Why I don’t read books

Can I make a confession and please don’t judge me but I don’t read. And I don’t  mean that every blue moon I read a book; no, I don’t read books at all ( unless it’s for school and that is a chore I can barely get through)  When I see authors and writers on Instagram and this blog; go on and on about the books they read; I actually feel stupid. In a sense they make me feel as if I am stupid.  Because I know there are some who think that you can’t write if you are not an avid reader; I don’t really have a rebuttal.  I just want to talk about why I don’t read. Here’s the thing: I love to write. Sure, my grammar isn’t the greatest but I think I am proud of what I’ve written; it comes from the heart and I try to be honest and I just enjoy expressing myself. I love writing poetry and have just started trying to write fiction and it’s a lot of fun; creating characters, dialogue, setting the tone, giving them a backstory; I love it.   I just have never been focused enough to read; I can’t get through a few pages without getting lost or distracted and within about 15 minutes; I give up.  Maybe it’s because I have ADHD or I’m a visual learner but I have such trouble reading.  And people have suggested audio books and again; I just can’t focus on a voice going on and on unless it is about a subject I really am interested in.  What’s I find to be interesting is that fact that I pride myself on having a large vocabulary and a way of expressing myself through words and people say you can only get that way by reading a lot; I got that way because I truly believe my writing abilities are a natural talent ( not bragging) and maybe one can be a writer without being an avid reader, I don’t know

And I love to learn;  I think being a spectrum; I have this obsession with learning, you know.  I can talk about history or music or different cultures all day long. At one point I downloaded over a thousand documentaries on every subject imaginable and although I lost most of them; I watched a lot and learned so much about history, cultures ( different subcultures) music, social movements, documentaries about autism and mental health disorders., nature and animals, biblical history, space, more BBC documentaries than i could ever watch in a lifetime.  I consider myself an avid learner who is hungry for knowledge.  When people go home and watch reality shows; I’m watching a 12 part series on Civil Rights; not because it’s required but because I genuinely enjoy it.   The weirdest part is that I learned to read at a very early age with very little help.  My parents say when I was 4 or 5; I just started reading on my own; without any help.  I never struggled learning how to read at all; it came naturally to me.  So maybe I just have to accept that reading isn’t my bag and it doesn’t make me stupid; despite what some other writers and published authors may think.  Maybe it means my writing is pretty damn good; considering I haven’t cracked open a book since I was about 10.   Just had to vent.

Dave

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20 thoughts on “Why I don’t read books

  1. Dave, thank you for this post. You are not alone. The only reason I read is for research purposes only! I don’t like to read for pleasure except these blog posts. The people behind the posts’ draw me in. That’s what makes it easy to read posts like this one. The people behind them. Someone on Twitter asked me last week to name seven books that I’ve read lately. When I told her that I wasn’t a reader she gasped and asked, “how can you be a writer and not read?” I replied, “I’m a headless writer.” 😄

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    1. I am glad you liked my post and that I am not alone in all of this. I think as writers; we should never put other fellow writers down; we should encourage them and not make them feel stupid. I haven’t encountered many people saying I’m dumb and maybe its just me being insecure, I don’t know. I will continue to write regardless. I also enjoy your comments

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  2. It is unusual, but thank you for having the confidence to share this! Not going to lie, I’m an avid reader. I love books and probably spend more money than I should on them! So I can’t imagine not reading! But it’s our differences that make each of us unique and we shouldn’t judge others for that.

    And I enjoy your writing. You write from a place of honesty and I feel that is what makes a good writer. I’ve been in writing groups where someone has put all their literary knowledge into their pieces and they’ve been terrible! Their pieces came across as pretentious and felt like they were only written to be noticed. Plus they had to explain every line of their piece… and if you have to explain everything, that isn’t saying anything good in my opinion.

    Your pieces come across with an honest voice from someone who struggles and knows that others struggle as well. You write to be heard, but you’re not begging to be heard. You’re letting your work do the talking for you with no explanation needed. And most of all you’re writing so others will know they’re not alone in their struggles. To me, that’s what makes a good writer. Well done, my friend 🙂

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  3. I am an avid reader…. but I get where you are coming from. I read because I enjoy learning about new things, I could sit down in my own little world and be absorbed by my book, you seem to draw the same pleasure from watching documentaries which is cool too. The visuals in documentaries are absolutely amazing….especially the National Geographic or Discovery Channel ones. To each their own!

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  4. This is a great post. Of course all writers have to make tough choices about how much of their time/energy/attention they should invest in writing, reading, sleeping, laundry, relationships, etc. Apparently you’ve benched reading completely in favor of writing, etc. That’s your call. Nobody can make that decision for you, and nobody should judge you for what you finally decide. And if one day you change your mind and decide to do it differently, well that’s okay too. Thanks for having the guts to share your thoughts on this! 🙂

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  5. I’ve met others with ADHD who struggle with reading. I hyperfocus on books and finish them super quickly…but then forget most of the plot waiting for the sequel. I wrote a post once on how I am always worried about admitting I’ve read a certain book for fear I’ll forget key details that “prove it.” I think I’m also equally that way about other media. I have forgotten a lot of details about my favorite TV shows, too. So, for me, I am both equally good and bad at documentaries as books, might as well do both. But, I’ve definitely met folks with ADHD who can do TV or audio books but not print – and ones who are the exact opposite. The stigma of being a “non-reader” is of being willfully ignorant. You clearly aren’t, and I think you tackled a really important topic for the neurodiverse community by sharing how a brain can love learning but not be wired to take it in in some formats. Good post!

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  6. I will say for me, that at least with TV, I listen and watch with the subtitles for the deaf at the same time. The combination of two ways of getting the material helps with my series recall. I’ve wondered if audible’s synced read and listen option might do the same for long-term book recall, but it’s expensive enough I never try. My library only seems to do pure audiobook or pure book. But, for those with money to spare on the subscription who have ADHD and struggle with my type of “can’t remember longer term,” read + listen options like subtitles and audible might be worth looking into.

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    1. Yeah its weird; Im sure I have some hearing loss but I use subtitles for all my media; it helps me to follow along better and I don’t have to strain to hear. People find it annoying to “Read” the movie but I prefer it that way. And it’s also why I love foreign films; I can keep up with the subtitles. I mean, my reading comprehension is good; I just can’t retain the information

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