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I'm trying to understand people who don't read for pleasure.

 
 
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 08:41 am
And I'm not just talking about kids.

Because this is a text based site I think it's a safe assumption that most of the regular posters are people who enjoy reading so it's very possible that I've come to the wrong place.

I grew up in a family of readers so nobody in my family has any input.

Mr. B was raised mostly by his grandma who was not only a prolific reader but also a published writer. He reads but not as a leisure activity.

Mo enjoys stories and likes it when we read together but doesn't enjoy reading on his own.

I'm not very social. Both Mo and Mr. B are.

I'm wondering if maybe it's the social aspect that separates pleasure readers from people who can read but don't enjoy it.

What do you think?
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Type: Question • Score: 39 • Views: 25,170 • Replies: 135

 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 08:48 am
@boomerang,
It's a puzzle to me as well.

I work with a young man who says he has never read a book he didn't have to. His sister is the same way. Neither of them has ever voluntarily picked up a book. He is extraordinarily shy. She isn't.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 08:53 am
@boomerang,
I'd assume it is simply about tastes. Some people enjoy sports - some think it is a waste of time.

Some people enjoy opera - some snooze at it; some people like to camp; some people like to sew; some like sit on their butt and watch TV.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 09:11 am
@ehBeth,
That blows up my introversion/extroversion idea!

The "didn't have to" thing..... maybe it has something to do with being made to do something....
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 09:13 am
@Linkat,
I know that you're most likely right and I can understand most things as a matter of taste. I can understand someone not liking camping even though I love it.

But I still can't wrap my head around someone not liking to read -- especially a person who is otherwise curious about the world.
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 09:17 am
@boomerang,
I have a variation on that theme. I love to read, and i learned to read before my fourth birthday. But i hate to read anything i'm forced to read. So, as an example, i was made to read passages of David Copperfield in school. Later, when i was in my late 20s, i read everything Dickens ever wrote--except David Copperfield. Not only do i read for pleasure, i won't be forced to read anything.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 09:19 am
@boomerang,
Well I love reading too - but I know some people that get bored reading - at least that is what they tell me.

I think some people just do not have the same imagination than others. Those with limited imagination probably have a difficult time reading a fiction story or even other sorts of books. However, they could still have a curiousity about the world - maybe they are more visual and would benefit more or get more satisifaction from seeing pictures or a movie. With limited imagination - it may make it difficult to "see" the pictures described in a book and reading it is just "boring" whereas seeing it in a movie makes it come to life.

Just guessing.

CalamityJane
 
  4  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 09:19 am
@boomerang,
I don't understand it either, but I've met a few people who don't (mostly men though). My ex-husband read a lot for business, but he never touched a book for leisure - he had some ADD tendencies anyways.

My daughter, who is a people person and very extroverted, does love to read.
She reads some of my books and loves the discussion afterwards. I come from a family of readers and it was just natural for me to continue reading.

sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 09:59 am
@CalamityJane,
I tried to come up with a common thread amongst readers/ non-readers that we know, haven't really found one yet.

In our family, E.G. is very social and reads a moderate amount for pleasure (reads tons for work, reads for pleasure before bed every night, doesn't like fiction though). I'm moderately social and read quite a lot for pleasure (less so now than I used to though). Sozlet is super-incredibly social and reads a ton.

She has friends who like to read and friends who don't. It doesn't seem to go by ability -- there are readers who are behind grade level, some significantly, who still enjoy reading at their level for pleasure. There are skilled readers who don't read much when they don't have to.

Almost all of her friends go to the same school, so it doesn't seem to have a lot to do with how they're taught. (There are pleasure-readers and non-pleasure-readers within each class, too.)

I wonder if it's a role model thing at all? That's one part I'm not sure of, how much the parents read. Most of the parents I know well do read a lot, and their kids do too. I don't know the parents of non-readers I'm thinking of as well, so I don't know how much they read. If Mr. B doesn't read much for pleasure, then maybe Mo considers reading for pleasure to be feminine, or something? Dunno.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 11:54 am
@sozobe,
Well there goes the role model thingy - neither of my parents were readers and I was an incredible reader as a child and into adulthood. Simply because I enjoyed it so much.

I still do - just with work and kids stuff, I have little time for things I enjoy just for me.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 11:56 am
@Linkat,
Oh and I think back to when I first fell in love with books - I remember my first grade teacher reading us Charlotte's Web. First time I was read a book - meaning a chapter, long story type of book that takes several sit downs to complete.

I fell in love with books then - even though I was able to read that level of books yet.

Wonder if that could be a key - being read to in such a way that it brings about a love of it.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 12:20 pm
I love to read and I am a social person with many contacts with people in different agegroups.
I found this some time ago and copied on a piece of paper, so please don´t ask me for a link.
In which country do people read more than 8 books a year.
GB more than 50% - are the British concidered shy?
France 45% - are the French extraverted or introverted?
Ireland - 43%
Netherlands - 43%
Sweden - 43%
Denmark 40%
Germans 20%, and 38% of the Germans start to read at the most 5 books a year
and often do not even finish them.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 12:32 pm
@saab,
saab wrote:

Germans 20%, and 38% of the Germans start to read at the most 5 books a year
and often do not even finish them.


On the other hand, 9.8% of Germans read at least 26 books per years - the "Böresenverein des deutschen Buchhandels" (German Publishers & Booksellers Trade Association) calls these the "entertainment-orientated bookworms".
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 12:39 pm
I always resented being told what to read too, Set. Strangely enough once I resigned myself to the task I would usually gobble up whatever they put in front of me. I remember being assigned to read "Dune" in high school -- a book I never ever ever would have chosen for myself. I even liked that one.

I might go for the "imagination" argument if I didn't live with Mr. B. He can dream up and build all kinds of things starting with nothing but an idea. He's extraordinarily creative. Mo also has a great imagination albeit fact based stories. He's the pre-teen Tom Clancy.

CJane, I know fewer men who are heavy readers (but I know they're out there).

Role modeling doesn't have anything to do with it around here. Mr. B would out read us all if it did. Our neighbor kid D (12) is always reading. His parents get tired of it and roll their eyes wishing he'd "do something".

That's interesting, saab. I wonder if it says anything about national character about each country. I think the statistic Walter cites probably holds true across the world. "Entertainment oriented bookworms" is a better phrase than leisure readers!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 02:21 pm
Yes, well, don't forget that 60% of statistics are made up on the spot.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  3  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 03:04 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
And I'm not just talking about kids.

Because this is a text based site I think it's a safe assumption that most of the regular posters are people who enjoy reading
so it's very possible that I've come to the wrong place.

I grew up in a family of readers so nobody in my family has any input.

Mr. B was raised mostly by his grandma who was not only a prolific reader but also a published writer.
He reads but not as a leisure activity.

Mo enjoys stories and likes it when we read together but doesn't enjoy reading on his own.

I'm not very social. Both Mo and Mr. B are.

I'm wondering if maybe it's the social aspect
that separates pleasure readers from people who can read but don't enjoy it.

What do you think?
Social aspect? I read silently to myself
(tho about 40 years ago, I also read books to a friend whose sight is defective).

It seems to me, that an author of fiction is the god of the universe
whereof he writes: he creates it n defines it. When we read his work,
we fall into his world and we remain there so long as we keep reading.

To me, that seems like an individual experience,
unless u start reading to someone else.





David
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  4  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 03:46 pm
I've worked with literacy programs for years and when I first started working with illiterate adults I thought I could turn them into readers. I was disappointed to discover it was not going to happen. My students were happy to learn just enough to fill out a job application, take a driver's test or fill out the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes form. I came away thinking there is a reading gene. If you have the gene it doesn't matter how poor or disadvantaged you are you will learn to read and go on to enjoy it. If you don't have the gene it doesn't matter if you grow up in library - you will not make the effort. I also noticed that people who like to read tend to be more curious about the world than people who reject books. The common factors of all my illiterate adults were that they came from families who did not own books, did not value education and were rather dysfunctional. None of them had reading disabilities or they would not have been in the programs I worked for.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  4  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 04:38 pm
@boomerang,
Maybe it's a local/family culture thing?

It's been long known that kids who are read to and grow up with books in the home tend to read more...no duh.

I recently had a conversation with a colleague I admire immensely.

She has a degree and all but said that, until quite recently she had never considered reading anything for pleasure. The change for her came when she spent a lot of time with another colleague who reads avidly. It occurred to her that this was something one could do, and she does it a lot now.

She was brought up in a large, poor family in a regional town that is centered around a particular industry and where there is little culture of reading. There was no money for books, except school books, and no example of reading for its own sake.

She said it never occurred to her to read for pleasure.

I find this a bit odd in someone who has what amounts to an arts degree, but her degree was one aimed solely at preparing her for her work, so I guess the reading was still utilitarian in nature.

I don't know.....I know others from similar families and who grew up in similar towns who read avidly as soon as they could do so....but they seemed to have found like minded friends.



ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 04:48 pm
@boomerang,
I haven't looked at anyone else's answers, but my niece and I are reading opposites. I learned that early and didn't push her, past a couple of attempts. She was fine with hearing what I had read but just not book crazed. She's also pretty tech phobic, but not as ludditian as her father - at the same time the computer at their house doesn't and hasn't worked, a gift from my ex., but she doesn't have the money or savvy to get that fixed, or care.

On the other hand, she was sort of majoring in psychology at four.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 05:00 pm
@sozobe,
Interesting - my playwright husband didn't read fiction past having to for classes.
Not that I'm arguing, we all differ on stuff; sometimes biases seriously stick.

..famous to me family scene when a cousin gave him a then popular fiction book for christmas and he was so duh.
 

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