Not to be mistaken with the popular act of a drag queens throwing shade at one another. Reading is actually about books or so I’m told and apparently people do it recreationally.
I know right?! Well I’m not one of them, however I wish I was.
Personally I was never good at it, I know that sounds crazy and you’re probably thinking how can one not be good at reading, but it’s true! Like most things I think the issues stems from my childhood. Do you remember when your teacher would have made you read aloud in class. . . (shuddering at the thought of it). This was one of my most hated tasks and still to this day I hate it when my name is called on to read something aloud. I know it’s a confidence thing and I actually know how to read, but for some reason it just makes me nervous. I know the words but trust me I will manage to say something wrong and look like a complete baboon (ha I was going for buffoon thanks auto-correct).
This is something that happened in Primary Three; yep let’s go way back! We had an assignment on dinosaurs and were each given one to talk about. I ended up with the pterodactyl (you go Pink Ranger). At the age of 6/7 you look to your parents for all their wisdom so I turned to my mum for assistance with the pronunciation and being an impressionable child that believes most things your parent says I went with it. Assignment day, sitting there in front of my class reading about my dinosaur I started with 'The pterodactyl is one of the largest flying dinosaurs, it…' I was stopped (really the giggling classmates should have been a clue) but my teacher Mrs Smith came over to me and asked me to read the name again. So I did; there was more giggling. She was not amused, and actually hit me on top of the head saying to read it correctly. So I said it again and she made me get up and leave the room until I stopped messing around. I remember leaving in tears, confused as to why I was shouted at. For any of you that do not know (my mum included) the P in pterodactyl is silent… (I bet you’re all saying it the way I said it back then).
Yup I was that guy; I made a fool of myself and ever since then I hated being called on to read. I know it’s such a silly thing; I’m an adult but I still just think back to that day. I’ve never made that mistake again but I still get nervous and muddle words up.
I did go on to get an A in English at GCSE and started AS level English but on the first day of class we were made to read Huckleberry Finn aloud to the rest of the class, I said "screw it' and dropped the course.
It’s safe to say that from that day back in Primary Three my love for reading died. Since then I can count on one hand the books I’ve read for pleasure and actually finished (Skellig, Holes, The Hunger Games trilogy). Sitting here writing this I realise how disgraceful it is to be 29 and having only read 5 books recreationally. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading; I do, I can get completely entangled in a story. I don't lack imagination; I can picture the characters, their voices even their mannerisms. One of my favourite books is Of Mice and Men (not classed as a recreational read as it was part of my course in school) which doesn’t say much as I haven’t read many! It’s just that each time I read I started to yawn, I get tired and ultimately need to go to sleep. Now this might be due to the fact that I tend to read at night, but when I’m off work or have free time I’m not free to read, not books anyway. I can spend hours online reading blogs, articles or people's rants on Facebook but the minute I pick up a book it’s lights out. I don’t know what it is about a novel that does it to me, I have started so many books over the years but just never finished, I find myself counting ahead to the end of the chapter hoping to make it to the next and then I eventually just give up.
Does anybody else have this same issue, and if so can it be cured?
I’ve done some research online and found that apparently moving your eyes along the page with the words actually uses a lot of energy hence the yawning and tiredness. And you need to train your brain to not be tired, so reading at night is definitely a big no-no for most people. There are exercises you can do to help strengthen your eye muscles and there are even apps that allow you to focus on one part of the page and the words will pass by increasing your reading time and reducing your tiredness and believe it or not they actually work! I was able to read two chapters of American Gods on a bus journey to work which would normally have taken me two (maybe three) nights to get through.
Here's an example of an app below;
According to Acceleread I have a reading rate of 186 wpm with a comprehension of 80%. For somebody that doesn't read a lot I think this is pretty good considering the average rate is 200 wmp with a comprehension of 60%. I do read slower but I tend to take in every word I read. Amasingly 1% of the population can read more than 1000 wpm with a comprehension of 85% (War and Peace has 587,287 words in the book, this 1% could read the entire book in less than 10 hours! WTF! Just so you know we all hate you!)
Ultimately my research has indicated that I get bored easily and the books that I’m reading don't interest me enough to stay focused. So I put this out to you all:
What books have you read that would grasp the attention of a person that lacks attention?
At the start of the year I set myself a goal of reading four books. Which is nothing, but compared to my track record it’s a big task. I’ve started three and have yet to finish one. If there’s anybody out there that understands my dilemma then please get in touch so we start a "book club", where we watch TV adaptations of books instead of actually reading them. (I’m not holding out much hope for you as if you're like me, I doubt you’ll have read this far without drifting off) but one can dream…
As always thanks for reading!