I read a great article this morning on building a reading habit and decided that was what I wanted to write about today, even though I usually keep my book and reading posts on my book and reading blog.
That’s really silly, actually. This blog is about my life and reading is a huge part of my life.
One of the things that I have found most annoying is how many people tell me that I won’t have time to read once I have a baby. When I joked in November that I planned to survive this presidency by buying a book every time I got too upset, one of my cousins said, “But, Rach, you’re going to have a baby! He’s going to need all of your time and attention.”
First, who decided that children need ALL of our time and attention? When did this become a thing? Because, let me tell you, my mother was a stay at home mom and I have no idea what she did all day. Yes, I remember doing cool things with my mom and even just going to the grocery store with her and stuff but most of my memories from childhood are of me playing alone. I wasn’t lonely. I had a very active imagination and I built my own worlds and filled them with people and stories. I had a blast. It would have just been weird for my mother to be a part of those imaginings.
Second, reading is very important to me. It is a large part of who I am. It is a large part of what I do. I am a librarian and an author. I need to read for both of those things.
That being said, I wanted to share some of the things that I do to fit more reading in.
- I read in a number of formats. This is the most important thing and it leads to a lot of the other things I do. Reading in different formats allows me to read in more situations and to read more than one thing at a time. I find it easier to switch between books if I have one that I am ONLY reading on my Kindle and one that I am ONLY listening to and one that I ONLY read in paper. Switching between formats and between books almost sets off a trigger in my brain. When I grab my Kindle, I know it’s time to read War and Peace even if I was just reading a young adult book. My brain syncs up.
- I read my Kindle at night. I know all about blue light and how it can have a negative impact on your sleep patterns but reading my backlit Paperwhite at night allows me to read in bed with ease. First, I don’t have to mess with lights. Second, I don’t have to work about keeping Hubby awake with a light. Third, if I fall asleep and drop my Kindle on my face, it does not hurt nearly as much as a 700 page hard cover.
- I read when I can’t sleep. This is a habit that I am trying to improve, mostly because not sleeping is becoming much more of a thing for me. My body has started to wake me up after about three hours of sleep and by wake me up I mean that I am wide awake with no physical desire to go back to sleep. (I think my body thinks it’s time to feed the baby that isn’t here yet.) I’ve started using this time to prop myself up on a couple of pillows and read a chapter or two in bed. Usually that is enough to distract me if my brain is racing and I can fall back to sleep.
- I use the Kindle app. This is another habit I am just working on. Do you know how much dead space there is in a week? How much time do you spend waiting? At the doctor’s office, in line at the grocery store, at the restaurant while Hubby plays on his phone. All of those are great times to squeeze in a page or two. Also, great while eating lunch because you just have to tap the screen to flip the page and you can prop your phone up instead of holding a book and getting food finger prints all over it.
- I listen to audiobooks. I have a 45 minutes commute, one way, and my OB’s office is an hour from my house. I live in the middle of nowhere and have to drive for pretty much everything. I always have an audiobook in my car. Last year I listened to 23 audiobooks. I like to listen to funny books and children’s books because they keep me entertained on the drive and are easy to pop in and out of.
- I keep my book near me. My paper book, that is. I take it to work. I stash it in my purse if I’m going to the doctor’s. I take it in the car when Hubby is driving. I sit it on the coffee table when I am home so that I can just grab it up when I need a break.
- I use reading as a palate cleanser. This is something that I learned to do in college when I had massive amounts of reading to do. I would read ten pages at a time and break it up with another activity. Give me a quiet Sunday and I will kill over 100 pages and clean the house by doing this. Read 10 pages, clean the bathroom, read 10 pages, clean the kitchen. It makes things more pleasant and helps me get more done.
It’s true that I don’t know what my reading life will look like after the baby comes, but I know that I will have one. If reading is something that you want to do more of, I suggest that you find things that work for you. Not everyone can handle switching formats or listening to books and these are definitely things that I’ve gotten better at over the years. And this is not to say that I am perfectly happy with my reading life. I’m not. I read a lot of things that I don’t really like and I’d like my reading to be more serendipitous.
Here’s to the reading life!