Sunday Salon: Time to Read

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One thing I hear a lot when I talk with friends, family, and colleagues about reading is that they don’t have time to read. I instantly feel a pang of guilt because without their knowing it or perhaps meaning to convey this message at all, I tend to interpret this as a veiled criticism: I am either 1) not busy enough in my life if I have so much time to read, or 2) I am not doing something I should be doing if I can read so much. Now, of course what the person is really saying is probably something closer to “I envy you for being good about carving out time for reading; I wish I could.” My contention is that if reading is truly important to you, you will make time to do it. If it is something expendable to you, you will dispense with it.

I have to read.

Reading is essential to my happiness. When I don’t make some time to do it, I actually become grouchier. In the past few years that I have been book blogging, hence reading more, I am actually happier than I have been in years when I have done less reading.

If you are having trouble carving out that time, it might be that you are not taking advantage of down time. I loathe Newt Gingrich, but I will never forget reading a story about him in which he describes taking a book with him wherever he goes in case he has to wait. If he is in line anywhere, or is waiting for an appointment, he whips out his book and uses the time to read. I know that one seems obvious, but a lot of people don’t do it. Nowadays, you can even download reading apps on your phone or carry your e-reader, so it isn’t even onerous to carry a book with you wherever you go.

Another great time to read is during your commute. If you ride a bus or train, easy enough, but even if you drive, you can try audio books. We listened to Daphne Du Maurier’s [amazon_link id=”B000GH2YPG” target=”_blank” ]Rebecca[/amazon_link] on our trip to Salem last summer, which was a great way to pass our time in the car. I have listened to several audio books in the car, and in some cases, I think listening was better than reading. For example, the narrators of the audio version of [amazon_link id=”0143144189″ target=”_blank” ]The Help[/amazon_link] were fantastic, and the narrator who voiced Minny in the book—Octavia Spencer—is Minny in the film. In other cases, I think I would have preferred reading the actual book as audio can be difficult if you’re trying to follow an intricate plot. My point is that commuting is often down time we can use to read, one way or another.

It can be hard to carve out time to read if you have a demanding job, small children, or something else more pressing that needs your attention, but you can make the time if you truly want to make the time. It’s a matter of looking for it.

The Sunday Salon

photo credit: h.koppdelaney

19 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Time to Read

  1. Great post! I feel the same way sometimes. People go on and on about how much I read, or ask, "When do you find all that time?" I want to say, how do you not? A friend said to me once that we make time for the things that are important. So. If there's even the slightest chance I'm going to have downtime, I always take a book (or my knitting). And I do find blogging about books has increased my happiness quotient.

  2. That's one of the reasons I don't mind appointments so much – free reading time in the waiting room. And I discovered the loveliness of audiobooks a few years ago thanks to other bloggers. Now if I'm going anywhere by myself (or cleaning the kitchen) I listen to audiobooks. It makes the time pass so much quicker and cleaning is definitely more fun.

    1. One of the best things I did was treat myself to an Audible subscription. For about $15.00 I get one audio book a month. They can often be more than 3 times that price, depending on the book.

  3. I agree. In fact, I decided in 2003 that I'd rather read than watch tv, so I gave up tv in favor of daily reading time. Never looked back!

    Here's my Sunday Salon for this week <a>Sunday Salon: I Wish I Were a Better Blogger. And don't forget to sign up for the Readerbuzz August Giveaway!

    1. I don't watch much TV anymore either, which means I never know what folks are talking about, but that's OK. I mostly use that time to read, either a book or on the Internet (caught up on a lot of emails and blogs today).

  4. I ALWAYS bring a book with me wherever I go and read while waiting for my kids to get out of school, at various activities, even while I wait for my steak to cook on the grill!

  5. I loved your post!! I agree with the guilt. My SIL says that to me all the time and it angers me because reading keeps me happy and gives me something to look forward to each day. I fall in love with the characters and they become people I know, in some strange way. Having insomnia, reading has become crucial because it actually does calm my mind enough to sleep. I like what my husband says, "some people choose to shop, others choose to eat, you choose to read".

    1. I suppose if it comes down to it, my reading habit can be cheaper than a shoe habit. Operative word being can. It's healthier than eating too much, too.

  6. I have to read too! I get a really bad headache if I don't do any leisure reading for any sustained period of time (like longer than a few days at a time).

  7. I think you find time if it is really a priorty for you. I have limited time (as does everyone else) but I choose reading over watching TV (or keeping the house as clean as it could be). I think it just depends on how big of a priority it is in your life.

  8. I agree with you about reading being essential to your happiness. I feel the same way. And whenever I'm having a frustrating day (well actually pretty much every day) I think about how later I will get to relax and read, lol.

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