Time for reading

The Booking Through Thursday question from this past week interested me:

1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?

(I’m guessing #1 is an easy question for everyone?)

2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

Actually question #1 isn’t easy for me.  I often wish that I had more time to read, but the truth is that if I had more time to read, I’m not sure I’d use it for reading.  The thing is, I love reading (clearly), but there’s a limit to what I can read before I need to give my mind a break.  I can only absorb so much before I feel overwhelmed.  So as much as I sometimes long for hours and hours in which to read, the reality is that if I had them, I’d find myself getting restless and losing focus.

I think the issue for me is that I need a significant amount of time to process the stories and ideas I’ve read.  I’m similar in the way I deal with people — I love seeing with friends, but I need plenty of time afterward to process what happened, to think it through, maybe to turn it into a little narrative, to figure out how I might recount the day to Hobgoblin or to another friend.  Books are like friends in this way — I need plenty of time with them and plenty of time without them.

Anyway, if I magically had more time to read, and also had more endurance and focus for reading, I’d read more of … well, everything.  More classics, more contemporary fiction, more comfort reading, more nonfiction, more mysteries, more philosophy, more biographies, more essays.  A little bit of everything, please.

8 Comments

Filed under Books, Reading

8 responses to “Time for reading

  1. I squeeze my reading in wherever I can, but rarely is it for more than an hour at most. When I do have a rare day off that doesn’t need to be spent in part doing errands or other things and I can spend the whole afternoon with a book it almost feels weird. I think it is a case where I feel guilty (terrible, I know). I think I should be doing something else industrious like cleaning a closet or the basement (sick, I know). But maybe in part it is similar to what you experience–needing to process what I’ve read. I’m soon going to be on my vacation from work and of course I have three or four books that I hope to read, but we’ll see how much reading I actually get in! If I did all of a sudden have extra time I would want to read more classics and more NF.

  2. Jenny

    Actually, having a blog has helped me process what I read more efficiently. I find that I think in a more organized way about what I read as I’m reading it, choosing important lines, recounting the plot to myself, finding flaws or gems to tell about when I review it. I rarely read passively any more.

    That said, sometimes I want to watch a movie, and I feel I ought to want to be reading. Ah, the conflict within. :)

  3. I think I would answer these questions pretty much as you did. The time school takes up these days used to be partially spent in reading so I would like a little more time just to get back what I have lost. More than that though doesn’t seem necessary as I would likely spend it doing other things.

  4. I think this explains why I read about the same number of books now I have more time at home than I did when I was working fulltime. My brain can only cope with so much reading in one go and also like Danielle I feel a bit guilty if I just sit and read for hours – that awful work ethic thing! I have to give myself permission to do it – sad!

  5. I agree with this one hundred percent. I am always trying to encourage the students to take more time to digest their reading, as it’s the only way you can really get something out of it. And I feel exactly the same way about seeing people. I need lots of time to process.

  6. John

    Of course I’d like more time to read (amongst many, many other things). I’ve been using the http://www.dailyreader.net service to keep up with some reading during the day, but while it’s help me put away a couple of classics this year I still need to find more time to read. Every once in a while I pick up a new book and just binge all weekend (usually staying up all Saturday night), but these occurrences are few and far between.

  7. This year has been quite a surprise for me given that I haven’t been working. I thought for sure I’d be reading a lot more books but I think by the time I do my end of reading stats I’ll have read the same amount of books. I guess, I really have been getting a lot more involved in other things.

  8. Danielle — I feel that guilt too, and sometimes I’ll end up wasting time because I feel too guilty to read but too lazy to do any real work — stupid, right? But I do think the processing takes time, and I happen to be a particularly slow processor, so I’ll just have to resign myself to not being able to fly through books.

    Jenny — you’re right about blogging helping to process books — I’ve found that’s true for me too. Certainly I read more books now that I’m blogging than I did before, although that also has a lot to do with not being in grad school anymore (the moment I finished grad school I began blogging). But yes, the blog does get me to think more carefully as I’m reading.

    Stefanie — I’m glad to hear that you wouldn’t necessarily spend extra time on reading (setting school aside, of course) — I hear of people and their incredible bouts of reading, and I wonder if something’s wrong with me, but nothing is, of course.

    BooksPlease — oh, yes, the work ethic. I’m doing my best to overcome that :) It’s interesting to hear that you read the same number of books as you did before — I’m vindicated in my suspicion that the same would be true for me too!

    Litlove — I’m so glad you see what I mean and are the same way! Figuring out the true meaning of introvert (not someone who doesn’t want to be around people, but someone who needs lots of time to recover from seeing people) helped explain a lot about me.

    John — I don’t think I could binge in quite that way! I could never stay up all night to read. I prefer to read a little bit at a time.

    Iliana — well, it sounds nice to me that you are getting involved in other things — it sounds like a good balance. That’s a very good reason not to increase the number of books you read for the year.

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