Where to Read: Advice from a Book Fetishist

“I just don’t have time to read,” my friend complains. We’re having coffee and she has spent the last ten minutes telling me How Incredibly Busy her life currently is. “I just don’t understand how you do it…” she sighs.

In fact I’m no less busy than she is. Aren’t we all busy these days? Problem is: we spend a lot of time telling other people how busy are. What if we used that time to do something else? Something we normally don’t have time for because we are too… right, busy.

I rarely have time to spend a whole afternoon with a book, like I used to. When you are busy, even if you don’t constantly tell other people how busy are, reading time comes in bits and pieces. The key is to recognize the snippets and use them wisely. Here are some that work for me.

1. In bed

Either just after waking up or just before falling asleep. Read. True, this often leads to me waking up in the middle of the night with a book splayed out all over my face and the light still on, but at least I’ve managed to get through another chapter of Ulysses.

2. While I’m waiting

Not a day passes without me waiting. Waiting for my bus, my coffee, my dentist, my date, my dinner, my friend from Manchester who’s coming over just to say hi. I’m sure your life looks similar. Don’t spend your time looking at your watch. Read.

3. On a train/bus/plane

No one spends time on a train from Nottingham to Peterborough for fun. One simply wants to get from a to b. Consequently being on a train, bus or plane is extremely boring. Read. Some people get motion sickness. Try an audio book. See, there’s no excuse.

4. Together

Me, my mom, and my late grandfather used to run an informal book club. We often found ourselves accidentally reading the same book and enjoyed endless discussions about weird plots and unlikeable characters. Reading is fun. Sharing your ideas is even more fun. Reading stories to kids is one of the loveliest things in the world. Read.

5. Instead of something else

Turn off that TV. Don’t look at your mobile phone. Sure your friend’s Facebook updates are interesting but they can wait. And they’re nowhere near as interesting as Oblomov’s adventures. Even though he spends most of his days on a couch. Trust me. Make time to read.

6. During awkward moments

I often have coffee alone in public places and it always makes me feel awkward. Our society isn’t made for people who are alone. As a result everyone checks their e-mail or Twitter account while sipping their soy latte. Don’t do this. Grab your book and read.

7. In a park or on the beach

Don’t be that person who falls asleep once their head touches grass or sand. Bring your book. Reading is much more enjoyable in a horizontal position.

8. After dinner or lunch

If, like me, you’re one of those people who has a slight energy dip after every meal, use that time wisely. Don’t try to work straight away. You’ll end up staring at your computer screen looking like a zombie. Read about zombies instead.

9. While you’re making tea

Any idea how long it takes for a kettle to boil? At least a few minutes. That’s another page or two.

10. In your lazy chair

Because, at the end of the day, lazy chairs are still the best.


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