Bookish Musings: Have You Ever Enjoyed a Textbook?

 
 

Despite no longer being in school myself, the recent start of a new school year has inspired me.

Textbooks are generally such dreaded things it seems, and sometimes for good reason. Especially when it’s a required class that you have no interest in.

It also seems that many people, especially in high school, never even bothered reading the textbooks at all. But I did. I was that person. I have literally read entire textbooks for some classes. And I have the feeling many of my fellow bookworms may have also been that person :-P And you know what? Some of them actually weren’t so bad!

So here we are, a quick, fun post about textbooks!

(And check back in the coming weeks for a discussion about your favorite and least favorite required reading books!)


Textbooks I Actually Enjoyed

(I’m sorry, I don’t know the specific titles of the books, so I’m just going to do this by subject.)

AP Environmental Science – High School

Not only was some of this genuinely interesting or just important to know, the book would occasionally crack these really lame but funny jokes. It wasn’t very often, but that almost made it even better because it was like they were these little hidden surprises only there for the people who actually read all of it.

Intro to Psychology – University

I’ve always been interested in psychology but never got the chance to take it in high school, so I was super excited about this class and really enjoyed it. And though I’ve probably forgotten plenty, I still remember quite a bit.

Sociology of Sexuality – University

I’m also interested in sociology, and for my major I had to take an upper level sociology class, and this one ended up being super interesting, covering topics like the past when women were thought to have “hysteria,” the Kinsey Scale and different sexual orientations, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I can’t actually remember because I took this class five years ago lol. Still learned a lot at the time though!

Intro to Marketing – University

Marketing is another thing I find interesting, and it relates to psychology and sociology in many ways.

 
 
 

Talk to me!

What textbooks have you enjoyed?
Were/are you also that person who always read the textbooks, or did you skip them?

 

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  1. Greg

    No. That’s my short answer lol. But seriously I don’t know, I think I’ve enjoyed a few- if it was a subject I like. I was into ancient history so a textbook in my Western Civ class was good, with all the maps and migration routes and all that. It was fun just to read, which I can’t say for too many textbooks. :) I always liked geology too so whenever I saw a book talking about the geological epochs I was interested. Other than that, I had an awesome Abnormal Psych textbook that one was so readable.

    Your AP env science book sounds fun, little hidden gems of humor in there lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yeah, I haven’t enjoyed most of them, but these were the few that I remembered at least moderately enjoying. Psychology and sociology are usually really interesting to me. I took a few soc classes but can’t remember what each one was about. But ugh, history. No. I took a Western Civ class in college, and the only reason I did well was because I didn’t have to read the book at all because the teacher gave us study guides and all the info before tests.

      1. Greg

        Ha ha i could have used a teacher like that! But yeah i was a psych major so I agree w/ you on that. It’s fascinating. There are so many different aspects to it.

        1. Kristen Burns

          Oh, I had no idea you were a psych major! I only took one other psych class, and that one was experimental something… it was more about experiments and variables and things. Not as interesting as other psych classes, but I needed an upper level for my major, and it fit with my schedule lol.

          And yes, well, I did like that teacher because he was super nice, but he was also the one I know I mentioned once who was so scatterbrained that he would pass out papers every day of class by handing a paper to one person, then walking across the class to hand on to someone else, then walking to the other end to hand to someone, and then he was literally baffled every single time when half of us didn’t get a paper. So, you know, pros and cons when it came to that professor lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ugh, history was my least favorite subject lol. But that’s funny, I enjoyed more textbooks in university than in high school, maybe because I had a bit more freedom to choose things I was interested in.

  2. Manca

    I LOVED textbooks, especially the ones for Biology (only the ones without spiders) and Chemistry, I also read all my textbooks in middle school :D

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m pretty sure I read almost everything I was ever supposed to read, regardless of what grade I was in lol. Except maybe for history classes. But I wouldn’t want to read my biology books either if they were talking about spiders? I hate spiders. I wasn’t a big fan of chemistry, but I can see why you found biology interesting :-)

    2. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I just have to hop in here for a second and say that I misread this comment at first and thought it said, “only the ones without spoilers” and I was sitting here trying to figure out what sort of spoilers could be in your biology textbook. LOL!

  3. Literary Feline

    I was a student who read them as required, but didn’t love them. Some of the topics they covered fascinated me, but in terms of enjoying my reading of the textbooks themselves, no, not really. Journal articles are another story all together.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh, yeah, I read plenty of textbooks as required but still hated them nonetheless. But there were at least these few that I enjoyed. And I can see why you’d like journal articles better.

  4. Rowena

    Like Greg, my short answer is no. Ha!

    I wonder if I were to try to read them now if my interest in them would grow. The university textbooks. The ones you’ve listed sound interesting though I think I’d be more interested in the business, marketing and psychology ones.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I do sometimes wonder how much more I might’ve enjoyed certain books or textbooks had I not been *forced* to read them at a time when I wasn’t interested. But yeah, I at least did find marketing and psych interesting, though only certain aspects of marketing, I guess.

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s great! It’s so weird how we choose our majors, yet most of us still seem to hate the classes and the books and the topics :-/ So that’s awesome that you did actually enjoy yours.

  5. Michelle @ FaerieFits

    I’ve recently started reading statistics books. Not necessarily the full-blown textbook, cause you can only read those so many times. But books ABOUT statistics have become super awesome. Especially books that are just recounts of case studies where data analytics has done some pretty awesome things.

    In college I also really enjoyed my marketing books & a couple of my more advanced econ books. There was a mythology class or two that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the reading material for as well, but I’m not sure how firm you’re definition of “textbook” is at that point ;)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Huh, interesting. I can see why case studies that have actually done things with the statistics and made connections between things and whatnot would be interesting.

      Econ didn’t interest me, but certain aspects of marketing did. I totally should’ve taken a mythology class. Actually, I took one class that included a bit of mythology, but it wasn’t, like, about it. It was about different cultures. And I don’t think I was quite as interested in mythology then whereas I really am now. And eh, it’s just a blog discussion, you don’t have to worry about me being strict on definitions lol.

  6. Nemo @ Young Adult At Heart

    I loved a lot of my Sociology and English textbooks was really into all of my Gender Studies textbooks but the one I really remember wanting to buy a copy of was Tough Girls by Sherrie Inniss (sp?). It was so great, I ended up reading the whole thing, not just the assigned chapters.

    In high school we were assigned this ‘literature’ book – I won’t bore you what it was about, it was stupidly boring – not only was I the only person in the entire class to actually finish it, I read it twice as well! I still hated it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I only took one English class in college (I already had credit from high school for the other that I needed), and literally all we did in that class was watch movies and read screenplays and then write our own short screenplay. It was awesome, actually, but there was no textbook lol. But yes, sociology is very interesting to me. I took 3 or 4 courses, actually, but I don’t recall the textbooks for the others, so I just mentioned the one I do remember. That’s great that you loved that one textbook so much!

      I’m so confused though, why did you read the book twice if you hated it?? Lol.

      1. Nemo @ Young Adult At Heart

        To be honest, I read the book twice because I was a straight A student with really high standards and I wanted to make sure I understood the book and did better than all of my classmates. A whole lot of unnecessary stress went into my high school years.

        1. Kristen Burns

          Lol yeah, I think I probably put a lot of unnecessary efforts into my high school (and college) years too since I was also a straight A student. It wasn’t even that I wanted to understand things better, I was just a perfectionist and didn’t know how to, like, not try and do the best possible for every class.

  7. Mareli Thalwitzer

    What a great topic!! Oh gosh, I loved my text book. REALLY. I’m not the snappiest girl in town (don’t “snap” things easily) but I am a very good student…. Can study for hours. Like reading. I also loved Psychology 101 (still have it!), Sociology and in criminal law we had a separate text book for all the case studies. LOVED IT!!! True crime…

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I know I still have a few textbooks, probably the psych and soc ones (though they’re not here at my apartment, so I’m not sure which ones I have). I was also a good student though and could spend hours studying and reading textbooks if I had to, even if I didn’t *want* to lol. I think it was my sociology of sexuality book/class had actually had some case studies about crimes and trials and we had to make defenses or have discussions or something. So I can see why you’d also like criminal law!

  8. AngelErin

    The only textbooks I’ve ever enjoyed were psychology ones. I’ve always wished I could go back to school and get a psychology degree, but with my autistic daughter that’s just not possible. Still the psych textbooks are so enjoyable!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think I might’ve considered psychology, but I wasn’t really sure what you could do with it other than be a psychologist? And I didn’t want to do that. I have always found it interesting though, so I did enjoy reading about it!

  9. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    Hmm… I can’t say that I LOVED any but there have been textbooks that I didn’t totally dread to study/read. I liked my history books from my college US history class. Also, the textbooks for my oceanography/marine biology classes were interesting. I had a few of those and some had to do with specifically west coast oceanography, so I think that interested me more since I live here. I actually still own the textbooks I mentioned above just in case I ever feel like educating myself again lol

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well, not-dreading is better than hating :-P History was always my worst and least favorite subject though. Oceanography does sound like it could be interesting, though I think I might’ve been miserably dragged out in the boat too many times as a kid to ever really enjoy anything ocean-related lol. But I kept some of my textbooks too!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I always wanted to take anatomy and physiology because I’ve always been interested in the human body, plus I was a gymnast and just wanted to understand more about how it worked, but I never did get the chance to take a class.

  10. Lola

    I always read my textbooks too, or at least the parts we had to read. And I went to all the lectures as well. I still own some of my psychology textbooks that I think I might be interested in re-reading part or completely eventually.
    Most of my favorite textbooks are similar to yours actually, we had a great introduction to psychology textbook. I also still have my consumer marketing book which was a great one we got to use for a third year class I took and that class made me decide which major to do. I also took a sexuality course which was quite interesting, although i could’ve done without some of the gruesome pictures form diseases and things that can go wrong down there that we got to see. I also still have a few social psychology and cognitive psychology books that I kept. I could probably look up the titles for these books, but can’t remember them from the top of my head. Most of these were in english actually, so I wonder if we had the same introductory psychology book.

    With my psychology study we had a bit of free space we could fill by taking extra psychology classes or from other faculties. I picked mostly extra psychology courses, but also took an American history course as I always had been interested in American history and we only got a few short lessons about it in high school so i was determined to take a whole course for it in university and I am still glad I did. It’s one of the most fun courses I’ve taken as it was a subject I was interested in, we had a great teacher and the main textbook was fun to read and very informative. I still have that American history book as well.
    I also took another history course, but that one wasn’t as much fun as it didn’t work as well as standalone course. I wanted to take a Russia history course, but that one was on the exact same time as the American history one, so i had to choose and went with American history. I think textbooks can be fun especially if you don’t have to read them and I do hope I can get around to reading parts of some of those books again without the pressure of reading them for courses. Although we also had quite some textbooks that were quite dull. It really depends on the book.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I didn’t usually read *extra*, but I almost always read what I was supposed to. I didn’t always attend lecture though. It depended. If the teacher didn’t teach very well or didn’t cover everything and I was still going to have to read the textbook anyway… then I preferred to just read the textbook and not waste time at the lecture if I didn’t have to. But if they taught everything I needed to know in class and could therefore save me from having to even open the textbook, I just went to class.

      That makes sense that you also liked the psych and marketing classes. But what a coincidence that you also took a sexuality course! Though yeah, I don’t blame you for not enjoying those photos lol. I don’t even remember if we had any graphic photos. I probably just skipped over them. I think I kept some of my psych and soc textbooks too, but they’re not in my apartment here so I’m not sure which ones.

      It’s funny to me that so many people have said they enjoyed history when that was my worst and least favorite subject, ever since I was a kid. Maybe if it was taught differently I’d have enjoyed it more, but I just could never memorize all the dates and things. The only history class I ever even mildly liked was art history.

  11. Christy LoveOfBooks

    *raises hand* YES! I kept most of my college textbooks for many years. I still take courses for other degrees and truly enjoy reading the textbooks from any subject. I love learning. It’s such a complete 180 from high school – I was so not a good student. lol

    1. Kristen Burns

      I still have a few textbooks, though I’m not sure which since they’re not with me where I’m living right now. That’s awesome that you still take courses! I’d love to do that if I had the time and money. I’ve considered buying some textbooks just to read on my own. The problem with high school is that they force you to take certain subjects. I think a lot of us would’ve been a lot more excited about school if we could’ve chosen things we were actually interested in!

  12. Lee @ Rally the Readers

    This is a really great question! I don’t think I can say that I’ve ever enjoyed reading a textbook. I majored in computer science in college, and although I loved the actual computer programming, reading books about programming could get pretty boring, LOL.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! But yikes, yeah, I could see how reading books about programming may not be the most interesting even if you do enjoy doing the actual programming lol.

  13. Bookworm Brandee

    I really enjoyed my intro to psychology book as well, Kristen. And I like my human sexuality book as well as my atmospheric science text book. I’ve kept all of these…for almost *cough* 25 years *cough*. I can’t remember most of my high school text books unless novels count. ;)

    1. Kristen Burns

      It does seem psychology is a popular subject! I know I’ve kept some of my textbooks too and will probably also still have them in 25 years lol. That enviro book is the only one I remember from high school though. I’m planning a post about novels in a few weeks :-)

  14. Puput @ Sparkling Letters

    Oooh interesting question! :D I don’t wanna sound pretentious here but I personally also enjoy reading text books :P I noticed you have interest in psychology and I am a psychology graduate so almost all my text books are really interesting! <3 My top 3 favorites are (1) Social Psychology (2) Abnormal Psychology and (3) Cognitive Psychology, which I read probably from cover to cover because they explain so many interesting, trivial facts about human life in an easy-to-understand scientific way! I did also enjoy some of my biology text books from high school. Great post! :)

    1. Kristen Burns

      You don’t sound pretentious at all! Nothing wrong with liking learning :-) And anyway, like you mentioned, I also find psychology interesting. I considered it as a major, but I didn’t want to be a psychologist and just wasn’t sure what else I could do with the degree. I would have LOVED to take a social psychology class, that one sounds especially interesting. Thanks!

  15. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I’m one of those strange people who’s actually enjoyed reading lots of textbooks in my lifetime. I loved Psychology classes and I also enjoyed reading my sociology textbook in college. Even my history textbook was occasionally interesting. The only textbooks I definitely didn’t enjoy were math books and physics and chemistry books (okay – I liked some small portions of those last two).

    1. Kristen Burns

      It seems most of us have enjoyed the same topics lol. I find it interesting that so many people enjoyed history though since that was always my worst subject. I suppose it could be interesting, but maybe the way it was taught with all the dry memorization of dates and names and things just didn’t work for me :-/ But actually, I think I enjoyed a few small bits of my physics book too lol. It’s cool learning how certain things work and all that!

      1. Kazza

        I’ve made up for my dislike of textbooks, over many years, by reading a ton of other books I have a deep affinity for.
        To use pop culture vernacular, I’m a (semi-retired) shrink :)

        1. Kristen Burns

          Ah, I didn’t realize psychology was actually your job when I asked about the psych books. Everyone just seems to like that topic whether they majored in it or not lol. But oh yes, I much prefer my novels to textbooks!

  16. Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf

    This has been the best semester for me and textbooks. Most of the required texts are enjoyable. For the books that are actually textbooks, most of them this semester are actually enjoyable to read. This semester the actual textbooks are
    – The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante
    – Children’s Literature, Briefly (6th edition) by Michael O. Tunnell et al.
    – In Search of Authority by Stephen Bonnycastle
    – Norton Anthology of English Literature, volumes D through F