Fiction to Fact: Academic Reading and Writing

It’s been so long since I had time for reading fiction that I forgot how much I enjoy it. Yesterday I finished the first Inspector Rebus novel Knots and Crosses (1987) by Ian Rankin. He is a genius, giving away just enough clues for your own imagination to take over and form your own conclusions. I enjoy crime thrillers because they make you think and I guess this may have influenced my choice to study Criminology…

Reading fiction is a great way to get used to spending hours at a time taking in lots of info, but I noticed this affected my approach to research and my writing style during my first year. Writing creatively and academically are two very different mind sets, which only this last year I finally got used to. The difference being that fiction is similar to Rebus, who’s name means ‘enigmatic puzzle’, whilst academic reading and writing is about taking the puzzle apart. Lecturers don’t have time for puzzle games. Though by taking apart the arguments of others we develop critical thinking skills, rather than creative.

As promised I’ll mention a few books worth reading during the summer. In terms of Criminology there’s an interesting book called ‘The Criminological Imagination‘ and another called ‘A Suitable Ammount of Crime‘ which are critical approaches to Criminology. These are both available in the university library but you will find out more from Dr James Treadwell , who will teach your ‘Crime In Focus’ module in your first semester.

More interesting are books that are written by journalists and crime writers. Such as Costa Del Crime if international crime sparks your interest or A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun: The Autobiography of a Career Criminal.  I’d highly recommend the latter as it covers the criminal career of Noel ‘Razor’ Smith through childhood petty crime, prison sentences and adult armed robberies or ‘blags’. All of which you will cover in Criminology. Browse your local libray for anything related to crime that looks interesting. Read stories off which I used for my last essay titled ‘Why Do Children Kill’ and  keep up to date with the news, you’ll be reminded of this throughout your first year and indeed your seminar work will be based on recent news stories, so it’s best to make this a habit.

Reading can be as indulgent or as tedious as we desire. People have different tastes, if a topic isn’t interest then it’s best to then move onto the next one, the next story and the next puzzle.

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Matt has now graduated from the University of Leicester and is no longer blogging for this site.

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2 responses to “Fiction to Fact: Academic Reading and Writing”

  1. Stacy

    I am also looking for some ‘summer reading’ despite the fact that a)it’s not very summery outside and b)I don’t get a summer recess from essays 🙁 But I think I will get a couple sent out from the uni library, I feel like reading something for leisure rather than academic requirement!

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