Why I’m not a casual reader

Ok, it’s time for a little confession. This is something that I’m not exactly proud of, and I can’t help but feel guilty about it. However, I think it simply has to be said. All right, here goes: I honestly don’t like to read that much. There, I said it. Reading through entire novels, textbooks, short stories, and even brief articles tends to feel like a chore for me instead of a pleasurable activity.

Now this does not mean that I have trouble reading or that I find reading to be a boring hobby at large. Far from it, I can read text just as proficiently as anyone else, and I know fully well that reading is extremely vital for a successful education and a successful living. Reading is obviously necessary to have sufficient knowledge of the world around us, and it can introduce people to a fantastic world of imagination and creativity. I wholeheartedly believe that people should read as much as they can – both fiction and non-fiction. Unfortunately, frequent casual reading is just not for me, at least for right now.

The main reason I say this goes back to my post about having so much trouble focusing (“Focus, man, focus!”). Remember when I said that it is massively difficult for me to stay attentive to what’s currently in front of me or to what I’m currently doing? Well this applies almost perfectly to when I’m reading. As hard as I try to keep my mind on the text that I am examining, I can’t help but be regularly distracted by something – whether it be an external stimuli, or simply a thought that I want to contemplate. Consequently, I have no choice but to keep going back several times on a single page to make sure that I’ve truly absorbed the material in the book. This, of course, means that getting through a single chapter or article will take a lot more time than it does for most other people.

So basically, I’m not a huge fan of reading because it simply takes waaay too long for me to do. It is impossible for me to go through each paragraph just once since my mind will constantly drift away, forcing me to skim through it at least twice, until I feel confident that I understand what the text is telling me. This quickly becomes very tedious and irritating, thus preventing me from getting the same enjoyment out of reading that many others seem to experience. It is especially problematic when I’m trying to read an article or non-fiction book for class. Much of the time, I do not complete the full reading assignment because I simply don’t have the time or patience to read through the whole thing.

I also wish to make clear that I am not implying that I never read in my free time. I read articles on the web pretty frequently, and I will sometimes try out books that people recommend to me (I rarely finish them though). Nonetheless, the vast majority of my reading is done as part of an academic assignment or a duty at work; as a requirement. Leisure reading, especially of longer works, is considerably rare for me. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been novels that I’ve genuinely enjoyed and that I like to revisit occasionally (e.g. Harry Potter, Phantom Tollbooth, Redwall, and Bud Not Buddy). It’s just that you won’t typically see me reading stories from a newspaper or a well-known work like Lord of the Flies.

The thing is that I probably would be reading on my own much more often if I could do it without retracing myself every 2 minutes. Indeed, the only thing that prevents me from truly appreciating fantastic writers from Mark Twain to George R.R. Martin is the fact that going through their works would require many, many, MANY hours of my time. I am all too aware of the joy and excitement that people receive from reading these authors’ stories, in addition to the vast amount of knowledge I could gain from looking at more non-fiction pieces. Therefore, I sincerely do wish that reading long texts didn’t have to be such an arduous task for me.

Well, I think I’ve done enough lamenting on this particular topic for now. I promise that in my next post, I will discuss something unrelated to my ADHD or obsessive mindfulness. In fact, perhaps I will write something a little more positive to let you guys know that these difficulties CAN be overcome; to remind everyone with Aspergers Syndrome that there is always hope for improvement.

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One thought on “Why I’m not a casual reader

  1. Hi Tim, I read all the time and in the last few months (while I have been stressed) I have had the same thing. I won’t let it beat me though. I think that Internetting and esp things like Facebook that all reinforce, quick moves, speeds the brain which puts you in the wrong place. I try to limit having the two activities too close together. 🙂

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