13th August, 2019

Bookish Stuff: Finding the time to read...

Lately I've been asked repeatedly how I manage to read so many books. I don't know about you, but it just annoys me so much when I'm not able to read. The reason doesn't really matter - though I'd certainly prefer a short reading slump to a debilitating migraine  - it just gets on my nerves and ruins my day. Big time! For me, reading is relaxation just as much as an escape from the everyday grind. So when I'm not able to pick up a book or simply don't have the time, I get anxious.

This week, for example, I was suffering from a nasty sinus infection which left me feeling like I had a knitting needle stuck in my right eye socket for about five days. Yes, exactly, not fun at all! This mean that I was only to read one or two pages max at a time and then had to take a longer break. I eventually managed to make up for that by having a lie-down and listening to an audiobook afterwards. That at least gave me a little bit of gratification. (The same tactic sometimes works when I'm suffering a migraine attack but mostly I'm just knocked out cold on these days.)

Another aspect is time. We are all leading busy lives and with all the adulting going on, it can be hard to find the time to squeeze in a book. However, I've always been quite good at managing even the tiniest of free moments and tend to get so much reading done in those in-between instances, like waiting for the laundry machine to finish its final cycle or filling a boring commercial break on TV with reading a few pages. It's amazing how much you can squeeze into these tiny pockets of time.

Having a 5 year-old running around the house obviously does take its toll in my free time as well. Maybe even the biggest toll. At the same time I find that now that little N. is getting older, we also get a lot more quality reading time together. I first started reading to him when he was only a few days old but now the experience is obviously quite different to back then. He has turned into a little bookworm, loves stories about pirates and about space and anything with a fantasy element in it. So I have gotten some of my reading time back, even though it's slightly different now, because we mostly spend it together. I definitely read more kids' books now, either with N. or alone to sort of "try them out" before I introduce them to him. And that's actually really nice! I find myself enjoying these books as if I was still a child myself. You know, this full immersion kind of reading that tends to get lost a little when you grow up. And it's amazing and heart-warming to witness his reactions to the stories.

One last thing that obviously helps is that I read a lot for and at work and am actually expected to, because I certainly need to know about the current literary landscape if I want to teach my students properly. So yes, this is how and why I manage to read so much, but I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who manage way more. And after all, quantity doesn't really matter - it's far more important that it's fun. Because this is essentially what reading should be all about.

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All texts and photographs are mine, unless indicated otherwise.