It has taken me a long time to actually figure it out, but I’ve finally come to terms with it. I hate reading. I hate the time it consumes. I hate that I forget what I read seconds after reading it and have to go back over the same paragraph seven times. I hate how hard I find it to simply hold a book. There’s nowhere to comfortably put my thumb or the rest of my fingers and I end up losing my train of thought because I’m focusing so hard on trying to hold the book in a comfortable way. That brings me back to reading over the same paragraph seven times because I can’t remember what was said.
Principally I find it boring and even though there are quite a lot of books that I’ve really enjoyed, I’ve never really liked the process of doing it. So far, as I approach my 23rd birthday, I’ve read less than ten books, one being a Michael Moore conspiracy book that was more like a 100-page pamphlet (it counts).
I’m not all that thrilled that I find it boring and for the most part I forget whatever I end up reading, but I feel like I’ve kind of hit a download limit of sorts and my operating system is too crap to sustain an upgrade.
I’ve never been able to understand my aversion to reading. As a child it coincided with a stage typical rebellious childhood antipathy because my Mum would try to impose upon me a novel or sneak a cheeky book into my Christmas stocking every year. But now, as a guy in his early twenties who will be forced to become a real person in a few weeks, I feel bad. Like a failure for not enjoying reading.
I feel bad that I don’t like to read. I should like it, I just can’t seem to bring myself to actually read a book and I’d barely keep up with the news if I didn’t have easy access to it in 140 character allotments via Twitter. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to read. Every weekend I buy the Sunday papers and don’t read them and I’ve even started forcibly watching Prime Time so when I do need to read about some boring Cypriot bailout, I’ll be somewhat pre-informed and able to trudge through the reading.
My reading habits get dangerous when I start to add to the situation a very unsustainable addiction I have. I love buying books. Absolutely love it. I can’t help myself walking into Hodges Figgis and picking out four books (for the most part not on sale), buying them and then adding them to my mountain of reading material. I even filled a customer loyalty card recently meaning I got a free book, which I will most likely never read.
This addiction of mine is mainstream focused. Although I do like to potter around small second hand bookshops and browse through their endless supply of dusty books covered in dog ears, I’m usually less tempted to splurge my hard saved savings when something is second hand. It kind of goes against my strict Ranelagh lifestyle.
As a result, I’ve got a mountain of books that I have accumulated which I just can’t bring myself to donate to charity, mainly because I don’t believe in charity. That also fits in nicely with my strict Ranelagh lifestyle.
With all my of reading material mounting up, it has gotten to a stage where I may need the incentive of a debilitating life threatening illness that gives me four months to live to force me to read these books some day. But because I find reading so daunting, I’ve decided to set myself small challenges to get into the swing of it.
Although my main aim is small, in the context of my reading habits, it does represent a mini mountain to climb. First up on my bucket reading list is to finish The Hobbit. Ambitiously, I’d love to at least have it finished before the release of the next movie, whenever that is.
I started reading The Hobbit in July 2002 when I was 12-years-old, and have read chapters/pages here and there over the last 11 years. I happened to come across the raggedy old edition of the book on a shelf in what could be considered Brisbane’s answer to Black Books, while travelling up the Australian Gold Coast.
At first, I loved the book. I had no idea what was really going on and there was a lot of, “Mum, what’s that word mean?” and “Mum, are elves just tall gay dwarves?” Typically though, my mind wandered off the actual plot so often that I had to re-read chapters because although my eyes were scanning over the words and nothing was going in.
Eventually, like most novels I pick up, I gave up. I got lost in the plot and couldn’t have been bothered making an effort to understand why Bilbo was able to disappear and evade capture by the tall gay dwarves.
Anyway, luckily for me, I don’t need to know what happens in books any more. That’s what movies are for.