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If you choose to read a book in public, will passersby judge you on the cover of your book?

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Hi everyone,

 

If you were to read a book in public, do you believe passersby would judge you on the cover of the book you are reading? 

 

If someone were to read something like philosophy (Kant, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Dostoevsky, etc), what do you think people would think?

 

Or, what about something like Mein Kampf? Would people think you are a Nazi? Even if you were just reading it out of curiosity or studying for college or university?

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If someone is reading a book in public I think it is only natural that it will form part of your assessment of the individual, in the same way their clothes, hair style and general apperance do.

 

Whether your snap judgement will be correct or not is another matter!

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I concur with Raven - we make judgments about people all the time. I am not sure what people would think if they saw the contents of my Kindle and some of the books I have read this year. They are a mish mash of all sorts of things that I at least think are interesting. I guess most would probably conclude though that I am interested in world literature, travel and current affairs - and I am probably what some would term as a left liberal. They wouldn't be far wrong.        

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I suppose the book someone reads does steer you towards some kind of opinion, yes. I wouldn't be shy about reading Mein Kampf in public (although I haven't really felt the need to read it) - like our dress sense or face or anything else, we can't control what opinions others form about us (and I'm old enough now not to care what people think, so I'd read what I want) :)

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I think it's inevitable that people will...I struggle to use the word judge, but I guess that is what it would be. I've done it myself. Apart from my initial reaction of "Oh good, another reader", I do then try to see if I can see what they are reading. Yes, I've been guilty of looking down my nose because someone is reading something I don't think is very good. I always feel ashamed of that immediately  afterwards.

 

I've knowingly been on the receiving end of that kind of  judgement only once. I was reading  Jane Austen at my desk at work - Pride and Prejudice, I think - when a work colleague came up to me and said " What you reading? Jane Austen? Are you gay?"

 

I don't think I would automatically think someone reading Mein Kampf was a Nazi.  You've got a book there that was written by a true monster. People are fascinated by monsters as much as we are by hero's. Doesn't make us monsters.  

 

So, upshot of all that is; yes, people judge. But, people judge others on everything, and there is very little we can do about it, so why worry?  

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12 hours ago, ian said:

I've knowingly been on the receiving end of that kind of  judgement only once. I was reading  Jane Austen at my desk at work - Pride and Prejudice, I think - when a work colleague came up to me and said " What you reading? Jane Austen? Are you gay?"

 

Could say more about them than you!

 

I remember being in a discussion a few years ago with a good (female) friend - car sharing to work it was - both of us avid readers and discussing Jane Austen (who we both adore).  At one point she said, "D'you know, you're quite a girlie reader, Will?."  From her, I took that as a real compliment!

 

On the original question: yes, of course they'll judge me - it's human nature.  Am I bothered?  Not a bit.  (If I was going a bit deeper into this, I'd ask the question, do they know what I think of the book or why I'm reading it?).

 

 

Edited by willoyd

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I'm pretty sure other people will judge you based on the book(s) you read in public, but they also judge you based on your clothes, behaviour, hair, your possible bag(s), shoes, etc. On the other hand, I've read about research which said that other people don't notice you nearly as much as you think they do.

 

Personally, I always love seeing someone read in public and usually feel a connection even if they're reading something I wouldn't read myself. It's even better when they're reading something I have read or something in a genre I read or a book I have on my TBR. If I see someone read in public, I usually do see if I can see what book they're reading. But that's not anything to do with judging, it's just to see if it's something that might interest me to read!

 

When I used to go to university and before then to high school, I always brought a book with me (or two if I had almost finished the first one). I did put thought into what I brought, I didn't want any odd questions about what I might be reading, so I picked things I thought my classmates would see as 'acceptable'. And when I spent some nights at my mother-in-law's house, I did give it a bit of thought too (though mostly that was decided based on weight and volume because I had limited suitcase space, and based on what I felt like reading).

 

Nowadays though I try to not care as much anymore and try to just bring what I want to read (and possible luggage restrictions of course).

 

I'm rather proud of myself when in the past few winters, when it was quite cold, I went on our dog walk wearing one of the bright orange warm hats my dad was given for free. They are great at keeping your face warm, but they look.. well ridonkulous. But I've got to the point where I'm just going outside in the orange hat, because I'd rather be warm and comfortable and odd-looking, than cold and acceptable-looking. And people don't stare as much as you'd think. (And no, I'm not going to hunt down a photo :P).

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What about just a pic of the groovy hat without occupant ?! ;)

 

I see so few people with books in waiting rooms ; if I see someone else with a book, I just think `yay!` and ask them about it. The last person I talked to that way was reading Ozzy Osborne`s autobiography( not something I'd choose for myself, but from the bits  I've read about him, he's packed an awful lot into one lifetime). :)

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9 hours ago, Little Pixie said:

What about just a pic of the groovy hat without occupant ?! ;)

 

Here you go:

 

OrangeHat1.jpg

 

OrangeHat2.jpg

 

Maybe it doesn't look that bad to you, my family tends to laugh when they see dad and me in these hats :P. He got them for free when he visited a company through his job.

 

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I think it's human nature to judge people based on everything about them, whether it's the clothes they wear, their hairstyle, the way they walk and, yes, the book they may be reading.  We all do it, whether it's conscious or not, and when I recognise I'm doing it, I try to overcome any negative thoughts. 

 

Personally, I couldn't care less what other people think of what I'm reading, I'm usually too engrossed in the book anyway to even notice them.

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7 hours ago, Athena said:

 

Here you go:

Maybe it doesn't look that bad to you, my family tends to laugh when they see dad and me in these hats :P. He got them for free when he visited a company through his job.

 

 

The hats look fine to me ! Though, little animal ears on top would be better, I think. :) 

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17 hours ago, Little Pixie said:

The hats look fine to me ! Though, little animal ears on top would be better, I think. :) 

 

Thanks, that's nice to hear :).

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I actually don't think those hats look ridiculous, Gaia - we've one at home, which is brown on the outside and cream and fluffy on the inside. Very good for keeping the heads, ears and necks of short-haired people warm in winter. I have my hair, but I'd still probably wear one of those to keep my hair from going everywhere on a windy day (I don't like tying it back!)

 

On topic, I agree with what most everyone here has said - yes, I'll make snap judgements and expect them to be made of me, but it wouldn't bother me in the slightest - I would hope everyone else, like me, has the ability to recognize and not form a complete opinion on the limited information we use for snap judgements.

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On ‎04‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 10:44 AM, willoyd said:

 

Could say more about them than you!

 

 

 

My thoughts exactly (which I thought I'd said in my original post, but I seem to have edited it out before posting.) This particular person was the type who had to articulate every single thought in loud voice as soon as it occurred to them. I didn't take offence, although plenty of others did on my behalf!

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Everyone judges and I definitely think that the type of book you are reading will essentially play a role in how someone will judge you.

 

Most people wouldn't bat an eyelid if you were just reading a well known novel and would probably think you're just enjoying a casual read and enjoying the fine weather.

 

If I were to see someone reading a philosophy book in public such as the works of the philosophers you mentioned then I would assume that the person would be intelligent, well read, pedantic (to an extent), etc. Generally speaking, people who read philosophy books tend to be of above average intelligence, the average person doesn't care for philosophy and wouldn't be able comprehend such in-depth stuff. The works of the philosophers that you mentioned are also not something anyone could just simply pick up and read without some sort of basic knowledge of philosophy, they are not easy reads and were never meant to be. No philosophy book is easy to read but some are a lot more easier to comprehend than others.

 

A good example of how reading material does matter is actually the other week I was going home after work and was on the train and some guy was reading Plato's book The Republic and several people looked at him and it was quite obvious that they all thought of him as intelligent. In comparison, I was walking with my friend through a park and saw a couple of women reading on a bench and people just passed them both and didn't bother to look at what they were reading. The type of book you read will have a significant result in how someone will judge you.

 

Also, I don't think if you were to read Mein Kampf in public that everyone would automatically assume that you're a Nazi unless you also have the stereotyped physical appearance of a neo-Nazi (skinhead, etc), that may make people think that you're that way inclined, possibly. But one thing is for sure, you will certainly get some funny looks from people if you choose to read this book in public. If you're bold enough to read it in public then you've got to be willing to accept the fact people will judge you because of it. I'm not saying you should be ashamed of reading it but it's one of those books that is infamous and its author is almost universally condemned so if you're reading his work then some people might look at you in a negative way for simply associating yourself with such material.

Edited by Athena
Edit requested by member.

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An interesting topic. One imagines that it is inevitable that we all inevitable make judgements on someone due to the book they are reading. That's human nature. Perhaps we should turn this thread on is head...

 

Who reads certain books in public precisely to impress?

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That's a good question. I don't personally don't think I do that, as I want to read just what I want to read, not because of what others might think. I don't read a lot of for example classic literature (that's something I think people would consider impressive?), and it's not something I would pick up solely for the reason of impressing someone. That said, one might think certain fantasy and science-fiction tomes might be impressive, to other people (but that's not the reason why I read them)?

 

When I pick a book I don't think about what others might find impressive. If I'm planning on taking the book on a journey with me or elsewhere where there's some people, I'm more likely to think about how heavy the book will be and how big, rather than whether the read is impressive or not.

 

I read what I want to read, I would never read a book solely to impress the general public / strangers. An impressive book, to me that means it's a hard book to read, or a difficult book to read, one that I would have to spend lots of energy to try to understand. I like my reading to be relaxing, easy reads, that don't cost lots of energy (of which I don't have much), reads where I can get in the 'reading flow', instead of reading a book where I have to read the sentences three times in order to figure out what is meant (I have that, for example, with very scientific language or very old language).

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7 hours ago, sjpimlico said:

Who reads certain books in public precisely to impress?

 

I wouldn't say I've ever deliberately gone out of my way to read a book in public that I know will turn heads, but I have read several different books that I know would make people turn their heads. I remember when I read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment on the train back and forth from work and the amount of looks I got was quite astonishing really. 

 

I'd also say some works are best advised to not read in public like Lolita or the works of the Marquis de Sade like his The 120 Days of Sodom, although no-one or nothing can stop someone from reading such material in public, I don't think too many people would be pleased to see someone reading it.

 

2 hours ago, Athena said:

I read what I want to read, I would never read a book solely to impress the general public / strangers. An impressive book, to me that means it's a hard book to read, or a difficult book to read, one that I would have to spend lots of energy to try to understand. I like my reading to be relaxing, easy reads, that don't cost lots of energy (of which I don't have much), reads where I can get in the 'reading flow', instead of reading a book where I have to read the sentences three times in order to figure out what is meant (I have that, for example, with very scientific language or very old language).

 

I think it's good to fluctuate between a more easier going book and a more harder going book. I generally read two books at a time, one being more of a casual read and the other a more difficult one. It's more efficient too because some of the more harder philosophy books might take a long time to finish such as Tolstoy's book War and Peace.

 

If you had more energy and time to read a more difficult book, would you? Sometimes people will start reading a difficult book e.g Nietzsche's book Thus Spoke Zarathustra and realise straight away that it's not going to be an easy read and give up at the first hurdle. When it comes to books like the one I've mentioned you simply have to be patient and persevere. Of course it's horses for courses when it comes to someone's choice of reading material but in order to be more well read and gain more in-depth knowledge then someone simply has to read more thought provoking reads and books that require real concentration and dedication. It's like a lot of things, you simply can't run before you can walk, if someone wants to read such material then they would have start reading the basics and gradually work themselves up to reading the more harder stuff, I can't imagine a starter of philosophy being able to find Sartre's novel Nausea the best book to begin with. 

 

There are many other book genres that also require someone to know a fair amount about a certain subject before reading in-depth stuff about it.

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14 hours ago, David James said:

I think it's good to fluctuate between a more easier going book and a more harder going book. I generally read two books at a time, one being more of a casual read and the other a more difficult one. It's more efficient too because some of the more harder philosophy books might take a long time to finish such as Tolstoy's book War and Peace.

 

That sounds like a nice idea :). I find it hard to read more than one book at once, especially if both books are fictional. Usually I could just about deal with one fiction read and one information read, and even that can be a bit of a stretch sometimes. I usually read just one book at once (but then, I don't read information books that often).

 

14 hours ago, David James said:

If you had more energy and time to read a more difficult book, would you? Sometimes people will start reading a difficult book e.g Nietzsche's book Thus Spoke Zarathustra and realise straight away that it's not going to be an easy read and give up at the first hurdle. When it comes to books like the one I've mentioned you simply have to be patient and persevere. Of course it's horses for courses when it comes to someone's choice of reading material but in order to be more well read and gain more in-depth knowledge then someone simply has to read more thought provoking reads and books that require real concentration and dedication. It's like a lot of things, you simply can't run before you can walk, if someone wants to read such material then they would have start reading the basics and gradually work themselves up to reading the more harder stuff, I can't imagine a starter of philosophy being able to find Sartre's novel Nausea the best book to begin with. 

 

There are many other book genres that also require someone to know a fair amount about a certain subject before reading in-depth stuff about it.

 

That's an interesting thought. I think I would read a bit more difficult books, but only up to a point. I wouldn't want to stop reading all the types of books I am and have been reading, I enjoy them too much for that. But to be honest, watching a movie at home is already a stretch of my energy, as is socialising with other people, playing video games, cleaning the house, doing groceries, being out in town (and those are all things I want or need to do). There are very few things that don't cost me much energy. And I don't have much of it. So I don't see it really happen that I'd change my reading completely into reading very difficult (to me) books, but I'm okay with that. I have autism and ADD (attention deficit disorder, without the hyperactivity), and I've largely accepted that this makes life difficult for me. I don't have much energy and have learnt to use what I do have, sparingly, because I get exhausted easily. I try to balance my life and not do too many or too few things (sometimes it's hard). After a busy day, I know I'll need a few days of rest to recover. Reading the types of books I usually read, is something I can do that usually costs me only a bit of energy. If I had more energy, I think I would spend less time reading and more time socialising, watching movies, and doing other things. I would perhaps also choose to read a larger variety of books - including more difficult ones (though it should be said I currently read books from multiple genres and for multiple age ranges, so my reading is a bit varied already). But I think I would still read the most of my favourite genres and types of books, the more difficult books would only be a part of my reading.

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On 9-6-2017 at 9:00 AM, Athena said:

 

That sounds like a nice idea :). I find it hard to read more than one book at once, especially if both books are fictional. Usually I could just about deal with one fiction read and one information read, and even that can be a bit of a stretch sometimes. I usually read just one book at once (but then, I don't read information books that often).

 

How many pages on average are you reading per day? I think you would get through more books if you were to read a light casual read and a one a bit more difficult that you could perhaps read on the weekend if you have more free time then, etc. I think the problem with reading just one book is that you limit yourself to only that book when sometimes a book can be a bit of a handful to get through or you may fancy a chance a certain day so if you have two books you have two choices of different things to read rather than simply restricting and forcing yourself to read only one book. I guess this simply comes down to how avidly you read books, if you're content with just getting through a book and finishing it and don't care how long it takes you then it doesn't matter but if you wish to engage in voracious reading then you may want to think about reading two books at once because then you'll end up reading more and quite simply gain more knowledge quicker.

 

To give an example, at the moment I'm busy reading a biography of a political leader and Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd. 

 

Sometimes I'll also read three books at once because I'll start reading a series.

 

Quote

That's an interesting thought. I think I would read a bit more difficult books, but only up to a point. I wouldn't want to stop reading all the types of books I am and have been reading, I enjoy them too much for that. But to be honest, watching a movie at home is already a stretch of my energy, as is socialising with other people, playing video games, cleaning the house, doing groceries, being out in town (and those are all things I want or need to do). There are very few things that don't cost me much energy. And I don't have much of it. So I don't see it really happen that I'd change my reading completely into reading very difficult (to me) books, but I'm okay with that. I have autism and ADD (attention deficit disorder, without the hyperactivity), and I've largely accepted that this makes life difficult for me. I don't have much energy and have learnt to use what I do have, sparingly, because I get exhausted easily. I try to balance my life and not do too many or too few things (sometimes it's hard). After a busy day, I know I'll need a few days of rest to recover. Reading the types of books I usually read, is something I can do that usually costs me only a bit of energy. If I had more energy, I think I would spend less time reading and more time socialising, watching movies, and doing other things. I would perhaps also choose to read a larger variety of books - including more difficult ones (though it should be said I currently read books from multiple genres and for multiple age ranges, so my reading is a bit varied already). But I think I would still read the most of my favourite genres and types of books, the more difficult books would only be a part of my reading.

 

Thanks for sharing with me the two disorders you have, it makes things more clear. I can imagine that they do interfere quite a bit with your keen interest in reading. Without sounding disrespectful, reading the likes of philosophy or history books might be more of a challenge for you but the reward if you can be resilient with them will be worth it. It's good that you recognise that your disorders make your like more difficult but you shouldn't let them stop you from reading books that might be a bit more difficult than the books you're used to currently reading. 

 

Do philosophy or history interest you? If so, you could get a cheap book of a philosopher's work or a particular part of history you like from Amazon for £2.80 (1p for the book and £2.80 for the P&P) and read it as slow as you choose to, maybe even try just 10 pages per day?

Edited by Athena
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12 hours ago, David James said:

How many pages on average are you reading per day?

 

According to my calculations, I read on average 160 pages per day, currently this year so far. It does differ per year, as in previous years I had a different amount of pages per day on average, and it depends on how many books I read for what age range (ie. the year that I read a lot of children's books and picture books, the number was higher). For myself, I think 100 is a nice target, and on the days I feel like reading and I have the energy to do so, I sometimes try to read at least 100 pages, as I think this is a nice target.

 

Quote

I think you would get through more books if you were to read a light casual read and a one a bit more difficult that you could perhaps read on the weekend if you have more free time then, etc. I think the problem with reading just one book is that you limit yourself to only that book when sometimes a book can be a bit of a handful to get through or you may fancy a chance a certain day so if you have two books you have two choices of different things to read rather than simply restricting and forcing yourself to read only one book.

 

I find it hard to focus on more than one book at once, particularly if it's more than one fictional book at once. I get the characters and plot lines messed up in my head. I think it has to do with my autism, as in general I find it hard to do multiple things at once, I also have trouble following multiple TV shows at once (as in, one night an episode of one show, another night an episode from another. If the season has ended and we then focus on a season from a different TV show, that is okay).

 

I can definitely see the pros of why people would read multiple books. There are lots of good reasons to do so. What usually happens for me (in the past), when I try to read two fictional books, is that I end up preferring one story over the other and solely focus on that, then once it's finished I return to the other and finish that. Reading a non-fiction / information book alongside a fictional story would be less difficult, and that's actually what I'm currently doing (though usually I read just one book at a time). But only a small part of my reading is non-fiction, most of the books I read are fiction reads, because this is what I prefer to read a lot of the time.

 

Quote

I guess this simply comes down to how avidly you read books, if you're content with just getting through a book and finishing it and don't care how long it takes you then it doesn't matter but if you wish to engage in voracious reading then you may want to think about reading two books at once because then you'll end up reading more and quite simply gain more knowledge quicker.

 

Well, I don't mind too much how long it takes, but I feel I should point out that with what I currently read, it usually takes me a couple of days for a medium length book of the type that I usually read. Obviously when I read a few picture books or some children's books, this skews the number, but then when I read a 1000-page book for adults, it skews the number the other way, so. A more difficult book would take me way longer to read.

 

Quote

Sometimes I'll also read three books at once because I'll start reading a series.

 

Yes, the thing with series for me, is that I quickly get 'author burnout' or 'series burnout', if I read multiple books of the same series or author in one go. So with series I usually try to read a couple of other books in between the series books. Since this year started, I've been reading several series. I pick up the next book when I feel in the mood for it. I try not to wait too long, or else I'll have forgot too much about the story. For series, a trilogy is the maximum of the amount of books I can read in one go; unless we're talking children's series in which the books are not so long. But for series for adults and for young-adults, a trilogy is my maximum. This year I started to re-read Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy (science-fiction epic space opera), and I've re-read the first book but not started the second yet. These books are over 1200 pages long, and I wanted to read some other books in between (to prevent burnout). But I do plan on getting back to Night's Dawn as it's one of my favourite series.
 

Quote

Thanks for sharing with me the two disorders you have, it makes things more clear. I can imagine that they do interfere quite a bit with your keen interest in reading. Without sounding disrespectful, reading the likes of philosophy or history books might be more of a challenge for you but the reward if you can be resilient with them will be worth it. It's good that you recognise that your disorders make your like more difficult but you shouldn't let them stop you from reading books that might be a bit more difficult than the books you're used to currently reading. 

 

Thanks, they do affect my life quite a lot.

 

Quote

Do philosophy or history interest you? If so, you could get a cheap book of a philosopher's work or a particular part of history you like from Amazon for £2.80 (1p for the book and £2.80 for the P&P) and read it as slow as you choose to, maybe even try just 10 pages per day?

 

I'll be honest and say that history isn't one of my favourite subjects to read about. I struggled a bit with history in high school. Part of that is because of my autism, but that takes a bit longer too explain and would perhaps drag us too much off-topic. But on the whole I'm more interested in science, technology, health, maths, animals, biology, languages.. I'm generally more of a beta person than an alfa, I studied chemistry at university though I should point out that in high school I was good at both beta stuff as well as languages (which I consider alfa). History I struggled a bit with, though in the end I still had a fine enough grade, P.E. was the worst and I had real trouble with that (for multiple reasons). The rest of the courses I had, I did pretty well in.

 

I don't live in the UK, I live in the Netherlands, and for here it's £4.02 to ship a secondhand book from Amazon sellers in the UK to here, which is about €5 depending on the exact exchange rate at the time. I only get second-hand books at Amazon if there is no way I can get the book I'm looking for, new from Amazon or a Dutch webshop I use or a bookshop etc. In the past I have had it happen several times that a second-hand book from an Amazon seller didn't arrive, so I don't find the postal service that way exactly reliable.

 

I feel I should also point out that I have learnt a lot already in my life (through school, university, and self-read books), and because nowdays I get tired so easily, it's hard for me to memorise new things. I have to put a lot of energy and effort if I want to memorise certain things. If I read a non-fiction book I retain part of it naturally, but the rest of it I'd have to really put the effort into memorising it. It's hard enough getting through daily life and processing the inputs it throws at me - inputs being any sound, vision elements, smells, tastes, touches, sensations of pain, sensations of temperature.. -, I don't have a lot of brain capacity leftover to sit myself down and say, right, memorise everything from this chapter (and that's aside from my concentration issues, that's a whole other problem).

 

I used to, in school and university, I studied hard and long and it cost me lots of energy (too much in fact). If we had known about my conditions sooner, maybe it would've been a different story. My autism was known for quite some time (exact diagnosis at I think 17), but I didn't discover my ADD until in 2014, the year after I finished my master's (MSc). For years I forced and attempted myself to concentrate while that was really hard for me.

 

The whole school thing is kind of behind me now. I do naturally memorise some things, things that I'm very interested in for example, but I cannot memorise everything I read and everything life throws at me. History has never been my favourite subject and it never will be. My boyfriend is a partially self-taught historian and we talk about history sometimes. I enjoy talking with him about it but I don't find myself needing a lot more besides the conversations with loved ones. My best friend is really interested in history too.

 

Philosophy is a different thing and I have read some books on it and while I think it can be somewhat interesting, I kind of have my personal beliefs and values in place now and I'm not that interested in reading lots more about it, more than I have already done. Maybe on rare occasion.

 

Sorry for the long post! I like to be as accurate and clear as possible (it's an autism thing).

 

I hope I didn't drag us off-topic too much!

 

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On 6/10/2017 at 10:06 AM, Athena said:

According to my calculations, I read on average 160 pages per day, currently this year so far. It does differ per year, as in previous years I had a different amount of pages per day on average, and it depends on how many books I read for what age range (ie. the year that I read a lot of children's books and picture books, the number was higher). For myself, I think 100 is a nice target, and on the days I feel like reading and I have the energy to do so, I sometimes try to read at least 100 pages, as I think this is a nice target.

 

That's a great amount to read on average per day. I'm sure reading an extra 10 pages of philosophy per day wouldn't kill you. :D

 

Philosophy is a different thing and I have read some books on it and while I think it can be somewhat interesting, I kind of have my personal beliefs and values in place now and I'm not that interested in reading lots more about it, more than I have already done. Maybe on rare occasion.

 

That's the great thing about philosophy though, it can both make you agree with certain philosophers and philosophical concepts and at the same time also challenge your current beliefs. I think it's important to not simply accept your Status quo of beliefs but instead both enhance and challenge them, philosophy would enable you to do that. 

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On 6/2/2017 at 4:57 PM, Talisman said:

I concur with Raven - we make judgments about people all the time. I am not sure what people would think if they saw the contents of my Kindle and some of the books I have read this year. They are a mish mash of all sorts of things that I at least think are interesting. I guess most would probably conclude though that I am interested in world literature, travel and current affairs - and I am probably what some would term as a left liberal. They wouldn't be far wrong.        

 

If you were to see someone reading a political book, would you make the assumption that they were supportive of that ideology? 

 

For example, if you were to see someone reading Karl Marx's Capital: Critique of Political Economy, would you assume they were left-wing inclined such as a communist, Marxist or socialist? Or, if you were to see someone reading Margaret Thatcher's The Downing Street Years, would you assume they were centre-right inclined such as a Conservative? 

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I do think that people will judge you based on the book you are reading - and even if they have never heard of the title, they will merely judge you on how big the book looks. I have had personal experience of this when reading in restaurants/public transport/cafes etc. It's interesting to note that I've noticed people give an occasional glance even when I am reading my kindle (and I have to admit I have done the same to other people) because I rarely see people reading in public anymore. The positive thing is that people will come up to you and start chatting about the book you are reading or just make a passing comment, so you can meet people with similar interests just by reading in public.

 

Generally, I think reading in public, no matter what you are reading, will give off a certain (positive) air compared to scrolling through your iPhone which is the norm.

 

On 6/13/2017 at 4:32 PM, David James said:

 

If you were to see someone reading a political book, would you make the assumption that they were supportive of that ideology? 

 

For example, if you were to see someone reading Karl Marx's Capital: Critique of Political Economy, would you assume they were left-wing inclined such as a communist, Marxist or socialist? Or, if you were to see someone reading Margaret Thatcher's The Downing Street Years, would you assume they were centre-right inclined such as a Conservative? 

 

I think Politics is such a polarising subject that many people probably would jump to certain conclusions (and depending on their own beliefs, form very positive or negative views based on that) if you were to read those types of books. Not so much with Karl Marx because his work is pretty much a cornerstone of many university reading lists now, but particularly with more recent politicians and their autobiographies etc. I'd compare it with someone reading a magazine - if you see someone reading the Writers Now magazine you would assume that they have an interest in writing. Likewise, I think if you see someone reading a political book geared at a certain party, you will make similar assumptions. I think reading a political book in public would give off a different vibe compared to any other book you may read, because everyone has their own beliefs regardless of their interest in politics itself, and it can illicit a lot of strong emotions.

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45 minutes ago, Angury said:

I do think that people will judge you based on the book you are reading - and even if they have never heard of the title, they will merely judge you on how big the book looks. I have had personal experience of this when reading in restaurants/public transport/cafes etc. It's interesting to note that I've noticed people give an occasional glance even when I am reading my kindle (and I have to admit I have done the same to other people) because I rarely see people reading in public anymore. The positive thing is that people will come up to you and start chatting about the book you are reading or just make a passing comment, so you can meet people with similar interests just by reading in public.

 

What type of books do you normally read? I've also noticed that people look at you more when you're reading a book in public. I normally carry a big bottle of water with me if I'm going to read in a park or somewhere similar and if I look up occasionally I do see people having a general look. I think the front cover equally plays a big role in the same way as the size of the book does. I rarely ever see people reading in public too. It's a shame to be honest. Although it could also be seen as a positive because you tend to stand out more. I've had a few people spark up a conversation from time to time when I've been out reading somewhere, I guess that all comes down to where you decide to read. 

 

Generally, I think reading in public, no matter what you are reading, will give off a certain (positive) air compared to scrolling through your iPhone which is the norm.

 

Definitely. Mind you, I wouldn't really think much of someone reading a book like Fifty Shades of Grey or something similar in public compared to Thus Spoke Zarathustra or something else more deeper than the former. I'd say the front cover is a good indication for the most part e.g Nietzsche looks very intriguing.

 

I think Politics is such a polarising subject that many people probably would jump to certain conclusions (and depending on their own beliefs, form very positive or negative views based on that) if you were to read those types of books. Not so much with Karl Marx because his work is pretty much a cornerstone of many university reading lists now, but particularly with more recent politicians and their autobiographies etc. I'd compare it with someone reading a magazine - if you see someone reading the

Writers Now magazine you would assume that they have an interest in writing. Likewise, I think if you see someone reading a political book geared at a certain party, you will make similar assumptions. I think reading a political book in public would give off a different vibe compared to any other book you may read, because everyone has their own beliefs regardless of their interest in politics itself, and it can illicit a lot of strong emotions.

 

I definitely agree with you. However, although Marxism and related works are taught in universities, I think there is a world of difference in someone choosing to read such works to study compared to reading them in public knowing fine well that people will make a judgement. I think it's a no-brainer that people will categorise certain books to certain political beliefs. I think religious and anti-religious books would also draw similar judgments e.g reading the Bible or The God Delusion would make people convey different emotions. 

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