Blonde Champagne has a truly great post about the banalities of textbooks.
Actually it's better than great. It's fantastic and hilarious and all the funnier because, as someone who has had to actually teach with these monster slabs as supposed teaching aids, it's true.
Some textbooks are actually pretty good - they've been compiled with an eye toward people having to actually read and use them. Alas, far too many of them are written by really terrific writers and then bled of any soul or purpose by the publishers, who know that they must make everyone happy.
I still have my Lit anthologies from college. I won't pretend that I reread them on a regular basis (I still can't read more than two John Berryman poems in a row) but I've gotten a lot more use out of them during insomnia bouts than, say, the biology books that are unreadable even at 3 AM.
Editor's Note I have no idea how to make a Biology textbook interesting. Smaller words? More jokes?