October 24


Self-imposed structure, every introduction seminar said, is crucial for graduate study. I’ve been given the gift of time—great swaths of it between lectures and papers. So what sort of routine should I build around all these books that need reading?

I’ve opted for a poor-man’s Haruki Murakami routine. Six A.M. instead of four. Two or three hours of work instead of five or six. Mid-morning bike ride/run instead of early afternoon. Library work after lunch. Fun things in the evening. In bed by 11 instead of nine. Absolutely no naps. Naps are holes in the bottoms of boats—they sink routines.

And yet … what’s the point of living in Cambridge if you can’t ditch the stacks once in a while and go to a pub on a weekday afternoon? Especially if it’s nearly sunny and nearly warm and a quick bike ride lets you drink hot tea in an apple orchard. How else would I have overheard an elderly, tweed-clad couple deliberating—with such elongated vowels—over where to sit: “Is it wobbly?” True, I only read a few pages, but I spent a delightful half hour listening to their patter and looking at the bruised apples at my feet.


Reader’s Note: Every day for the next couple of weeks, we’ll be presenting new entries from “Along the River Cam.” Check here for the latest post.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Charlotte Salley is a former assistant editor of the Scholar.


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