Tag Archives: Reading Spaces

5 Ways to Fit More Reading Time In

When I was growing up, I either already knew where the books were or quickly figured it out after visiting a new place for the first time. Sometimes this involved me grabbing a book from my grandparents’ personal library and hiding out underneath the piano to read and nibble on a few crackers while the adults talked.

Since my father was a pastor, this also occasionally meant that I’d sniff out the books in other people’s churches when we visited them. I remember wandering around a particularly large church one day and feeling quite satisfied with myself when one of the doors I opened revealed a small bookshelf in that room.

Immediately, I sat on the floor and read to my heart’s content. All of the books remained in that room, and I put them back neatly where I found them when I decided that enough time had passed for anyone to begin wondering why I’d been away from the service for so long.

That is to say, I have a lot of practice in squeezing reading time out of just about any experience. Here are a few of my favourite ways to get through just a few more pages out while doing ordinary things.

While Waiting

Lego people standing in a tidy queue while waiting to talk to someone who is sitting behind a desk. I read while sitting in waiting rooms, queued up in line, or seeing if a store clerk could find that one last pair of jeans in my size.

There’s something about having a good book to read that makes this time pass much faster.

It’s easier to forget how long you’ve been waiting when you’re in the middle of an exciting scene.

On Transit

Woman standing and waiting for a subway car to stopOne of the nicest things about taking buses, trains, planes, or other forms of mass transit is that you can have a short or long block of time to do all sorts of quiet things in your seat.

I can’t read physical pages while travelling due to how nauseated that would make me, but I can listen to an audio version of a story.

(And, yes, audiobooks totally count as reading).

During Exercise

Woman listening to headphones while resting from a runObviously, this is one of those cases where an audiobook is going to be much easier to “read” than a paperback or e-book.

I have seen people reading novels while using certain fitness machines, though, and I like the idea of killing two birds with one stone that way so long as you do it safely.

One of the things I’m hoping to do this winter is figuring out how to combine reading and exercise in some way. I’m not yet sure how I’ll accomplish that, but it seems like it would be an interesting goal to try to reach.  Audiobooks aren’t the sort of thing I can sit and listen to, but I’m thinking they might be more appealing if I’m doing something else while listening to them.

When You Can’t Sleep

Woman counting sheep in her mind while lying in bed. Outside, a flock of sheep are literally jumping over a fence. Every once in a while, I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. When this happens, reading a book is a nice, quiet thing to do until my body decides to cooperate and go back to dreamland.

The stuff I choose to read at these late or early hours isn’t the same sort of material I’d read in the middle of the day.

Calm stories are good.

Poetry is soothing.

Action-packed thrillers are not so helpful for my overactive imagination at those hours. But to each their own on that topic!

Instead of…

Birds sitting on concrete statues on a foggy dayI’m going to leave it up to you to fill in the blank here. My answer to this question would be TV shows that I’ve lost interest in. While I understand if a show has the odd episode that doesn’t meet my expectations, I’m not the sort of person who will keep watching something that lost my enthusiasm one or more seasons ago.

There are too many other interesting things in this world to stick with stories that no longer grab my attention the way they did in their first episode or season.

How do you squeeze more reading time in?

What Is the Perfect Reading Spot?

Today’s topic is a lighthearted one.

My idea of the perfect reading spot has evolved over the years. I thought it would be fun to tell brief stories about where I used to love to read, why I chose those spots, why my preferences changed, and where I read today. Feel free to leave a comment with stories about your own favourite reading spots!

Behind the Couch

My grandparents were lucky enough to become grandparents at a fairly young age. They still had a house full of children when I was born, so they never bothered getting rid of a lot of the stuff that parents accumulate while raising kids. Many of the toys and books my mom and her siblings enjoyed were saved for us grandkids and, later on, the great-grandkids! My grandmother’s living room has a few large couches in it. They had, and still have, a cupboard filled with children’s books behind one of those couches.

Some of my earliest memories that have to do with reading involve climbing behind that couch and finding the same editions of classic fairy tales tucked back there that my mom read when she was a child. I read them over and over again while the adults chatted in the next room.

Underneath the Piano

As soon as I outgrew the small space between the couch and the cabinet full of books, I moved onto a spot beneath my grandparents’ piano. (Have you noticed the pattern of my early reading years yet?)

It didn’t look exactly like the piano in this photo, but it did have plenty of room to sprawl out underneath it if you were six or seven and unconvinced that social mores should always be followed.

The adults thought it was funny that I kept finding hiding spots to read.

I liked the fact that I was simultaneously close enough to listen in on their conversations while also in a place that was enough out of the way that no one would try to take my spot.

Reading underneath the piano also meant that I was a little closer to the kitchen. This came in handy when I read about some delicious treat that could only be found in a science fiction or fantasy book and needed to find a snack that actually existed here on Earth instead.

In a Beanbag Chair

My parents moved far away from our extended family when I was seven. We spent four years living in Laramie, Wyoming, and I’m convinced that I spent at least one of those years reading in a bean bag chair.

Where did that bean bag chair come from? I have no idea. It was probably a gift from someone, although I don’t remember what the occasion was or who might have given it to me.

It was the most comfortable reading spot I’d discovered at that point in my life, though. I sat in it over and over again until it finally wore out completely. My siblings and I were still homeschooled back then, so there were many hours of reading time to be had once our lessons were finished. This was even more true during the very long and snowy winter season in Laramie. There’s not much else to do other than read in the middle of a blizzard or when there are a few feet of snow on the ground.

I remember seeing the little white beads on the floor, so I think my beanbag chair either leaked or popped after a while. At any rate, this was roughly the same point in my life that my family switched from homeschooling to public schooling.

At the Library

By far my favourite part of attending public school was getting to visit the school library. They had hundreds of books there, and you could check them out as often as you wanted to.

I have a few memories of being in that library without my teacher. Maybe she gave a few of us permission to go there after we finished certain lessons early since our classroom was right down the hall from the library? At any rate, I read as much as I possible could there before the school year ended. If I could have visited during the summer, I would have.

Luckily, Laramie also had a well-stocked public library that my family visited regularly. My strongest memories of it are as follows:

  • Sitting in little wooden chairs and reading quietly while my siblings finished picking out what they wanted to borrow.
  • Looking at a sculpture of a large apple that had a big bite taken out of it. There may have been a worm crawling out of it, too. This piece of art was in the children’s section, and it utterly fascinated me.
  • Sneaking into the adult section of the library once to look around and being surprised when none of the adults noticed or cared. For some reason, I was convinced that the librarians would have disapproved of a child looking at books meant for grown-ups.

In a Hammock

My family moved back east where many of our extended family members lived when I was eleven.

The house we lived in had a large backyard full of trees that overlooked a lake. I bought a hammock with my savings, and my parents hung it between two trees.

I spent the next few years of my life reading out there whenever the weather was decent. It was such a peaceful place to read, especially when I occasionally glanced up and saw a neighbour swimming or boating past our yard. We’d never lived right next to a lake before, so it surprised me a little bit every single time that happened.

At the Park

The best reading years of my childhood began when I was fifteen and we moved away from the countryside and into a small town.

Our house was a ten to fifteen minute walk from the public library, so I could finally go to the library as many times each week as I wanted to  without having to ask anyone to drive me there.

This meant that I sometimes went every day in the summertime! There was a small park right next to the library, and a bigger park about halfway between our home and the library.

I spent a lot of time hanging out in them when the weather was nice. Our community was far too small to have festivals, parades, or other large events more than a few times a year, so it was nice to have all of that free entertainment at my fingertips.

On My Smartphone

These days I’m all about ebooks and reading online in general.

The beautiful thing about having a smartphone is that I always have something to read if I’m stuck in a waiting room or on a delayed subway car. Carrying around a book isn’t always practical, especially since you can’t always predict when you might suddenly have twenty minutes to spare and nothing to do during that time.

It’s also nice to have dozens of books at my fingertips. Whether I want something serious or lighthearted, it’s easy to find online if I don’t already have it in my virtual library.

Where do you like to read? How have those preferences changed over the years?