On Reading Actual Books


I used to read all the time. I would meet people at work, people I could not recall ever seeing before, and they would say “Oh yes, you are the one with a book all the time,” because I would keep reading as I walked in the building, until I got to my desk, then start again as soon as I left my desk in the afternoon. In fact, I read so much, I kept a spreadsheet to keep track of it all for a few years.

This is an idea I got from a friend at work. He and his wife started tracking book completions in order to try to encourage his stepson to read more. That didn’t really work, but he kept the list anyway. When we were both keeping a list, he read an average of 30 books per year vs. my average of 80 or so. I remember telling him one day that the reason I read so much more was that I didn’t write regularly like he did, and as a single person, I don’t have another adult in my house that expects me to talk to them all the time, unlike him with his wife. I am still single, but I recently told him that I was totally right on the writing thing. Since I have gotten more serious about writing, I read a LOT less.

Part of this is due to the sheer amount of time available to me in a day. I have spent a lot of time this year rearranging my daily patterns in a lot of ways. More writing, definitely, but also better housekeeping routines, more cooking at home, more exercise, and making a point of doing more social activities out of the home so I don’t turn into a hermit.* All of these things take away some of the time I used to devote to reading.

But it is also due to all the things I can do and read online. When I post my menu to Menu Plan Mondays, I like to look at what everyone else is doing, too. Twitter is hard to break away from–there are so many interesting people to follow, and they link to so many interesting articles. I learn a lot of things about topics I wouldn’t have even known to search out this way, and lots more about topics in which I am already interested. I have a problem, in that I follow people in many areas–books, writing, science fiction, feminism, economics, gardening, DIY, environmentalism–all of these topics having thriving online communities that can suck up hours of my time every time I go online.

I do love learning all of these things, but lately I am missing my longer form reading. I have been carrying books on the train with me for my commute, but then using all my time to try to catch up on Twitter, as if that is possible. This morning I was determined to read my book, not my phone, and that is what I did. It was a much more relaxing commute, I have to say. I’ve also been putting the phone down at night and reading a bit before I go to sleep, which makes for a much more relaxing transition. I even had the whole family reading for awhile yesterday afternoon. I took inspiration from my son’s school and declared it was SQUIRT time–Super Quiet Uninterrupted Reading Time. It was so nice with all of us hanging out in the living room reading.

Right now, I am reading The House on Durrow Street, by Galen Beckett. What are you reading?

* As an aside, I would totally turn into a crazy cat lady except for one thing–I am so very allergic to cats, 😦


7 responses »

  1. I find I have the same problem! I spend a lot of time keeping my Twitter account active as well as reading about topics and industries of interest to me on the web and it’s infringing on my time spent with a good book. It takes me a lot longer to get through a book these days than it did a few years back. Right now I’m reading “The Coxon Fund” by Henry James.

  2. Henry James takes a while anyway! But yes, I also want to keep myself active online, and that takes time, too. Oh well, I do feel like I am being more deliberate in what I do, which is nice.

  3. I love reading too, even in my launch break this is my only activity besides eating off course:)
    It’s nice to see people are still in loved of books, because seems like the young generation is more with the internet, drinking and parties…and that’s too bag because we forgot what’s valuable in this life..:(

    • Oh, I have been thinking about that one! It looks good, but I am trying to read some of the unread books I already have before buying any more. I am glad to see your recommendation, though.

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