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To read... or not to read...


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#1 Coopdog

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 12:38 PM

I am a voracious reader. I pretty much sequester myself into a corner and read at every break and lunch at work. I often have people make comments about it, but most approve. (I think) However the other day a guy in his mid 30's came up to me and told me he worries about me reading all the time, and said, "Shit man, you don't got to read no more man!" and held out his phone. I responded, "Sure I could go and brainlessly scroll through facebook, or hey I could go look at porn! Or hey I could go to youtube!" and laughed it off but it struck me deep for some reason. 

 

The fact that most people do NOT read anymore worries me and that fact that my reading would concern him, are both worrisome to me. Through reading I have lived thousands of lives, I have crossed deserts as an arab sheik and soared amongst the mountaintops riding winged dragons, I have looked through the eyes of multitudes of others and experienced many things that I will never get to experience myself. I have explored the oceans depths and been on a spaceship exploring other planets and mined gold in Alaska. I have lived as a plains indian and a civil war soldier both, and experienced what it was like at the best and the worst of the human experience. 

 

To NOT have done that would leave me a much less thoughtful and empathic person I think. Reading has brought me so much joy, and such painful heartache and an endless variety of places to explore in my imagination that I cannot ever imagine living without it. So hey, if you see some person sitting in the corner lost in a book, let them enjoy their time. That is their escape from the chains of that factory life and believe me they are not lonely, they are in another world doing things that you cannot imagine. Go ahead and scroll your phones, but live and let live I say...One day you might pick up a book and discover the joys inside it for yourself... I hope. 


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#2 Alder Logs

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 03:16 PM

I grew up with a lysdexic eye/brain function and was functionally illiterate until age twenty (which kind of explains why I flunked out of school).  Reading still feels like work, so whatever book reading I do, it's mostly non-fiction.  Reading for the pleasure of the story is usually not worth it to me, though I have read some fiction and enjoyed it too.  I can't watch movies with subtitles, as I often can't read them fast enough to finish them.  The movie then becomes just trying to read, and I don't get to watch the acting and videography.  So, what would be the use of watching that? 

 

When I used to go to restaurants, before my doc took away any food I could likely buy there, that time I always had a book going.  So, I did my slow reading for an hour, once or twice a week, and a book could take me a year to get through.  I do feel a sense of loss that I was not ever able to read the classic literature of the world, and poetry just never worked, though I have written much prose and some verse too.   It's interesting that my writing is the result of audible language, and not reading.   When I was a kid, flunking most subjects every year, I had a crystal radio clipped to my bed springs every night, listening to talk radio from clear channel stations as far from the LA burbs as New Orleans and Chicago. 

 

Never had a smart phone.  Never been on facebook.  This place and a couple others make up my several internet laps each day.  I read the short posts in threads where I am interested.  I tend to skip most long posts.


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#3 August West

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 05:26 PM

[Direct Link]

 

Last 1/3 is less relevant to the topic but not less relevant...


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#4 Coopdog

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 01:54 AM

Alder I totally understand. My best friend was the same way most of his school years, then got a good teacher who took the time to teach him like he needed to be taught. Made a huge difference to him for the last couple years of school. My own brother told me he never read a book from cover to cover in his life until I wrote one. 

 

I guess I was very fortunate that my grandmother taught me to read at 3-4 years old, at least the basics, and when I went to kindergarten I was already reading Dick and Jane and kids stories. I got bullied for it badly when I was young because people called me a speed reader in 2-3rd grade and man that made my life rough back then before I learned to stand up for myself. Books have always been my escape from just that kind of meanness in the world. I wrote out this post trying to organize my thoughts to explain WHY I read, but after doing so I guess it isn't worth the time, and that it could be taken as an insult even though that is in no way my intent. I have always been that guy sitting alone and reading a book, and maybe that is why I am distanced from most people to this day. 

 

Not my choice, and I guess it was weird even back then. Not sorry one bit either, because it has been well worth the time and I am grateful for the lessons... and the struggle :)

 

August that was just what I mean lol and I have been there more times than I care to admit. I went to Denny's recently because I had a doctors appointment two hours before work and figured I would eat, and then sit there and read. Got a few sideways looks as I did so, and it made me so uncomfortable that I went to work and sat in the parking lot for an hour and read lol. The whole thing hasn't helped my awkward social interaction much lol. Thing is my vision is bad so watching or reading anything on my phone is not my cup of tea at all, and yes I do pick my books by their print size nowadays. :) I reckon when I go blind, and I might, I will have to learn braille and hope for the best. I did not mean to offend anyone with this post and if I did I apologize. 

 

Peace...


Edited by Coopdog, 09 May 2019 - 01:56 AM.


#5 Alder Logs

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 09:25 AM

I certainly wasn't offended.  Just about the time reading had physically gotten easiest for me, in my forties, I started needing reading glasses, and at that point, it started getting harder again.  Like I said, missing out on the great literature of the ages, having no way in but what I hear and see in media, has been where I feel the lack.  But on the other hand, this way of being a flunky probably helped me in a general sense of learning, made me the generalist, and not a specialist.  I didn't get the craftsmanship in the presentation, but I got something of a feel for the whole.  

 

Now it seems the issue is when I try to read, within not too many minutes, I fall asleep.   So, I am slow, and don't get to put in the hours with it that it takes me to get it done.   I could never RTFM.   That kind of reading has always been too much in the way of effort.  I guess I am only jealous of anyone who can read a book in a few hours, start to finish.  I want what's in those books, but it's always been mostly out of reach.  It's not been for lack of trying, that I didn't read that much.  I actually have read quite a lot, where I was interested enough to tough it out.   But then, there's a poor short term memory to go with the difficulty of the process.  That's why I have read one book five times, taking months to finish it each time.

 

That was a great Bill Hicks video.  Showing up at a Klan rally in a Boy George outfit... That's what reading in public is like?   Nobody ever gave me shit for reading in the restaurant I used to haunt.


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#6 pharmer

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 03:36 PM

that anyone would discourage you from reading, something you obviously enjoy, says so much more about him than you.

 

a story about people who would force you to be like them:

 

Back in the day every high school graduating class had to go through a handful of " meaningful" reflections on their time at ZYX highschool (that's for you, Alder). Silly stuff like selecting a flower that would represent their last four years, selecting a class motto, and this one I'm sure of - a class song. In the case of our class it was the Carpenters' We've Only Just Begun.   Not a bad tune and conceptually correct given the import of the moment.

 

There was always a teacher assigned to shepherd the kids through this process to make sure only choices that would look good in the permanent record of the school year book could be selected. you know the drill - you can pick from column A or column B and we'll all pretend the kids made the two selections.

 

So, in our class exactly one kid voted against the song predetermined by the predetermined "consensus" .  You wouldn't believe how many people badgered that kid about changing his vote and getting with the program. His reply " you got the song you wanted, now get out of my face, what frickin' difference does my vote matter?"

 

How weird is it that people would get on his case and try to force him to conform????? Mind you these were the days when the highest kind of accolades went to those who dressed and wore their hair in "noncomformist" styles.  People, I'll never understand them.



#7 levicah

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 11:32 PM

Interesting thread. Yeah, any joy I may have obtained through modern tech has been hindered by my aging eyesight. Computers, tablets and phones just dont get the knowledge into me like the written word does. I'll print a pdf file just so I can assimilate it. I dont know why, it just is. Hard copy feels like I own it. It becomes mine. They say video is a very rich medium that needs few words. But maybe the human perspective becomes more experiential through written words, dang if I know. Give me hard copy anyday. I google to find knowledge, I read books to retain knowledge. Set in my ways I guess. Libraries were like a treasure hunt when I was young. Friends gave me crap for it back then too.


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#8 twoguysupnorth

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 07:48 AM

However whatever you read is a good thing. With phones and tablets where it can be harder to read you can always change the font size and now the newer phones, my galaxy s9+ has settings just for people who read differently. You can change screens to black and white and gray or invert the colors of the text and background ect. That's pretty cool I think. Anyways I have always loved reading books.

My parents made a conscious decision to read to me while young. Bedtime stories and I had plenty of books. My brother is partially dyslexic or has some troubles reading anyways and almost flunked school until someone took the time to teach him. I would sit on my grandmother's lap and she read and re read the whole Laura engals wilder books, little house on the prairie. She taught school for a couple years in an actual one room little red schoolhouse before becoming a stay at home mother. I have read it several times as an adult too. I had a whole set of the classics like grapes of wrath and lord of the flies ect in my bedroom that my mom left me. I spent hours and hours reading my favorite book still the swiss family Robinson. I'm greatfull for it. I could easily place myself in the story as one of the characters and be far away from my so called real life.

The internet was like another awakening to me as well. All of a sudden I could find and read just about any subject I had the slightest interest in. Places like this site actually taught me more about organic chemistry than the classes I had in school. So I think both are good but it's hard to imagine that kids don't seem to want to read anymore or even get to learn cursive writing and had their math changed to something that I would have to completely relearn. However you learn best though should be available to you so that you can develop interest in whatever it is that you want and need. I learned simple programming on an apple starting in middle school up through high school but there was no internet at the time so that is a completely different beast than learning all these programs and languages today. Which I basically understand nothing about.




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