Time to read

May 18, 2015 at 12:37 am 6 comments

Knitting, drinking coffee and reading. Standard conduct on a Sunday morning.

Knitting, drinking coffee and reading. Standard conduct on a Sunday morning.

I grew up with a book in my hand, quite literally. One of the largest battles I can ever remember fighting with my mother was whether or not I should be allowed to read at the table during meals — one I eventually lost when it came to the dinner table, but it was determined that I could be allowed to read when eating more casual meals at the kitchen table.

This was only a notable battle because I read everywhere else. On the bus, in the car, after school, while doing chores. If I wasn’t reading, I was outside pretending to be Laura from Little House on the Prairie or Julie from Julie of the Wolves. One time, my mom caught me reading huddled by my nightlight wayyy after my bedtime (I figured they would see the light from a flashlight). Thankfully, she didn’t have the heart to ground me. I think she knew that, like Harper Lee’s Scout Finch, I never really loved to read, I just needed it like most people need to breathe.

Which is why this article on Book Riot about how much time is time enough to read baffled me. What do you mean, enough time to read? First, there can never be enough time, a point on which the author and I can agree. But the idea of not even starting to read because you only have five minutes would never even enter my mind. Five minutes here, five minutes there and five minutes while you’re letting the dog out is 15 minutes, and that’s enough time for a chapter.

Admittedly, I’m a story junkie. I bring my Kindle or a physical book everywhere. A run to the grocery store five minutes from my house is time enough to read, if my husband is driving. If he’s going to be stopping for gas on the way, forget about it. If I’ve forgotten a book or my Kindle, I’ll open the Cloud Reader on my phone. Can’t stop, won’t stop, sorry I’m not sorry (as the kids these days say). I still break that curfew on a regular basis for the sake of just a few more pages.

But what about you, dear readers? Do you bank time to read, or just read anywhere and everywhere?


Entry filed under: Musings and Essays. Tags: , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Corey  |  May 18, 2015 at 9:54 am

    This is a real divide in the reading community! My mother reads before bed every night, just a few pages until she gets sleepy. This is a practice I have never been able to understand since I, too, am a story junkie. Except, in my case, this junkiedom manifests itself in me being constitutionally incapable of reading just a little bit. I get sucked in and have to read more. I can’t pick up a book unless I have a solid chunk of time to devote to it, ideally much of the day so I can read the book cover-to-cover.

    That said, in certain circumstances, I do became an “anytime is sufficient time to read!” person. Mostly when taking public transit (even just one stop on the subway!) or when waiting for something or someone.

    Otherwise, I would rather not read than only have a couple of minutes to delve in. I just feel like I’m barely settled into the world and then have to leave. I would rather be reading essentially all the time, so tantalizing myself with just a few minutes feels awful! I’m never satisfied with just a couple of pages, so I’ve stopped torturing myself.

    • 2. Corey  |  May 18, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Also, on an unrelated note, I love that picture!

      • 3. Kate  |  May 18, 2015 at 11:45 am

        Thank you! It was a pretty great morning.

        I think that wanting to set aside enough time to immerse yourself in the story is admirable! And it probably means you find yourself remembering more and experiencing more deeply what you have read. I know I’ve suffered because of this technique, most notably with Anna Karenina.

        • 4. Corey  |  May 20, 2015 at 8:52 am

          Perhaps, but I suspect I also read a lot less than people who are more willing to read even a little bit in the spaces between!

  • 5. neuroticmom  |  May 18, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    I am so happy that you still are so thrilled to read! I read a book every night till I fall asleep – it’s the only time I can read and not “have to” read till the next chapter or couple more pages – when I fall asleep, I fall asleep. I don’t read (a book) much during the day because if I start I don’t want to stop – just a couple more pages! Plus a little OCD in there I can’t just stop in the middle of a page. :) Dinner has known to be late because I decided to pick up the book I was reading and just read a little more so I try to wait till later in the evening.

    I normally don’t read in public mostly because I can not concentrate with other things going on around me.

  • 6. On story overload | Literary Transgressions  |  September 29, 2015 at 12:09 am

    […] have mentioned before that I am a story junkie. While usually this is great — such as when I can get through a three-hour road trip by […]


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