182 // Reading Challenge

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Reading has never been my strong point. I mean, I can read, it is possible, and I’d say I do it quite well. I can even understand that whole sentence no problems at all. But they say* that if you’re not reading for pleasure by 5 years old, you will always finding reading books to be a chore. And that makes me wonder if I found reading to be a pleasurable or not at the age of 5 or younger.

The only vivid memory I have of reading at all when I was younger, was when my friend Shaun came over to play, but my mum wouldn’t let me go out until I’d finished a few more sentences in the book I was reading. Just to clarify, the book I was reading was 90% pictures, and a few sentences was at least 3 chapters. THREE Chapters! That is a lot to ask for a young man, especially with when the allure of play awaits.

So I began to read, I’d naturally pause between snotty nosed dribbles and loud wailing noises, but other than that it went well. Obviously in between reading and crying I’d look at my Mum in hope, hope that it would all end. She was both my master and my saviour, but she ushered me to go on. And go on I did.

I think its up for debate as to what exactly reading for pleasure means, but I’d fairly confidently stick that experience in the ‘Absolutely Not Enjoying The Read Of That Book At All’ pile, or the ANETROTBAA pile to some.

That must mean I am now free from guilt where not reading books is concerned, the seeds were sewn so young, I couldn’t do anything about it. I’m doing something about it now though and I have really ramped up my reading.

I still see reading as a form of torture though, and as such, view it as something that will in some way benefit me further down the line. Very much like; eating well, or exercising. And because of this I exclusively read non-fiction books, so as to absorb as much knowledge as possible for natural the pain of reading. Some books are less painful than others and for that reason I developed the pain to knowledge ratio, or the ‘P2K’. In an ideal world you will want a really low amount of pain during reading and a really high amount of knowledge – that will then give you a good P2K ratio.

Last year I set myself a challenge of reading 12 books – 1 book a month. To a normal person, or to my mum (who reads about 15 books a night) that might seem like a rather poor effort. To me it was tough. I managed 8 books by the end of year. This year I didn’t set myself a fixed target, I felt it created too much pressure to perform. Instead I am freewheelin’, and since I got to Ireland my reading has sky rocketed. I’m onto my fourth book in the last week alone.

The P2K ratios have all varied on them all but I have to say none of them have been terrible. I think I am supposed to list and review the books I’ve read, but I’m not going to do that, mainly because the P2K ratio system is not widely known outside of my head, but also the books are out of reach, and I can’t remember the titles. I would say that I am thoroughly enjoying reading at the moment though – I only cry every other sentence now, so things have really progressed since the dark early days.

Paul Green

*I don’t know who they are.

Read more, it’s good for you.

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52 Comments

  1. intenttowin

    I know I didn’t. Today there is day care, preschool, pre kindergarten, and kindergarten. I went straight into first grade at age 6 and didn’t know anything! Not colors, not my letters, and certainly not how to read. My mother said teaching was for teachers and she stuck with it. I’m surprised I was able to talk and wipe my butt.
    I had a friend that came and tied my shoe for me. It was very hard for me when the other kids at least knew their colors and numbers and a few ABC’s. The first thing I remember enjoying to read was The Three Investigators Mystery of the Green Ghost. In fact, I was at a rummage sale and found that discarded book from my school. Don’t know if it is the exact one but it is close enough for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paul Green

      Such an insight to a different world. It is hard to imagine these days, but I bet that was tough. Thankfully I could do all of those things, I just really hated them when I was younger. The book that stuck out for me was the very hungry caterpillar – not sure if the name of the book was different to that though?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. intenttowin

        Seems to me that very hungry caterpillar was in there somewhere. But I can understand your point of view too. Sometimes parents love something so much (reading) that they just want you to love it too. Sometimes we do sometimes we don’t. I am the third of my mom’s four girls and I think by the time I came along she didn’t care much about anything anymore. I used to take it more personally but now that I’ve reached her age at the time and I have no kids, I guess I can understand it better.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Paul Green

          I don’t even think it was pushed upon me by my parents, other than as a form of education. I just never took a liking to it when I was younger. I think its partly because I was part of the first kids to grow up with games consoles and they were way more interesting.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Small Island Thinker

    I too read non fiction books as my imagination (as odd as it is) just will not allow me to relate to characters in a story.
    Since my breakdown in February I have since read 4 autobiographies, 1 book about a now deserted island far off the west coast of Scotland and I am currently halfway through a book about the history of Cable & Wireless employees in stations across the world.
    I think this gives me the feeling I am moderately intelligent and I’m sure that one day my knowledge of these things will be useful for those evenings when I’m watching ‘Pointless’ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul Green

      Ive never been big into autobiographies, although not for any particular reason. The only one I read (Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Know by Ranulph Fiennes) was amazing. Maybe I should go back to them. I won’t be rushing out to get the Cable & Wireless one though haha, is it good? I’m now reading my second Auschwitz book of the week. This time from the perspective of the man in charge of the camp.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Small Island Thinker

        Strangely it is really interesting as it’s in the words of their ex employees.
        I’ve read a few books about Auschwitz and always find them fascinating although sometimes very difficult to read in the sense that you know so much of the horrors of the place.
        I’ve still got a couple of British history books on my iPad to get through at some point too

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Small Island Thinker

            One of them was called ‘Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust’ but I forget the name of the other. I’ve read most of the ‘Forgotten Voices……..’ books and find them incredible as they are people’s own testimonies of what happened

            Liked by 1 person

  3. NeuronTree

    The only thing I remember reading before te age of five was the flash cards my grandmother brought over on her visits. But, I do recall, as soon as I read my first “chapter book”
    Being totally addicted though.

    It’s interesting that you find it to be a chore. I was an avid reader until high school and then when I moved to the UK, I swapped to only non-fiction, for the most part, and now I’m trying to force my way back into reading anything more than article length–and even then I only read the first and last sentence of every paragraph.
    I too, as a result, set myself a goal to read three fiction books during (last) summer. I don’t remember if I accomplished it or not. But this year I’ve delved right back in and I’m back to being a book worm again. It only took a decade of not really reading!
    It’s interesting how different minds work in different ways during different phases of life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul Green

      I have only read one fiction book and that was a Matt Haig book about an alien on earth – it was very good actually and I really enjoyed it! Never inspired me to read more fiction though…

      Like

  4. Lauren

    P2K – I can relate!

    I ended up with a tonne of Christian books when I was in church that became a pile of failure. I could manage maybe a chapter of each book before I’d forget it existed. I realise now I just wasn’t interested, it was very much a chore to educate myself on all the religous crap, to be a better Christian. I’ve given them all to the pastor now along with my faith 😬 and feel incredibly lighter with them out of the house. Burning them would have been satisfying, I perhaps gave them away too hastily.

    I read online articles all the time, anything around psychology, attachment, emotional intelligence, all for my healing and setting a better example to my boys. I’ve just finished one book in a week which really enjoyed, excellent P2K ratio, and downloaded 2 more today. So perhaps there is hope for me yet, so long as Jesus doesn’t find his way into the text 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    1. intenttowin

      I used to listen to Wayne Dyer a great deal. I didn’t really read his books much but when the audiobooks came out, I listened to them. He shifted through many religious texts from all over the world and tried to share the positive messages without being preachy. Instead of everyone fighting over a few rules about religion that men made up, he tried to find the positives of all of it and pass the positives along. I found it to be very refreshing to get the messages of ‘good’ without all the rest of the crap. I don’t go to any church or follow any particular religion and can understand exactly how you feel. Just keep searching for positive reading and it builds positive lives.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Paul Green

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who views books based on their P2K ratio! I do suspect the Christian books would score have a very high P2K ratio. I am the same though, I could read endless articles, but when it came to books I struggled – at least until now.

      Like

  5. ibizagoldgirl

    I love reading and always have. One of my earliest memories is of being given the task to tidy away the library at nursery. I would’ve been three or four years old. I love books and had an obsession with Eric Cardle, prob read the Hungry Caterpillar a gazillion times!! I also had a collection of Beatrice Potter books and leather bound classics that my Father passed down to me.
    I’m also a huge academic reader, Peter Hunt would describe me as ‘print soaked’. This year I have read David Gaffney’s flash fiction and blogposts and I’m already a third of the way through my reading list for my course that starts in September. My bibliographies are loooong!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paul Green

      Print soaked is a wonderful phrase. I like the line between academic and entertainment. I find it can be too dry otherwise and I lose interest. I had that experience with a book called ‘The Joyless Economy’. Interesting, if not entertaining.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. BelleUnruh

    My favorite reading material as a kid was Superman comics. I fell in love with him and the stories were fantastic. I also couldn’t read in first grade. The only one in the class. It was humiliating, just the first in a life of humiliation. Lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. intenttowin

      My eyes were horribly crossed and kids made fun of me. So I think reading was hard because my eyes didn’t work together very well. My parents didn’t have the resources for a surgery to repair it when I was a child. When I was in my 20’s a district manager to a food chain I worked for got the surgery pushed through our insurance so now they don’t look crossed from the outside, but they still don’t work together very well. I am reading more now to help me be a writer but sometimes it is still difficult. I understand how you felt. I hope life is better for you now.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. BelleUnruh

        Oh yes, my life has had and is having some beautiful moments full of love and happiness. The bad times have been truly horrible, but I think all people go through hard experiences, although some suffer much more in life than others.

        You say you feel alone. I have found I can feel very lonely even surrounded my family. I think that is because no one really knows or understands our deepest feelings. God has shown me to take those feelings and talk with him about it. He listens and understands. I haven’t felt lonely since starting that. It was frustrating to share with people. It isn’t frustrating talking with God about everything. It helps to say it out loud and has a good psychological effect.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Paul Green

      That is one thing that completely passed me by, although I think in the UK they’re not really easy to come by. I actually didn’t know they were a real thing. I thought they were just for movies or something. Naive is not the word.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. 80smetalman

    I found reading tough because I needed to subvocalize the words or I wouldn’t understand it. However, I haven’t let it stop me. I read for pleasure when I want and read for information when I must. It has never been easy but worth it.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. lumosvox

    Both of my daughters find reading a chore. I have never understood that, mostly because, with my mother’s encouragement and help, I learned to read before kindergarten. But my reading goes in cycles. Sometimes, I’ll read two dozen books in a week, sometimes I’ll go for a month without reading more than a flash fiction piece or a few social media posts. I love fiction and non-fiction alike, because I can learn from both and be entertained by both.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sarah Jane

    This post is great. I’ve always been a reader, but the depression monster in my brain keeps telling me I don’t like it anymore! I set goals and keep a list of all the books I’ve read each year to keep myself reading. Reading marathons like your four books in a week really help!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. S. Hansen

    You know in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey she had a character say
    ‘The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.’ …
    Though I don’t suppose Mr Tilney was considering sufferers of mental health in that sweeping statement. My personal reading has sunk to pretty much zero of late. I haven’t read much for quite some time even though I keep meaning to. It’s a real shame because there have been periods in my life where I have voraciously read and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul Green

      Who is Jane Austin anyway? She can’t be anyone important if I haven’t heard of her. I’ve definitely picked up the reading and loving it, I suspect that will go downhill once I start working again. What will be your catalyst?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. S. Hansen

        Err perhaps someone paying me to read?…
        Or maybe just stumbling on a trove of Terry Pratchett books I forgot I owned. Who knows? It’s the kind of mystery you need a gang of teenagers and their dog to solve.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. mymindmedicine

    I love reading. Always have. I think it helped me because I grow up around reading. Both my mum and grandma read a lot. As I got older, books were passed down each generation. I liked this because it got me to try books I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen myself. Some of which I fell in love with and still read to this day. Unfortunately, due to life and mentality, I don’t read as often as I would like. But it is something that I want to get back into as much as I can. Spend some me time, reading to take my mind off everything else that’s going on.

    It’s great to read someone else has gotten into reading. Keep it up. Enjoy reading. It doesn’t have to be a chore, even after you’ve read a book.

    Like

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