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Reading as a special interest?

AuroraBorealis

Well-Known Member
Are there some of you who consider reading their special interest? If so, how does it feel for you, and why do you think it's your special interest?

I have been thinking a lot about whether I have a special interest or not. I am aware that I don't need to have one. But I would really like to have one. I don't have any obvious special interests. I have topics, like space and physics and TV series, where I can develop a certain obsession for a limited period of time. As a child, it was dragons for a while, dinosaurs, animals in general, and this one book series. But the only thing that's been present throughout my entire life was reading. I didn't learn reading early, I learnt it in primary school, although I did learn it very quickly, from what I remember. Since I was able to read, you could see me with a book anywhere. I would read before and after meals, only putting it away when I really had to. I would read while walking to and from school. I would read every evening with a flashlight. I would read every second I could. The only break from that were a few university years, when I didn't have time anymore to read anything else than study-related things, and it made me quite sad. Since then, I've taken it up again. I forced myself for a while to read "adult books" and classics, but I didn't like them too much. I mostly read fiction, fantasy and sci-fi, young adult books, and some select historic or classic ones (really liked Jane Eyre, for instance). I am quite a fast reader, and when I like a book, I will be glued to it, walking around with it, until it's done. When I read, it feels like I see the words, and at the same time in a hind corner of my brain, a movie plays where I can actually see the scenes.

I don't know whether it "counts" as a special interest. I don't make lists or research about authors or anything, I just read the books. Since a few years ago, I discovered audio-books and I listen to them whenever I can't physically read (like when I'm outside or during housework). It has sort of replaced the "reading on my way to school" thing.
Reading lets me get into different worlds, and I believe that, since I read so, so much as a child, and many books about friendship and, later, love, I learned a great deal of social skills and understanding of the world through books.

I have used reading often also in other scenarios. For example, when I felt anxious and couldn't sleep, I would recite in my head the beginning of a book I knew very well, or an audio-book. When I felt anxious, holding a book and just feeling the pages would help me to be calmer. When I was scared in family settings, holding a book would help.

Reading has been so much part of my life that I never considered it as a special interest. Reading was just reading to me.

Fellow excessive readers, what do you think?
 
They all sound to me like the definition of special interests.

They keep you engaged and (hyper)focused. You feel motivated and soothed. They are solitary.
 
I love to read but only to learn stuff otherwise it's not worth it because it makes my head literally hurt as all the words move around the page. I have to draw a line under the words sometimes that helps to differentiate the lines. Its all wavy. I have a blue filter on my phone, which helps.

So mostly I play computer games instead and flunked school.
 
Reading sounds like a port in a storm for.you.

I like to occasionally read self help books and forums
 
This ability is common among us called hyperlexia used to read a book a day of so not any more read magazines at work when not busy.Now they are backing up.
 
I read a lot. Many books per week. But rather than a special interest, I think it is a way to shut down my mind so I don't worry about things so much. Its a way to recover from normal NT encounters like shopping or like today I have people working on my front porch.

When I was much younger, I read more nonfiction and learning type books. Now, with all the extra stress, I read entertaining books mostly.
 
Other than the phase of my special interest being the dictionary, I think what differentiated my reading habits from NTs is that I'd read the same books over and over. Enough for others to comment on how abnormal it is. Which set of books I'd read over and over did change over the years. In grades 3-5, it was Little House. In middle school, it was Baby Sitters Club. In my 20s, it was Terry Goodkind.
 
Other than the phase of my special interest being the dictionary, I think what differentiated my reading habits from NTs is that I'd read the same books over and over. Enough for others to comment on how abnormal it is. Which set of books I'd read over and over did change over the years. In grades 3-5, it was Little House. In middle school, it was Baby Sitters Club. In my 20s, it was Terry Goodkind.
I only read books once, same with movies only watch once.
 
I am always reading something in my leisure time, usually sci- fi, fantasy, old classic fiction, old fairy tales, pulp fiction and any non-fiction that is related to a special interest. It is a way to retreat from things into my own world and also a good way to turn my brain off at night, so I can go to sleep. I would say reading can be a special interest if you read a lot and find that it absorbs your attention, the way other special interests do.
 
I was a very avid reader for most of my life. That seems to have slowed down a little now I'm older, but I'm not sure if that's a change in me or just that I've read nearly every good book that interests me, and these days I'm a little more judgemental and cynical about what makes a well written story.

I was always in to the dungeons and dragons type fantasy novels, authors like Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Raymond Feist and Terry Mancour to name a few.

I get lost in a good story, it's pure escapism for me. When I'm reading the rest of the world ceases to exist and I can lose days at a time lost in a fantasy world. I always feel a bit flat after I've finished a book though, the emotional highs of the build up and suspense leading towards the ultimate climax at the end of the book..... and then there's nothing.
 
Anne McCaffrey?
Yes, Anne McCaffrey too. An interesting writer though, she had a great imagination for the D&D type scenarios but wasn't very forward thinking when it came to science fiction. In her stories computers were still using tapes. :)

I have a fair collection of her books.
 
Other than the phase of my special interest being the dictionary, I think what differentiated my reading habits from NTs is that I'd read the same books over and over. Enough for others to comment on how abnormal it is. Which set of books I'd read over and over did change over the years. In grades 3-5, it was Little House. In middle school, it was Baby Sitters Club. In my 20s, it was Terry Goodkind.
I did/still do the same. I have books which I've read at least 10 times or more. When I feel anxious or am on a trip, I prefer to read a book I already know. Growing up, I also read most books I owned several times, to the point of finishing it and starting it right over.
I would say reading can be a special interest if you read a lot and find that it absorbs your attention, the way other special interests do.
That's the thing, I don't know what a special interest feels like. I just know what reading feels like to me. I have no other special interest.
But after reading the answers, I am suspecting that reading might really be it for me.
 
Yes, Anne McCaffrey too. An interesting writer though, she had a great imagination for the D&D type scenarios but wasn't very forward thinking when it came to science fiction. In her stories computers were still using tapes. :)

I have a fair collection of her books.
I always thought of her books as alternate societies more than technical science. Like Ursula Le Guin. Or Octavia Butler. I don’t have any of those books any more.
 
I think reading for me is related to a speciial interest and a stim of sorts. I have always read a lot and still do. When illness/injury has made it difficult I became a avid recorded books enthusiast. But it may be an aspect of another special interest because I always read in the same subject area, military history with a bit of fantasy (LOTR). And I think there is a stim aspect as I often read/listen to the same books over and over.
 
I did/still do the same. I have books which I've read at least 10 times or more. When I feel anxious or am on a trip, I prefer to read a book I already know. Growing up, I also read most books I owned several times, to the point of finishing it and starting it right over.

That's the thing, I don't know what a special interest feels like. I just know what reading feels like to me. I have no other special interest.
But after reading the answers, I am suspecting that reading might really be it for me.
Bolded: during the past six months when my anxiety and stress were so high, I only could reread books I was familiar with. They were comfortable.

I’ve also found in rereading books that I catch things I didn’t notice the first or third time through.
 
I usually have six to eight books in active rotation at any given time and never go anywhere without at least three in my bag (I'm a mood reader (often a rereader (Anne of Green Gables series, Pern, Georgette Heyer, Tairen Soul series, Throne of Glass, Kingkiller Chronicles...just to name a few).

I love the genres (romance (Nora Roberts is a major favourite (nontiktok), fantasy, some science fiction, psychology/anthropological/archeological thrillers), some fiction, history, psychology (if there is a new book on neurodivergent topics ASD/ADHD chances are I have it), poetry, paleontology, archaeology, picture books, children's literature...etc.

I work frontside at a bookshop so I am able to indulge my reading habit a bit more than most people. Potato Cat and Marlowe actually both get their names from a couple of my favourite series. Potato (LOTR) and Marlowe from the Harmony series by Jayne Ann Krentz.

Potato Cat and Marlowe with a few of my bookcases and recent reads.

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I'm not sure if I'd say reading itself, since I can't divorce that from subject matter. But, I've been interested in the history of literature and human thought since I was a kid, so I'll word it that way.
 

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