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.
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).
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.
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.
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! 🙂