Sunday, April 3, 2011

Where do you find the time to read?

I’m often asked this question and usually answer by mumbling something about naptime. Before baby I used to go through roughly 5 books a weeks. I was a fast reader and even with a day job and house work, I still seemed to have plenty of time to read.  Then the little tyke came along and suddenly all my “spare” time was taken up by other boring stuff like sleeping, eating and bathing. For almost a year, I read nothing but baby board books and the occasional instructional manual on a breast pump. Riveting though that was, I was itching to get back to books that didn’t feature Winnie the Pooh (or breast pumps). And I did. Here’s what I found helpful.

Always carry a book. Always. Everywhere.
Obviously, this works much better if you are carrying a light paperback as opposed to a hardcover, leather-bound edition of the Brothers Karamazov. Still, you might do that too and call it your workout with weights. You wouldn’t think you’d find many pockets of time when you’re out and about, but you do. While waiting for coffee at the coffee shop, while the kid is frolicking in the pool or while your hairdresser is trying to get out the stickers in your hair which your sticker happy kid lovingly applied on you earlier.
Carrying a book around isn’t a problem for me since my everyday handbag is a giant sack that holds a gazillion toddler necessities like diapers, wipes and severed heads of toy animals. If you’re in the habit of carrying tiny bags or clutches, maybe you could keep a book in the car. Or buy really tiny books.
Get used to reading in bits
I remember when I would curl up with a book on a lazy afternoon and the next time I looked up it was midnight. That was fun. But I realize that it’s impossible now. While I would ideally like to have at least an hour at a time to read, sometimes 15 mins is the only available time slot. I’ve learned to make do. As long as you get back to the story within a reasonable amount of time, you don’t lose connect with it. I’ve often heard people say that they would rather not read at all if they couldn’t read in leisure. I beg to differ, I would always rather read. Any way I can.
Unplug. Disconnect. Log off.
“A book commits suicide every time you watch {insert crappy TV show name}.” Can’t remember where I read this line but it’s a novel thought. Electronic media of any kind, be it TV or the internet or even mobile phones seem to take up way more time than we ever intend to spend on them. I haven’t watched TV in over a year now and I don’t miss it for a second. Thankfully my cell phone only has games I suck at and applications I can’t figure out so that’s no temptation either. But Lord, how the laptop beckons with its promise of easy info and pretty images. I tell myself I’ll only check my mail and before you know it, the evenings gone and the boy’s back from the park and my book lies untouched. I’m working on restricting and scheduling my laptop time, but it’s still a work in progress.
Consider books on tape
Now this is not something I have tried and quite frankly I don’t feel inclined to try it either. Largely because I don’t like being read to. I like to take books at my pace, in my style and hear it in my head in my voice. They say, a book belongs to the author only while he/she is writing it, when you are reading it, it belongs to you. I feel like it wouldn’t belong to me if someone else were to read it out. However I realise this is just prejudice, probably baseless. Some of my friends swear by books on tape as a great way to use commuting time or even treadmill time. Also as I said before, any way of reading books is better than not reading at all.

So, where do you find the time to read? Do you think ebooks and kindle-like devices help greatly? 


  1. Yes! I read far more when I get off the computer. Also like you said, I have to be content with reading in smaller bit. I also found that having a list with reading goals this year helped me to read meatier stuff instead of whatever happened to look good at the library last week. I've listened to audiobooks (mostly from quite a bit as I do housework, laundry, etc. It's getting harder now because my four-year-old always wants to talk to me. That's okay, though.

  2. A list with reading goals is a great idea. I'm going to try that myself. Also, thanks for being my first follower. You're extra special:)

  3. reading a book for me is a great experience especially when i get the feel of the paper and the smell of the words in it... the satisfaction of holding a book and reading is beyond compare it s bliss..... no ebooks and kindles for me

  4. Like you, I don't watch TV. So if I do find spare time in the evening, I can use it to read. Another "trick" that became possible as my babies grew into children was reading aloud. Bedtime at our house is a lenghty affair because my husband and I each read to one kid each night, alternating nights. It's a great way to connect with them at the end of days that are always too busy. And it's a great way to read classic children's literature as well as newer kid books that are wonderful. And now that they are teens, we read anything and everything together.