As much as I love skimming (or better yet, reading thoroughly) textbooks, especially in the sciences, I think there were some pet peeves with them that led to irrational embarrassment.
One was “holding it in to the max.” But in reality, small details of many kinds (whether they’re times, people, places, things, steps of processes, you name it) may be less important, in the long run, than the overall “take-home” message. While all are factual, it’s an art of sorts to determine whats important (especially when a certain purpose is in mind). Thus, using that logic, I can easily let go of books (whether they’re texts or not) that I’ve gotten a general message out of. After all, when you’ve gotten the main points, you might as well move on! (By the way, whether in fiction or nonfiction, excessive detail can get obnoxious, and as they say, it can “bog you down.”)
Facts aren’t meant to be dwelt upon constantly, but to be a resource for you when you need. And consider the analogy of a filing cabinet (or better yet, a computer’s hard drive), they may be retrieved primarily in times of greatest relevance. It’s happened on a CSI episode, in a reading of Scripture (a Psalm, in fact), and perhaps other times. Not to mention “photographic memories” are rare, and like most people, I don’t have one. I may have tendencies toward one, but that’s beside the point.
Another pet peeve was their marketing “audience,” but who are THEY to control who buys what? Even if they intend them chiefly for students, a layman, if he wanted, can buy them if he wants! It’s his business, especially in the age of Amazon. A mere 20 or so years ago, you were lucky if you could get such a thing, since usually they were sold (new or used) on college campuses with their students in mind. But thanks to technology, now it’s a snap.
Yet another pet peeve is since I potentially plan to study this stuff in college, that could make decisions tighter, especially due to the lectures and labs included that could be of worth. But again, it isn’t certain, and things must be done one day at a time anyway.
But perhaps if I was to avoid all true textbooks and just stick with the popular press, it wouldn’t be a matter of depth, but breadth. It would be my job to combine resources as such. And that’s the joy of research (including Googling)!
Also, I must also keep in mind when shopping for textbooks and other nonfiction to avoid “old” subjects, since after all, I’ve learned them already! Whether or not the details are sharp or not, in any case, you will know more about it before you read the book (or in many cases), took a course using the book.
My final analysis? Don’t hinder something that you enjoy doing, or make it a “guilty pleasure” for an irrational reason. (Is that an oxymoron?)