Nearly a year ago, I stopped commuting via public transport. This was for two reasons – I changed my working site and the commute via public transport is 2.5 times longer than by car. I’ve enjoyed not being at the mercy of technical incidents, accidents and strikes but there was one thing I missed most – not being able to read to and from work.
I also learned that commercial radio can get very boring, very quickly and there’s only so much news I can take in my day.
Reading on the train was quite relaxing (even while trying to stretch to reach some sort of handhold) and it separated my life into work and non-work pretty nicely. Listening to the radio, I found myself thinking about work. Not really the way to relax. I needed more reading in my life! It took some time, but I juggled out what works for me:
I hadn’t listened to an audiobook since I was a child (you know, the ones that make the noise to ‘turn the page’). So I investigated audiobooks at my local library and tried some CD versions. These were a great, free introduction but I realised that I couldn’t get through a 15 hour book in the allotted borrowing period and that it’s really not a good idea to change CDs while driving. I also learned that some books are more difficult to listen to initially than others. I recommend non-fiction, such as memoirs and history – you don’t need to juggle plots and subplots as you fight the traffic. After your focus improves, then introduce fiction. Also, be aware that the sex scenes may be at the point you need to talk to a car park attendant. Know where your pause/stop button is if you’re easily embarrassed!
Some libraries in Australia subscribe to Bolinda, where you can download audiobooks from your computer to your iPod/iPhone/smartphone. They’ve just updated their system so you can return the book at any time. Audible also offer a subscription service and do have sales as well!
Reading while exercising
I know it’s bad to read while you’re on a stationary bike, but in reality that’s the only way you’re going to get me on there. It’s just too boring otherwise! I tend to read on my Kindle or use a light book (hardcovers are an extra weight exercise on their own). I find that the more interesting the book, the more I cycle. In my head is a design for a stand to rest the book on, but that’s for the future. Otherwise, audiobooks are great to listen to (and you won’t get odd looks at the gym).
Putting that tablet/phone out of reach
It’s amazing how difficult it feels to reach out and pick up a book these days. It’s easier just to go through the cycle of social media and repeat, because somebody would have posted something new during that time. Go and put the electronic device away, now snuggle under a blanket and read.
Turn off the TV
There doesn’t seem to be too much on TV these days and do you really need to see that repeat of Seinfeld? If you must have background noise, put it on something that doesn’t interest you. I hate to think how many times I’ve watched some movie half-heartedly when I could have been lost in a book.
Be open to different reads at different times
Don’t feel like that in-depth historical fiction tonight? Start a new book. It’s okay to have multiple different books on the go for your different moods. Sometimes after work (and all that cycling) you just want to read crime. Or YA. Or romance. Go with what you want to do – it’s your reading life, not anyone else’s.
How do you fit more reading into your day?