Simple Ways to Spend More Time Reading

A few years back I decided to make a conscious effort to revisit reading for pleasure. It’s a hobby that I’ve always enjoyed but was getting more difficult to prioritize as I grew older. I started thinking about the obstacles (both real and imagined) that prevented me from spending more time doing my favourite hobby. Most of my friends who read have similar complaints like, how do you find the time? Here’s some suggestions- some I’ve incorporated into my own routine, and some I think might help others, too.

If you can’t find the time…

  • Read during your commute. It’s a lot more fun than staring out into space. (Do not do this if you’re the one driving.)
  • Bring a book to read while waiting for an appointment, meeting or class to start. Also, make sure you have one nearby any time a call is on hold.
  • I keep a book in the kitchen for those in-between times when I’m waiting for the oven to preheat, the kettle to boil, or the coffee to brew.
  • Use your time at the Laundromat wisely by bringing a book, or treat your building’s laundry room like one so you can snag some quality reading time.
  • Read at work: during your coffee break, your lunch break, or if you’re waiting around. That is, provided all of your work is done and you’re doing it discreetly. Again, the key is discreetly. (And no, you cannot tell your boss I told you that.)

If you’re looking to make the time…

  • Consider cutting down on your screen time. I think twice before picking up any electronics- do I really want to play a fifth round of Candy Crush, or do I want to read?
  • Now cut down your other screen times as well. How many minutes do you lose every day browsing Netflix or turning on a show for the sake of just watching something? I limited my TV intake and now use that borrowed time to pick up my book instead.
  • Make it part of your routine. I try to read for an hour before bed every night, but you may want to read a few minutes every morning, or set rules for a family reading hour on a weekly basis.

The second biggest obstacle that I came across were reading ruts- you know, when you just can’t get excited about the book you’re reading. Sometimes I’d read a few ho-hum books in a row and think, what’s the point? Or I’d read tearjerkers back-to-back that left me emotionally drained and unmotivated to pick up something new. Here are some ways to snap out of it:

If you’re looking for motivation…

  • Tracking the books I read on Goodreads has really helped motivate me. I like being able to set myself challenges, and checking in with friends to see how they’re doing with theirs.
  • Join a book club, go to a book lecture, or attend a reading by your favorite author.

If you’re looking for a new approach…

  • Turn to reading as a coping mechanism. If I feel myself starting to unravel from stress or anxiety, I’ll give myself a time out to read a few pages until I calm down.
  • Make it portable. I’m not a huge fan of e-readers but if you’re looking for a way to incorporate more reading into your routine this format may be way more convenient. No more toting around giant books on the subway!
  • Try something new. There are so many books out there about virtually everything under the sun- you’re bound to find something that piques your interest. A new genre or author just might inspire your love of reading all over again.

Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

B to the E-Reader: I’ll Never Surrender!


Dear E-Reader,

It’s been almost two years since our last interaction. Enough time has passed that I’ve finally found the courage to tell you the truth about what happened. I feel like I at least owe you that much.

You probably think about that day just as much as I do. Probably more, because I actually don’t think about it at all. It was the end of winter and I was feeling desperate. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even think of the consequences until it was over. It wasn’t until you left that I became fully aware of the weight of my decision.

See, there’s something you should know. When you came into my life, I was still reeling from my experience with The Paperback. It was the longest relationship I had ever been in, so at first it was easy to forgive the little things until the problems to grew too big to ignore. Paperback was so easily damaged, and whenever I felt like changing things up, Paperback always had the same old story. Then you appeared underneath the Christmas tree that morning and I felt like it was a chance to start afresh. You were so shiny and worldly and were lavish with your praise of all of my reading accomplishments. Paperback seemed naïve and futile in comparison to all the stories you had to share.

The truth is, I don’t know if I was really ready for you, E-Reader. I missed the experience of holding a book, of touching it, of smelling it. (Yeah, I know. So creepy.) Paperback was so stoïc, so solid; and yet you were all over the place, constantly challenging me to read more, or offering me new recommendations, or turning the page when I wasn’t ready (and I swear I only tapped your screen once). So many things were happening at such an alarming rate I would forget where I had left off on the page, or got so distracted I couldn’t keep track of the story. You constantly demanded my attention and insisted on coming with me everywhere. It was toxic and confusing.

It’s still no excuse for selling you on Craigslist without any warning, but I knew a clean break would be the only way to clean up this mess. You see, I never stopped having feelings for Paperback. I couldn’t stop going back and forth between you too. I let my empty wallet make the decision for me. The truth is, I could never be the total digital convert that you wanted me to be. I like paper too much. Also, you were worth way more than my dog-eared copy of Pride and Prejudice.

Thinking about you after all this time makes me wonder if you still miss me, but then I remember the way the man who bought you looked at you when he left my apartment. He was smiling at you with the same look of hope I had on my face when I got my first e-reader. You were staring back at him, your face a blank screen. Somehow, in my heart, I knew it was going to work out between you too.

But as for this old-fashioned girl? I’ll never surrender to your charms, E-Reader. Or Kobo. Or Kindle. Or whatever your name was.

Fondly, B

KBwB-BFlower-50Paperback or e-reader: which camp are you in? Please don’t tell me that you still read scrolls! Comment below or give me a shout at Wanna see more of what I’ve read, both in print and digitally? Check out my Goodreads profile or read about more book-ish type stuff here.