I actually hear this all time, from a co-worker, or a friend, or someone who sees me walking down the hall with my thumb in a paperback. I get the inevitable sigh, an exaggerated pout, then the querulous excuse, “I just don’t have time anymore.”
Before I start to sound agonizingly pretentious, let me offer the disclaimer that I don’t read to impress anyone. I just read. It’s my thing. If you’re reading this blog, you’re more than likely the same way. It took me most of my formidable years not to be embarrassed to be a “reader,” not to hide books that I was reading that might be considered highbrow or literary for fear of being labeled a snob. I found one of my best friends in college because we trusted each other to confess that we both had Walden in our respective dorm rooms and it wasn’t required reading. Now I can say that I like Dostoevsky and I’m not going to be ashamed of that anymore. Book empowerment.
This “I wish I had time to read (like you do)” complaint also implies that I have no responsibilities, no obligations, nothing else at all to tend to but my books. “Gee,” I think, fingertips drumming my lips, “I have absolutely nothing else to do in my empty, carefree life. Hmmm. I know! I’ll pick up a book!” Never mind that full-time job, two kids, piles of laundry and dishes, and the fact that the new season of “Orange is the New Black” just came out.
So, with all that going on, when exactly DO I have “time” to read? Well, you see, reading is really my main hobby . . . dare I say, one of my reasons for loving life. Reading isn’t something I have to make time for. It’s just part of who I am.
I read about reading. I surf social media reading apps (I apologize for majorly over-promoting of Litsy (Litsy – a fun, new bookish app!), but it’s book nirvana, so, sorry. I read Websites about books (my favorite is bookriot.com). I get emails from publishing houses about upcoming releases. I click on Netgalley.com, holding my breath that I’m chosen to read an Advance Reader Copy of a new release from a favorite author. I read other bloggers’ book reviews. Like I said, books are what I do.
When I read:
- waiting at the daycare to drop off my son in the morning
- waiting for meetings to start at work
- during my commute to work or to pick up kids (that’s audiobooks, folks. I’m not reckless.)
- when doing the aforementioned piles of laundry or dishes (more audiobooks)
- waiting in line anywhere, really (CVS, bank, drycleaners . . . I could go on and on)
- when other people would choose to do other things with their time (i. e., watch “Big Brother” or “Dancing with the Stars”)
- Any chance I get
“Wow,” you must be thinking. “This chick is so uppity.” Nah. I do other stuff, too. I watch TV. I listen to music in the car sometimes instead of listening to a book. I went through a huge “American Idol” phase before it started to go downhill. So, I get it. There are a lot of choices out there. Most of the time, I just choose reading over anything else. Just please, all the “I wish I had time” folks out there, don’t look at me like my choice is somehow inferior.
If you really are earnest in your grating “I wish I had time to read” complaint, try the following:
- Serial Reader app for iphone – you can read classics for free sent to your phone in easy-to-digest installments. I’m reading Jane Eyre right now on Serial Reader.
- DailyLit.com – the same as Serial Reader, but it’s via email.
- Kindle app for iphone. Sorry, all you Samsung people. I’m sure there must be something for you, but I just don’t know what it is.
- Overdrive – this app can be on your phone, desktop, laptop, garlic press, whatever. Download audiobooks and e-books for free from your local library.
- Audiobooks – I can’t emphasize enough how great audiobooks are. If you haven’t tried one, I highly recommend them. You can get them for free from your local library, either in old-school CD format or via download on Overdrive.
I carry book devices with me. I can read on my Kindle, my phone, my laptop, my desktop, or good old-fashioned paper. Whenever I have a few minutes, I almost always have one of those materials with me, so I’m always well-stocked. Reading is in the forefront of my existence. So, when I hear, “I wish IIIII had time to reeeeeeead,” all sing-song and whiny, I just want to ask, “So what do you choose to do instead?”