Difficulty Reading

posted July 31, 2010 by Jer


So I'm talking with a friend of a friend who is very political, loves to read, and like many above-average intelligent Americans, equates not reading with absolute ineptitude. After the fourth time I tell him I haven't read a book he titles, I attempt to simplify the conversation by informing him that I have a lot of trouble reading most books. His very next sentence begins with the words "You should try," because obviously his two cents are exactly what I needed to overcome a learning disability I've struggled with my entire life.

I didn't get upset or offended, for two reasons. The first is that the friend that this person is a friend of is quite important to me, so I make an assertive effort to get along with this person, despite his sharp and frequent - albeit oblivious - personal insults towards me. The second is that I'm used to it. Grade school was hell, my teachers had me convinced I was a lazy delinquent. In grade two, I wasn't allowed to go to recess.

I don't just have trouble reading books. Its hard for me to pay attention to movies, focus on music, or stick with most video games. This is not to say I can't read, certain books are very easy for me to read and almost always become enduring favorites (Watership Down, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Terry Pratchett's Discworld books).

I do wish it was easier for me to read. There's scores of books I would love to read, and have tried, and failed (Life of Pi). The best way I can describe failing to read a book goes something like this: I open the book, I read five or six paragraphs in and then I suddenly realize I've been staring at the page for two hours thinking about bees.

I actually kinda love to read, when I can. I love movies and music, too, and certainly video games. The trouble is, I just don't seem to connect to them the way everyone else seems to.