I am a non-reader. I don’t enjoy books. I skim everything on the internet. I gloss over magazine articles and , of these mediums, I absorb very little info past the most basic outline possible. This has been an issue for as long as I can remember. Not only on a level of being able to learn things (try reading sampler instruction manuals when you can’t stay focused for over a sentence) but on a social level. Very few things will get your average smarty pants motherfucker to turn their nose up at you quicker than telling them you’re not into reading.
The thing is, I think there’s a difference between not enjoying reading cause it’s hard (which it is not, for me) and not enjoying it cause it’s fucking boring. Now, this is in no way judging those who love reading. I’m undoubtedly envious on anyone who can sit down with a book and get lost in it. The only time I ever read is when there is no other option. Like on a 5 hour flight on US Air where the only entertainment is cloud watching and the sky mall magazine or hanging on a beach that I don’t wanna be on. Therein lies the conundrum. I’m completely capable of reading. I can sit down and understand what’s going on and actually get through an entire book fairly easily. The problem is, I just don’t give a fuck about it. There is no joy. My whole life I’ve felt , maybe i’m just reading the wrong books (what’s certainly what people have told me a billion times over). But , I’ve read all types of books at this point and nothing has changed. So , let me make a case for all those non-readers out there (who, ironically, are reading this right now) who feel , just cause you don’t like reading , that doesn’t mean you’re a cave man half wit.
1)Words don’t stick
I have a funny memory. I can tell you all about random hip hop B-sides from the early 90’s and I can tell you which one of my friends fucked who in 1997 but , for the life of me, I don’t absorb the written word. I don’t mean that I read it and don’t understand it. I mean, I read, understand it and forget it the second I’m done.I’m like the literary version of that movie “momento”. For a person who doesn’t like reading, I’ve actually read my fair share of books. If I were to be tested on some of the most basic elements of those books, I would fail. Character names. Story arc. Hell, even just characters in general. It simply doesn’t sink in. I wish it did but it doesn’t. You can imagine how detrimental this was for me when taking the SAT’s reading comprehension test. That shit was a debacle cause, not only was I bad at it, but they also gave you the most boring paragraphs known to man to pick apart. It was brutal. I’m lucky I didn’t get sent to special ed after my SAT scores came back.
2)Fuck your description. It’s just words.
That’s a pretty broad generalization but that’s what this blog is built upon. This may be just credit to my dying imagination (more on that in a moment) but the power of words is often lost on me. You may read a passage from a novel detailing the beauty of a sunset. Those words might paint a picture in your head of the most glorious sunset you’ve ever seen. To me, it’s just a fucking sunset. The same way, in real life, if someone showed me a picture of a sunset from their trip to Bali. I get it. Sun. Colors. Night is coming. Big fuckin’ deal.
Granted, this is me. I don’t expect people to relate to this , but a large part of writing is long winded descriptions of things that don’t really matter. I remember , back in high school, doing the required reading and just skipping page after page cause the author was going into endless detail about a flower or the floor boards of the room. I understand that these things are purposeful and often beautifully written. I just, personally, don’t give a shit. If I don’t give a shit about a flower in real life, how one earth am I gonna be moved by one that’s being explained to me over 500 words.
That’s kinda why , when I was in high school, I sorta liked the short stories of Raymond Carver. They were short (that’s a plus), but he didn’t waste time on superfluous detail. He just bluntly told the story. I could get into that as much as I could anything written on a page.
3)My dead imagination
I guess I’m a visual person. I don’t get transferred to another time and place when looking at words. Telling people this often leads to them saying they love imagining what the characters look like and how, reading a book will let your mind create the visuals. Perhaps that works for others , but when I’m reading, it’s stock footage. All the description in the world of a character , down to the socks they wear, and it’s still aimless to me. Unless the book says something like “He looked like John Bobbitt with downs syndrome” , in which case, I’d know exactly what he looked like. But that’s cause it’s visual. Reading that someone was “rakish” means nothing to me. It’s like jerking off to my imagination. It used to work a little but nowadays it’s impossible
4)The movie>>>>The book.
There are some truly shit films that have been adapted from great books. I doubt anyone has ever said “The book was okay but the movie? THE BEST!”. That doesn’t happen. I accept that the original material will always technically be better. It’s more detailed. It’s not watered down to fit into 2 hours. It’s got layers of meanings that a film maker usually can’t portray properly , if at all. Yes. I don’t doubt this is true. But you know what? A movie wins to me cause it’s a movie. Cause i’m lazy and it’s easy. Yup. Two hours looking at something that’s “alive” will always beats a week of looking at words.
For example, I’m a fan of the movie “American Psycho”but, in a shocking turn of events, I actually read that book before the movie came out. I “enjoyed” the book , in the sense that it had some fucked up moments that I didn’t immediately forget after putting the book down (which is a feat in itself for me). The book and the movie were quite different in tone. The Movie was much more comical and almost campy. The book was more serious, very obsessive and dark. The book contained scenes that were so foul that there’s no way they could be portrayed on film. By all accounts, the book was clearly better. But put the book in front of me and a DVD of the movie, guess which one I’m picking? It’s not even a choice.
Listen, I know how you readers are. The same way I react to someone who says they don’t like TV , is how you react to someone who is apathetic towards reading. We’re all wired different. But get off your fucking high horse. The days of calling people nerds for liking reading ended in the 50’s. It’s not a “you against the world” thing. You simply like reading. Huzzah to you, my friend. I do not. So shut the fuck up about it and stop pretending just cause you read some shit written by another person that you’re some sort of genius.Unless you sit around reading text books for pleasure, I don’t wanna hear. I could get the same knowledge from a book on tape or a documentary.
For years, I assumed I had something wrong with me. From age 4-17 I got tested for all sorts of things. Dyslexia being the one they kept coming back to. But, no matter how many symptoms I showed, it never stuck. At best, I was diagnosed with a slight case just to make it possible for me to get Ritalin (it didn’t do shit).
No, aside from a exceptionally short attention span, I am and always have been free of L.D.’s. This was confusing for me, my parents and my teachers. Years later, I feel like I’ve got a hold of what the problem is. I’m simply indifferent to things I don’t really give a shit about. I’m also kinda lazy. Those two things combined equal a man who doesn’t like reading cause it honestly doesn’t interest me as a something to pass the time. That’s it. I wish it weren’t that way but it is. It is odd that i like writing though. that shit doesn’t make sense at all.
So, there you have it. If you disagree,Let me live. I’m allowed to like and dislike things regardless of how flawed my reasoning may be. If you agree? Props to you for even making it this far. I just wrote a lot of words up there and I’d imagine it was quite a grueling journey. I appreciate it.