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Monday, March 12, 2012

The Book Haters

I didn't have a post scheduled for today, so I figured I'd write about something that's always puzzled and amazed me: those alien creatures who profess to loathe something that we couldn't love more.

Books.

As a child, I didn't get it.  I couldn't understand.  I simply couldn't wrap my head around the idea that there were people out there, people I knew, who didn't want to live in a million different worlds, all while lying in their bedroom.  I couldn't see why people wouldn't want to fall in love with fictional characters and fictional worlds.

The problem, I've decided, is that they can't.

As I grew older, I began to think on it, really think.  I thought of those times when I was reading, and then something would happen, and I'd disconnect.  Be pulled from my fictional world with a vengeance.  When I returned to the book, for a few minutes after, I was not in a different world; I was simply reading words off a page.  Same as any history textbook.  Dull. Lifeless. Meaningless.  It was always, and still is, so very terrifying, the thought that my fantasies could be pulled from me like that.  Even in books with the dullest, most unrelatable of characters, I am still in another place, one far more interesting than my own.

My theory for book haters is just this: for them, it's not a few minutes every now and then.  These people? They never entered that world in the first place.

It makes more sense than anything else I could imagine.  If every book I read were the same as a textbook--bland, boring, words swimming on a blank page--I would hold no love for them.  We love books because, to us, they are so much more than printed words.  They're people and stories beyond our wildest imagination.  They are our escape when the real world grows too painful.  A book lover is never, ever alone.  And I think these people hate that.  I think they hate that they will never understand.

This is, of course, simply my theory. I'm sure many other book lovers have pondered the same issue, and probably written about it.  If you know of any posts such as this, I'd love to be linked to them.  Meanwhile, what do you think about it?

9 comments:

Sam

Brilliant post, Lexie! I have never actually thought too much about WHY some people might not enjoy reading - I've only secretly scolded them for not liking it. Many of my friends (actually, pretty much all of them) don't read on a regular basis. To them, the amount that I read, and even the number of books that I own, is a crazy amount. To me, it's not nearly enough. My TBR pile? - Yeah, that thing isn't getting any smaller!

In an ideal world, everyone would get the same thrill out of reading fictional stories as we do. ;) Though if that was the case, I doubt I would have started blogging - or even joined Goodreads. I only did both those things because I needed to find other fellow book lovers.

Michelle

I like that explanation of it, actually. For some people, reading doesn't become magical or enthralling. It's just something they have to do to get information.

But then sometimes these are people who find things like math and science interesting and probably look at me, wondering how I can't get into those things the way they do. :P

Giselle

Interesting post! I believe some just can't get into reading. I imagine those with a lesser imagination it may be more difficult for them to imagine the story in their heads compared to watching it on TV. I know my husband doesn't read at all and I just can't understand! haha

Sareh

I think that people who truly don't use their imagination on a regular basis do have trouble reading books. My brother hates reading (although I'm proud to say that he enjoyed one of my books)and its cause he just can't ever really get into the story (I think he has trouble finding books with characters he relates too and books that as a guy, he'll enjoy).

I want to do a post soon interviewing readers of several kinds (those who enjoy reading and those who don't) and find out why. Then, I want to ask them their opinion of writers and publishing. (I've discovered that few people actually even know how a book gets published.)

Anyways, great post! :D

Nicole

Very thought-provoking post, Lexie.

I don't know. I honestly don't know. There's something captivating about being able to escape my world and travel anywhere and be anyone. That in a book, I will have adventures and crushes that I will never experience in real life.

I guess that for them, words are just that--words--instead of magical beings weaved into a story.

Kristin @ Beneath Shining Stars
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristin @ Beneath Shining Stars

I've always figured that they haven't found the book that will suck them into a different world. That, is my theory. If they find the right book, they'll be sucked in and hopefully that would renew (or bring about) their interest in reading.

Also, this is--in part--why I dislike having to think critically about a book. I'm less likely to like the book because I'm being forced to analyze it; if I'm reading a book for fun (or pleasure) then I'm much more likely to enjoy it. I know that at least, in the case of my little brother, this is what has really killed any interest that he has in reading. (Unless of course I killed the electricity to the house for several days and handed him a book, I don't think he'll willingly read anything anytime soon.)

Meagan

I wish I could say that it might be a matter of how some people process information. But really, I think that reading and loving books is something that the people around us have to teach. In my experience, the people who love the books the most love them because someone they love loves them (wait what). It might not be parents, but maybe a teacher, or maybe another kid. That's, at least, where I think a lot of it comes from.

People who really hate books, I don't know. It's like sports or competition, I guess. Some people love sports, love competing, love all that stuff. Others are just like "eh whatever, I don't care if I win." I wish no one hated books, but I guess I understand it.

Amy

Great post Lexie! I think you are right that a lot of people just don't get it. I know how frustrating it is when I am distracted and the words on the page aren't grabbing me. If I was like that every time I tried to read, it wouldn't be enjoyable. Also some people just don't have the imagination to be able to be pulled into a book. My husband doesn't read for that reason. He doesn't have the attention span to immerse himself in a book. I explain my obsession with reading as watching a movie in my head and he gets it, he just can't do it.

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