I love to read, and always have done. It’s one of the reasons I despair at N not being that interested in reading himself. He loves books and having someone else read him a story, but I’m still trying to find the book that is going to be the one to get him to read to himself. I’ve always had specific reading habits but have mostly managed to make time to read.
As a child, I always had my nose in a book, with several on the go at once. My mum would tell me to go outside and play because otherwise I’d be happy to sit indoors alone with a book. I was a big reader of series – Nancy Drew, Sadlers Wells ballet series, Drina Ballerina, Jill’s Gymkhana pony series, St Clares and Mallory Towers, Famous Five and Trebizon. Then I quickly moved on to my mum’s Inspector Morse, Dick Francis and Jeffrey Archer books. I would read at the breakfast table given half a chance and there were always books on my Christmas list.
Apart from a few years at uni when I did English literature in my first year and didn’t read much that wasn’t a text book, and post uni when I read a lot of magazines, I’ve always had a book on the go. Once you have children it does get hard to fit in reading. Add blogging to the mix and it’s nearly impossible if you’re working in the day, blogging at night, and inbetween have children and housework to deal with.
But it’s so important to have books around the house, and for children to see their parents reading. And there are so many people who love to read but don’t. We should all try and make more effort to fit in even 10 minutes of reading a day (and reading to your children doesn’t really count).
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My reading habits are not the best, but I read for me not to impress others.
I read for escapism. To feel emotion. To laugh. To cry. To learn. To enjoy. To broaden my reading wings.
I love real books, but I tend to read on my Kindle now. It means I don’t interrupt others when I’m reading late at night because I don’t need a light on. I can pick and choose books easily, and take it in my handbag when out and about, rather than lugging paperbacks around. And because I read late at night when I’m tired (and I’m getting old), I can increase the size of the text.
I’ll admit it. I read trash. Not always, but it’s light easy reading that doesn’t need much brain power late at night. I read crime – fast moving, US authored books usually, with maybe a bit of psychological drama mixed in. And chick lit. And romance. With a touch of contemporary fiction if something draws the eye. I also go for speed not always quality. I’m not embarrassed to admit I read Mills & Boon books. It’s escapism, and my best friend and I often have a laugh about them. But even my male fuddy duddy English A level teacher suggested everyone studying literature should read Mills & Boon, so they can appreciate good literature afterwards.
I’ve read literary classics and prize winning books in the past, and I’ve slogged through them even if I’ve not really enjoyed them. Now if I don’t enjoy a book within the first few pages, it’s given away. I’ve got other things better than to read a book because others say it’s great and it’s a must read.
I buy a lot of free and very cheap books. Before my Kindle I bought a lot of books. I would buy every new book from my favourite crime writers, even stacking them up because I couldn’t read fast enough (even though I read fast). But preferring to read on my Kindle where they charge VAT/tax, my favourite authors cost a lot more money. Instead, I can read books that are a lot cheaper, and only spend more when there’s a particular book I really want.
It means I read a lot of books I wouldn’t normally choose, because 99p is a bargain. As long as the synopsis looks ok, and the reviews don’t slate the writing, then I’ll give it a go. I’ve actually discovered a few authors I’d probably not have noticed in the shops, and there’s a few reference books I wouldn’t have touched in hard back because there was a good price on them. It does mean my original pile of ‘to read’ paperbacks has continued to grow because I’ll still pick up a few books in sales or the shops.
I do still buy duplicates by accident. Even though I have Good Reads on my phone it’s not great without wifi, and it’s a slow app. So checking it for books I already own while in a supermarket or shop which has no data signal is difficult. So it does mean I’ve continued to buy books without realising they’re on my to read pile. Of course, charity shops or friends do well out of my then, but I really should check better. Or just get through my to read pile before buying any more.
How to make time to read
When you’re a mum, it’s hard to find time to read. There’s so many things to get done, and often parents don’t give the time to themselves after sorting out children and home. But even giving yourself 10 minutes a day will get you into a habit.
Here’s my tips for making time to read:
1, Block time in your day
If you book it in, you’re more likely to do it.
2, Read in places you wouldn’t think of
Bath, sitting on the toilet, when cooking, at the gym (although I’m never sure how people manage this one)
3, Have family reading time
Once the children can read for themselves. Have a reading area, or have a regular time where everyone reads what they want at that time.
4, Take a book with you all the time
If you’re on public transport, on holiday, sitting in a café. Make the effort to read instead of playing on your phone.
5, Read before bed / when you wake up
Get a book light or Kindle if your partner gets disturbed by the light, and set children’s expectations that between a certain time in the morning that’s reading time.
6, Read while you’re eating (outside of family meals)
A bit anti-social if you’re eating with others (and probably not that great for checking what you’re eating), but if you’re just grabbing something when you’re the only one eating, then use it to read
7, Do a challenge
I do the Goodreads challenge each year where you set a number of books to read, and you can join in specific book challenges too. It can get demoralising if you get behind with reading, so be realistic until you’re back in the habit of picking up a book regularly.
8, Join a book club
If you know you need to read a specific book it might encourage you to fit in reading. At least, it gets you thinking and talking about books.
9, Get a cleaner or get the children to do it
Free up time for yourself to give yourself the time you want.
How do you find time to read?
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