Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When reading makes you feel stupid

Photo by bluegum.

Have you ever read something that made you feel like a total idiot? 

This probably goes without saying(cause' why else would I write this post) but recently I've read a couple of books that at times made me scratch my head and think what the .... just happened here?! Perhaps total idiot was taking it a bit too far but I sure have read things that made me feel like I might be lacking in the intelligence department. I hate it when that happens because I like to understand the things that I read. There are two different kinds of problems that has evoked this feeling in me:

1) A thing I don't understand but that Google can solve for me, that is in many ways a good thing. I like learning new things. The book and I part on good terms.

2) When the writing doesn't seem to follow logic. Thank heavens I'm not the kind to throw things around or my Kindle might have suffered for it.

I will try to explain to you with a couple of made up examples to show what I mean.

I read a book about a girl who loved mathematics and naturally her love for the subject influenced her as a character. Math has never been a subject for me, I'm more a theoretical kind of girl than a practical one, so there terms that I was unsure of. That is a problem that can be fixed easily by a little research so no worries about that one, it's just a temporary feeling of stupidity.

This might be that I really am a bit stupid or sometimes it can be caused by bad editing. I'm talking about the cases where 2+2 no longer equals 4 but something more like 15 instead, totally makes no sense to me at all. I've made up this very imaginative dialogue to show you what I mean:

"I just love your new sweater girl, it suits you!"
"Yeah, I just read this book about a bad romance, so you know.", girl shrugs.

Sometimes I'm willing to bet that this is a slip in the editorial process but when it occurs throughout a whole novel then I'm thinking that there is just something here that I do not understand. The next time I'm picking up a book that gives me this feeling I'm vowing to pass it along to someone smarter than me who can appreciate this kind of writing.

Have you ever read something that made you feel this way?


  1. sweater?, bad romance? well I guess I'm no smarter. Dont pass it to me! I do feel this way sometimes but I just assume that other people are just funnier than me

  2. For your first scenario I used to carry a small electronic dictionary with me to look up words I was unsure of. It really helped my vocabulary and I enjoyed learning new things.

    As for the second scenario I completely agree. I don't like not getting something in a book. I also don't like when there are plot gaps and I'm left wondering what was going on and why. Not that I want books to make me feel smart, but I certainly don't want them to make me feel dumb either.

    No worries you are not alone when it comes to this issue.

  3. Sherre: LOL That's one name of my list then. That one was mine but it is a good illustration of what I mean. Sometimes it can be because of different humor but the books I've read wasn't in any way humorous.

    Lisa:That is why I love my Kindle, easy to look up new to me words :)

  4. My opinion is that books should make us feel richer in some way, and never feel stupid.

  5. Lol, it made me confuse right now ;)
    But books...ok that Jostein Gaarder? book sure made me confuse with all the philosophy

  6. Amy:I agree with you, it might be that those books will have that impact on someone other than me else.

    BlodeueddHa ha, sorry ;D I guess I should be embarrassed to admit this but I haven't read any of his novels..

  7. Haha ... I love that second example. I can't think of any book right now ... but what you described seems familiar. Even worst is when it happens when I'm reading books which are hugely popular ... I really wonder if there's something wrong with me.

  8. I love the built-in dictionary on my e-reader. I use it all the time! LOL

    My most recent incident with 2 plus 2 equaling 15 was when I reviewed Redemption and there is this multi-chapter sequence where they are journeying through an Indiana-Jones-like cave, complete with boobytraps...whilst nekkid. I kept going back and checking for them getting dressed...but they didn't. Turns out the clothes would have gotten in the way...but it was extremely disorienting for me while reading.

  9. When this happens to me I end up throwing the book!

  10. Haha oh I feel you.... I feel so stupid when I come across a term or something in a novel and I'm like "HUH?!". Either I run to google and fill an empty brain cell or I just skim over it and hope that it won't affect my overall understanding of the book.

    But the second example... just plain annoying! I reread those kind of scenes at least 5 times, trying to see if I missed something. Progressively growing more frustrated each time!
    "Am I just a complete moron or was this not edited properly?" Even in cases where I am just a complete moron, I prefer to think it was unedited LOL.

  11. Great post. LOL. I love Terry Pratchett books, I'm a big fan. But somethimes the words that he uses are a bit hard. At times I write the word up and look it up in the dictionary, just to find out what it actually means. ;)

  12. I love Jan's response! So true! Or I will ask my students if it's "younger" dialogue that I am just too old for or not cool enough- ha- and if my students don't get it then I realize it's not me! At least that is what I tell myself!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)