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Reading Time and Habit

Musing Mondays2

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about reading habit:

Do you have to carve out time in your day for reading (due to work and other obligations), or does your reading just happen naturally?

If there is one aspect of my life that is strictly governed by habit, it’s my reading time. I give credit to the school I attended in Hong Kong back when I was in grade school. To encourage reading, a 20-minute quiet reading period preceded the regular bell schedule every morning. Owing to the fact that I had to bring reading materials outside of the school work, that was when I began using the library on a regular basis. A weekly visit would ensure enough readings for the entire week. At that time I buried my nose in books that would enthrall a fourth grader : the mystery of the pyramids, Dick Tracy, pictorial encyclopedia on airplanes, behavior of dogs, and atlases. Atlases. I was fascinated by all kinds of maps. I would pore over the street map of Hong Kong—beginning with the block of my house and fanning out like a spiderweb, studying bus routes and landmarks. Then the interest nudged to global direction, connecting the dots between Tokyo to Helsinki, from London to San Francisco. I remember locating the deepest point in the sea, near the Philippines.

Now reading forms the backbone of my day. The two-hour reading over a 16-oz soy latte at my favorite cafe is written on stone. It’s the time of the day when I am unmolested by any obligation–and I like to take advantage of a clear mind that follows a night’s sleep. I arrive the cafe promptly when the baristas, who have become my friends, just open the place (actually it’s my privilege to be let in early). I settle at the corner, the same table everyday, with the current book and my journal, as the sun prepares to arc across behind my back, giving natural light to my reading. For the rest of the day, I read whenever time allows.

26 Responses

  1. I think my reading time can be summed up in a few words ‘I don’t watch much TV’

    I used to be a complete addict with regards to TV but now I watch very little but read instead.

  2. I love your morning routine!

    I tend to read whenever there is a free moment – although I always try to plan a few free moments before going to bed at night.

  3. What a perfect way to start the day! I tend to grab reading time wherever I can find it, but would love to carve out a portion of the day – I’m sure it would be much more productive. And I love maps, too…

  4. That’s a wonderful morning routine! I read whenever I feel the urge, which is often, and sometimes results in my ignoring other obligations!
    I also have one evening in the week when I take whatever I’m reading to my favorite cafe for a quiet ‘scheduled’ read.

  5. I’m jealous of your morning “cafe & reading” routine! How cool!

  6. When I worked a job that started at 9 AM, I did much the same thing.. though usually only for an hour. This post brought back pleasant memories of that time; thank you.

  7. my schedule is just changing for that to work for me. I work days…I work nights…my schedule is a mess.

    I find, the better the book I am reading, the more time to read I find in my day. Ok, a few things don’t get done but still…

  8. I make time. Most of it is before I go to bed. My “me” time comes after my wife goes to bed, and I often break that time into sections–reading, writing, and TV/gaming. Sometimes each task gets 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes one dominates, and sometimes two of them get ignored. But the time’s there every day.

  9. I read whenever I have a spare minute, but the one time I HAVE to read, every night, is before I go to bed. I have a hard time falling asleep without reading for a little while first. The only evenings I don’t read before bed are evenings when I’m sleepy from having a few glasses of wine – and even then I’ll usually at least read a page or two.

  10. I love the dedication to your regimen. Someday…when my kids are grown maybe, I will do this. At least, that is my fantasy. I grab time to read when I can, and it is usually on the run. Yesterday, for Mother’s Day, part of my gift was that my family would ask nothing of me and let me lay by the pool and read. Heaven.

    I have been so busy lately, and have not been able to do my hard core commenting like I want. I’m flying around by the seat of my pants, which is typical for this time of year. I just hadn’t been giving you the love I normally do, and I feel bad. I’ve not gone anywhere, I am just disorganized at the moment.

  11. I really enjoyed reading this post. The description of your childhood habits made me remember my own youthful excitement over books. And the description of your current routine I find fasincating–and amazingly different from my own.

  12. What a fantastic way to start the morning, Matt! I don’t read as much as I used to but I nearly always read before heading off to the land of nod. I also try and snatch some reading time when travelling to and from work or between classes but it’s not always easy on crowded buses or trains.

  13. I would love to start my morning this way but for me, reading happens throughout the day. If I am lucky, I can work it into my lunch break. If not, then it falls right before bed time and sometimes all throughout the day (a page here, a page there). However, if the book is really good I have been known to read while AT work.

  14. wow, i wish i could have the discipline that you have in your morning schedule. it sounds really lovely.

    i tend to read in the evening, which is both good and bad. the day is over, so i’m not thinking of the tasks ahead of me (which is what happens when i read in the morning), but i’m usually tired and the book gets put down when the eyelids get too heavy.

  15. I am a creature of habit and homebody, but like you I rise early: 5:15 and get in about an hour of reading over coffee (at home) before showering and getting ready for work. I then read for another hour at lunch, listen to an audio book while driving, and more reading before bed during the week.

    I love routines…LOL

  16. I love to read in the morning but I rarely get to. Reading is usually right before bed for me and then random times throughout the day. Someday when I’m not in school anymore maybe I’ll be able to read in the morning again. We had 20 minute reading at my school too.

  17. This.sounds.so.good. Would love a routine like yours 😉 Alas, I need to grab myself in the neck every once in a while to sit down and read (now that I am not commuting). Although Sunday morning in bed with coffee has become quite a tradition 😉

  18. Wow, lucky!

  19. What a great way to start your day. I read whenever I get the chance which is usually at work while I eat my lunch or at night before I go to bed. I do lots of reading when I travel too. I have a camping trip coming up in two weeks and I will have a whole weekend with little else to do besides commune with nature and read…heaven!

  20. My regularly scheduled reading occurs just after breakfast and lunch. It is usually shared with my partner — we read aloud to each other, and usually it’s something other than literature. Reading to myself –usually literature — tends to occur at desultory intervals: while I’m traveling, in a waiting room, an hour or three fitted into an evening or afternoon. Occasionally, I manage to sit down in the morning and tuck into my latest reading project; it is indisputably the best time to read with a clear mind.

  21. reading before makes me sleepy but now I appreciate reading a lot. Anywhere I go I always bring a book with me. I often read at night and on day time if I have a spare time.

  22. i envy the morning routine. Mine is usually after work. I get off work at 5pm. My home is a 5 minute walk away from work. So as soon as i get home, i change and read a chapter (or more depending on the length of the chapter) for each book on my night stand. Since I also read poetry, i read a poem a day in the morning.
    Back when I was a student, I’d usually curl up in a cafe with a book for a good 2-3 hours. I found your blog through a series of blog links and I’m glad I did.

  23. That sounds lovely. Now that spring has come, I’m wanting to read Virginia Woolf in a garden. Do you take notes as you read?

  24. A cup of coffee, a book and two hours of reading time. That sounds like paradise to me. It’s tough for me to carve out some alone time to read. I carry a book with me and read pages throughout the day.

  25. I’m a teacher so I read a lot during the day anyway. My pleasure reading happens before bed each night. If I’m lucky, I might get a couple hours in before I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. Even if I only read for 20 minutes, though – I read.

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