One of my famous questions

Do you love to read? I do not. I like to do research, but I do not love reading as an activity and I have not done since the age of twelve or thirteen. I rarely relax by reading or lose myself in a book the way I did as a child, and literature is not what I read for pleasure.

I do not like to watch film at home, either. I only like it in art theatres. Otherwise I like to run, jump, make things, organize events and political movements, find facts and documents, and write.

Everyone has trouble writing, but nobody mentions trouble reading. I have joined a writing group but I am using it so that I will read the things I must so as to write the things I should. If I do not read these things, I will write different texts, and that is the problem.

Am I unusual, or are there others like me? If there are, should I start giving tips on reading?

One tip I have is that you should lift heavy weights. If you are lifting at the limits of your strength you will find your muscles are tired enough so that you can sit still and read, and strong enough to support you as you do so. Your mind, in addition, will be focused.

I only learned this recently, as I had always been told one should lift lighter weights and do more repetitions. I started lifting heavier weights out of curiosity and I got this interesting effect.




Filed under Questions, What Is A Scholar?

4 responses to “One of my famous questions

  1. I love to read. I have been nearsighted since I was quite young, and reading has always been very comfortable for me. Also, I am somewhat physically lazy and often have to force myself to move around and do things. And I have a very long attention span and don’t mind being alone for hours and days with only books for company.

    And these tendencies only increase with age. I have been very very busy at times in my life, but that has never been my preference.

  2. Z

    My theory is that that is much more typical for people who go into academics. So then perhaps it is appropriate that they criticize each other for reading too much and so on. But all the criticism about reading too much just does not apply for me. I claim to deserve praise for reading, since it is something I really need to do and do not do for pleasure.

  3. Jonathan

    I enjoy some forms of “reading,” but not most. I prefer memorizing to reading per se, and don’t like reading fiction very much. I can read a novel in Italian, because I enjoy the process of trying to understand a language I don’t understand very well. I need that extra stimulus. I like dull texts that I can repurpose for my own uses. I really can’t stand the passivity of being subject to someone else’s control for hours, following the lines set out by an author (*shudder*). I might start the book on page 100, or spend an hour with the first page and then read no further.

    People are unlikely to praise you for reading despite your lack of pleasure in it. Most lit professors are kids who loved to read and never outgrew that.

  4. Z

    You resemble me closely in this, then. It seems to be true about most lit professors, what you say, which explains once more why the exhortation to stop reading does not fit.

    (I do not know why I allowed myself to be so exhorted. Well, actually I do know why, but it was certainly destructive, and has taken a long time to figure out.)

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