Everyday faves | Taking time for reading

Two weeks ago, I started a new series called “Everyday faves,” to highlight everyday, or commonplace, things — or practices or habits — that make a difference in my life. For me, these posts are an exercise in self-reflection and appreciation.

My first post in the series was about better bobby pins — and wow, there were some awesome reader comments on that post! This week for the “Everyday faves” series is about taking time for reading. Not just the act of reading itself — I’m sure it seems like, “Hello, you’re a librarian, and you like reading. What else is new?!” I’m really focusing here on the intentional practice of building time into my daily schedule for reading.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, taking time for reading

Even though I have been a lifelong reader — and this includes a lifelong long of reading for pleasure, also known as “independent reading” — I realized a few years ago that I had not been pleasure-reading on a daily basis, which I had done as a kid and teen. I would often skip reading at night or on lunch breaks in order to get back to work more quickly or watch TV or browse online. And I realized that I did not feel as fulfilled, or as happy, when I didn’t include daily reading time. So I made taking time for reading a priority in my daily life. Definitely an everyday fave! 🙂

I’m simply a happier, calmer, more relaxed person when I intentionally build into my daily schedule opportunities to read for my own pleasure. And I’m not alone in this! There have been several research studies about the benefits of independent, daily reading, as outlined here in this short article, “10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day“; in this research study, “What Reading Does for the Mind“; and in this research literature review, “Independent Reading and School Achievement.”

I usually take a book with me so that I can read during lunch time at work, or during appointments like waiting in a doctor’s office. I personally prefer print books, and this probably explains why my preferred bag is a tote bag, so there’s room for a book! Whenever possible, I take an hour for lunch, at least half of which I dedicate to reading. (I like to find a quiet corner in the library, along with my water bottle and a chocolate or two.) It helps clear my head and resets me for work in the afternoon. I also try to read — even if only a chapter or two — at night, which is why I keep a stack of books on my nightstand (along with my reading glasses, phone charger, and space for a coffee or tea cup).

Librarian for Life + Style | Nightstand and books for personal reading time

Here’s a closer look at what I’m currently reading:

  • The most recent book in the Outlander series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon. I just finished this book, and I took a loooooooong time with this book, as it’s the final one (thus far) in the series. Plus, they’re all super long and rich with historical details. I checked this book out from our local public library, and I had to renew my check-out in order to finish the book!
  • A collection of some of Jane Austen’s shorter works, Northanger Abbey and Other Works. I’m reading Lady Susan, which is included in this collection, because I’ll be co-leading a JASNA book discussion on the book next month.
  • The most recent book in the Maisie Dobbs historical mystery series, Journey to Munich, by Jacqueline Winspear. I’ll start this book after I finish Lady Susan. I was lucky enough to see Jacqueline Winspear in person at a local bookstore event in Portland for the release of her 2015 book, A Dangerous Place. She was lovely and articulate, and Maisie Dobbs has become one of my favorite literary characters, independent and intelligent and relatably flawed.

Librarian for Life + Style | Nightstand and books for personal reading time

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about my nightstand for our Portland home, and below is an update on my nightstand in our Tacoma home. Pretty much the same idea — and the same artwork — but in a slightly different configuration.

Librarian for Life + Style | Nightstand and books for personal reading time

Do you love to read for pleasure, and do you build in daily time for reading? Do you wish you had more time for reading? Do you prefer to read books in print or through a Kindle-like app or audiobook? Please leave a comment and share! 🙂


15 thoughts on “Everyday faves | Taking time for reading

  1. Mike

    I think that is wonderful Jen that you take time out for yourself to read. It does give a person a certain tranquility or sense of calm well being after reading something, even just a little. I do a similar thing to what you do in that I take an hour lunch (I have to come in a half hour early but it’s worth it) and the first twenty or so minutes of it I spend eating my lunch. When I finish, I read for a little bit as I carry a book along with me to our lunchroom/break area, and spend the remaining 35 minutes (I leave at least 5 minutes to allow myself to get back to my department on time) reading the book that I brought along, usually something that I want to finish for our monthly book reviews later on.

    Sometimes I like to try and take some time at home in the evenings (after I’ve finished cooking dinner for the family, finish the dishes, do personal hygiene, etc.) and read a little before bed, if I’m not too tired. But sometimes I don’t always get this opportunity as my evenings are just so packed. But I usually catch up with whatever reading that I’m doing on the weekends and I love to migrate to my room or my patio (if it’s nice out) to get some reading done for pleasure. And every Friday, I meet with some co-worker friends at our local coffee shop and we either do art or read over coffee. It makes for a really fun night! It makes me feel better after having completed a long reading session. And when I finish a book, I go straight to my computer and start writing a book review on it while it’s still fresh in my head.
    And I prefer printed material as opposed to the digital variety (though I do love my Kindle!).

    You should think about starting a monthly book review on your blog Jen. Salazar, as you probably know, does monthly reviews on hers. And I’m starting one too on mine (though I’m trying to keep it quiet about the blog), so you’re welcome to join in.

    1. Brenda N

      Hooray for reading!! I definitely prefer print books and feel a bit adrift if I don’t have a book going every day. I’m often amazed to see people in waiting rooms, sitting & staring without reading material, I always need a book with me. With my home bookshelves full now, I get all of my books through the library, usually by reserving online. Picking up books gets me to the library a few times a week, I love it! Recently read ” The Boston Girl” by Anita Diamant.

      1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

        Thanks for sharing, Brenda. I remember when living overseas in the Middle East — where there’s not so much a culture of reading, at least not for recreational pleasure — an Emirati student commented that she was amazed when she went on a family trip to Australia, to see so many people reading books in public. She put it in such a memorable way, that everyone she saw was “friends with a book.” I really like that phrase and image, that if you read for pleasure, you’re “friends with a book.” ❤

    2. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Thanks, Mike, for sharing your own reading habits. I sometimes like to share what I’m reading or watching, but I don’t want to get into a monthly book review-type thing on the blog, as the primary focus of this blog is about my personal style journey. I also address this question on my FAQs page.

      1. Mike

        I understand. And I apologize Jen. I hope that I did not offend you. I didn’t see your FAQ page so I didn’t know. Sometimes I get very passionate when it comes to books and reading so I tend to forget little things like that. Again, I am very sorry…

  2. Beth M.

    Also a reader, (and erstwhile librarian). I prefer print books, but as my eyes are starting to fade a little w/age, it’s nice to have a Kindle; I like having options with lighting/font size. I’m also always trying to downsize, and it’s nice to have reading material that doesn’t take up a lot of space. But nothing replaces my favorite bookcase and its contents!

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Love that phrase, “erstwhile librarian.” And you make a good point, about Kindles and e-book apps making it easier to read as one’s eyes age (something I’m also experiencing the effects of). Print books and e-books can live together — we can benefit from having both options 🙂

  3. jhitomi

    I have loved reading since I was little, religiously checking out books every week from our neighborhood library. I could not imagine a better job than to be a librarian spending days among shelves of books! Life choices took me in a different direction but I still think that would have been my dream job. Now, although I read more on my iPad than in print, there are books on my shelves that are among my most treasured possessions. I feel sorry for kids today who may not know the joys of reading a book in a bath, on a long road trip, or curled up in bed.

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Thanks for sharing! I find myself comforted, physically, by being surrounded by books. And that includes when at home, and not just at work. We even have a book called ‘Decorating With Books’ that I find myself flipping through and (happily) sighing over 🙂

  4. Karen Strand

    Reading is by far my favorite pastime. I just finished “A Man Called Ove” and I really enjoyed it. I just started “Defendeng Jacob”. I love that my bookshelves are full of my favorites and I can share them with fellow readers but I find the convenience of reading on my iPad pretty cool!

  5. eldo2014

    I love reading about fellow style bloggers who love to read as myself. It is indeed very important to take time out of the day to read. This is like an exercise to our brain which needs to be stimulated and be in a constant learning and thinking state, to say the least. Thank you for sharing your experience with us 🙂

    Edwige | http://www.hypnozglam.com

  6. Pingback: Everyday faves | Travel-sized stain sticks | Librarian for Life and Style

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