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weab00
Feb 12, 2017


There was once a time when I would gobble up a book a week. I read voraciously and would spend my afternoons darting my eyes across pages, sometimes on the edge of my seat, and other times weeping. After buying a Macbook Air, though, I started to read less and less. It got to the point where I read maybe a book or so every two months. Now when I try to read, my mind begins to wonder after just one page, and when I do try to bring myself back, everything is just so bland to me. The internet has ruined my ability to pay attention to a book. Books are simply dull to me now

Another problem I have is finding the right book. Whether it's the book or it's me, I can't seem to find a genre that I enjoy. Back when I was into reading, I enjoyed fantasy and realistic fiction.

Don't get me wrong, I really want to get back into reading. I want to lose myself in the pages of a book and suddenly jerk back into reality at the sound of a car passing by. I want to be emotionally invested in the characters and their conflicts. Yet when I try to read, it's simply too mind-numbing for me to go on.

I should also clarify that the last time I was passionate about reading was around 2 years ago.

Thanks.

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A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



It sounds like you just need to read cooler books

weab00
Feb 12, 2017


A human heart posted:

It sounds like you just need to read cooler books

Yeah probably.

Any suggestions? What's the most interesting book you've every read? (don't care about genre.)

Zero Karizma
Jul 8, 2004

It's ok now, just tell me what happened...

What were you reading when you were devouring books?

If it was genre fiction, your brain may have just realized that all of those stories are basically just variations on a theme. Just guessing here.

Not to get all "quit being a loving child and read some lit" but that could be the case. It's hard to recommend without knowing anything about your old habits though.

weab00
Feb 12, 2017


Zero Karizma posted:

What were you reading when you were devouring books?

If it was genre fiction, your brain may have just realized that all of those stories are basically just variations on a theme. Just guessing here.

Not to get all "quit being a loving child and read some lit" but that could be the case. It's hard to recommend without knowing anything about your old habits though.

Okay, I'll search around at the library for books then.

Zero Karizma
Jul 8, 2004

It's ok now, just tell me what happened...

That's not a dismissal. We just need an idea of your tastes before anyone can recommend you something.

Otherwise we'll just sit here telling you read Infinite Jest or Goosebumps or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Ready Player One.

That's just not going to help you.

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



weab00 posted:

Yeah probably.

Any suggestions? What's the most interesting book you've every read? (don't care about genre.)

I can't just suggest a book out of the air, i don't really know anything about you so i don't know if books i like would be interesting to you.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

Maybe try short stories a bit, you're less likely to get bogged down and bored with them.

Bandiet
Dec 30, 2015



Give up on reading forever and make me look smarter.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

have you tried manga

Chard
Aug 24, 2010






I just finished Seveneves, that's a good book you can try. Fuckin lol if you don't have like 3 books going at once though. OP maybe you're just dumb?

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.




Zero Karizma posted:

That's not a dismissal. We just need an idea of your tastes before anyone can recommend you something.

Otherwise we'll just sit here telling you read Infinite Jest or Goosebumps or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Ready Player One.

That's just not going to help you.

Whatever you do don't read Ready Player One. Such a lovely book.

For something fun, if you're cool with vulgarity and horror, go pick up a cheap copy of John Dies At The End. It's a terrible book in a lot of ways, but it's a fun read and entertaining. Otherwise, if you used to enjoy fantasy, get started on a Terry Pratchett bender. His stuff is both hilarious and a very clever lampooning of fantasy tropes you're probably very familiar with.

Also, if you've never read them, both Good Omens and American Gods are good reads that are fantasy with modern settings.

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



Liquid Communism posted:

Whatever you do don't read Ready Player One. Such a lovely book.

For something fun, if you're cool with vulgarity and horror, go pick up a cheap copy of John Dies At The End. It's a terrible book in a lot of ways, but it's a fun read and entertaining. Otherwise, if you used to enjoy fantasy, get started on a Terry Pratchett bender. His stuff is both hilarious and a very clever lampooning of fantasy tropes you're probably very familiar with.

Also, if you've never read them, both Good Omens and American Gods are good reads that are fantasy with modern settings.

those recommendations all suck

Chard
Aug 24, 2010






Liquid Communism posted:

Whatever you do don't read Ready Player One. Such a lovely book.

For something fun, if you're cool with vulgarity and horror, go pick up a cheap copy of John Dies At The End. It's a terrible book in a lot of ways, but it's a fun read and entertaining. Otherwise, if you used to enjoy fantasy, get started on a Terry Pratchett bender. His stuff is both hilarious and a very clever lampooning of fantasy tropes you're probably very familiar with.

Also, if you've never read them, both Good Omens and American Gods are good reads that are fantasy with modern settings.

You are a cancer

Zero Karizma
Jul 8, 2004

It's ok now, just tell me what happened...

A human heart posted:

those recommendations all suck

You're right. But he's right that Ready Player One sucks too.

Everyone is right!

crusty
Apr 16, 2015

Crustacean


I had a similar issue not too long ago... after getting into a period of browsing the web on my phone a lot, I found it hard to concentrate on a real book, couldn't finish a paragraph without my mind wandering and I would get to the end of a page and realize I hadn't taken in anything but the first sentence or two.

Good news is that it just took a bit of conscious effort to read and reread for a while to learn to scan/read properly to get back into the groove.

My suggestions for interesting reads, in no particular order, all old but great:

Dunn's Conundrum, by Stan Lee (no, not that one)
Wall of Brass, by Robert Daley (or Man With a Gun)
The Color Of Light, by William Goldman (or anything by Goldman)
Lethal Gas, by Ron Kurz
The Choirboys, by Joseph Wambaugh (or The Onion Field, or almost anything by Wambaugh)

All good for different reasons, you'll either like them or you won't...

Good luck!

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.




A human heart posted:

those recommendations all suck

What's it like to be such a sour fucker that you are incapable of enjoying things?

More relevantly, since you're prepared to be an arbiter of taste, what do you recommend?

Liquid Communism fucked around with this message at 08:02 on Feb 16, 2017

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



Liquid Communism posted:

What's it like to be such a sour fucker that you are incapable of enjoying things?

More relevantly, since you're prepared to be an arbiter of taste, what do you recommend?

I enjoy a wide variety of literature, but i wouldn't recommend children's fantasy and horror books to a guy who has lost interest in reading, and who has said very little about what he might want to read

Safety Biscuits
Oct 21, 2010



Sounds like the spark has gone out of your relationship with reading, op. But fortunately, reigniting that passion might be easier than you expect!!! You need to make TIME for the magic to happen, and that means Date Night, just you and your SO. Clear the decks at work, send the kids away for the night, and tell the neighbours you're going out. Don't forget to turn your phones and computer off - and I mean OFF, not silent! You're going to spend the whole evening with each other - really listening, thinking about them, and replying to them. Have dinner together and then a deep, meaningful conversation on the sofa, maybe with a bottle of nice red to help things along. What happens next might be a night to remember!

Disgusting Coward
Feb 17, 2014


Don't read. Reading is for gay nerds. Hit the gym instead so you can atone for your years of gay nerdery by bullying gay nerd readers.



OR


Join a book group. I went through a similar thing as your good self and then got dragged along to a book group by a shy chum who didn't want to go alone, and it worked wonders. What whaaaat.

Shbobdb
Dec 16, 2010

by Reene


Try some ergodic literature, like House of Leaves. It can be a little gimmicky but having to work on reading helped me get back into reading.

chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

Shbobdb posted:

ergodic literature

please dont use this made-up bullshit term

TerryCheesecake
Aug 2, 2003
-

Read some Cormac McCarthy.

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



The OP, a man with a genuine heartfelt problem - he has lost the spark in his eye for a good book: Can anyone help me in my plight?

The Book Barn, a collection of flailing toadmen with no theory of mind: Hello, perhaps you could read house of leaves or this book by terry pratchett

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

I'm sure a guy who said he liked fantasy before but has recently been struggling with maintaining focus due to using his computer a lot would hate a fairly light, comedic fantasy as an entry point. Some Murakami would really grab his attention.

If this was a standard reccomendation I'd roll my eyes too but something like Pratchett is a good fit for the circumstances, especially since we've got barely anything to go on.

Chard
Aug 24, 2010






chernobyl kinsman posted:

please dont use this made-up bullshit term

all terms are made up

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



rumble in the bunghole posted:

I'm sure a guy who said he liked fantasy before but has recently been struggling with maintaining focus due to using his computer a lot would hate a fairly light, comedic fantasy as an entry point. Some Murakami would really grab his attention.

If this was a standard reccomendation I'd roll my eyes too but something like Pratchett is a good fit for the circumstances, especially since we've got barely anything to go on.

(Very sincere voice) Murakami is definitely a big step up from fantasy books

Mazer__
Jul 29, 2003




Ready Player One is a fun book, it is easy to read, and really strikes a chord with a certain type of person. I think its a great recommendation for someone looking to get back into reading.

My recommendation would be Ready Player One, maybe check out The Dresden Files, or maybe Mistborn. They key with all of these is that they are relatively easy to get into and establish a wide cast of characters that are all pretty well developed. If reading them doesn't work, I've had a few friends that have gotten back into reading through Audible. Grab a trial and a copy of one of the books that's recommended and give it a shot.

You could also look at Graphic Novels -- Transmetropolitan is great, topical, and fully complete. That might get you back into it as well.

echidnagirl
Mar 27, 2014


I would really recommend Grief is the Thing With Feathers, I read it recently and was deeply moved by it. It is quite a short read, which might be good for someone trying to get back into reading.

Ben Nevis
Jan 20, 2011


echidnagirl posted:

I would really recommend Grief is the Thing With Feathers, I read it recently and was deeply moved by it. It is quite a short read, which might be good for someone trying to get back into reading.

I was thinking short engaging reads as well. They don't tend to bog down and you can quickly hit the tipping point to where you're almost done. I liked Grief, and it's one you can certainly blow through it in an afternoon.

A few other thoughts, mostly in the 200-250 page range, these are all books I've found to be quick and engaging, for various reasons, and across a few genres.

The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton - A policeman infiltrates a gang of anarchists. Best chase scene ever.
Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston - Wall to wall fights, chases, and action.
A Hell of a Woman by Jim Thompson - Hardboiled classic crime novel. Short, mean, and sordid.
Right Ho, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse - British class comedy. Wodehouse is rightly regarded as one of the finest comic writers ever.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor - Afro-futurist coming of age in space! story. Hugo award winning novella from last year.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by PK Dick - Classic sci-fi with an android hunter and what it means to be human.
Revenge by Yoko Ogawa - Short stories that are interwoven to create a pervasive sense of the macabre.
Lady Matador's Hotel by Cristina Garcia - 6 different people's paths cross at a luxury hotel in a small Central American country that hasn't found it's way after a civil war.
General Theory of Obvlivion by Jose Agualusa - An agoraphobic woman boards herself into her apartment and watches for 30 years as Angola undergoes a revolution. Beautifully crafted and the best book I read last year.
For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange - A linked series of poems meant to be performed about the struggles of women of color.
Cannibalism by Bill Schutt - Nonfiction examining cannibalism in the animal kingdom and around the world. 300 pages, but fascinating.

There's a little crime, a little action, a little sci-fi, a little mystery, a little horror, a little revolution, some mindless, some literature, some international, some classic, some modern, one play/poem, and one nonfiction. All were pretty quick, compelling reads and I'd be willing to bet something on there would appeal to just about anyone.

Fellwenner
Oct 21, 2005
Don't make me kill you.



I think the short story suggestion was a good one. It won't require a huge amount of your attention if you're busy with life and whatnot, but still gets you back into the reading groove. One author I'm re-reading right now is Katherine Anne Porter, and she was a rather amazing writer. Wrote one novel, but quite a number of short stories and really mastered the art. Pale Horse, Pale Rider would be my suggestion, and it comprises three short novels in just over two hundred pages.

Chard
Aug 24, 2010






Please do not read Ready Player One. It's just... so loving bad. Read literally anything else, read packaging labels and road signs instead

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



BloodMusic posted:

Ready Player One is a fun book, it is easy to read, and really strikes a chord with a certain type of person
Would that type be 'people with no taste who are really stupid'

Hooplah
Jul 15, 2006


fuck money
smoke bitches
get trees


Read Gödel, Escher, Bach, OP.

GreyjoyBastard
Mar 28, 2010


I've made a huge mistake.





Hooplah posted:

Read Gödel, Escher, Bach, OP.

If we're going Hofstadter, Metamagical Themas is a way better start as a collection of a metric fuckton of his short essays. At least a few of them will appeal and they don't require that LONG an engagement individually.

ManlyGrunting
May 29, 2014


I went through this problem in college OP, and I found the best way to get out of it was to read really dense books where you really have to focus to get the most out of them and read other outside articles about things I might have missed: really make a project out of it.

Then again I'm an English Lit major so I genuinely enjoy throwing myself in complex books like that. But the more you have to chew and can engage with a book the more likely you're going to find the spark again.

(The books in particular were Blood Meridian, Infinite Jest and Book of the New Sun, for what it's worth).

Hooplah
Jul 15, 2006


fuck money
smoke bitches
get trees


GreyjoyBastard posted:

If we're going Hofstadter, Metamagical Themas is a way better start as a collection of a metric fuckton of his short essays. At least a few of them will appeal and they don't require that LONG an engagement individually.

I haven't read that one but you're probably right.

OWLS!
Sep 17, 2009

by LITERALLY AN ADMIN


Chard posted:

Please do not read Ready Player One. It's just... so loving bad. Read literally anything else, read packaging labels and road signs instead

Bruma Shave.

Shbobdb
Dec 16, 2010

by Reene


chernobyl kinsman posted:

please dont use this made-up bullshit term

What term would you prefer?

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chernobyl kinsman
Mar 18, 2007

a friend of the friendly atom



Soiled Meat

Shbobdb posted:

What term would you prefer?

experimental literature. 'ergodic lit' is an a) an unnecessary neologism, because it improves in little to no way upon the extant term 'experimental lit' and b) very poorly chosen, because ergodicity and ergodic theory are already established terms with meanings long predating the word's (very different) application to lit

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