Does anybody else feel like they have trouble reading/digesting text?
When I was younger I would spend hours reading books, Wikipedia articles, magazines, and news articles. I loved to read and do nothing else.
But I've found that I now have much more trouble starting and continuing to read. My eyes almost completely glaze over most pieces of text, and I almost have an aversion to focus on reading. I still enjoy reading, but ever since I've entered the world of video games, Youtube videos, and social media, I've read less and less. I don't want to say that these things are bad, but definitely easier to get into and to "enjoy".
I still read, and continue to amass a large list of things to read, but it's been harder than it used to be to do so and to get something of substance out of it.
Yes. My trick is to get myself away from my computer, ideally use a tablet on airplane mode. It becomes a hell of a lot easier to focus on long form text when disconnecting from the Internet entirely.
As you get older, you get less free time and what little you have becomes more valuable and must be managed more carefully. YouTube/video is a way to acquire a usually “good enough” level of knowledge about something in a short amount of time versus digesting a much more detailed explanation via a much longer time reading. Instead of reading random stories in a newspaper that is designed to attract as many readers of all types as possible, Social media (this site included) serves you a list of content that you’re much more likely to be interested in, based on either your topic choices or your friends’ wall posts.
Learn to curate for yourself. For fiction, I save interesting writing prompts and HFY stories with high vote counts. When I have the time, I start with the oldest and force myself to be brutal - if I find myself speed reading, I unsave it and move on. The comments in those threads sometimes have recommendations for full novels to read - if you enjoyed the story enough that you got to the comments in the first place, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy that book. Either buy a hard copy or slam it your e-reader of choice... make another queue for when you have even more time.
Avoid YouTube for info tidbits. I restrict myself to full documentaries (which I have another list for) and rarely watch anything else unless it’s a something funny or WTF.
Care to share your list of documentaries?
Unfortunately I purged the uniques several months ago - the remainder are all serial killer ones and Forensic Files season 14. :)
Lies. I have two:
HP Lovecraft, Fear of the Unknown and ZDF documentary on Unit 731
Thanks for the two! Saved for future reference.
I'd advise any Adam Curtis documentary.
Surviving Progress is another documentary that just blew me away.
Thanks! Will save for future reference.
Check you don't need reading glasses!
At about 45 I realised that I had stopped reading novels. A bit later on I had an eye test and the optician said I might need reading glasses (even though I could read perfectly well). I let him make me a prescription pair with the natural focus two feet away, and suddenly I was back to reading for 13 hours straight.
It turns out it takes effort to focus on a page, and I'd never had to make it before. A pair of reading glasses can make it so that your book is in perfect focus without effort.
I now have another pair with the focus at perfect computer-distance (which is slightly different). I love them and miss them when I don't have them.
Same here! It wasn’t until an optometrist asked me a bunch of questions about reading and attention span and concentration that I realized it might be a physical problem. Got progressives with relaxing lenses for reading and it has helped a lot.
Wow, I really hadn't considered this! I know my eyes have been getting worse (mostly because I've had to sit closer to the front of class in order to actually see now), but have been putting off getting glasses. My left eye is actually considerably more nearsighted and my right seems to do worse with closer objects, although I'm not sure if that would be considered farsighted.
I'll definitely go to the optometrist and get a prescription!
I don't know if this is fully related (maybe opposite), but I have a really hard time focusing on spoken word. When I'm watching TV or movies, I almost always have subtitles on because I can absorb written word faster. When I'm in social situations, I tend to waffle back and forth between being able to comprehend what's being discussed or just letting my mind wander. It's especially difficult when people are talking over each other. I don't think it's really an ADD type situation though. I think it's more to do with lack of practice. Because I let my mind wander instead of making an effort to understand, I don't improve much.
I'm curious if there's a similar effect taking place that makes it difficult for you to digest written word.
I may experience something similar-ish. There are times where I find myself listening to a podcast and get stuck on understanding a short segment of speech; I do want to understand what they're saying, but I'm not putting in nearly any effort into actually trying to understand.
When my eyes seem to glaze over a sentence or paragraph, I might be doing the same thing. I'm not very sure though, but it's definitely something interesting. You might be onto something.
Since English is a foreign language for me, it's also kind of harder to read long texts in it. Not that I can't understand them, it's fine, but when I need to read a Wikipedia article, I get this temptation to switch to the native language, it's like it's easier on the eyes.
As a non-native speaker I can say that this can improve a lot by practice. I've come to prefer searching and reading most things in English because there is just more of it available. Although some very complicated topics I still like to read in my native language.
I guess that's because I'm better to translate my native language into images/constructs to understand complex structures, since I've been taught most complex stuff in my native language.
Am I the only one here who has no problem reading books or long comments?
You are not the only one, but some time ago I was in the same situation OP is. I used to read books a lot, but I abandoned that habit after I got a job. I was tired and I felt I had no time for anything. Then I learned to organize my times and I decided to dedicate at least an hour per day to reading. I configured a reminder on my phone and whenever it reminded me to read I stopped doing whatever was that I was doing and started reading. After some months of doing that I didn't need the reminder anymore and now I frequently read books again. I am currently reading 1984 and I'm enjoying it a lot.
Not really. I did read more when I was younger, but that is mainly because I had more time to "waste" on reading back then. With work, family and other things taking up most of my time and energy I don't have enough left in me to really sit down and digest long forms of media or text. Nowadays I only read before sleep. I guess this is part of why I enjoy re-reading books so much; it does not require as much attention to detail when you've already been through it before, you can kind of glaze over parts without losing out on too much.
Yes, I've found this for me too. For me, it was digital screens. Lately I went back to reading on paper, and I've found my concentration improved a lot.