To Call Me An Egghead Is To Insult Eggheads
Joy asked me on Facebook if I had any advice about finding time to read when life (for her, at least, and probably many others) is taken up with schoolwork. I have a few ideas, but the problem is that they are not actually mine. To put it simply, reading is my work. When I gave my father-in-law Signs Amid the Rubble for Christmas and added that I had already read it and loved it, my brother noted how few books he had read in the year (he legitimately has little time to do anything but work), and I had to explain, somewhat abashed, that reading is my work, and that is why I do so much of it. Again, at a gathering I flung out a piece of knowledge (which was not very trivial and I do not actually remember what the conversation was all about) and when I was asked how I knew my little tidbit of fact I replied, also abashed, that it was my business to know such things. It's simply what I do. I don't know if it does anyone else any good (except to clarify that Vercingetorix was a Gaul, not a German), but I like to think it does my own writing some good. It wouldn't do for me to be mistaken in my facts or lacking in knowledge while at the same time trying to be a novelist. And I have no idea what I might need to know, so I simply take in everything I can.
And here I sit, on the brink of what is the end of the workweek for most people, and what is about to be for me the beginning of two days of not having enough time or energy to do what I like: reading. Reading is my business and my life is open with acres of time in which to do it. So much of the advice I have for you (any of you) has to be gleaned from Abigail. She has schoolwork, and office work, and house work, as well as her reading and writing, all nagging at her to be done. And yet she gets it all done.
Make a point of reading before bed. This is something I'm trying to institute myself. Don't look at the computer, stay away from television screens. Bundle up in your pajamas, crawl into bed, and read some from your book.
Read in the morning before you "start your day." Once you get into the flow of the day, it's sometimes hard to break off and pick up a book. Go to bed early and get up early - and read a bit before you get going!
Have "book stations." If you're like me and you're reading more than one book at a time, find places you tend to be in the house for any length of time and assign books to those places: your bed, a chair in the living room, a place at the kitchen table. When you're there, pick up the book and read.
Multitask. Unless you tend to have sit-down meals other than supper, in which case it would be rude to ignore your family, read while you eat! This can grow awkward when your food requires a fork and a knife and your book requires at least one hand, but necessity is the mother of invention. You'll find a way around such problems.
"Never trust anyone who hasn't brought a book with him." Got a bag or a purse? Stuff a book in it. I have designated reading areas at my local grocery stores. While I'm waiting for the rest of my crew to finish, I plunk down and read for a spell. Even if you get carsick while reading (which I do) take a book with you anyway. You never known when an opportunity to read may arise.
Break it down. I'm reading three books at present (The Flowers of Adonis by Rosemary Sutcliff, On Christian Truth by Harry Blamires, and 1215: The Year of the Magna Carta by Danny Danziger and John Gillingham) and two of them have short to manageable chapters, the sort I can easy read in a day. If you have a lot you want to read, take it in bite-size pieces (I did this with Thera, whose chapters are few and huge) and put the book down and move on once you have accomplished your goal for the day. Slow but steady wins the race.