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bighead384
10-20-2008, 01:54 PM
It takes me forever to read shit. Is there anything I can do to change that? I feel like I'll never gain the knowledge I want to gain if it takes me forever to read books. It's pretty discouraging. Does anyone else have this problem?

Rutegard
10-20-2008, 01:57 PM
It takes me forever to read shit. Is there anything I can do to change that? I feel like I'll never gain the knowledge I want to gain if it takes me forever to read books. It's pretty discouraging. Does anyone else have this problem?

no...sorry


well...try to read stuff u actually like

bighead384
10-20-2008, 01:59 PM
no...sorry


well...try to read stuff u actually like

I guess maybe I try to read stuff that's kind of beyond me. Like right now I'm reading "A People's History of The United States" by Howard Zinn. It's taking me forever.

Rutegard
10-20-2008, 02:00 PM
I guess maybe I try to read stuff that's kind of beyond me. Like right now I'm reading "A People's History of The United States" by Howard Zinn. It's taking me forever.

nah

read the gun seller by hugh laurie!!

it's fucking addictive


trust me :D


EDIT: and i just read apocalypse 2012...it was great too

Redjie
10-20-2008, 02:02 PM
Yeah. Try something you like to read.
Or you should learn the magnificent technique of reading diagonally :D

I use to read a book in three days. If I really like it. If I don't like it, huh, forget it. Can take me months to finish it xD

IamSam
10-20-2008, 02:02 PM
I don't really know how to build read quickly, but I do find that I struggle on occasion with different writers and how they communicate their topic. I know how it feels when you're struggling with it. What I've done over the years though is keep pushing myself by reading different things with varying authors with different styles to keep my mind sharp. That tends to help for me.

Tyler Durden
10-20-2008, 02:06 PM
What exactly do you have a problem with? Vocabulary? Comprehension? If you're having a hard time focusing, most likely the topic isn't something you are intersetd in or the book isn't well written. If it's for school then you're screwed, but entertainment I say just move on.

jacknife737
10-20-2008, 02:21 PM
For the most part, not really, but I’m a faggy liberal arts student, so most of my time is spent at the library. Although I admit, sometimes, the really dry stuff (theory) or totally uninteresting (I had to read about 3 lengthy articles on the impact of Native women on the Fur Trade during first year….urgh), it can be a bit of a struggle. Are you reading Zinn for pleasure or for class? If it’s for class, I suggest taking notes as you read (especially if you’re having trouble retaining the info). If it’s for pleasure, I suggest you simply move on to something else. Should you wish to continue reading, all I can advise is that you turn off the tv, the mp3 player, shutdown the laptop and keep at it; that’s what I do if I have trouble reading something, and 90% of the time it will eventually “click”.

Although I haven’t read Zinn, I was under the assumption that he writes rather fluently. However, from my understanding Zinn’s book is a work of academic history (as opposed to the “popular”/journalistic side), so perhaps you may enjoy something a little less in depth.

nieh
10-20-2008, 02:27 PM
I'm not a very fast reader either. I don't really have the attention span to just sit and do one thing for a while so I normally wind up getting distracted when I'm at home with the tv/internet/whatever always like two steps away from me. I'll sit on a book for months at a time and make little if any progress, although when I actually DO manage to just sit down and read (normally when I'm on trains by myself since there's nothing to distract me) I can be pretty quick. I remember I finished Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories both by J.D. Salinger in like 1 weekend when I went to NYC for a show.

Jebus
10-20-2008, 04:01 PM
That Howard Zinn book was my US History textbook back in high school. He taught me that white people are mean and evil.

WebDudette
10-20-2008, 05:54 PM
I'm kind of opposite sometimes. Like I read quickly and retain stuff, then I start getting bored and my mind thinks about other stuff even though I keep reading.

sKratch
10-20-2008, 06:28 PM
I would never attempt to read more than a few paragraphs of Zinn in one sitting. I would assume that it's a fairly popular problem.

bighead384
10-20-2008, 07:15 PM
I would never attempt to read more than a few paragraphs of Zinn in one sitting. I would assume that it's a fairly popular problem.

Wow really? Well in that case I'm not doing too bad. But one time I tried to read Noam Chomsky...fucking forget it. That's all I have to say about that.

sKratch
10-20-2008, 08:13 PM
I'm not cut out for reading most non-fiction. I zone out really fast. Luckily I can do OK with science papers, because I have to read them...

lost_nvrfound
10-20-2008, 08:22 PM
I have the worst time trying to read stuff like that. I was trying to read an excerpt for my sociology class earlier and it took me forEVER because I just couldn't keep my attention on it.

I'm sure it doesn't help that it was on the computer screen rather than paper. And that I hate sociology.

That and my eyesight is kind of fuzzy lately. Especially the computer screen... I can't get my eyes checked until December. :(

bighead384
10-20-2008, 08:42 PM
I know this sounds ridiculous, but I don't like the way reading controls your thoughts. Don't take that the wrong way, I'm not trying to say books are evil, I just mean personally, my mind wanders a lot and I can't think thoughts that some author wants me to think for anymore than about a half hour. I dunno if I'm explaining this right, but that's basically how I feel.

bighead384
10-20-2008, 08:46 PM
I'm not cut out for reading most non-fiction. I zone out really fast.

Yeah, I'm starting to think that about myself, but it bothers me. It's like, what's so special about the people that can read non-fiction? A lot of them probably love the fact that most people can't read it.

jacknife737
10-20-2008, 08:54 PM
Yeah, I'm starting to think that about myself, but it bothers me. It's like, what's so special about the people that can read non-fiction? A lot of them probably love the fact that most people can't read it.

First off, what makes you assume that "most people" are not able to read non-fiction? Secondly, as for your last point, stop being so absurd. Just because you do not enjoy non-fiction, there is no need to demonize those who feel otherwise.

IamSam
10-20-2008, 10:56 PM
Yeah, I'm starting to think that about myself, but it bothers me. It's like, what's so special about the people that can read non-fiction? A lot of them probably love the fact that most people can't read it.

Yeah! Those goddamn intellectuals! How dare they read about actual events to educate themselves! Go ignorance!

Omni
10-21-2008, 06:10 AM
That Howard Zinn book was my US History textbook back in high school. He taught me that white people are mean and evil.

Every uninspired black comedian of the past twenty years should've taught you this.

Little_Miss_1565
10-21-2008, 08:47 AM
I know this sounds ridiculous, but I don't like the way reading controls your thoughts. Don't take that the wrong way, I'm not trying to say books are evil, I just mean personally, my mind wanders a lot and I can't think thoughts that some author wants me to think for anymore than about a half hour. I dunno if I'm explaining this right, but that's basically how I feel.


Yeah, I'm starting to think that about myself, but it bothers me. It's like, what's so special about the people that can read non-fiction? A lot of them probably love the fact that most people can't read it.

Serious question....are you voting McCain/Palin?

HornyPope
10-21-2008, 09:50 AM
I know this sounds ridiculous, but I don't like the way reading controls your thoughts. Don't take that the wrong way, I'm not trying to say books are evil, I just mean personally, my mind wanders a lot and I can't think thoughts that some author wants me to think for anymore than about a half hour. I dunno if I'm explaining this right, but that's basically how I feel.

You're right. Books do control your thoughts. See, there are no "facts" outside of your hard sciences ,so anytime you are reading non-fiction, you are effectiely buying into an opinion of an individual and that of a school of thought. History in particular is extremely manipulated and manipulative of the reader because everything is based on secondary and third-hand sources over accounts that may have not even existed!

As far as 'wanting' to read it, motivation works in funny ways. Personally, I used to stack up on books from the library because I wanted to become a scholar ASAP. I thought it was my calling but soon after I realized I don't have the motivation for it--I would prefer doing something else to sitting at home all day and reading books. Actually, I realized that I didn't know what the fuck motivation is. I used to think that I wanted it so really bad, but then I realized I didn't know what it felt like to want something sooo bad. This world is a big place and we grow familiar with new things our attention shifts from one subject to another and that's just very, very normal.

If you sit down and force yourself to read a book for the sake of reading it, you probably don't really want it. As others have said, read something more fun instead. There are excellent fiction books out there that have a far stronger and more meaningful message for you than most non-fiction books. Do not under-estimate fiction writers!

While we're at it, try reading "The apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" by Mordecai Richler. It's about this kid in Montreal who wanted to make it big, make it big now. Funny book!

Betty
10-21-2008, 11:50 AM
Good post Vlad. Do you know what's funny though? I bought that book a while ago (like 2 years-3 years ago) on a recommendation of yours, and couldn't get into it when I started, and it ended up in one of my ADD 4 books on the go piles, and now it's back on the shelf and I still haven't read it. It's very low on the to-try-again priority list at the moment.

wheelchairman
10-21-2008, 12:11 PM
Your attitude towards people who read non-fiction books reeks of inferiority-complex. Those kinds of opinions are just silly and unfortunately it's very easy to form them without even thinking about it!

Now I am a fairly fast reader.

Unless it's nonfiction. Then it takes more time. I read non-fiction primarily because I want to know more. And I've noticed that I really only read the non-fiction books that are in a field I'm interested in. So I suppose I learn more but I narrow myself heavily.

Usually I read history or political stuff (although to be quite honest I have mostly focused on fiction recently). However I wanted to learn more about the natural sciences (I'm shamefully ignorant of the natural sciences like physics for example). So on a recommendation I got Stephen Hawkings History of the Universe or whatever it's called. I got about 60-80 pages through it and I started just not understanding any of it. I have an intention to start reading it again but I've never got around to it.

My point is that you'll really only be able to read what you are actively interested in. Perhaps you should find another book on American history. I haven't read that much on American history but I remember I once read a fairly interesting book on the revolutionary war by some brit. "Rebels and Redcoats" I think was the name. That was fairly easy to read and interesting.

Sofinch
10-21-2008, 12:14 PM
search a video about it on the internet

bighead384
10-21-2008, 12:16 PM
Serious question....are you voting McCain/Palin?

Why are you asking me that?

People, I'm not trying to attack people for reading non-fiction. I made a little lighthearted side comment based on my experience with some non-fiction readers. Hell, my Com 102 professor was just half-jokingly saying how English majors think they know everything. People say shit like that all the time. Chill, let's not get hung up on that.

Betty
10-21-2008, 12:38 PM
Per, I think people can branch out into areas that they are not... well I don't want to say interested in... but that they aren't knowledgeable about. I agree that it's hard to read about subjects that you SHOULD learn about but just ARE NOT interested. That probably won't happen. But if you're actually interested but just don't understand, then at that point I think it's a matter of choosing the right book. I haven't started reading my own pop science books (I'm halfway through my PhD in Chemistry and still can't converse with the artsies regarding black holes and string theory or whatever), but I suspect that there are a few out there that are really easy to understand and entertaining. I had started reading Bill Bryson's A History of Nearly Everything and it started by going on about how atoms were so small that if you put a bajillion of them together it would make the tip of a pencil, or whatever, and I could NOT handle it... haha. Although I'm sure that was just the intro, and I wasn't really meaning to read the whole thing at that point anyway.

bighead384
10-21-2008, 12:40 PM
Anyone ever read Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane? I'm a descendant of his. Great Great Great Grandfather, haha. I've never read it but I watched the movie.

wheelchairman
10-21-2008, 01:02 PM
Per, I think people can branch out into areas that they are not... well I don't want to say interested in... but that they aren't knowledgeable about. I agree that it's hard to read about subjects that you SHOULD learn about but just ARE NOT interested. That probably won't happen. But if you're actually interested but just don't understand, then at that point I think it's a matter of choosing the right book. I haven't started reading my own pop science books (I'm halfway through my PhD in Chemistry and still can't converse with the artsies regarding black holes and string theory or whatever), but I suspect that there are a few out there that are really easy to understand and entertaining. I had started reading Bill Bryson's A History of Nearly Everything and it started by going on about how atoms were so small that if you put a bajillion of them together it would make the tip of a pencil, or whatever, and I could NOT handle it... haha. Although I'm sure that was just the intro, and I wasn't really meaning to read the whole thing at that point anyway.
Yeah but the Hawkings book was supposed to be dumbed down for people like me.

And yeah my point was that if you don't have an interest in a topic it will be difficult to get through. I agree though that someone shouldn't just give up if the first book they read is too difficult. It is however like Vlad said, a matter of motivation.

Bighead, I haven't read the entire topic, just a handful of posts, my comment wasn't meant to gang up on you, I hadn't read other posts so I don't know how many other people already made that point.

HornyPope
10-21-2008, 01:18 PM
Good post Vlad. Do you know what's funny though? I bought that book a while ago (like 2 years-3 years ago) on a recommendation of yours, and couldn't get into it when I started, and it ended up in one of my ADD 4 books on the go piles, and now it's back on the shelf and I still haven't read it. It's very low on the to-try-again priority list at the moment.

Well I think that makes us even then, although if you feel guilty over it, please PM me and I'll let you know how you can remedy your guilt.



Per, I think people can branch out into areas that they are not... well I don't want to say interested in... but that they aren't knowledgeable about. I agree that it's hard to read about subjects that you SHOULD learn about but just ARE NOT interested. That probably won't happen. But if you're actually interested but just don't understand, then at that point I think it's a matter of choosing the right book. I haven't started reading my own pop science books (I'm halfway through my PhD in Chemistry and still can't converse with the artsies regarding black holes and string theory or whatever), but I suspect that there are a few out there that are really easy to understand and entertaining. I had started reading Bill Bryson's A History of Nearly Everything and it started by going on about how atoms were so small that if you put a bajillion of them together it would make the tip of a pencil, or whatever, and I could NOT handle it... haha. Although I'm sure that was just the intro, and I wasn't really meaning to read the whole thing at that point anyway.



http://offspring.com/forums/images/misc/progress.gif
Yeah but the Hawkings book was supposed to be dumbed down for people like me.

And yeah my point was that if you don't have an interest in a topic it will be difficult to get through. I agree though that someone shouldn't just give up if the first book they read is too difficult. It is however like Vlad said, a matter of motivation.



I read The Elegant Universe by Brian Green, but I had stopped half way because it wasn't worth the effort. It talks about the differences between the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics and attempts to reconcile it with the now-popular (i think?) string theory, and it was kind of fun, albeit at times overwhelming, to digest all this knowledge. I had to make breaks fairly often, however, to let all this information sink in. After a while though, I realized for good that I'm not really good at that stuff, nor am I really interested (and I suspect the two are connects). It takes too much effort and I just don't want to give all effort to somehing I don't really enjoy.

Now, on the other hand, I have taken up economics as some of you might know, and this is the kind of subject I feel motivated to conquer. It doesn't come easy to me because the subject itself is somewhat hard (you have to fully understand the underlying logic behind the theories, not merely embrace them) and because I have a lot of holes in my math that I have to fix. But I enjoy the subject and I am willing to give my best to learn it even if I could do some other social sciences that come so much easier to me.

Betty
10-21-2008, 10:27 PM
It's starting to sink in that if I want to win a nobel prize (too ambitious? well, at least make some pretty significant scientific progress), I'm going to have to learn and contextualize ALL OF SCIENCE. And that's on top of wanting to learn a whole slew of other subjects (economics, business, philosophy, politics of note). I think I've got my work cut out for me.

Today I spent three hours at the library reading a chapter on "Solar Energy Conversion" and I intend to put in another couple of hours tonight.

I'll let you boys know if I ever read any really good science books. Maybe I'll write one about chemistry one day.

And Per, I just meant that some dumbed-down books are better than others, that's all.

Oh, and another thing that's worth mentioning is to just read the interesting bits and skim the rest, if you're honestly just not interested.

Bipolar Bear
10-21-2008, 11:06 PM
I don't have a problem understanding shit but I think you just need to
start with something easier, or if you really want to read that book
try to concentrate..

Little_Miss_1565
10-22-2008, 01:20 PM
Why are you asking me that?

People, I'm not trying to attack people for reading non-fiction. I made a little lighthearted side comment based on my experience with some non-fiction readers.

Because, as Per already partially mentioned, your post sounded like you were demonizing what is supposed to be a point of pride for any country, namely its intellegence and intellectuals, which seems to also be a central tenet of Palin's talking points. Why is it that when you make "lightheared side comments" they sound like the opposite?

Michelle, I agree, reading about something you're interested in but not knowledgeable can be really enriching and interesting. Your interest provides the motivation to plow through it.

I love stories, personally, so I enjoy reading non-fiction because it's like "This American Life" -- it has the ability to take the mundane aspects of our lives and find that kernel of story in it that makes it accessible and emblematic of our times. The only difference between good non-fiction and fiction in terms of its composition and style should be the fact that one happened and the other didn't.

bighead384
10-22-2008, 01:32 PM
Because, as Per already partially mentioned, your post sounded like you were demonizing what is supposed to be a point of pride for any country, namely its intellegence and intellectuals, which seems to also be a central tenet of Palin's talking points. Why is it that when you make "lightheared side comments" they sound like the opposite?

You've got to be kidding me. Seriously.

That's all I care to say, I know what's going on here and why, but I'm not going argue about it.

Betty
10-22-2008, 02:57 PM
The only difference between good non-fiction and fiction in terms of its composition and style should be the fact that one happened and the other didn't.

Mmm... not quite. Some heavy subjects inevitably have to get pretty dense when getting down to the nitty gritty. Although, even the heavy stuff can be well-written and entertaining in its own way.

Here's an example of somebody who makes me excited to read.
He is my new chemistry hero: Roald Hoffmann (http://www.roaldhoffmann.com/pn/index.php) He's a chemist. AND he is a good writer.

He did some decent research, won a Nobel prize, and now it seems like he fucks around and writes poetry and philosophizes about science and writes pop science articles. I think he is such an entertaining writer. And he puts up his stuff on his website for free (http://www.roaldhoffmann.com/pn/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=25&page=1)!

Seriously, check out a (http://www.roaldhoffmann.com/pn/modules/Downloads/docs/173.pdf) couple (http://www.roaldhoffmann.com/pn/modules/Downloads/docs/169.pdf).

Some of his pop science stuff might be interesting for people interested, but not knowledgeable in science. I personally love his philosophical stuff, like the latter link, but I'm not sure if non-scientists would be as interested in that. Maybe!

IamSam
10-22-2008, 03:21 PM
You've got to be kidding me. Seriously.

That's all I care to say, I know what's going on here and why, but I'm not going argue about it.

No. No no. No. Not kidding. You always make snide anti-intellectual remarks and now you make another anti-intellectual remark and say it's a joke? Past remarks by you blanket your supposed 'I'm joking' remarks.

bighead384
10-22-2008, 04:10 PM
Okay. It is my belief that there is something inherently wrong with reading non-fiction. Happy? Now move on.

Budzy
10-23-2008, 04:25 AM
It takes me forever to read shit. Is there anything I can do to change that? I feel like I'll never gain the knowledge I want to gain if it takes me forever to read books. It's pretty discouraging. Does anyone else have this problem?

I believe that is your problem right there.
And to re-assure you, you are not the only one with the inability to read it.

Bipolar Bear
10-23-2008, 09:55 AM
I believe that is your problem right there.
And to re-assure you, you are not the only one with the inability to read it.

Lol!

Win