This was going to be a continuation of my book reviews blog posts. But I’m not convinced they’re working for me any more. Until now I’d had mainly one, or at most two, books on the go simultaneously, and would add a review of it once I’d finished it – publishing the post once there were five reviews. Except, I’m only getting between 11 and 13 books read a year, so this process seems to take ages, and I’m struggling to find time to read all the things I want to read. I was inspired by Mostly Knitting’s blog post about a reading plan for 2021. Like her, I am rather horrified at the idea of a reading plan. Once upon a time I read all the time: walking between lessons at school, waiting for a teacher to arrive, reading cereal packets at breakfast if there wasn’t anything else, long luxurious summer days of teenage reading books under trees. Getting the maximum number of books out of the library at a time, then returning them all a week later as I’d read the lot. Two decades ago [how is it two decades?!] Mostly Knitting and I would spend days together, in companionable silence, just reading. Adult life did still involve a lot of reading, if not quite as much. My years of freelancing spending a lot of time in B & Bs away from home in the days before wi-fi meant I got a lot of reading done in the evenings. More recently my time as a central London commuter meant I was getting 1.5 books a week read for pleasure.
Of course, the job (and car commute) and small child have removed a lot of my reading time. But things like social media and smart phone ownership haven’t helped either. One book I read last year, How to break up with your phone really made me think about how much time I spend on it, and how easy it is to get sucked into doing twelve other things after picking it up to “briefly” use the calculator. I’ve changed some things after reading that, although there is much more I could do.
The time I thought I’d have this year, once LO started school, hasn’t really materialised because of the pandemic. I’ve had to change working pattern so many times (I’m currently on my seventh change in 54 weeks) to fit in with whether nursery or school is open, whether LO’s at school but wraparound is closed, whether it’s school holidays (in which case all my free time vanishes) or whether it’s school holidays and holiday club is open but not long enough to cover my commute and at a location in the opposite direction to work leading to the use of annual leave to reduce my working day by enough so I can actually get her to the holiday club (my current situation, lasting two weeks, before we revert back to school and wraparound care reopening, but probably no breakfast club, although no one has confirmed that yet. Excuse me whilst I run for the hills screaming loudly in frustration). It hasn’t been as much a “Covid pivot” as a Covid non-stop pirouette.
That’s out of my control, but other things are in my control. I’ve decided to read more things simultaneously (not literally simultaneously!). I sleep better if I’ve got an enjoyable, not-too-difficult, novel on the go, so I need something like that to keep by the bed. But it can stay by the bed. I need to make more of an effort to keep on top of professional reading during my work lunchtime. And actually take my lunchtime (even though it keeps being cut short anyway by whichever failure of wraparound care I’m dealing with that week). I can do that by being more deliberate about what I’m going to read, instead of not planning it, leaving it to later to decide, and staring at my phone whilst gobbling sandwiches. I already have a subscription to Gardeners’ World magazine, and the Church Times, both of which I enjoy and am able to keep on top of by reading the bits that interest me the most. And I’ve got a pile of non-fiction that I’d like to read and which I might find time for if I put the phone down more often 😉
I’ll still be logging books read on LibraryThing, so do come and find me there (I’m Daisydaisydaisy). Have you got any tips for finding more time for reading in your life?