Why Don't I Read Novels?

Why Don't I Read Novels?You won't find a book review on this blog. I rarely read novels, and haven't cracked one open in about ten years.

I'm not proud of this fact. I majored in English at U of T and was forced to read a laundry list of classic literature. One CanLit course had me reading gems from Robertson Davies, Margaret Laurence, Timothy Findley, Mordecai Richler, Margaret Atwood, Hugh MacLennan and others. Another Classic American Literature course had me reading The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, Invisible Man and more. Not to mention a boatload of Shakespeare, Chaucer and poetry.

When I escaped University with my Honours BA, the last thing I wanted to do was read a novel. My ex was (and is) a ferocious reader who gobbled up books like candy. I preferred to surf the web, reading and creating digital content.

Thankfully, my children who are old enough to read love it. I know I loved reading for pleasure when I was their age. Gordon Korman was my favourite.

School destroyed my love of novels, and it's never returned. Now I fear it's too late. I'm missing out.

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"Required reading" in highschool really killed any love I had for reading for a long time (probably 4 or 5 years). It's an unfortunate part of curriculum that can push kids away from enjoying books.

I think the trick with fiction is to not force yourself to read a book you're not enjoying. Lots of people invest time into books, get a third of the way through, and struggle to finish because they don't like it. I don't think there's any shame in giving up on a book.

September 28, 2014 @ 5:57 PM

Michael Z

Funny you mention Gordon Korman, I read all those Bruno & Boots books when I was a kid. Haven't lost my love of reading novels though, I find it way more enjoyable than watching a movie or show. Just finished "Replay" by Ken Grimwood, loved it. If you like time travel stories and "what if" scenarios, it's a must read.

September 28, 2014 @ 6:19 PM


Required high school reading killed my love of reading books, too. I had a spell several years after finishing post-grad university where I was buying and reading plenty. Then I got out of that phase and haven't really been back. I've bought some books that I thought "that should be really good" and found that I hardly ever finished them. The books were interesting, etc., but maybe it's just that I spend so much of my day reading, analyzing data, etc. that I just can't be bothered with reading much outside of work.

Of course, there's always the line about not wanting to read a novel because you don't want to be disappointed at the movie when it comes out.

September 28, 2014 @ 9:22 PM

this guest

This is a great reminder.
I read and buy books. Including literature.
but have abandoned the novel.
Which means I am only the poorer.

September 28, 2014 @ 9:35 PM

Jason from Sudbury

I was never one for reading any books or novels period so I absolutely hated "Required reading" in highschool, always found it boring, especially anything Shakespeare related. The only 2 books I actually enjoyed reading were Of Mice And Men and there was something else we read in grade 10 but can't think of the name of it now.

September 28, 2014 @ 11:06 PM


Try easing back into it. If your kids are into reading, it's a perfect way to ease back into it. Pick one of the YA books they're reading, and read with them. Then you can talk about the book with them. Get them to show you what they like, and you can eventually introduce them to books you like (liked?).

And you can both gripe together when they ruin the movie adaptation of it. =)

September 28, 2014 @ 11:44 PM

this guest

Did you see that game that recently went around facebook naming
the top ten books most relevant, important etc... to
your life and
Of Mice and Men made several lists that I noticed.

September 28, 2014 @ 11:48 PM



Conversely, for me I find I tend to struggle to read the first 1/3 of any book, but once I hit that mark I tend to get hooked and devour the rest.

September 29, 2014 @ 4:39 AM

Rick C in Oakville

Time constraints with work and keeping up with other tasks has limited my reading time. I tend to now read Bio graphical books now, just can't seem to put in the energy for fiction anymore.

September 29, 2014 @ 5:28 AM


I prefer books (novels) to movies. The last novel I read was the Time Traveller’s Wife. It was an excellent read. However, I made the mistake of seeing the movie when it came out...very disappointing.

Today, I am forced to drive to work so my reading has dropped off tremendously

September 29, 2014 @ 8:24 AM


I go through periods of reading then not, currently in the not..tried to read a couple books but after a few chapters I loose the interest. Someone recommended audio books but haven't gone that route yet.

September 29, 2014 @ 8:46 AM


My wife is a avid reader and goes through 2 or 3 books a season.
She reads the book review in the Globe and Mail and the Guardian weekly and talks books with her friends.

Me, the last book I read was Jurassic Park in 1993. I'm not up to 20 years without reading a novel/work of fiction.

I am, however, up on the latest gawker/gizmodo/deadspin tweet.

September 29, 2014 @ 10:52 AM


PS. I'm not proud of my streak.

September 29, 2014 @ 10:53 AM


I generally prefer 'regular' fiction over Literature. My current read is a Hugh Gardner mystery novel - set in Toronto (1978).
What about short stories?
When I was about your kids' age I read non-Marvel* comicbooks, newspaper cartoon strip paperbacks, both Mad and Cracked magazines (plus their segmented mass paperback collections), plus a few youth book series like The Three Investigators, and The Great Brain. Nothing, however, that felt like a phonebook on steriods.

*Richie Rich, Superman, etc.

September 29, 2014 @ 2:40 PM


@ Mike. Really?
I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth George and her Inspector Lindley novels. Mystery, great characters, suspense all rolled into one. You should also check out John Irving's novels. Cider House Rules is one of the best. You are missing out.

September 29, 2014 @ 9:30 PM

Teena in Toronto

I'd be lost without my Kobo!

October 5, 2014 @ 9:12 AM


Probably just as well, it is a time consuming and absorbing hobby. Also a bit of an addiction.

October 8, 2014 @ 2:26 PM

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