I have had a lot more time for reading books lately. Not that I am reading luxuriously, curled up for a few hours with tea. Mostly I read on the subway and a little bit at night before going to sleep.
A few years ago we tried something I read about where everyone in the family reads separately. SQUIRT it was called in some magazine or other. Super Quiet Uninterrupted Reading Time. It never really caught on. For me it was important that everyone read books, physical books, not something on a Kindle or Ipad or phone. Why? If one is “legitimately” reading a book on a phone, why doesn’t that feel right to me? I guess I fear the person will be pinged and otherwise interrupted and tempted to scroll around and look at other stuff, won’t be immersed fully in the book. I need to be less controlling about how and what other people choose to read, however. Alex (my partner) likes to scroll around on news sites, particularly Brazilian ones. He claims to like books—and wants to hold on to all his accounts of the Hungarian Empire, counterpoint melodies and Tai Chi—but I rarely ever see him holding one. But anyway it shouldn’t matter to me what someone else chooses to read, or in what format. I need only focus on myself. I have to remind myself of this constantly.
Anyway, the reason I’m getting to read books more often is very simple—I choose them instead of scrolling around, clicking on links, checking various cites. There still are blogs I follow and I almost always read The New York Times digitally, but aimless clicking and scrolling, I am trying to avoid. It brings me so very little satisfaction, and yet for years I willing jumped down into rabbit holes rather than pick up a book. Laziness or a feeling of wanted to be connected, current, “in the know.” Somehow not having the energy to step away from the computer and push through the initial resistance that can attend opening a book. Why should there be so much resistance to something we love doing? I suppose part of it is knowing that we’ll be interrupted, and can’t read the way we want to, so instead we settle for fragmented online reading, a few minutes here, a few minutes there.
It took me a while to realize most books don’t demand so much attention that we can’t read them the same fragmented way.
Mindful decision-making brings clarity to almost every aspect of our lives.
Now step away from the computer.