by Paul M. Carhart
I used to read a lot. I guess I can blame The Hobbit for that. I encountered that book in seventh grade and I’ve been a sci-fi and fantasy reader ever since. I also like to read nonfiction on subjects dear to my heart. Indeed, like many writers, I read what I write. However, I have found it harder to find time to read, especially since adding a family to my adventures. And yet, friends still ask me how I manage to get through one book and into the next, as if I actually am making headway. Of course, to me, it doesn’t really seem like I am making headway. But I’m still burning through books faster than most people I know. So here’s a few of my tips to help get you more quickly from front cover to the back.
Your constant companion
Carry a book with you wherever you go. I’m serious. My wife often gives me “that look” when we’re going out to the car and I have my book in tow. But you never know when you’re going to end up with idle time to burn through a few pages. Just don’t read when people are talking to you or replace family time with reading time. Save your book for when “they” aren’t looking. If you’re afraid of screwing up your new paperback book by dragging it around your world, you can pick up protective covers to keep your books pristine (check out www.bookmatestore.com). If you don’t bring a book with you wherever you go, the rest of these tips will be useless to you. So bring it. You’ll be glad.
Brought to you by…
So you’re watching your favorite television show and suddenly you’re hit by those obnoxious louder-than-usual-TV intrusions into your privacy known as commercials. Rather than mindlessly flip channels, it’s a perfect time to scoop up your book and get through a few pages before your show returns.
In the sanctity of your car
It’s bad enough that your commute to work is time out of your life that you’ll never get back. Stoplights are even worse. What a waste of time! It’s part of your commute and you’re not even commuting! But if you have a book along for the ride, you might get through a page before the light changes in your favor. Just don’t try to read and drive at the same time. Also, if you arrive early for work or a meeting, it might be worthwhile to spend a few extra minutes in your favorite fictional world before taking care of business in the real one.
There are plenty of times when we’ll be out and my daughter will fall asleep in the car. Rather than try to move her when she’s asleep and chance waking her, Lori will sometimes dart into the store, leaving me to watch over our little angel. This is the perfect time to lock the doors and whip out a book. I stash mine in a pouch on the side of the car door. Sometimes I can even get through a whole chapter before my wife comes back.
Into the darkest hours
We usually wind down at night with something on TV. Even so, Lori will inevitably hit the hay before I do. Here’s yet another time to plow through another chapter or two in your book. It’s a lot less noisy than flipping channels so she probably won’t complain. The down side is that you need to keep a lamp on. This is fine when your spouse faces the other direction. But when she decides to roll over… well, it’s nighty night time. Of course, there’s a wide variety of book lights available. But sometimes it’s best to let sleeping wives lie.
Come back next time when we’ll look at another batch of tips that will keep your pages turning just as fast as your time seems to fly.
Paul Carhart’s book, Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle, will be available from your favorite online bookseller, August 2009. Stay up to date: paulcarhart.com.