Why are books so boring?

RaikuFA

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I've tried reading books in the past and they're so boring. I can barely get past the first page. I don't know if it's because they fail to grip me or something else.

People keep asking me trto try to read but nothing I can find is good.
 

Kolby Jack

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Apr 29, 2011
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Well the first page is hardly a good place to judge something. Often it's used for scene-setting. Get to at least page six or seven.

I'm not much of a reader either. At age 25 I believe the majority of books I've read have been mandatory reading from high school and college (of which I only attended 2 years). There are just better mediums to convey stories in shorter amounts of time. Are there good books? Yes, I've enjoyed most of the books I've read (even the ones I was forced to, EXCEPT Lord of the Flies. Fuck that book! It's garbage.) But frankly books never feel very personal to me. With TV and movies, actors/artists can convey emotions in their characters that you see yourself and interpret, rather than just having the author describe to you how the character feels (even with metaphors or flowery speech; it's still just telling you about feelings). I'm a big believer in show over tell, and books by their nature are entirely tell. It's hard to really care about what goes on in them.

Everyone always says books allow your imagination to make the story far more exciting than a screen ever could, but that's bullshit. I can imagine what characters and places look like, sure, but the interactions are always spelled out because they HAVE to be, and the interactions to me are the most important part.
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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I suppose the first step would be to read something you know you're going to be interested in? Yuo kind of get used to it. I know a whole bunch of uni students who only have read a book front-to-back of their own volition when they got to uni. Then you just get used to it, especially if you're doing an arts and humanities degree, or something in the area.

I remember studying foundations of philosophy and I had to read the equivalent of a 300 A4 pages of discourses on the specificities of various schools of philosophy each week. It looks impossible, then you get into it, cram, finish, and you realize you still have a lot of time remaining for the usual necessities of life. Work, socialising, etc.

But even in first year introduction to psychology. They give you a text book that weighs about 2-and-a-half kilos and say; "learn that plus other additional journals articles, lecture notes, tutorial notes, plus special guest lecture readings we tell you to read."

You get through it because you must, then it becomes second nature to read updates, new discoveries, new journal articles released, or books you pick up at a second hand bookstore that relates to something that interested you in the course you were studying.

In the end, you get pushed towards reading ... and then when you get used to it, it seems like less of a chore.
 

RaikuFA

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PaulH said:
I suppose the first step would be to read something you know you'll be interested in?
I've tried genres I'm intrested in, they can not grasp me. Then I feel stupider for trying.
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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RaikuFA said:
I've tried genres I'm intrested in, they can not grasp me. Then I feel stupider for trying.
Oh well ... it would be stupider not to try? I got no advice really. If I had a child who had trouble actually sitting down and reading a book due to feeling bored by it, I'd be like;

"Glahrblegah!!!!"

Mainly because I'd have no other advice to give than 'stick it out'. But if that fails, then I got nothing.

(Edit) Not saying you're a child. Just that I would imagine this is a long term boredom with books you've noticed since you were young?
 

Hairless Mammoth

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What do you mean books are boring? They are great as spider-killing tools and make a satisfying thump when used as such.

But on a serious note, I've had a hard time sitting down with one in the last few years, too. Just about the only books I've read without requirement, since during high school, were the first three Halo novels. The Eric Nylund titles were actually very interesting. I do have 2 of those thick Ciaphas Cain (Hero of the Imperium!) tomes and a book on the growing planned obsolescence in the word that I want to read, but I haven't really got into them, yet. I also enjoyed what I read of the Cain stories. I just put them down for a bit and haven't picked them up.

I do read tons of stuff on the internet, and not just the comments that make my writing seem like the musing of a literary genius. I even prefer reading over a video/podcast in most circumstances. I'm just more comfortable today with a screen, rather than a tightly bound paper sheets. I'm so comfortable in front of my PC that I rarely play console game on the big TV, too.

I'm considering ebooks, but the proprietary reader/tablet ecosystem and DRM scare me. (I got my mother a Kindle Fire when they first came out, and she's burnt through books like mad. I guess the name "Fire" was a good choice.) There's also the issue with ebooks that some publishers don't offer an ebook version of their titles. Games Workshop, being run by control freak schmucks that make Apple's and Nintendo's extremest policies seem reasonable, make sure the Cain novels, and other Black Library books, are on that exclusive list.

Raiku, maybe you can try borrowing a ebook reader/table with some titles that might interest you. Just a thought.
Kolby Jack said:
Yes, I've enjoyed most of the books I've read (even the ones I was forced to, EXCEPT Lord of the Flies. Fuck that book! It's garbage.)
I'm glad to find a fellow LotF hater. If there's one way to get student less interested in reading, it's making them read the worst castaway story ever. It was pretty bad for me, since my area's curriculum for that year also had lot's of poor, boring 19th century literature to add to the pile.
Everyone always says books allow your imagination to make the story far more exciting than a screen ever could, but that's bullshit. I can imagine what characters and places look like, sure, but the interactions are always spelled out because they HAVE to be, and the interactions to me are the most important part.
That's where a good writer comes in handy. Not only does the reader have to be interested in the story and characters, but the writer must also describe just enough of them to let the reader use their own mind to fill in the rest, without letting them know they are doing just that. It's just too bad most fiction writers are crap. (I'd like to get into the Discworld series, since I hear Terry Pratchet wrote some of the rare gems.)

The Fall of Reach and Halo: First Strike were well written enough that I forgot that I was reading and was picturing space battles and powered armor combat without really thinking about it. Being interest in scifi, especially Halo at the time helped.
 

SmallHatLogan

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RaikuFA said:
I've tried reading books in the past and they're so boring. I can barely get past the first page. I don't know if it's because they fail to grip me or something else.

People keep asking me trto try to read but nothing I can find is good.
I could barely get past the second sentence of this post.

I don't know if you're exaggerating but if you're literally getting bored after the first page the problem is probably your attention span.

Also if you don't have a history of reading (like if you didn't read much/at all as a kid) then it's probably going to harder to start later on in life.

I probably know more people who don't read than do so don't concern yourself too much. It's not uncommon.
 

karloss01

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My reason for lack of reading is Dyslexia; it took me the entirety of my primary school years to learn to overcome it at the sacrifice of everything else (Science, maths, wood working etc) so books are not on my top priorities list when it comes to relaxing. that said I do read books and comics that link to something I like to do or play, Warhammer being a major one with Manga, Marvel, DC and some game universes coming joint second.

best way to read is to read something you're interested in and then when your use to reading a novel or something of that size about what you like then expand to unknown territory.

On a note of my Maths, it was pretty shit state (had to go through GCSEs twice for it) but it did get better when I started playing more Warhammer with army list building and victory point rewarding.
 

Aerosteam

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The majority of the appeal is that sounds, locations and characters among many other things are left mostly to the reader's imagination on what they are like.

Which is why I don't like reading books.
 

briankoontz

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Video games emerged out of an apocalyptic understanding of the approaching death of the world and of "system failure", hence the need for hackers to "build, understand, and control" a new, virtual system, which would eventually (sooner than they thought) replace the old, corrupt one.

Books are often considered part of the "old world", shunned by many while accompanied by guilt and "looking back on days gone by". As a *medium* they are considered dead, not part of the new vibrant, inherently wise and culturally accurate, art represented by video games, however in terms of *content* books can certainly be valuable in this day and age, just as words remain valuable in a binary world of zeroes and ones.

But even while this is recognized, the mere act of picking up a book often leads one to think they belong in a museum, as dust on the cover contrasts so deeply with the sheer silicon shine of the digital world.
 

TallanKhan

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RaikuFA said:
I've tried reading books in the past and they're so boring. I can barely get past the first page. I don't know if it's because they fail to grip me or something else.

People keep asking me trto try to read but nothing I can find is good.
This is not a problem I have any real personal experience of, however, when I was at school some of the mandatory reading was soul-crushingly boring. I found that one way of combating this was imagining it being read in an amusing style. For instance, I found a good way of getting through Shakespeare (I don't care what anyone says it has not stood the test of time) was to imagine it being read by Brian Blessed.
 

Lawbringer

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I suppose ultimately it comes down to "To each his own". I'm sure you have other hobbies you spend hours over that someone else would equally dismiss within a few minutes (or even before trying). What matters is that you tried - perhaps you could try a little bit harder than partway through page 1, but there's no sense in forcing yourself if you have other things to do.

Personally I love books. Currently flying through the Horus Heresy books which I love because there are no feature length movies about the WH40K universe. Anything thus far produced doesn't even come close to matching the scale and depth I would like to see in a movie. Until then the books keep me very happy.

Not to mention the fact that if a movie is to be grand in scale it will be expensive. Expensive means it needs to appeal to *everyone* in order to rake in profits. Broad appeal generally means bland compromise and 'safe' storylines that books will never have to worry about.

Simply put, movies are great to be able to switch off and enjoy, but books will always be better stories as long as money controls Hollywood.

Disclaimer: I am a movie buff, too. Movies, games, books...anything that means I don't have to think about the real world...!
 

Fallow

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RaikuFA said:
I've tried reading books in the past and they're so boring. I can barely get past the first page. I don't know if it's because they fail to grip me or something else.

People keep asking me trto try to read but nothing I can find is good.
Here is some critical life advice:

Start reading. If you want to be a winner in life, start reading, and do not stop.

If you want people to take you seriously, you need some education. Reading gives you a broad base for that, combining trivia with classical and historical knowledge, while at the same time giving you the linguistic skill (not to mention panache) that you need in order to convey that knowledge.

You want that promotion? Show your boss that you know more than your current role requires. Doesn't have to be work related, just show that you are versed in a wide range of topics. Putting the right word in the right place is the final cherry on that erudite's pie.

You want to impress the ladies? After 20, chicks dig a man who knows his shit. Throw in an extra language, and you will need safety goggles to protect yourself from all those panties flying in your direction.

If you want to impress in the civilised world, you need knowledge and the ability to accurately convey that knowledge. Knowing every damn thing is pointless if you cannot communicate that knowledge, just as flawless mastery of language is pointless if you don't have anything worthwhile to convey. Having both is a surefire path to success.

What are you continuing here for? GRAB A BOOK! READ IT! NOW!
 

shrekfan246

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Try some comedy. Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett are both great, and it's perhaps easier to digest than sweeping epics or forlorn dramas. Unless you've tried that, too, in which case I don't know what else to say. SmallHatLogan has it right, I think; if you didn't read while growing up, that's probably a big factor. It's kinda like people in 20s/30s playing a video game for the first time. Depending on which one they're exposed to, their first response is likely going to be some variation of "this is so difficult".

If you're the type to persevere through things that give you poor first impressions, you might find an entirely new world of entertainment has opened up for you. If not, then, I dunno, it's kind of sad for me personally since I want to become a published author one day, but there's no reason for you to continue using your time on something that isn't going to give you some sort of net positive.
 

Hawki

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To be honest, books are probably my favorite medium of all. Been reading for as long as I can remember, and there was a reason that English was my favorite subject in secondary school. Also why I currently work in a library and do creative writing as a hobby I guess.

So yeah. Basically try to read as much as possible.
 

hermes

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If you really can't get past the first page, I would blame your attention span... Maybe you should check with a professional.
 

Thaluikhain

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Grouchy Imp said:
I'm now concerned as to how far into this thread the OP will read.
Presumably not more than the first page.

OTOH, that's hardly unusual. Especially for threads with this sort of title.
 

TranshumanistG

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I have a theory that people who have trouble reading books have been over-exposed to visual hyper-stimulating media like movies and videogames that their imagination and attention span have atrophied. You need to start teaching yourself how to use them again. When reading a passage don't just do it in the same passive manner like watching a movie. Engage your imagination. When a character on an object is described, visualize them in your mind's eye. Imagine how the characters sound like when they talk. If a character is described doing something, imagine what it must fell like. Don't worry about speed, just try to create new images in your mind and enjoy it. I believe, this also helps get invested in the story and motivated to keep reading.

As for recommendations: I suggest Myth Adventures book series by Robert Lynn Asprin. It's a humorous fantasy series with likeable characters and funny jokes.

EDIT: Also, if you have real trouble with visualizing, you might give audiobooks a try, because they tend to have dramatic reading.
 

Beliyal

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TranshumanistG said:
EDIT: Also, if you have real trouble with visualizing, you might give audiobooks a try, because they tend to have dramatic reading.
I came here to post just that.

One of my friends is notoriously anti-reading, he is just not interested and never really got into it or developed the skill to be focused on words on a page, but he enjoys audiobooks. An audiobook keeps him engaged, it doesn't require the same type of focus (you can for example listen to the audiobook while doing something else, like cleaning the house or walking somewhere. One of my other friends does this a lot) and I believe it doesn't take up as much time. I haven't tried it yet though, I have troubles keeping my focus when something is narrated to me and I'm too much of a fan of physical books, but from what I've heard, audiobooks are great for people who never got used to reading. And today, pretty much every book you would like to read has an audiobook version.

Also, I'd suggest starting with something easy, lighthearted and perhaps humorous. And of course, something from a genre you are interested in.