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Thread: I can't read

  1. #1
    FORT Spaghettio Shayla's Avatar
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    I can't read

    This isn't a thread about literacy. As many of you know, I don't read. I've posted that I can't read in two other threads and have lurked in the "Books" forum from time-to-time, as if waiting for something outside myself to happen. Maybe a book will fall out of the sky and knock me unconscious.

    I used to be a bookworm and read between six and eight hours a day until college, during which time I read about three hours a day. After college I stopped reading books, somewhat suddenly. Well, I read a small article once that said the mold spores from old books are somewhat hallucinigenic. Perhaps I am only hallucinating non-reading? Perhaps my life is just one big book, and I'm reading it, but hallucinating that it's real?

    My students don't know about my little problem. Some of them have given me books as thank you gifts. greenflute and Paulie, a year ago a student gave me Wicked, which you both have discussed, and it still sits on my bookshelf. He loved the book and thought I would like it, too. About three weeks ago a former student gave me Kokoro by Natsume Soseki and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yushio Mishima. He thought I would like them, because I expressed my fascination with Mishima. He seems interesting as a person; I've never read his books!

    In any case, I originally wrote this as a post for the "What are you reading?" thread. But, rather than take away from their intelligent bookcentric thread, I thought it'd be best to post this as an advice solicitation.

    I know this sounds silly, but I have nothing but admiration for people who regularly read.

  2. #2
    eternal optimist Shazzer's Avatar
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    Oh Shayla! I know a lot of people who choose not to read, and many who have been turned off to it due to weighty college reading. You're not alone!

    I personally think people should read whatever they fancy, and not to impress others or seem noble or superior. Alongside "normal" or "acceptable" fiction, I read almost every piece of children's literature out there, young adult, middle grade, etc. etc. I couldn't care less if someone thought this was a waste of my time or less noble than say, reading War and Peace or Homer etc. (Of course, I always feel that the people who think children's lit is a waste of time are the same people who know very, very, little about it, technically and historically. )

    Read for you, not for others. And that includes not reading, if that's what sounds good.
    "If you're like me, you have a 'been there, done that' attitude when it comes to paleolithic paleontology." - Jon Stewart

    "I swear, you are the ho-ho ho." - OTS

  3. #3
    can i have your heart? unexplained's Avatar
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    Shayla, I love your posts.

    Anyway I don't read much. I only started reading because I had to be able to discuss a book during English Literature lessons.

    Then I got attracted to Romance novels and much of younger teenage years was immersed in reading as many Romance novels out there. I still do sometimes but I tend to get cynical.

    People in school use to criticise the books I read but I just ignore them. I don't live to their standards.

    Great advice Shazzer!
    People who read superb books.
    You select the person you want to be with, and then you let that person have the opportunity to select you. -Shayla

    "The mind is its own place, and in it, self can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n." -John Milton, Paradise Lost.

  4. #4
    One hep cat, daddy-o Rachael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unexplained
    Shayla, I love your posts.

    Anyway I don't read much. I only started reading because I had to be able to discuss a book during English Literature lessons.

    Then I got attracted to Romance novels and much of younger teenage years was immersed in reading as many Romance novels out there. I still do sometimes but I tend to get cynical.

    People in school use to criticise the books I read but I just ignore them. I don't live to their standards.

    Great advice Shazzer!
    People who read superb books.

    I second the "Do what you enjoy" advice.

    However, if you wanted to start reading again, I wouldn't go with something weighty, or even just thick. When I feel all read out, I go with something light and easy, whether it is Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner, or one of my Sweet Dreams books (I used to read the series when I was about 12, and I found about 75 at Goodwill and bought them all). Short stories are another great jumping in point. You don't just jump in and run a marathon, after all, right?

    As for the books as gifts, what a nice thought. And the thought is what counts. Every holiday I get candles from my sister in law. I hate candles. I never use candles. So, same sort of situation. Oh, wait, no it isn't, since there is no nice thought there. You know what I mean, though.

    I'll stop rambling now, since I don't know usually know what I am talking about. I just wanted to add that Wicked was an AMAZING book. Lost was a huge letdown.

    Rachael

  5. #5
    daydream believer oneTVslave's Avatar
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    Shayla, I am one of those people who loved to read since the moment I learned how. That is, until college. I double majored in English and theater and found myself trying to read four or five novels/plays simultaneously all the time. Not to mention the fact that half of what I was assigned was so boring that I wouldn't have voluntarily chosen to read it, ever. After college, I didn't read for pleasure for a few years. Then it just started to come back. I agree with Rachael, reading something really light would be a good way to ease back in. I thought Bridget Jones' Diary was a hilarious read. The fact that it is written as a journal made it even more fun. I read it in about a day and a half at the beach, and laughed out loud the whole time.
    The first "serious" book I read that reminded me how much I love to read and got me reading regularly again was The Cider House Rules by John Irving. Great story.

    Anyways, I wish you luck - I am sure it will come back to you in time.
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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  6. #6
    Adelitas Way 7.14.09 libra1022's Avatar
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    I was one of the "turned off by college" readers. As a kid I read like a maniac, even thru high school, but then college came along and something snapped and I didn't pick up a book other than my text books for many years. That changed when I was about 25 and I dated a guy that read to me in bed, he'd pick out the sexier parts of books and sit there and read them to me...that really got me back into reading on a regular basis because I'd get intrigued where the partial texts came from. Now I'm an off again on again reader, I'll go thru a book a week for a month or so and then not pick another one up for another six months.

    Anyways!! I'm rambling a bit, but just wanted to add my 2 cents for the night since I've never posted in this forum before

  7. #7
    a jumble of useless facts gracie's Avatar
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    If you really want to read without having to actually read the book, try books on tape or cd. For me they are a life saver at times. I love to read, but don't really have the time to invest in a what I consider a good read, so I get books on tape from our library and listen to whatever strikes my fancy while I do other things. Most public libraries have them and the variety is amazing. Sometimes when I've listened to the abridged version of something that really caught my interest, I get the book to read to see if I missed anything important. Usually I haven't, but it gets me reading again.
    Last edited by gracie; 08-05-2003 at 12:02 AM.
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  8. #8
    Tennis Maniac Illustrious's Avatar
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    I seem to be on again-off again as well. I'm a junior in college and for the first two years, I generally just read textbooks and stuff. But this summer (since mid-May), I've read at least 15 books and plan on reading a couple more before I head up to school... it's strange, I guess the books just pile up and then when I decide to read I'll "binge" read... heh.
    What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. -Samuel Johnson

  9. #9
    Retired! hepcat's Avatar
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    I didn't know this was universal...isn't that interesting. I too couldn't read for fun after college & graduate school. I especially could not read anything non-fiction, and I still have trouble with this. But I broke the spell by reading favorites from my adolescence, like Steven King's books (Salem's Lot, It, Tommyknockers) and just anything where the resolution was clear. (I hate when "good" literature leaves you to decide for yourself what happens next!) When I was pregnant, I kept having vivid nightmares about whatever I was reading, so I cut out any book with blood & gore and picked up romance novels. I was really surprised at the quality of some of them.

    Everyone's made good suggestions... you are not alone!
    You've gotta hustle if you want to earn a dollar. - Boston Rob

  10. #10
    Princess
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    Another one of the on/off readers. To me it seems like it's related to being able to just take that time for myself witout feeling that there is something else I should do, and/or something that's "easier" to do - such as watching TV. I know whenever I do pick up a book these days I really enjoy it much - but it takes a certain amount of energy to actually do that.

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