We have a reader question! Erin asks via Facebook:
You gals seem to tear through books and I’m wondering how you do it! I know it’s cliche but how do you make the time for it? Do you have a routine like waking up early or over morning tea? In bed at night? Or do you carry the book with you everywhere and read during every 2 minute break? Do you take a day off to binge read or do a chapter at time or dedicate a certain chunk of time? I really liked the reading rut post but I’m struggling with the doing part.
Interesting question! Everyone reads differently, so we thought it would be fun to have a group chat about this topic. Here are our answers. Share with us in the comments how you fit reading into your life!
I think this is a great question, because more often than not, I struggle with finding time to read too! My husband doesn’t help matters because as soon as I pick up a book to read, whatever he is looking at on his phone becomes extremely important and he just HAS to show me!
What I have found works for me the most consistently is having a book in my desk at work. In this case, I have the benefit of being paid hourly with a required hour-long lunch. Do I always get to read? No, but when I can, there’s a decent chunk of time to get through a few chapters, process what I’ve read, and take some notes. I’m already in a “productive” mood, and it’s usually pretty quiet. The best chance I have at home is when my husband has an event that takes him away for a few days. Then I get to binge!
I think the most tried and true reading routine that works for me is dedicating at least 30 minutes to reading before I go to sleep. I’ve been doing this since I was in elementary school, and it’s my favorite way to decompress from the day.
I also think switching up genres is a must to avoid reading ruts. Earlier this year, I read four fiction novels about World War II, and I don’t plan to read any other war stories for the rest of 2016. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good World War II story, but after four I was numbed and sad and needed something completely different to spark that love of reading again. I don’t typically read more than one book at a time, but if I’m reading something super heavy, slow, or complex, I like to have an easy/light read on hand if I need to take a break.
Finally, I think a to-be-read list makes life so much easier. If I didn’t have a list of books to choose from, I would never start reading anything because I’m majorly indecisive! Sometimes I veer from this list, as one should, but it’s nice to have a starting point at all times.
I definitely get into ruts. I’ll read a whole book in a couple days, then not read again for a week! It really depends on what I’ve got going on in life. It depends on what book I’m reading, too…if it’s not holding my attention, it’s hard to get myself to read. The best time to read for me, though, is weekend mornings and before bed at night. Reading tends to put me to sleep, though, if I read at night – I just can’t keep my eyes open! I just LOVE reading on weekend mornings when I’ve got a slow day planned. It’s just so relaxing and wonderful! I’ve definitely started to read more, though, after starting a book blog! Haha :] Also doing a yearly reading challenge has helped – I really want to hit that goal!
I read a bunch of books at once, so I can always pick one up that strikes my fancy. Further, I’m always listening to a book for maximum multi-tasking. And yes, I always have a book in my bag to pull out if I’ve got a few minutes while waiting here or there. A literacy educator I admire, Donalyn Miller, writes about training her students to read in every free moment – after finishing a set of math problems or waiting in line for vision testing at the nurse’s office. I love this advice, and I get a lot done in those in-between moments. And, of course, I read in bed each night until my eyelids get heavy.
I get most of my reading done in bed at night. I can almost never go to sleep without reading a few pages. I also read more than one book at a time. I used to be very strict about only reading one book at a time, but it would take forever to finish a book. I’ve found that by reading different things I get more reading done, because if I get bored with one book I can take a break and read something else. YES, I carry a book with me almost everywhere, it really helps, I read while I walk. I read at the doctor’s office. I read at the coffee shop. I’ve even been known to read at this 5-way intersection red light that takes forever (very mindfully, of course).
I’m living in the woods right now and do a LOT of reading after work and on my days off since there’s not a lot of other distractions. But here’s a secret: when I’ve had office jobs, I use our library’s eBook checkout, and then on slow days when I didn’t have anything to work on, or when I’d need a 15 minute break, I’d pull up whatever book I was reading on my computer and hack out a chapter or two.
The biggest tip…read books you can’t put down. You may lose a few days of sleep, but you’ll finish the book fast.
Thanks gals! I finally broke my dry spell with The Girl on the Train (per LQ recommendations of course). My ultimate motivation was being unable to renew the library book which was on hold for someone else and quickly racking up late fees… I just couldn’t turn it in without finishing. I thought it was very similar to (and better than?) Gillian Flynn’s. Will try to keep up the momentum and make an evening habit out of it.