Is sitting down to a good book just not a scenario that you can ever see yourself doing? Even though reading is a popular pastime, for some people, it can feel like a chore – the very last thing you want to do. However, you can get around these negative feelings about reading by figuring out what you don’t like about it.
Here are 9 reasons why books are so boring:
- Reading doesn’t stimulate dopamine production.
- For some, it’s hard to focus on reading.
- Reading reminds you of school.
- The book’s language is too difficult.
- It’s hard to engage with a book.
- You’re just reading to impress, not for fun.
- There are no pictures in books.
- Reading puts you to sleep.
- You prefer watching a screen.
In this article, I’ll be taking a deeper dive into why people find books so boring and methods that you can try to get yourself out of this mindset and into a good book. Keep reading – no pun intended – to find out more.
Dopamine is the ‘feel-good’ feeling that you experience in your brain, reinforcing your association of enjoyment with a particular activity and motivating you to keep doing it.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter created in your brain when it expects a reward. When an individual does an activity that they enjoy, the brain will experience a surge of dopamine.
Reading is boring because you don’t get the same dopamine hit that you do from other activities. Your brain likes to reward you with a sensation of dopamine whenever it feels like you have accomplished something pleasurable. So if you’re finding you have to persevere with the book you’re reading, your brain will have a hard time creating dopamine.
Brains like instant dopamine. It’s why it would much prefer you to sit in front of the tv and eat cookies than go out for a run.
The problem with reading is that it can take longer for the dopamine to build up around this compared with other activities. The lack of dopamine can be frustrating and demotivating, leading to you wanting to put the book down and inspire you to do something more fun.
The thing is, if the book that you’re reading isn’t a reward in itself, you’re not going to get a dopamine hit from it. This won’t help you if you need to read to get your degree or if reading is part of your job. You’re going to have to incentivize turning those pages.
Adding incentives for finishing chapters of your book may help you. This could be something small like a bite of your favorite snack or 10 minutes watching your favorite show. Small rewards may be enough for the brain to associate reading as a pleasurable activity that may help you going forward.
Another reason books are so dull is that it’s hard to focus on them. You might not be able to just read a book whenever you want to. You might have to make sure that you’re in the right environment, at the right time, and with the right amount of energy before you can even think about reading, and that’s okay!
If you have to concentrate when reading something, minimize your distractions. This might mean taking yourself away to somewhere you can be by yourself, putting your phone on silent, and switching off the tv.
If you’re not able to do these things, it’ll be hard for you to concentrate on what you’re reading, and you’re more likely to get frustrated and give up.
To overcome the lack of focus, many people like audiobooks better than regular books because they don’t have to worry about being distracted. Being able to listen to the words instead of reading them means they can listen whenever they want, wherever they want, and as many times as they wish.
Audiobooks also mean that you can read while you’re on the go. You can take them out running with you or listen to them while you’re on your daily commute. It’s a much more convenient way of getting reading in and focusing.
Many people have negative associations with reading because they remember how boring it was when they were in school. They had to read books they didn’t like and do it slowly, delving deeper into why authors used certain words and what they meant.
Memories of school days are why many people don’t like reading even though they know that there are books out there that are fun and exciting. They don’t want to be reminded of the bad times when they were forced to read boring books in school, and this is why reading has become such a tedious activity for them.
Reading for pleasure is very different from reading for academic reasons. While it’s essential to understand what you’re reading, there’s no need for so much analysis. You can read things at face value, and it isn’t necessary to thoroughly analyze text unless you want to.
If you want to enjoy reading, you need to find the right books. You need to find books that’ll bring you joy and make you feel good about yourself. You don’t need to read things that remind you of your school days. There are plenty of books out there that you’ll love and won’t remind you of your English literature classes!
If you can find the right kind of book, it’ll be easy for you to get past your bad associations with reading, and you’ll enjoy it again.
Many people think that reading is boring because they don’t understand the words. Being unable to understand long words can leave you feeling inadequate. If you associate reading with feeling bad about yourself, is there any wonder you don’t want to do it?
If you’re one of these people, firstly, you should keep in mind that not there’s no shame in not knowing something. Everybody has been in the same position of learning a word for the first time. Even avid readers learn new words every day.
Learning is a gift and a privilege, and it isn’t something that you’re done with when you leave school. It’s something that you should continue to do throughout life to grow and develop.
Reading is one of the few ways to be introduced to new words on a frequent enough basis. Like when we were learning to read as children, the more often you read a word, the quicker it’ll sink in.
You can make this process easier by noting the words you find and looking them up later on. Alternatively, suppose you’re reading your book from a device like a Kindle. In that case, there’s usually a ‘look-up’ function that’ll give you the definitions of words without having to lose your place.
Furthermore, if you’re just wanting to read for pleasure – and not necessarily to learn something or expand your vocabulary – maybe pick a book at a lower reading level. There’s no shame in that, either! Many adults are fond of YA (young adult) novels or even children’s books!
The beauty of books is that there is something for all reading capabilities. If you struggle to find something, why not drop into your local bookshop or log onto websites like Reddit. There are thousands of people all happy to give their recommendations.
If you think that reading is boring, then you might be one of the people who just can’t engage with the written word. Reading books just might not tap into your imagination the way other mediums like television or radio do.
Reading might not bring a character to life. Being unable to translate a story from the book into your mind might be causing a barrier that’ll stop you from enjoying what you’re reading.
If this is something that you have thought about, you need to improve your reading experience. Maybe you’re finding the books you’re reading are way too long, or perhaps you need to try another method such as audiobooks or have somebody read to you?
Perhaps joining a book club could be a good way of engaging with a book better? Having other people explain the context to you and their perceptions of it might inspire you to give the story another try. Joining a group that can advocate reading might ignite a passion for books you didn’t know existed before.
No one likes being the odd one out in a group of friends who have all read the next big thing. It can be embarrassing and leave you feeling inadequate and left out.
Those feelings of stupidity can leave you feeling that you have no choice but to go to your local bookshop and order that book. But what happens if it’s truly awful?
Reading things to try and fit in with friends can go one of two ways. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes, it’s good to broaden your horizons and try new things. However, when that involves reading something that’s just not to your taste, maybe just put it down to artistic differences and move on.
If you’re reading the wrong books, you won’t get the most enjoyment out of them. You might be reading books that have too much violence in them or books that speak about ideas that you find simply bizarre.
Your friends won’t hate you just because you don’t read the same books as them. It would be best if you celebrate your differences. Life is too short to read books that you don’t want to read.
Pictures in books can make a story way more interesting. Not only that, but they can provide context and explain terms and concepts sometimes a lot clearer than words can. Others just can’t grasp the plot of a book unless they have a clear picture of what’s going on.
For those that need more visual stimulation, maybe graphic novels are something to consider. There are a lot of them out there offering a whole host of different genres. Perhaps this will bridge the gap you need to start enjoying reading and stop experiencing so much frustration over it.
If you’re saving your reading until just before bed, perhaps it’s not that you find reading boring but that you find it too relaxing!
A lot of people find reading a great way to relax and unwind. After a long stressful day, it can be comforting to curl up in bed with a good book. However, if you’re required to read something for college or work, this might not be the ideal time to read.
If you know reading in the evening will send you to sleep, why not try earlier in the day? If you get creative, there are plenty of good times to fit reading into your day, such as commuting to work (as long as you aren’t driving!), on your lunch break, or waiting for your friends before you meet up.
Smart devices and computers have pretty much taken over the world now. You’ll be hard pressed to find something that you can’t do on a screen.
Our phone addiction goes back to what I mentioned earlier about dopamine. Social media and other smart applications are all designed with dopamine in mind. The brain gets instant gratification from engaging with your phone, reinforcing our motivation to do it more often.
With this powerful device so close to us all day, it can be very hard not to spend all our time on it. Sadly books aren’t equipped with the same ways of capturing our attention. However, they’re a source of knowledge and joy. Although they won’t necessarily give you instant gratification as social media does, they can give you a sense of pride when you complete one.
If departing from your screen for a few hours is just not something that you want to do, why not consider a reading app or buying a device to keep all of your eBooks in one place?
If you’re looking for a smart device, I can recommend the Amazon Kindle (available on Amazon.com). It has an easy-to-read e-ink screen that’ll make it a lot easier to put your head in your books and not on your phone.