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Monday, November 30, 2009
Reading Books
[ZOMBiE CyGiG] ranted at 2:11 AM --- Post#4723728389334540363

I was just wondering: Why do some children hate reading books so much? By books, I'm referring to the fictional ones.

I was born in 1988, year of Dragon, and I vividly remembered that primary and secondary schools were pushing for us to read books, and there was this book exchanging program where each class is given a stash of books, and everyone was assigned one, every month, you are to give you book to the person below you in register and within the year, you should have read half of those books. There was also this form where you've got to fill in every time you read a book, and if you do no meet the quota, you get punished by teachers. Smart me often goes to the library and just copy off the names any books I can find. Holiday reading was a must, you are given a Chinese book and you are to finish reading it within a month during the holidays, and to write reports on it. After the holiday, there will be a test base of the story in the book.

I never liked books when I was young, I hated them. But one day after my close friend pointed me to to a title which he claimed that would interest me a lot, which is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon in Kinokuniya after we went shopping in Sim Lim Square, I started the habit of reading books. That was a few years ago. I realised that some novels can really draw my interest and keep be engrossed in the storyline (as well as games and animes do) and just keep me reading. I want to clarify that I am no bookworm, I do not read like 10 books in a day or something, I barely read one every month. I do not know a lot of authors and I am no good in English, I do not do deep analysis of the plot and blog them. But the point is, I will take my time to read and after finishing one, I will head down to buy another. It becomes a habit.

So I start to wonder, why do most of my friends back in Primary and Secondary school hated reading books? I came to several conclusions:

1. National Library
Just face it, most of the books there aint interesting at all. Half of the good ones had been loan out and the other half are scatted all over like needles in sea.

There are practically no new books (by new I mean published within three months), and I always prefer to read new books over old ones, as new books tend to have references and styles pertaining to current happenings, people and items.

Most of the library's books are torn and tattered, and it is reasonable for them to be so due to natural wear and tear through many hands. Although you should not judge a book by it's cover, I do not find a book with rotting and yellowing cover appetising at all.

I read a lot of translated Japanese books. These books aint available in the National Library as well. Visual Novels are hard to find too. Their magazines and comics are pathetically outdated.

Despite saying that, the Library isnt useless, its damn useful for researching on subjects that you can rarely find online.

2. Censorship
Most of the books that the school recommended are considered "safe". No sex, no violence, no vulgarities and nothing against the Gahmen. I am someone who cannot be impressed or interested easily, and having no sex, no violence, no vulgarities and no rebellious seemed to be rather.... unrealistic? My batch of students scolded vulgarities and know about sex in primary school, and we know that adults do that, we do know about censorship on TV and the teachers thought that they could fool us in? And thus I felt that those books our school bought for us are of the interest level similar to that in the National Library. Of course, there are good books among them, but very rarelt.

3. Assignment
You can call it being rebellious or taking things for granted or whatever. But how can one enjoy reading book when he is forced to do so? The school gave a pile of rubbish novels and I cant really browse and choose which I like due to the system of handing your book orderly down by the register. Sometimes they force everyone in the level to buy a novel just for doing an assignment. And then they force you to read it, write reports on it, meet quotas and test you on it. That definitely gives the idea of reading a big big negative impression to the kids.

I used to have an uber bad impression on reading, I kept thinking that books are boring stuff. Books that I buy from book stores are totally different from the one from school. So if anyone who hates reading is reading this (pun?), probably you could try buying from book stores instead of going to the library.

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