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I think I know why people don’t read

I know many people and I got a lot of friends and none of them likes reading as I do. And this is not a peculiarity of my acquaintances . See, most of people don't care about reading. So I may say reading is a weird habit. It's hard to find someone who likes reading and for me that was the reason I looked for a readers' community in the internet. And I decided to choose this one by the way :) . But the fact is that we are a few percentage of people who have time for reading or uses time that we should be doing anything else to read. My case is more like this last hypothesis lol.

Anyway, I think time is the key word to explain why I cant find much people who reads - or in abstract - the key word to explain why almost nobody reads. People got no time, mates! I myself have to study many hours during my day and I also got to work in a lawyers' office so I can get experience in my future business.

But what about the reading time?? reading does not make anyone rich, for sure. The only thing I don't feel guilt by reading is Law-academic books and boring jurisprudences in the internet so I can learn something about the job that expects me in a very close future.

But if I decide to take the next half hour to read a good romance - oh that seems a crime!! Damn it. Why does life has to be such like this?? Money is good, but fun is also good, mates.

When I was a young children I used to ask myself why dont anybody creates a law like "It's prohibited to work, study or do anything else that may sound boring during 20:00 to 23:00 from sunday to saturday". Wouldn't it be awesome??

Oh sorry. This topic was supposed to be more like a discussion about "what do you guys think that can explain the few number of readers in the world" or something like that. But unfortunately I seem to have turned it in a life complain that a psychologist should be listening to, but not you my reading mates, right? So sorry lol :D (I don't have a psychologist, they seem to pretend they care about any of your probles so you can feel better and supported... dunno lol)

So, guys (and girls), tell me/us why do you thing most of people don't read or why don't you read as much as you wanted to??
 
corrections...

Oh well look at these silly mistakes: these two words I wrote above “probles” and “thing” should be replaced respectively by “problems” and “think”, as you may have perceived. I can’t edit the above topic now, so this explanation will be enough.
 

PhilW

New Member
Answer in two parts...

I don't read as much as I would like to because I don't have (or make?) enough time. Work, family, shopping, etc. etc. But I don't do too badly and I love to read whenever I can. Part of my problem is that I prefer peace and quiet in which to read.

Second part...why don't other people read? Much harder to answer, lots of reasons. Some don't consider reading 'cool'. Some prefer (or only have access to) other distractions - TV, computer, etc. When my children became able to read it opened up a whole new world for them both - they would read aloud from advertising hoardings by the side of the road, or adverts on the back of buses. Now, at 14 and 9, they are very different. My 14 year old son will not read at all. My 9 year old daughter reads a lot. Result? Her written prose, her vocabulary and her ability to analyse written material are all much better. Her reading age is 14 (her school's assessment, not mine). There's always been this boy/girl divide, in the UK at least. In our household there are always books around, and both my children go to schools where reading is encouraged, so there should be no difference between them. I shudder to think how it is in families where books are non-existent and neither parent reads!

By the way, FWIW, should not this thread be in the 'general book discussion' forum?
 
[...]There's always been this boy/girl divide, in the UK at least. [...]

I don’t understand this boy/girl division. It’s weird. I don’t think boys read more than girls. It could be possible that the juvenile literature produces more books that interest girls. I myself did not like teen romances that takes places in high schools and tells stories about a girl that struggles to date a desired boy or anything of the genre – you know, this stuff made only for selling that the youth like. Well, I don’t. I did not read much when I was a teen. Actually, I used to read only rarely. And that was the time I had more time to read lol. Now that I’m 21 I’m always reading something with mature themes, like death, corruption, noir, sex, crime, etc. And I also like adventures, like “Lost Horizon” or “Lord Jim”, which also deals with realistic themes, even tough these tales takes place in fictitious areas. But what I mean is that this is the literature that always interested me, not the teen material or even things like Harry Potter. And maybe this is why your son doesn’t read. Maybe he’ll became a reader when he become interested in the mature literature. Oh, and I’m not saying that Harry Potter or anything else is a bad literature, I’m just saying I don’t like it.

And this mature literature that I like and that your son might like in the future is nothing less than the classics: Balzac, Kafka, Maugham, J. Conrad, J. Hilton, Simone B., Barjavel and many others. And I think they are very famous in UK – your land – and France, countries that had also other great authors. By the way, it may not be very hard to find something of these authors in book stores in there, is it? Here the bookstores only sells the books that are recently released, because they are new, not because they are good. And people seems to read this stuff only because it’s “cool”. The problem is that not all of these bestsellers are good… I don’t know. And there is also another local authors that I like that wrote fine tales in the 19th century. But they are not known overseas lol.

By the way, FWIW, should not this thread be in the 'general book discussion' forum?

Good question. It would be very appropriate in deed. I may use the general book discussion forum next time I got some subject related.
 

Tasku

kickbox
I can't speak for the rest of the world, but for me, as a kid and teen, the problem was always with concentration. I was too hyper to stop for reading, although I tried many times, because I loved adventures, and I knew books would be a path to those adventures. In the end, all it took was age and maturity (is that a real word even?) to get me reading. I still don't read more than once a day for half an hour to two hours at best, but slowly the amount of time used on reading is growing.

Why other people don't read? I don't know. Ask them. :)
 

VTChEwbecca

kickbox
For the teens I teach (12-13), the girls most definitely read more than the boys. Some of this has to do with the "cool" factor, and a lot more has to do with the fact they'd rather be playing video games. Plus, the girls are more able to sit still and read a book. Another observation is that girls, at this age, are FAR more empathetic than the boys, who seem to have no empathy whatsoever (some of this is an act). Therefore, they are unable to engage themselves in a story like the girls can. Some of them may come back into reading in the future, but for many, they are developing habits now that will carry into the future. Sometimes it just takes finding the right book, sometimes it takes a little more incentive.


For myself, the only time in my life I did not read much was due to time - I was working on my bachelor's in chemical engineering. Once I graduated with my degree and began a job, I had more time in the evenings to read and took advantage of that time. I even managed to read when I got my master's degree while working full-time, because it is a habit that is hard to break.

For many others, though, my husband included, there are so many distractions besides books that books have no draw. My husband can read for hours on the internet, but will not pick up a book more than once a year. Part of the lack of readership may just be due to the age in which we live - we are busybusybusy and have no time and what little time we do have is taken up by other interests.
 

kathyNC

Member
I think computers, video games and hundreds of cable TV channels have greatly reduced the attention span. They could also be the reason for so many cases of ADD now being diagnosed now.
 

silverseason

New Member
For the teens I teach (12-13), the girls most definitely read more than the boys. Some of this has to do with the "cool" factor, and a lot more has to do with the fact they'd rather be playing video games. Plus, the girls are more able to sit still and read a book.

I have a son and a daughter. My daughter, from the time when she received basic instruction, read all the time (and still does). My son, although he enjoyed stories, was too active. He preferred the out of doors and building stuff. Only in his last years of high school did he begin reading for pleasure. Now he reads a lot. He travels a lot for his work and all those hours on the airplane seem to be when he gets his reading done.
 

paperspine

New Member
I've read that statistically about 10% more women read than men. I've also seen a recent study that showed 73% of US Adults read at least 1 book a year.
 

BeerWench13

Active Member
I know why people with whom I am friends or family don't read, but I cannot say for the rest of the world. I have a various mixture of friends and their reasons vary as well.

My husband: Can't sit still that long unless basically forced to do so (I have found one exception to that and it is playing poker, but he's still a wiggleworm and has to get up every 10-15 minutes). Doesn't enjoy reading unless it's a football injury report.

My sister: Two children ages 1 and 3. I think that sums that up pretty well.:)

My dad: Again, can't sit still long enough. Falls asleep when he tries to read. Has a VERY long honey-do list now that he's "retired".

Close friend A: Has a new girlfriend and is remodeling his house. Has no time to just sit, relax and read. Will read when time permits, but it at a busy stage right now. Usually reads 3-8 books a year depending on current conditions.

Close friend B: Reads as often as possible. Is extremely intelligent and absorbs everything. Is currently job hunting since he finished his masters recently, so only reads want ads right now. Usually reads a minimum of 10 books a year and is the friend I talk to when I want to discuss literature.

Close friend B's wife: Works about 80 hours a week and volunteers the rest of the time. If she stops she falls asleep. Tries to read when she can but can rarely finds time to do so. Reads art books when she can since they're easy to put down for weeks at a time.

These are just a few examples of the different reasons why people do, don't or won't read. I make sure I read a chapter a day. There are times when I just cannot fit it in, but those are very rare since reading is a high priority for me. I keep telling my better half that his hypertension would probably not exist if he'd just sit and read for about 15 minutes a day. No luck so far.:rolleyes:
 

ewomack

Member
If people really wanted to read, they would find the time. Many seem to have time for video games, going to movies, hanging out in restaurants, and countless other things that involve just as much, or likely more, energy than reading a book requires. I think many just find it plain boring. It doesn't interest them. Whether it's because they're overstimulated by moving pictures or don't like sitting still, such preferences have made reading into an almost cultish activity. Few people do it.

Perhaps there's another angle. Maybe the books flying off the presses today don't have enough mass appeal? Maybe some of the blame lies with the publishers? Short stories were the sitcoms and dramas of the 1950s. Then television came along and wiped out most of it. Publishers, probably feeling like painters after the invention of the camera, maybe felt that they had to provide readers with something "different." This belies the amount of popular fiction out there, of course. Romance is still going strong while "serious" literature festers on unvisited shelves.

Lastly, did people really used to read more? How much have the numbers changed over the past 50 years? I'm inclined to say yes, but I have to admit I have no evidence to back up that supposition. Television likely changed everything, as Kurt Vonnegut and others have suggested. When the tube came along, people had no idea what they had been missing. They threw down the old entertainment and began to sit and stare. And we've never gone back. We likely won't.
 

pearshaker

kickbox
I can sympathise with bookworm fellow on this one.
I too often feel guilty reading anything but legal textbooks.

As for the question of why other's don't read - i think it may very well have something to do with the fact that too many people just don't have (or make) the time to read. People are effectively working longer hours than ever before to meet up with expectations of real life. The car you want, the house you need to maintain - they're all pressing things that require maintenance and payments etc. It's sad really.

What concerns me more is the literacy among children and adults is depleting.. and our children are effectively becoming illiterate. I heard something the other day about a statistic that people are more illiterate than originally anticipated. That's a scary prospect.

Perhaps technology now provides "lazy" people with other avenues of entertainment, making the act of picking up a book and reading a story much more tiresome than flicking on the tv.

Also.. i've found that some people don't relate to the written work as well as others. Some people can really create vivid images of what they read and in turn make it much more enjoyable and detailed, however some other people don't have the detailed imagination to make it something entertaining and enjoyable.

Maybe that's also a reason as to why people don't read. Each to their own... as everyone is very different.
 

VTChEwbecca

kickbox
Television likely changed everything, as Kurt Vonnegut and others have suggested. When the tube came along, people had no idea what they had been missing. They threw down the old entertainment and began to sit and stare. And we've never gone back. We likely won't.


Television is addictive - the way the information is presented actually causes certain reactions in the brain. It is easy to sit and stare and part of that reaction is from the way the television affects ones brain. I found that when I stopped watching television for some time (I do not often watch it when my husband is not home, and he was working different hours from myself) that I stopped even wanting to watch the television. I think it has become easy for people to go home and veg out in front of the tube rather than engage their minds in something like reading.
 

chuephödli

Member
I suspect it's the wrong question - we should rather wonder why DO people read. There is something fairly odd about folks staring at a piece of processed wood, I find. Doesn't stop me from doing it, of course.

Could be that it is all about stories. Reading is probably not build into our system, but telling and listening to stories certainly is - everybody has always done it. People used to do it around the fire (what else was there to do in that cave on long winter nights?), later societies had pros to tell stories, then books became a vehicle to bottle those stories.

Reading is ACTIVE, though: an effort. With TV we have instant stories, all the time, and they are told really quickly, no effort whatsoever involved. Which makes books sort of somewhat outdated. Eventually books will probably disappear. I wonder: is that bad?
 

pearshaker

kickbox
I think the disappearance of books would be devastating. Books encourage the thought process, whilst TV doesn't (well at least not to the same degree, if at all).
Reading makes you create your own setting etc, depending on how good the detail of the writer is... it requires you think and design certain things. TV has already created images and your brain just reads their image.
I think something like reading keeps the brain alive, and processing, rather than TV that may just encourage taking something on face value rather than looking to the detail and making it your own.
 
[…]

Also.. i've found that some people don't relate to the written work as well as others. Some people can really create vivid images of what they read and in turn make it much more enjoyable and detailed, however some other people don't have the detailed imagination to make it something entertaining and enjoyable.

Maybe that's also a reason as to why people don't read. Each to their own... as everyone is very different.

Interesting point. I never tough about it. It makes sense. I would never fell pleasure by reading if I could not create vivid images of the scenes narrated in the text. But the thing is that I always see in my mind's eye the characters and the scenarios when I’m reading. Actually, this is the reason I can focus so easily in the reading. And another thing that makes me believe this tough is right is that when I’m reading a book that the facts and the whole scenes are not very well described I don’t have much interest in the reading. Off course there are some authors that exaggerate in the describing of the characters and scenarios, what can be also kinda boring. But generally speaking, what makes the reading nice is the vivid images we build in our minds while reading.

I can read a good book that gives the possibility of building the vivid images for long hours enjoying it and I don’t miss the focus on the reading. That’s not only because the tale itself is interesting for me, but also because I create a world where all the narrated facts actually happen.

The same doesn’t happens when I’m reading Law academic books. Such material doesn’t gives the possibility to build these vivid images. So even tough I like very much themes concerning Law I can’t study it in an enjoyable way for so much time as I do by reading romances. I must do a break after I’m studying since some hours so I can refresh my mind. I get up, leave my desk and go to the kitchen, have a coffee, a glass of water or whatever else I find to do just for making a pause. That is not necessary when I’m reading a good romance.


[...]

Could be that it is all about stories. Reading is probably not build into our system, but telling and listening to stories certainly is - everybody has always done it. People used to do it around the fire (what else was there to do in that cave on long winter nights?), later societies had pros to tell stories, then books became a vehicle to bottle those stories.

Reading is ACTIVE, though: an effort. With TV we have instant stories, all the time, and they are told really quickly, no effort whatsoever involved. Which makes books sort of somewhat outdated. [...]

I can also agree with you. As I said before, the enjoyment is not in the paper or even in the act of reading, but in the tale itself we create in our minds. So if the TV can offer us this vivid images already arranged the experience of the tale could become even more enjoyable… for some people.

But for me, reading can not be compared with watching TV. For me, the act of generating the vivid images I talked about before is a source of great pleasure.

That doesn’t means I don’t like movies.

I’m just saying that for me watching a movie, reading a book, watching a play in a theater, playing a videogame that contains a story (thing that I used to do in the past but not anymore) or whatever else are different kinds of entertainments that cannot replace each other.


[…] Which makes books sort of somewhat outdated. Eventually books will probably disappear. I wonder: is that bad?

So for me books are not becoming outdated once I consider something outdated since its function can be totally replaced by another device. And as I said, I like to create my own vivid images of the happenings in the text while I read and I don’t know any other way to do it but trough books.

Now, what can be getting outdated is the paper books. The e-books may replace the paper books someday, but that would make no difference for me, concerning the e-books are supposed to keep the same qualities of the traditional paper books such as good translations or a very well reviewed text. But even so, I wouldn’t say books are going to disappear, they will only became computer files that we’ll easily carry in many small devices wherever we go.

In the other hand, maybe the world population will not “tolerate” the idea of doing so much sacrifice to generate their own vivid images as reading a text. If that happen, then the book would disappear, because no one would sell or even create something that would not sell. If this second hypothesis is right then, my friends, I’ll have to spend a lot more time in search of books – used books by the way. But for me the habit of reading would continue…
 

chuephödli

Member
I agree that reading encourages the thought processes in some way. Having said that, we (i.e. our brains, our intelligence, if any, our thought processes) have evolved without the written word, and a majority of people manage their entire adult lives, as they have always done, quite well without reading any books whatsoever.

I suspect that both reading and stories are here to stay. But these days we do enough reading outside of books, and, given how we are besieged by all kinds of media around the clock, stories don't need books anymore.

The pleasure of creating entire worlds in one's mind, or rather having them created there by a good book has always been what gave books an escapist reputation. Until not too long ago, books were not considered such a great educational asset - these days, everybody seems to think children reading lots of books is a good thing, while playing video games is somehow bad. The arguments at the time were very similar.

Reading is escapist: it is not my own world that is built up in my mind when I read. My guess is that this is the source of its pleasure.
 

VTChEwbecca

kickbox
One reason people may prefer TV to books is that TV is addictive - it affects one's brain in such a way as to become addictive - there has been much research done on this topic.

Books, for most, are not addictive. Therefore, most people come home, automatically flip on the tube and veg out in front of the tv for hours on end. It's part of our society.


Those that have "managed" their lives without reading often have not managed as well as those who have developed their minds a bit more via the book (be it fiction or non-fiction). My readers invariably do better than those who are non-readers. Simply managing one's life does not mean that it has been lived to it's fullest potential.
 

chuephödli

Member
Are readers better persons than non-readers? If yes, in what way?

I am an enthusiastic reader, and I watch next to no TV. Some of my friends are enthusiastic TV watchers and read next to no books.

Difficult, all this.
 
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