I miss reading

December 30, 2015

Ah, an entire month on vacation in Santa Fe! I envisioned long, lazy, quiet days with one of the 15 thick tomes I brought along. They’d been piled up on one of my bedroom bookcases for a very long time and I couldn’t wait to dig into them.

I’ve always been an avid reader. Lost in my books, I never heard my mother calling me to set the table or eat dinner. I could read one in a day, sometimes even two. Books were my love and my escape, and they stayed that way for a long time. A very long time.

But then, the internet came along and tempted me away from my love affair with books. Oh, there was so much to do with my new love, the internet. Social media ensured a constant stream of real-life diversion, sometimes mindless. Not always, but a lot of the time. Not to mention my smartphone and the girlfriend who got me addicted to DOTS.  Did I say Solitaire? And we got a DVR!  No need to search for a show On Demand, I could just tape it and binge watch TV shows. And I did.

I abandoned reading, for the most part. My pile of books grew and grew, silently nagging at me to abandon the shallow stranger and get back to my first love.  I would do it in Santa Fe, I thought. Carefully unpacking and stacking my stash of books on the rental home’s shelf, I was anxious to crack them open and escape into the waiting words.

I didn’t.  Not a single one.  Instead, I hung out with friends. I wrote. I watched the DVR. I walked Riley. I cooked.  I even ordered more books. Yes, I did.

I did everything but read and the books came home with me, pristine, unopened, dead weight in the car.

back-to-readingBasta! (That means “enough!” in Italian.)  I miss my true love, books! So I decided to designate one full day a week as Reading Day.  A Thursday was my first Reading Day, but it might be any day of the week. It just depends on my schedule.  I’ve established rules for Reading Day, too:

The hours of 8am to 5pm on Reading Day are to be devoted to reading. Nothing else.

I don’t schedule lunch with a friend that day. I don’t see Hot Trainer. Or look at the DVR before dinner.  No blogging. No hanging out on Facebook. No freelance writing that day.  I don’t prepare a meal or grocery shop or run errands.  No. I read. And read.

It’s on the calendar each week so it has the weight of any other scheduled event.

Like any relationship, this one  has to be nurtured, I realized, or it won’t survive. The path of least resistance, the passive path, is to sit in front of the computer all day.


I’m back to reading.

I love books. I love reading. I love it so much I’m devoting one full day to it every single week. And if it works out well, I may add another day, you never know.

I’d love your thoughts.


20 comments on “I miss reading
  1. I’d climb into a book any day of the week. But my (paid) work takes up so much time because I always need to research, research, research. By dinnertime my eyes are so bleary from being on the Internet and that is NOT good. I think my eyesight is suffering!

    So many cherished books gather dust on my table. I am DYING TO READ THEM! So I think setting aside some quiet time every week in 2016 is a good idea. The research and writing can just wait.

  2. Carol, I love this! I feel the same way about reading but it does always seem to take a back seat to everything else. By the time I sit down at night, I’m too tired to focus.

    As I am planning my new year, I think I will institute your idea and designate special “reading” days just for me. Ill be doing something I love and incorporating a little self care too.

    Happy new year!

  3. B says:

    This is wonderful! I find that I have to schedule my reading as well, or it just doesn’t happen. So many things get in the way and before I know it, I’m behind on my tbr, or worse, in a reading slump. The busy holiday season has killed my reading plans. Sigh. So, scheduling is a must. Also, incorporating audiobooks has helped me a lot. Whether walking the dog, cleaning, or doing laundry, I can knock out big chunks of books while still getting other necessary things done! Cheers to knocking out the To-Be-Read list in the new year!

  4. This is such a great idea. I find it so much more difficult to focus on books now that I’m involved in social media. I don’t know if I could commit to 8 hours, but 4 hours every Thursday is doable. I’m going to do it!

  5. I wrote about this same issue last year when I couldn’t seem to pay attention to any book, which was so unlike me. I love your Thursday idea and, like Sharon, may join you for a half day. We need to take back reading and continue to pass that love on to future generations. I can’t even imagine how terrible a world without books would be.

  6. Donna says:

    Identical experience. Every single part…I can’t devote a whole day but I will follow your pattern with a morning or an afternoon….an hour? But your call to read again is a great one, thank you

  7. Nicole says:

    I always have several books going. But it is so easy to get distracted. Vacation is a great time to come back to what really brings you joy.

  8. Carolann says:

    What a great idea! I read mostly on my puter or IPAD now. All of my books are ebooks now which makes me kinda sad but it really does make reading so much nicer and I read more often now which is a plus! I wish you a wonderful New Year Carol to you and yours and lots of quiet and relaxing Thursdays!

  9. Wow…..Sisters in Reading!! I do so understand. Why am I sometimes late to work…because the optimum time for me to get my reading in is during the late night hours – uninterrupted. I have always been an avid reader and I enjoy it more since I have been blogging. I have a day job so I cannot devote an entire day to reading but I will join you on Thursday evenings with a cup of tea and all electronics off. I look forward to it. Giving permission to self to just check out is a beautiful thing.

  10. Lisa Beach says:

    Carol, I love your idea! I’m going to steal it, but put a twist on it. We were a family of readers until technology slowly crept in. I’m going to institute “Reading Night” with our two teen boys — one night a week for at least 30 minutes. We used to do this (more often and for longer periods) when the boys were younger, but that’s not feasible with their busy schedules these days. But 30 minutes once a week? We could do that. Thanks for helping us rekindle an old habit!

  11. Roz Warren says:

    Terrific idea! As somebody who works in a public library and has witnessed The Decline Of Reading first hand, I applaud you. I don’t read as many books as I once did, but I’m still addicted to magazines. I trust that you also read magazines on Reading Day? (By the way I’m not at home, but when I get back to my own computer I’m totally tweeting this one.)

  12. GREAT idea. I start every year determined to have a schedule that I keep to. It lasts for a couple of weeks, mostly.

  13. Robin Herman says:

    Yes! And a great idea Carol. Same had happened to me. The damn Internet (and here we are right now) I will definitely designate a reading day and report back.

  14. I blamed my lack of reading books on writing books but it definitly has to do with the time sucking internet too.
    I love your idea and I know to be good writers we have to first be good readers. I think I’ll join you on Thursdays for at least 1/2 a day too.

  15. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Social media is a blessing and a curse, isn’t it? I hate when it gets in the way of reading.

  16. That’s a marvelous idea. I think I’m going to copy you. I’ve been concentrating on reading MORE the past couple months, but I’m not even close to what I used to read before the Internet. And Facebook. And blogging. And blah, blah, blah that’s nowhere near as satisfying as reading… a print book.

  17. A must share, Carol, on Fuze Publishing facebook page and also on page of Southern Oregon Literary Alliance. The drift toward electronic stimuli is so insidious, and it’s not really what we prefer.

  18. Brends Silbernagel says:

    Isn’t this the truth… I’ve read for as long as I can remember, sometimes wondering why I needed such escapism in my life. But the truth doesn’t lie, I read because I love it. Fiction, autobiographys, books on the afterlife, this life, how to better my life, and on and on it goes. It’s the stockpiling, but I say to each book” your next”.

  19. Estelle says:

    This is a fantastic idea, Carol. I only get to read on vacation and I need more time to do it. I’m joining Lois and Sharon in doing it for half days.

  20. This made me take stock and realize that I haven’t been keeping up with reading either and it brings me the greatest joy. There’s nothing like cracking open that long, anticipated novel. The smell of the paper and the ink. The excitement of knowing that you’re about to go on a special journey. I read now, but they are always some kind of “how to”. Just think how happy the world would be if everyone just took a day to read.

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