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"Somebody should set up the ‘I Hate the I Hate Reading Page!"
August 15, 2011 12:08 PM   Subscribe

We hate the “I Hate Reading’ Facebook page.

"Here is the official AbeBooks.com reply to the ‘We Hate Reading’ Facebook page – it’s a video entitled Long Live the Book created by Lindsay Thompson. We love this video and Lindsay did an amazing job – she even wrote and performed the soundtrack. We love reading, we love books."
posted by Fizz (138 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Despite tearing through massive stacks of literature, I really can't bring myself to care about whether or not other people enjoy reading. The many problems with the publishing industry don't seem to be related to a lack of readers. (Or a lack of writers for that matter.)

I realize that this kind of attitude is not going to get me lengthy opinion pieces published online though, and I apologize.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:12 PM on August 15, 2011 [18 favorites]


There's nothing on that Facebook page, so I'm going to assume they hate the famous British music festival or perhaps the city in Pennsylvania.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:14 PM on August 15, 2011 [35 favorites]


As with those poll questions that were all over Facebook some time ago asking whether FB folks were for or against marriage equality and the like, I'm pretty okay with any feature of the site which allows dumbfucks to self-identify.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:16 PM on August 15, 2011 [14 favorites]


Yeah, Reading sucks. It's too far to commute into London, but it's not really far enough out to be in the country either. I'm all up on Chipping Norton.
posted by GuyZero at 12:18 PM on August 15, 2011 [50 favorites]


When I read this, my first thought was that this is a clear sign that people will "Like" the crap out of anything, no matter how stupid or ignorant it makes them appear.
posted by Fizz at 12:20 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or maybe it means people don't lie to protect their image as much as you think.
posted by smackfu at 12:21 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only thing that shows up under "related posts" on that facebook page is the status update of one Wantod Alonso. Fitting that his profile picture is of him pointing his butt at the camera. If you're not getting your entertainment from literature, you've gotta get it from somewhere--so why not LOLbutts.
posted by phunniemee at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2011


Um, I hate to be pedantic, but it's butts lol, according to cortex, who I'm told is an expert on these matters.
posted by desjardins at 12:24 PM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


441k people may admit to hating reading on FaceBook. But Michael Bay only has 23k fans.

Not all is wrong with the world.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:25 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Interesting, it's been suggested that if you put "I Hate Reading" in the "Favorite Books" section of your profile, it shows up as a Like for this page. If true, probably honest opinions.
posted by smackfu at 12:29 PM on August 15, 2011


so I'm going to assume they hate the famous British music festival or perhaps the city in Pennsylvania.

I lived in Reading, PA for a few years and there's simply not enough there there to invoke hatred. Unless maybe you have a strong antipathy to outlet malls.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:33 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Um, I hate to be pedantic, but it's butts lol, according to cortex

For shame! Clearly I'm not reading enough.
posted by phunniemee at 12:33 PM on August 15, 2011


Well, it's not the greatest railroad...
posted by mmrtnt at 12:34 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't imagine hating reading and being addicted to Facebook and Twitter. It must be torture for those poor souls.
posted by Malice at 12:36 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


For what it's worth I'd wager the average age of members of this group is ~15. I can imagine joining something like this in middle school under peer pressure, and I turned out to be a goddamn English major.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 12:38 PM on August 15, 2011


I Hate Reading

Hate's awfully strong. I mean, I prefer Short Line (who doesn't amirite), but I guess B&O or even Pennsylvania will do in a pinch. Any of them are better than those fucking utilities, though. Fuck you, waterworks.
posted by dersins at 12:38 PM on August 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


And then it comes half-circle to folks like me who adore reading but have an irrational aversion to watching videos online. If it's something that requires video (e.g., news footage), then okay. But your "video blog"—this one included—just ain't gonna get watched.
posted by cribcage at 12:40 PM on August 15, 2011 [21 favorites]


Horselover Phattie: "There's nothing on that Facebook page, so I'm going to assume they hate the famous British music festival or perhaps the city in Pennsylvania"
Maybe he prefers Short Line, B&O, or Pennsylvania. But you'll never have the Monopoly without Reading.
posted by I am the Walrus at 12:41 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't hate those who hate reading. I pity them. What a sad, sad life they must have. Plus, God knows what they do in doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:44 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


What's wrong with books?
posted by martinrebas at 12:44 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, $200 bucks every landing, and a chance to ding opponents on every side of the board. Getting the railroad monopoly early is key. You can luck out and put a hotel on Boardwalk and maybe someone will land there and go belly-up, but for a continuous ATM look no further than capturing all the RRs.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:46 PM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't hate those who hate reading. I pity them. What a sad, sad life they must have.

This, x1000.
posted by Malice at 12:46 PM on August 15, 2011


@Malice: Exactly. Or road signs, or paychecks, or anywhere else these fabulous things called letters are arranged to form words in the hope of conveying information. Who's up for the "I hate methods of conveying information" page? Complete with references and associated annotated footnotes of course....
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:47 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I HATE SEEING
posted by everichon at 12:47 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]




Horselover Phattie: "There's nothing on that Facebook page, so I'm going to assume they hate the famous British music festival or perhaps the city in Pennsylvania"


Only a reader would notice something like that.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:47 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plus, God knows what they do in doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms

Play Angry Birds.
posted by jeather at 12:48 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Wut yoo reedin' fer?"

"I dunno, so I don't wind up a fuckin' Waffle Waitress?"
posted by notsnot at 12:49 PM on August 15, 2011 [19 favorites]


Plus, God knows what they do in doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms.

This.
posted by Fizz at 12:49 PM on August 15, 2011


I can't imagine hating reading and being addicted to Facebook and Twitter.
You're got to figure they're in the wrong place. I mean facebook, really?
posted by juv3nal at 12:50 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


My friend and I were talking just the other day about how if our hypothetical future kids fill idle wait time by playing games on their phones rather than reading, we'll know we have failed as parents.
posted by phunniemee at 12:51 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's nothing on that Facebook page...
If there were more than a couple words, it'd be rather Oxymoroic.

I wonder how many Likes a "I Hate Facebook" page would get (in the 10 minutes before it gets taken down).
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


So... if they hate reading, what? They have Facebook narrated to them?

The internet is made of reading.

(I get that they mean books, but it's silly to claim to hate reading in a medium which necessitates its use)
posted by quin at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


My friend and I were talking just the other day about how if our hypothetical future kids fill idle wait time by playing games on their phones rather than reading, we'll know we have failed as parents.

You do know that people can enjoy playing video games AND read as well? Sometimes I like to read, sometimes I like to play video games. Variety is the spice of life and just because I'm playing a video game in the waiting room doesn't mean I lack an appreciation for reading.
posted by Fizz at 12:55 PM on August 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


Considering what I have been enjoying reading lately, I can't really say that people who don't read make me angry or summon pity for them. Seriously, there is just so much garbage out there, literary or otherwise, that glorifying taking it in via words over some other medium is basically fetishism.
posted by griphus at 12:56 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


I used to read while I played computer games, but then I got eaten by a Grue.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:57 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


I just checked, and there is an I Hate TV page on Facebook as well, though it has only 30,802 likes.

Don't know if that reflects anything worthwhile or not.

As for people who hate reading, I can't say I hate them, but at the same time I can't imagine being in any sort of close relationship with someone who isn't a reader. I don't mean just a romantic relationship, I can't envision being close friends with someone who hates reading.

And yeah, I do have to wonder how they deal with Facebook. Isn't that reading?

@oneswellfoop: We don't have to wonder, there is an I Hate Facebook page, and it's got 23,629 likes.
posted by sotonohito at 12:57 PM on August 15, 2011


I read voraciously, but I find it stressful when I am waiting to see a doctor or dentist and prefer to play games, which are easier to interrupt and work better when part of my attention is being used to listen for my name being called.

I don't like Angry Birds, though I did manage to get my mother addicted to it.
posted by jeather at 12:57 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


that glorifying taking it in via words over some other medium is basically fetishism.

I admit, I have a reading fetish. It's sexy to see someone reading a book.
posted by Malice at 12:58 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


@Malice: Exactly. Or road signs, or paychecks, or anywhere else these fabulous things called letters are arranged to form words in the hope of conveying information. Who's up for the "I hate methods of conveying information" page? Complete with references and associated annotated footnotes of course....

Eh, I'm sure there are "I Hate Television", "I Hate Youtube", and "I Hate Video Games" pages. Probably even an "I Hate Computers/The Internet" page. What's the difference, other than the public perception of reading versus other methods of information exchange?

Personally, I love to read, and I think reading pays powerful dividends. I've found that reading more often is one of the best things I can do for myself... short of writing more often, of course. I'm not going to fool myself into believing that Everyone Must Spend Their Free Time Like I Do, though.
posted by vorfeed at 12:59 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you think it is unusual to hate reading books, you are a bit out of touch. 1 in 4 people read zero books last year.
posted by smackfu at 1:00 PM on August 15, 2011


Preaching to the choir? On the internet? How novel!
posted by TrialByMedia at 1:00 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Perhaps most of the people who "hate" reading are students who are tasked with loads of course material that grinds them down to a nub. Maybe it's mostly a reaction to stress rather than an actual hatred of the noble printed word.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:01 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hey, if your future hypothetical kids don't turn out to be readers, you are not a failure as a parent. I'm a bookworm, but my child hardly ever read for fun (except Harry Potter). Nevertheless, she was a straight A student and a is a strong idealistic iconoclastic empathetic young woman. I don't get it, but that's because I'm an introvert and she's an extrovert.
posted by kozad at 1:01 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


...if our hypothetical future kids fill idle wait time by playing games on their phones rather than reading, we'll know we have failed as parents.

And that why I'm teaching my hypothetical future kids to neither read, nor play video games, but just sit there and consider how they have failed me today.
posted by griphus at 1:02 PM on August 15, 2011 [29 favorites]


I blame Kanye.
posted by Pax at 1:02 PM on August 15, 2011


Even though I'm several years out of college three times in the last month I've had librarians ask if the books I was getting were for class and was chastised once over the phone by a librarian saying, "You have twenty seven books out. Why do you have twenty seven books out?" like I'm some kind of book terrorist.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:04 PM on August 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


I find vitriol and/or snobbery directed at non-readers to be unpleasant in the extreme. It does not make you look smart, it makes you look close-minded and petty.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:09 PM on August 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


I agree, although I'm definitely guilty of such snobbery (maybe not vitriol). Same to bad spellers.
posted by sweetkid at 1:13 PM on August 15, 2011


hipocrit
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:14 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


These pages are just automatically generated when one or more people lists something in their interests, aren't they? What I don't know is what kind of authority someone needs to be able to claim control over an interest and give it a proper page with a description, wall posts, etc.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:15 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find vitriol and/or snobbery directed at non-readers to be unpleasant in the extreme. I guess you're right. I don't play video games and I'm sure a lot of people think I'm a grumpy old out-of-touch idiot for that reason.
posted by kozad at 1:15 PM on August 15, 2011


I find vitriol and/or snobbery directed at non-readers to be unpleasant in the extreme. It does not make you look smart, it makes you look close-minded and petty.

TYRR - I have no problem with people who do not enjoy reading, I have a problem with people who HATE reading as if it's this thing to be feared or somehow bad for a person's health. HATE is a very extreme word.
posted by Fizz at 1:16 PM on August 15, 2011


It does not make you look smart, it makes you look close-minded and petty.

If you take away my closed-minded pettiness, what am I left with? I am left with nothing.
posted by COBRA! at 1:18 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just don't like reading for long periods of time, that is all. Other than that its very valuable to me.
posted by Hi Dan at 1:19 PM on August 15, 2011


That's really weird, villanelles at dawn. Librarians are usually happy when people read. Maybe that branch has a problem with theft?

I can't imagine a life without books, it would be so empty and small and boring. But maybe the people who are "liking" that page have an attention span problem, rather than a reading problem. One things books are great for is training you to observe and enjoy the process, rather than zipping right through to some kind of reward.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:21 PM on August 15, 2011


When I read this, my first thought was that this is a clear sign that people will "Like" the crap out of anything, no matter how stupid or ignorant it makes them appear.

Back in wild-west Facebook days (late 2004) when "likes" didn't exist but joining completely trivial, inconsequential "groups" filled in that niche, I noticed one day a black friend of mine was in a group called WHITE POWER. I asked her what the deal was and she responded, horrified, that she had no idea and obviously didn't remember joining a group by that name. By process of elimination she figured out that a group she (and something like 300 other people at our school) had joined had had its name changed by an administrator to "WHITE POWER" from the original "I love orange juice!"
posted by Riptor at 1:21 PM on August 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


she figured out that a group she (and something like 300 other people at our school) had joined had had its name changed by an administrator to "WHITE POWER" from the original "I love orange juice!"


what the hell
posted by sweetkid at 1:25 PM on August 15, 2011


I'm a member of a facebook group, I think it is Slush Puppy Fans. I really want a lemon/lime slush puppy.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:26 PM on August 15, 2011


Hey, if your future hypothetical kids don't turn out to be readers, you are not a failure as a parent. I'm a bookworm, but my child hardly ever read for fun (except Harry Potter). Nevertheless, she was a straight A student and a is a strong idealistic iconoclastic empathetic young woman.

Seconding this. My younger brother hated reading in high school, but then when he got to college suddenly he blossomed into this bookworm. Really, though, it was a reaction to being compelled to read -- the kind of compulsory "reading-for-school" was not something he was into at all, and when that eased up, and he had more autonomy in selecting material, he just blossomed. (He was raving about Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas during his first Thanksgiving break, because he'd borrowed his roommate's copy, and I think I asked, "who are you and what have you done with my brother?")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:30 PM on August 15, 2011


It's sort of ironic. Once upon a time literacy rates were low, and reading was seen as an aspirational skill, something everyone needed to develop if they had any hope of rising out of poverty. Now the literacy rate is 99% and the skill is devalued, because it feels automatic, like eating or breathing. But I bet if fewer people could read, more of the literate remainder would be into books.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:36 PM on August 15, 2011



Eh, I'm sure there are "I Hate Television", "I Hate Youtube", and "I Hate Video Games" pages. Probably even an "I Hate Computers/The Internet" page. What's the difference, other than the public perception of reading versus other methods of information exchange?


The difference, to me at least, is that they are perpetuating their 'hate' via the very medium they are hating. The people that hate television shouldn't take out a commercial to say so, the people that hate youtube shouldn't post a video stating their dislike, and the people that are averse to video games probably shouldn't post a flash game showing their feelings.

The people making webpages/groups that state their dislike of computers and/or the internet are just as silly as the people that join the I hate reading group after reading their friend's blog post (aka facebook page) like a hawk.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:36 PM on August 15, 2011


I'm not condescending towards those who do not read but just astounded. Books have always been my best friends and I don't know what I would do without them. But then last week my therapist suggested that if I want to lead a healthier lifestyle I should think about reading less. Apparently a week of reading 8 hours straight is considered bad. So I guess it takes all types. I need more activity in my life and my brother who reads one book a year needs more literature.
posted by kanata at 1:38 PM on August 15, 2011


In elementary school, we had a silent reading program with Pizza Hut, I kid you not. For every book in the library you read, you would earn a free pizza lunch. This increased the popularity of reading a hundredfold.
posted by mek at 1:39 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


are just as silly as the people that join the I hate reading group after reading their friend's blog post (aka facebook page) like a hawk

The "problem" is that we've labeled a very specific activity as "Reading" - sitting down with a bound book and consuming it with our undivided attention. Consuming someone's facebook page isn't "reading" in this sense - rather it's part of a dialogue.

So when someone declares that they "hate reading", of course they're not talking about reading magazines, or reading the text in video games, or reading articles on the internet - they're talking about the learned activity of giving a (generally assigned) book their undivided attention for long enough to finish the mandated number of pages.
posted by muddgirl at 1:42 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


The people that hate television shouldn't take out a commercial to say so...

Why should they? The sitcoms they make are considerably more popular than any commercial.
posted by griphus at 1:43 PM on August 15, 2011


In elementary school, we had a silent reading program with Pizza Hut, I kid you not. For every book in the library you read, you would earn a free pizza lunch. This increased the popularity of reading a hundredfold.

Was it the Book It! program? Because it's still around.
posted by cog_nate at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


their undivided attention for long enough

That's the critical part right there. I shudder to think how closely this group's membership correlates with the rise of ADD related symptoms in the general populace.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2011


In elementary school, we had a silent reading program with Pizza Hut, I kid you not.

We had this too, it was called "Book-It", and if you read 5 books in a month, you got a personal pan pizza, or something.

This kind of thing reminds me of my students when I tell them to write words along with their mathematical "solutions". Without fail, some will say "I hate words!" I have to tell them, that no, they love words, words are really their favorite way to express themselves. I then try to parlay this into getting them to admit that they want me to give them "story problems" on exams.
posted by King Bee at 1:46 PM on August 15, 2011


It was an early Canadian variant, but I'm glad to see that kind of incentive program is still around, because it works.
posted by mek at 1:49 PM on August 15, 2011


I love to hate reading.
posted by Debaser626 at 1:49 PM on August 15, 2011


I shudder to think how closely this group's membership correlates with the rise of ADD related symptoms in the general populace.

Well, look. Why do we teach kids that they have to read this way? I understand that it has a place in the classroom, but I (a voracious reader) don't give books my undivided attention. I read while I'm watching TV. I read in the bathroom. I read while eating.

In the past, when there were fewer forms of entertainment, families and friends would read aloud to each other. Children are read aloud to up to a certain age, but after that, they are expected to read to themselves. It's been turned into purely a solo activity for people who can be still and quiet, which leaves out a vast number of people who aren't interested in such activities.
posted by muddgirl at 1:50 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Book It! program had a group goal, too (back in the mid-80s, at least). If an entire class read a certain number of books, there was a pizza party. I remember this really well, because the pizza party was on a Friday during Lent and most of the pizzas -- from the Pizza Hut two towns over -- were veggie or shrimp, shrimp being a really weird topping to see in BFE Kansas.
posted by cog_nate at 1:55 PM on August 15, 2011


Yea, same thing here. I read everywhere, even places where I probably shouldn't thanks to the ereader feature of my smartphone. But still, I can't find it in me to be anything but sad for people who, for whatever reason, have such a strong dislike of reading.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:57 PM on August 15, 2011


I guess I sort of worry in an absentminded way about people who are openly proud about their enthusiastic rejection of basic shit like reading. Further, it's hard not to correlate this attitude with the general determination to cling to stupid/ignorant/wholly disproven beliefs that's prevalent among large sections of the US population.
posted by elizardbits at 2:05 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can feel sad for them while recognizing that we do a shit job of promoting it. Honestly, giving someone a pizza for being able to sit quietly is what makes me really sad.
posted by muddgirl at 2:06 PM on August 15, 2011


.. but to be fair, being able to read while doing X, Y, and Z isn't exactly a trait that you should assume everyone is going to innately have. I've been reading for a long time and I can't help but feel that my ability to read while doing other things is something that I've developed along the way. You have to start somewhere.
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:09 PM on August 15, 2011


I wish to be given a free pizza for every book I read, please.
posted by everichon at 2:11 PM on August 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


"All man's miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone."—Blaise Pascal
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:14 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


People don't like the same things I do. What a sad, pitiable life they must have.
posted by downing street memo at 2:22 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm not saying that we should mandate that kids should read and watch TV at the same time. I'm saying that we should expand the definition of "Reading" that we're teaching children. Can we encourage children to read aloud to each other, to their parents, or even to younger children? Can we pair reading activities with physical activity in some way? Can we credit kids for playing and understanding text-heavy video games? Do we credit them for reading articles online?

I'm sure school teachers have already done a lot of these sorts of things already - I'm not trying to tell anyone how to do their job. I'm just frustrated at this idea that there's supreme virtue in "enjoying" the act of silently reading a book to oneself.
posted by muddgirl at 2:24 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]




I guess I sort of worry in an absentminded way about people who are openly proud about their enthusiastic rejection of basic shit like reading. Further, it's hard not to correlate this attitude with the general determination to cling to stupid/ignorant/wholly disproven beliefs that's prevalent among large sections of the US population.


Some of them think that people who identify as readers are high minded jerks and egotistical snobs. Wanting to distance yourself from that is understandable.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:25 PM on August 15, 2011


> It does not make you look smart, it makes you look close-minded

Keep your brains close, and your mind closer.
posted by mmrtnt at 2:26 PM on August 15, 2011


What's a mind closer? A device to close your mind?
posted by GuyZero at 2:27 PM on August 15, 2011


The internet is made of reading.

The internet is made of cute cat videos, porn, and "LOL." None of which actually requires reading.

What's a mind closer?

Fear, I think.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:28 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread is hilarious.

"A mefite is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel." -

Future Robert Frost
posted by bonecrusher at 2:35 PM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


As a relatively well-read person who seems to have less and less time and patience every year to sit down and read big novels, I'm not sure where I stand with this. Sadly. I think there's something to the notion that internet/twitter/meme culture is killing our attention spans. Or just mine.

But this post reminded me that the sequel to The Magicians came out last week. Gonna head to my bookstore after work.
posted by naju at 2:36 PM on August 15, 2011


Basically, is there a group called "I Love Reading (In Theory)"?
posted by naju at 2:39 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to derail, but, I wanted to like The Magicians, and I did like aspects of it, quite a bit. Just not the characters or the story. I'm curious to learn how people like the sequel. I can't quite bring myself to spring for the hardcover right now.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:40 PM on August 15, 2011


phunniemee: "My friend and I were talking just the other day about how if our hypothetical future kids fill idle wait time by playing games on their phones rather than reading, we'll know we have failed as parents."

I'm a voracious reader who passed her love of reading on--to one of my boys. The other is an "I hate reading" guy. He blames it on teachers in middle school forcing him to read a certain number of pages per week. Which, admittedly, is a stupid way to try to get kids to read. But my youngest son, whose teacher had a similar policy, thinks that's one of the reasons he discovered his love for literature.

Different people, different outcomes.

And my eldest, the non-reader, is an honor student with scholarships for college and a keen analytical mind. I may feel sad that he doesn't read books (although he does spend a lot of time on the internet reading web pages), but I'm very very proud of all his accomplishments.

My point is, the surest way to fail at parenting is to go into it intending to mold your kids into little copies of yourself. The best thing you can do for them is to teach them to think for themselves and become the individuals they were meant to be.

/climbs down off of soapbox now.
posted by misha at 2:46 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder if there ever really was a "golden age of book reading", or if it is just us wanting it to be so.
posted by smackfu at 2:52 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Presumably before the invention of televisions and gramophones books had pretty much a monopoly position in terms of entertainment that didn't require an acting troupe.
posted by GuyZero at 2:57 PM on August 15, 2011


Oh, you people. We started talking about the kids/reading thing after my friend had asked me how the book I just read was, and then lamented that his smartphone was ruining his life. Because, he said, when he was growing up, he'd always take a book if he knew he was going to have to wait somewhere, but now he knows he'll just be able to play video games, and how he'd rather read but the phone makes it too easy not to. And how it wasn't even an issue when we were kids because neither of us were allowed to have video games, so our choices were either to read or twiddle our thumbs.

It's not like we're going to hang the non-reading kids out for ritual sacrifice or something (though it is tempting). We were joking around/swearing to our future selves to be the mean sort of parents who disallow video games and force our kids to actually engage with something. I just thought I'd share since it related to the topic at hand, and because I thought it was interesting that I had been talking about this exact thing less than 48 hours ago.

Harrumph.
posted by phunniemee at 2:58 PM on August 15, 2011


In the past, when there were fewer forms of entertainment, families and friends would read aloud to each other. Children are read aloud to up to a certain age, but after that, they are expected to read to themselves. It's been turned into purely a solo activity for people who can be still and quiet, which leaves out a vast number of people who aren't interested in such activities.

Actually (insert trollcat picture here), silent reading is a relatively recent development.
posted by likeso at 2:59 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wanting to distance yourself from that is understandable.

Nah, I'm totally aware of and open about my jerkhood.
posted by elizardbits at 3:02 PM on August 15, 2011


I am shocked that this whole discussion (and the video, even) neglected to mention the kindle and its ilk.
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:03 PM on August 15, 2011


...the mean sort of parents who disallow video games and force our kids to actually engage with something.

Oh, you people.
posted by griphus at 3:09 PM on August 15, 2011


Actually (insert trollcat picture here), silent reading is a relatively recent development.

As I've just had to read a bunch of stuff on this, I must share my information! (It's not often I get to do this, so forgive me). That's not actually true - the Romans did read silently a lot of the time, but they also read out loud. But most of the out loud reading way by slaves/trained readers (especially at dinner parties and as entertainment) because book scrolls were a pain to deal with.

But at big social reads people might be chatting and talking (especially in Rome) but in the 17th and 18th centuries these were often events and perhaps your only way of getting news, so a lot of people listened rather raptly. There's some good accounts of readings in Ireland that bear this out.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:09 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


So the ideal protest to "I hate reading" is an unreadable video?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:10 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Magicians was a perfectly fine Narnia fanfiction, as is its sequel. I have my issues with them, but if you liked the first okay, you will like the second okay too, though it might be easier if you actually remember the plot of the first.
posted by jeather at 3:10 PM on August 15, 2011


> "All man's miniseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone."—Blaise Pascal
posted by mmrtnt at 3:12 PM on August 15, 2011


Presumably before the invention of televisions and gramophones books had pretty much a monopoly position in terms of entertainment that didn't require an acting troupe.

There were newspapers too. And magazines go pretty far back as well. Reading yes, but not books.
posted by smackfu at 3:16 PM on August 15, 2011


<>The Magicians was a perfectly fine Narnia fanfiction

That's a pretty unsympathetic reading. I'd say it is more Harry Potter as written by Bret Easton Ellis.
posted by Justinian at 3:18 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have an intelligent friend who doesn't read books. At all. I've tried to suss out why, and I think it's because he has the fidget gene. He just can't sit still for more than five minutes at a time (computer doesn't count because he's still doing something with his hands and accomplishing a task). He's one of those guys who goes on a 100 mile bike ride and then goes and plays tennis. Interestingly enough, he watches a ton of movies. So there must be more to it. Dunno.
posted by maxwelton at 3:32 PM on August 15, 2011


I lived in Reading, PA for a few years and there's simply not enough there there to invoke hatred. Unless maybe you have a strong antipathy to outlet malls.

The city itself is pretty decrepit these days.
posted by kdar at 3:34 PM on August 15, 2011


I have ADHD and I am fine reading books, but have the most difficult time sitting through movies, plays, and the like. I think it's because you can take a break from the book to look around, fidget, take it with you, etc. but the movie just keeps going.

I also know people whose vision makes reading difficult, as well as people with learning disabilities that make reading and writing difficult. Just one of the reasons that judging people based on their reading habits bothers me.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:36 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, when standardized spelling has flown the coop and there are tons of initialized phrases clogging my intertubes, I kind of hate reading too. "OMFG", "would of" in lieu of "would've", et cetera. "LMAO", my ass.
posted by frodisaur at 3:43 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


y u mad tho frodisaur
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:45 PM on August 15, 2011


English had standardized spelling?
posted by smackfu at 3:59 PM on August 15, 2011


Surely there is some irony in this. A site that you have to read, that in fact does not have the ability to offer any other media but the written word, putting up a board about hating reading?!?
posted by YukonQuirm at 4:00 PM on August 15, 2011


Oddly enough, I just got home and there was a fundraiser letter from an outfit based in Reading in my mailbox. So, that happened.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 4:03 PM on August 15, 2011


Yes, English had standardized spelling. Otherwise I should of placed first in my fourth and fifth grade spelling bees! THAT's why I mad. My tiers o rage ne'er faded o'er theze many decades. The payne, it lingers still.
posted by frodisaur at 4:10 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I get a little confused by the fetishization of books. I mean, I read a lot and I enjoy it myself. There's just something weird about the whole thing where people make it some huge part of their self-image. Like why people wear little slogans on their shirts and tote bags proclaiming their love for books, and why so many people who have problems with hoarding anything else are A-OK with hoarding books.

Long-form expository writing does require a certain type and level of mental acuity, and it is very enjoyable for a lot of people; but it doesn't make them morally superior to those who don't like it.

And are audio books OK?

And what if someone just gets more enjoyment out of a different medium? I can read books just fine, but complex and nuanced music is often lost on me. I don't see music nerds walking around in t-shirts that proclaim their affection for the whole of music. Except babies. Babies are always wearing clothes proclaiming their endorsement of ridiculously general categories, like sports or animals or music or the alphabet. Stupid babies!

In conclusion: I hate the I hate the I hate reading page. Also babies are stupid.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:11 PM on August 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


It's sad that there are people who profess to hating the act of reading, but, meh. Anyway, Sturgeon's Law needs to be updated to 98%.

...able to play video games, and how he'd rather read but the phone makes it too easy not to...

I'm surprised that a device able to play games isn't also able to function as an ereader. I got a second hand iPod touch purely for reading and although I have games on it, I use it for reading 97% of the time (2% as a calculator/tool).

In fact, it's actually really really cool to have a significant portion of my library available in my pocket (cargo pants rock) pretty much all the time. I only wish that there was an app that could search the entire library on the fly for keywords and phrases.

The Magicians - I liked the book, but I loathed each and every single goddamned character.
posted by porpoise at 4:13 PM on August 15, 2011


I hate people who hate the I hate reading page. But I like reading. I just don't think that everyone has to.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:16 PM on August 15, 2011


I don't hate reading, but it and I weren't on speaking terms for a long time.

I got anxiety issues, ones that manifest themselves as symptoms of attention deficit. I've read a few books that I really enjoy, but reading to me was like trying to give a kitten eye drops: my eyes would slip off of large paragraphs, I'd lose my place, I wanted to look at or do anything that wasn't this fucking book. At the time I compared it to reading heiroglyphics with a flashlight: I understood what I was reading at that moment, but I'd have trouble keeping straight what came before it, etc. I spent most of my childhood and adolesence (and adulthood really) pretty well convinced I was stupid. Unfortunately(?) i tested well, and was apparently intelligent, and it couldn't POSSIBLY be due to the family history of anxiety/neuroses/depression, so basically everyone thought I was a lazy dick; because even though I could read at 2, I never did; but boy did I love my Nintendo and 'if you spent half the effort you did on those fucking video games as you did your school work, you'd have straight A's!!' So clearly it was my fault.

I watched a lot of TV, and I read the dictionary a lot, and apparently I was creative and could write well, people would marvel that I wrote so well "for someone who never reads". I loved comic strips and cartoons, I was always more visual than anything else; I was handy with computers too, but sadly being well schooled in retro-tv Trivia was still a few years away from being in vogue, so aside from the books assigned by school I never read much. You don't have to look very far, even here on MeFi to see how people feel about someone who hasn't read a whole lot of books.

Also, because I've been working full time since as far back as I can remember, It took me about 9 years to get my AAS and BA., and on top of all this, it meant studying. READING. READING READING READING, taping my eyes shut and forcing all those dry, bland WORDS into my eyes; imprisoning myself away from any possible distracting stimuli, trying to find some kind of 'clean room', since literally ANYTHING was more interesting and appealing than staring at that ocean of words, and being asked to choke it all down.

It wasn't until about 3 years ago, when I finally saw a doctor and got fitted for brain pills that deal with a good amount of my anxiety issues. I LIKE reading just fine now, in fact, I consumed a number of books at an impressive clip after the meds finally allowed me to focus and actually complete a task. I have a stack of books to get through, and MeFi keeps me busy most of the day at work, but even now I still get a twinge in my stomach when I pick up a book and check like "holy shit 300 pages?!"

I sometimes lament how much information and knowledge and culture I missed out on in my youth because I "couldn't read", but hey better late than never right?

I guess my point is, as pathetic as it may make me sound, I can understand why someone might actually *hate* reading.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 4:20 PM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Reading has been a constant throughout my life and has been very, very good to me. I'm lucky in that I enjoy something that can be parlayed into work and personal success. I spend a lot of time reading, some of which could be considered of an "improving" nature and some of it close to mindless, time-wasting entertainment. What irks me is when people brag about the size of their libraries and their inability to give books away. That just suggests to me that they can't discern the difference between the wheat and the chaff.
posted by Morrigan at 4:23 PM on August 15, 2011


I *have* failed as a parent. My daughter has read so much, and from it picked up such good writing skills, that English teachers are all over her like flies on shit -- and also, from me and her stepdad, unfortunately, she imbibed a scorn for all non-science subjects. You should see her, the pretty little teenage girl, when some sweet starry-eyed English teacher tries to compliment her by telling her "she should be an English major!" Her lip curls just a little as she thanks them, is all, but you can see she would incinerate them where they stand.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 4:35 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I hate information" or "I hate the learned skill of interpreting information through a common medium."
posted by Taft at 4:36 PM on August 15, 2011


Waitaminute...The less people read, the more likely they will become functionally illiterate. Then us read-y folk can get away with secret communications, like signs and books. Example: if I wanted to bugger Michelle Bachman, I can carry a sign at her rally saying "Bachman bugger line forms on the left" and not a single one of her li'l buddies will know what I'm saying. Phew. This "literacy in the land of illiterates" thing will make me feel like I have a superpower. Now I need a cape.
posted by frodisaur at 4:36 PM on August 15, 2011


I like reading but it's not half as much fun as looking down on the people who don't.
posted by joannemullen at 4:37 PM on August 15, 2011


That's a pretty unsympathetic reading. I'd say it is more Harry Potter as written by Bret Easton Ellis.

I think that's more unsympathetic than my reading, and really, Fillory is Narnia, and Brakebills is not Hogwarts. I don't think Lev Grossman would be offended, he's been clear about his positive feelings about fanfiction and his influences.

Seriously, they're fine. I enjoyed them while I read them. I recommended them to a few people. I searched out book 2 when it came out. I will find his next book whenever it is published. They're not books I want to reread, but they're not bad books.
posted by jeather at 4:38 PM on August 15, 2011


Oddly enough I was thinking of this subject this morning before leaving the house. I was annoyed that people take reading to be the holiest of hobbies. Woe be to you if you didn't read books like a human breathes oxygen. I like to read books, but it takes me a few months to finish one book. Why? because I don't constantly pull out my kindle to read. Many times I just want to play video games. One of my friends reads all the time, but he reads easily digestible fiction where you usually don't learn much of anything. Reading =/= learning. I watch a lot of educational programming. I learn from television see... what I usually read are great stories, but the most of it doesn't really teach me much. So uhhhh I guess television is better than books? Basically what I'm saying is reading snobs get on my nerves and make me want to go join that page just for the fun of it.
posted by Phantomx at 4:42 PM on August 15, 2011


I hate to appear "functionally illiterate" compared to "read-y folk" like you frodisaur but what exactly does "Bachman bugger line forms on the left" mean? Everyone who wants to have anal sex with Michelle Bachman should line up on the left? Is it ok to invite people to have anal sex with all female politicians at their rallies or just the ones you don't like?
posted by joannemullen at 4:43 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Even though I'm several years out of college three times in the last month I've had librarians ask if the books I was getting were for class and was chastised once over the phone by a librarian saying, "You have twenty seven books out. Why do you have twenty seven books out?" like I'm some kind of book terrorist.

villanelles at dawn, this reminds me of the time, in line AT THE LIBRARY of all places, a woman tugged my arm. I turned around and there's a woman with her kid. "My kid wants to know what you're going to do with all those books." (I had a normal reading load, maybe 7 nonfic books or so).

"Ummm.....read them?"

"You're going to read ALL those books?"

"Yes?" (by now I am completely uptalking because this is some surreal thing I have walked into, right?)

"All those books? In two weeks?"

"Mmm hmm."

She shot me a look and cut it out with the questions, but I just remember thinking man, lady, you caught me on a LIGHT day. When I was her kid's age, I'd walk out of the library with 20 books at a time, easy.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:47 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are they absolutely certain that the "I hate Reading" page isn't the work of Swindon?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:55 PM on August 15, 2011


A Modest Proposal:

Perhaps we could offer non-readers-by-choice TV ads for 'involuntary sterilization' in happy voices and jaunty yellow and red animated ads, get 'em all excited about it like it's a free jetski or something.

Since they aren't readers, there's a fair chance that they won't know what those big words mean, and once they show up at the gala Sterilizo-Fest in the parking lot of the local Walmart and put their Xs on the consent forms (which, presumably, they won't be able to puzzle out either) it'll be 'voluntary' and we can usher them right out of the gene pool with a minimum of fuss.

I suppose we can put in some net cannons or beartraps or something to make sure the ones who figure it out don't get away.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:19 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there an "I Hate Facebook" page? I'm just curious.
posted by autoclavicle at 5:23 PM on August 15, 2011


A Much Malign'd Town
posted by cromagnon at 5:52 PM on August 15, 2011


I'm not averse to reading in general, but I find it tough to keep up as a habit.

Am I brain damaged from reading comment threads all day? I guess you can play it that way if you want, but I don't think this sort of problem is really reducible to such obvious causes. As such the rest of this comment is bullshit, but hopefully it's at least the droppings of the truth.

As I'm told is a common experience, I didn't appreciate much of anything I read in school. I nonetheless assumed that the concept of literature I was being taught was "true" in some sense--which it is, in that English teachers and the people they obey have formed some kind of loose consensus on what Serious Literature is about. It's a loose consensus, but there are a few bedrock premises of it that make the whole edifice look unappealing.

One is that there is a Literary Canon to which only the Greatest works are admitted, and with enough time and effort one can further rank that Canon in order of descending Greatness. Shakespeare's at the top, of course. I mean, he's all over these curricula. Why else would he be?

While I could comprehend Shakespeare with some effort, and could even recognize the cleverness that went into the language and imagery, none of that stuff affected me much. I'm more of a novel-reader; an elegant way of phrasing an idea might well be helpful in getting it across, but if it isn't, then I just find it inconvenient. This is a legitimate aesthetic preference, and even in high school I recognized it as such, but according to English-class doctrine, the fact of having such a preference, and therefore being unable to appreciate the particular plays we were reading, constituted a character flaw. I was unable to appreciate a Great work; and that was Bad and Wrong; and that was My Problem. Not that anyone held it against me! But, well, when the universal appeal of a story is stated as an assumption of an essay question on an exam, it's hard to get away from the feeling that I'm to blame for disagreeing. I at least had to feign agreement in order to get the points, and... maybe that was the point, to make me fake it 'til I made it?

The manipulation was obvious even then, but knowing how it worked didn't make it stop working. I still have the habit of ignoring works that aren't declared Great by someone who knows better. I can kind of work around it by seeking the opinions of people who share my tastes, it's not hard, but even then I'm not really reading to satisfy my own tastes, just the tastes of some critics who agree with me.

Compounding the problem is the fact that getting to know my own tastes is hard. This is well known, and is the subject of a lot of fiction. I'll essentially have to become a critic myself if I want to like things hard enough to overcome the influence of all these other critics. So I've got a sort of He Who Fights Monsters situation: is there any way to overcome the influence of these critics who have done me wrong, without becoming one of them?

I think so; I have some things I could try, anyway. But it's all gotten rather dramatic and it looks like it'll be a lot of work. I don't have to do it all at once, but it's at the back of my mind whenever I'm trying to read something and enjoy it.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:37 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


If Facebook were a country, it would be the world's dumbest country.
posted by the noob at 6:38 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It takes a minute to set up a Facebook page. Hating this is like hating my anti-electro Facebook page, or my pro-my local pub Facebook page (the Townie, for you locals). Why hasn't somebody set up the ‘I Hate the I Hate Reading Page’ page?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:31 PM on August 15, 2011


Preaching to the choir? On the internet? How novel!

I see what you did there.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:28 PM on August 15, 2011


I find vitriol and/or snobbery directed at non-readers to be unpleasant in the extreme.

I'm not snobbish towards people who don't read - but people who hate reading, that's another issue. (If it helps, I feel much the same way about those who go around saying they hate TV and how they'd never own a TV.) Why would you cut yourself off and announce your loathing for anything that gives people so much entertainment and pleasure? What good does it serve.

(Random aside: has anyone ever read any of those Victorian novels that go on and on about the evils of novel reading and how they will lead to the end of the civilisation? I remember one in which some woman more or less expired due to excessive novel reading weakening her brain so much. Great stuff. I wish I could remember the title.)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:39 PM on August 15, 2011


Here is my antidote to silly anti-intellectual Facebook haterade:

Today was the first day of school at a certain school that serves children with learning disabilities and special needs. I was at that school today, volunteering in the school's small library, working on an exceedingly tedious reorganization / data entry portion of a project to move the library out of the technological dark ages.

My fellow volunteers had bailed, my computer had gone wonky, my stickers were too sticky, and I could feel the beginnings of a migraine sneaking around the edges of my brain. Just as I was really starting to feel sorry for myself, thinking that if I had to look at one more stupid barcode my head would explode, a class stopped by on a first-day-of-school tour and one of the students -- a boy who, last year, I personally watched struggle to read -- pulled a new kid aside and stage whispered with the confident, confidential air of an expert offering a plum inside tip, "The library is the best place in the whole school, because it's full of books."

I worked double time for the rest of the day.
posted by BlueJae at 8:45 PM on August 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


Who hates reading?
This was certainly true of the young men I interviewed... They were not taught to read or write properly by seven. Unable to understand what was going on, humiliated in lessons, taunted by other children but desperate to prove themselves at something, they began to misbehave in the last two years of primary school. At secondary school, their behaviour deteriorated. ‘I was embarrassed by my reading,’ said one man now in his twenties from Nottingham, ‘So I became the class clown.’ Another from Streatham said of his
secondary school, ‘Why did them teachers keep askin me questions? They knew I couldn’t read but they keep on askin. So I stopped goin to school.’ They either played truant or were excluded. By 14, the age when boys drop out or are excluded, most were into crime and drugs – only turning up to school to sell drugs or stolen goods.
-- WASTED: The betrayal of white working class and black Caribbean boys by Harriet Sergeant, UK, 2009.
posted by alasdair at 11:48 PM on August 15, 2011





I'm not snobbish towards people who don't read - but people who hate reading, that's another issue. (If it helps, I feel much the same way about those who go around saying they hate TV and how they'd never own a TV.) Why would you cut yourself off and announce your loathing for anything that gives people so much entertainment and pleasure? What good does it serve.


Honestly, I think that's a really good comparison (except of course that there are about thirteen people like me who don't watch television, and about eleventy billion people who don't read, but that's a different issue). A decade ago, I was the TV equivalent of someone saying "reading is stupid," all high on my horse and ready to tell you what was wrong with it.

I still don't watch broadcast tv, but I'm much more aware now of why people enjoy it, and of what I am missing by not partaking. Sure, by not watching broadcast tv I save myself from hours of commercials and endless reality shows. But I also miss out on crucial cultural events, all of those critically acclaimed shows that I read reviews of in the New York Times, etc.

People who don't read are missing out on something that I think is just as rich, if not richer -- but at this point reading is becoming a hobby of the few, and not something that one would need to engage in to take part in our national cultural or political discourse. I like to read, but I don't much like jazz -- my suspicion is that I could exchange the two and be just as richly entertained and stimulated.
posted by Forktine at 5:59 AM on August 16, 2011


"All man's miniseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone."—Blaise Pascal

mmrnt: I think you meant to type "miseries" but honestly...the quote works better your way.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:47 PM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


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