioned about becoming something, becoming someone who could make a difference. I realized from a very young age that I did not want my life to be focused on mainstreaming into a system of jobs and careers that would just pay me to live until I died.


I wanted to do something that would matter.


So, as any teenager, I explored careers. I thought about law, environmental science, medicine. I was smart. I worked hard. I knew I could achieve anything that I wanted to.


It was then I decided I wanted to go into education. And so, with my decision under my belt and my passion driving me forward, I enrolled in my local community college with a full scholarship and began working toward an Associate of Arts in Education.


I took all my needed classes, I did my observation hours, I became the secretary and eventually the President of a prominent student organization on campus.


In my first two years of college, I basically went with the flow and did what I needed to in order to transfer. I had a balance of subjects so it did not ever really bother me to focus on any one subject in particular. I took two math classes, two sciences, two English classes, two histories.


I prided myself in my holistic approach- even though I knew that the university I was transferring to did not have education as a major and I would eventually have to choose a major of focus before applying to the university’s graduate school for education certification.


Most people who transferred to my university- Rutgers University New Brunswick- for a teaching certification usually focused on a Psychology major. I always thought I would either choose Math or English just for the sake of dual certification in a subject matter for all grades, and special education, and then either math or English- whatever I would end up choosing.



The Instinctive Choice

english major


It was when I came to Rutgers and was faced with the decision, I took what was instinctive to me.


I filled my entire first semester with the prerequisite courses for the English major- and with less than two years before graduation, I stuck to that plan almost mindlessly, unaware until my last semester just what impact the English major was having on my mind and heart.


I always thought in the back of my mind that just getting a teaching certification and just, becoming a teacher in a single classroom wouldn’t be my scope of leadership. I had the utmost honor and respect for teachers and the impact they have on society, but I wanted to do something different. I wasn’t quite sure yet, maybe I would pursue a masters degree focusing on education policy or theory, prepare myself for research projects or curriculum development or a board of education job.


Whatever it was, I wanted to have a positive impact on the world and leave my mark, and it wasn’t until I was fully immersed in my coursework in Rutgers at university level that it dawned on me.


I chose the English major not because I understood what it was, never mind that I had no idea how it would change and expand my mind. All I knew was that I loved to read and write, and that I thought I could impact the world with it.


I also thought it would be a good idea to major in English and get a dual certification. But it wasn’t until I experienced it truly that my mind flipped in ways I could have never imagined.



What is an English Major, anyways?

english major


Before I tell you what I discovered, let me do a little defining for you.


You see, there are a lot of people out there who do not understand what exactly the English major does or offers- even I was confused at times, to be very honest- so don’t feel embarrassed I you were just like I was a couple of months ago.


Most people assume that an English major teaches grammar, or the English language. It is rare that people understand that we are taught to read and write and think through literature and within its critical contexts, let alone the outreaching goals that it achieves in thinking skills beyond those of the outright goals of every English department out there.


Each university will have a different outline of requirements, but for the most part, it will revolve around the same ideas.


  • Here are some snippets of English Department goals and mission statements from different universities-


  • “…every English class is rooted in the challenges and pleasures of reading, writing, and thinking…The English major is designed to cultivate both historical understanding and critical skills.” – Rutgers University English Department



  • The English Literature Major offers students the opportunity for a focused and comprehensive study of literature written in the English language. The English Literature Major engages students in the range of approaches to literary study that now characterize the field: the historical study of national traditions, literary theory, the study of texts in cultural context, genre studies, and the critical analysis of representations of identity, especially in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality. It builds onto the existing English Major a series of requirements that ensure students’ greater immersion in literature, and it foregrounds research.” -University of New Hampshire


  • “With courses in literature, linguistics, creative writing, rhetoric, and writingEnglish studiesoffers diverse gateways into the study of language. You’ll develop advanced skills in writing, reading, interpreting, and understanding the cultural place and importance of a wide variety of texts.”– Ball State University



It is interesting, after exploring the English major and experiencing it on my own, to look back on these mission statements see what university English departments have to say of the major.



How the English Major Changed MY Life

english major


My English classes covered information in all of the above areas. I was exposed to literature in the English language across time periods, from people of all backgrounds and nationalities, of people with different opinions and identities.


I was taught not only to read these texts thoughtfully, but also to think about them through different lenses of theory. I was asked to put on idealized hats, to understand texts through different contexts.


I saw what I was reading from different vantage points. I was able to entertain thoughts without accepting them as my own. We would not only look at characters and analyze their place in the story, we would analyze intent.


Once our minds were opened with the tools set through literary theory, there were endless questions we could ask to lead us to accessing the worlds and dimensions of understanding within ever piece of writing.


Some questions I find myself asking subconsciously now include:

  • What is the author’s intent?
  • What is the narrator’s intent?
  • What does that say about them as a people?
  • What does that say about the subjectivities of this time period?
  • How does that play into political issues of the time?
  • How did the author speak for a certain crowd, or against another?
  • How did the author express his or her own personal struggles and identity, and highlight core issues that are now discussed centuries later with his or her writing as a lens?


Ultimately, how can I project these ideas that I have and that I receive from these texts, onto my own belief of myself?


It was amazing how just the mere practice of such a skill as reading and writing with the proper theoretical mindset could open your mind to such levels of thinking- and that too, subconsciously as a natural skill, no longer needing effort.


In a way, the skills of analysis and deep reading I learned from my extensive English classes taught me more about life than any of my math or science classes ever could have.


I was allowed to be subjective, I was allowed to be myself, I was allowed to have multiple selves through people who are no longer alive.


I was allowed to look at a piece of text as one would look at a piece of art.


I was enabled and trained to look at life- as it is in all its intricacies, as a work of art. People, places, things, ideas. Myself and others, myself and others as a whole, myself and others as separate entities. Possibilties of existence, things that do exist, things that do not exist. Is it not all just that- life? And is not life itself the most intricate work of art?


Nevermind my writing skills and analytical skills, these are skills that anyone can have going into any major, and can be easily honed by the regularity of reading and writing in this major.


What the English Major truly did for me- how it really changed my life was that it changed my world view.


I had Chaucer by my side when I look at religious atrocities happening around me. I had Woolf’s diaries giving me solace when I was awake at night, figuring out what each star in the sky means to me. I was able to analyze the way people acted through the deep readings of the characters of Wilde, of Morrison.


Endless authors and their artful shaping of characters and worlds within their texts opened up my mind to see the world beyond the words and actions of everyday life.


Some may render this extensiveness of thought as overthinking. What I consider it  to be, is enlightenment.


I guess you could say I finally knew how to think. It was as if my mind was finally opened- by opening and accessing the minds of others. And as I could finally look at the world with an open mind, I had no more qualms of where I was going or how.


I just knew that I would find my way through the intricacies of every step towards my destination.


I realized that I did not need a teaching certification, nor did I need to spend endless years at a university to gain a degree as a license to knowledge, to get a “job” or career to simply stay alive.


I wanted to impact the world – all I needed now was to utilize this skill of critical thinking, of expression, of writing, of understanding. Of reaching out to the world and leaving my mark, as so many others did before me even if just through thought and theory.


I learned how to think, I learned how to know and understand. And with this tool, almost any path that I chose could impact the world with the new lens I had on my eyes. Or rather, the lack of a veil preventing me from properly seeing. There was no need anymore to limit myself to any field or track, there were endless possibilities.


Once the mind is open, there is no holding back, no limits as to how I could impact the world with a new-found enlightenment. There was nothing I could set my mind to without succeeding.


My destination was to impact the world. Granted, there were many ways to do so. But the path I stumbled upon through my subconscious passions was the most beneficial to the long-term goal and its quality and success in the end.


I finally knew how I wanted to impact the world in the purest, most authentic way.


My “college degrees” would not define me- the skills they provided me, the mind and thinking skills I now developed, would chart my future goals.


My success was not where I had been, but the uncharted lands I had the potential to traverse with my mind’s tool belt rearing to go.


All because I finally learned how to think. And that infinitely folded depth gave me a vantage point from the stars- to infinity and beyond.



This Is How Pursuing An English Major Changed My Life- For The Better

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Literary Quotes that Define Just How FED UP You Are! Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:42:07 +0000 the Existant
Literary Quotes that Define Just How FED UP You Are!

Literary Quotes

Literature can often put words in our mouth when we find it hard to do so. Who better to turn to than dear old literature to phrase our fed-up-ness?

Literary Quotes that Define Just How FED UP You Are!

the Existant
Literary Quotes that Define Just How FED UP You Are!

Literary Quotes

Literature can often put words in our mouth when we find it hard to do so. Who better to turn to than dear old literature to phrase our fed-up-ness?


Sometimes, it is quite impossible to put into words just how fed up we are with our life and the situations around us. We are most often left to depend upon quotes from literary giants of our time and times before- only they mastered the art of fed up expression.


Is it homework? Your stressful relationship? Your nagging parents? Your new professor’s insane online quizzes? Your boss is surpassing the limits of work-time ratios? The government? Global warming? Disintegration of humanity? Loss of hope?


No worries, our literary giants never denied the art of being fed up- they channeled it perfectly for us instead!


Indulge in these literary quotes to express your level of fed-up-ness, and enjoy!


“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed! Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.” – J.R.R Tolkien, Lord of the Rings


All those assignments, all that work, all the rallies to fight for our basic rights…it is too much of a stretch of my mind indeed? Our time is spread thin, the butter is running out! Maybe we need a change of jam?


“Tired, tired with nothing, tired with everything, tired with the world’s weight he had never chosen to bear.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and the Damned



We live in an age where the economy is collapsing, the environment is falling to pieces, democracy is up in the air, and humanity has been buried screaming. Tired, tired, tired? We may not be beautiful but with the world’s weight dropping us to the ground, we sure are damned!


“Winston was gelatinous with fatigue” –George Orwell, 1984


What better way to call that state of watching Netflix and munching on chips than GELATINOUS. Yes, fatigue makes us wiggly and wobbly, like jelly. Don’t stop us from shaking- or rather, please let us shake in our natural gelatinous state of denial.


“Here I am I am tired I am tired of running of having to carry my life like it was a basket of eggs” –William Faulkner, Light in August


Because life is like a basket of eggs! Each problem ready to drop and crack and fall apart. Oh, government? That fell back a mile ago. Humanity? That is on its way to the ground. You better hold onto that last egg called sanity, because the basket is gone! Good thing that egg called salary is tucked safe in your pants.


“ I feel I need a holiday, a very long holiday, as I have told you before. Probably a permanent holiday: I don’t expect I shall return. in fact, I don’t mean to, and I have made all arrangements….” –J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings


If we could all just get a permanent holiday from reality that would be nice. Its not like life will be all set waiting for our return anyway- fascism and lack of productivity hails free!



Literary Quotes that Define Just How FED UP You Are!

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