Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Reading in no time at all

What are you currently reading?

In my four and a half years of working in a library, I cannot count the number of times customers have asked me this question. But I can probably count the number of times I've had a good answer, because most often I have not been able to give them a book title. Most often I haven't read a book for weeks, even months. Most times I have shamefacedly admitted "I don't have time to read." This is met with the predictable but true exclamation: "But you work in a library!!!" 

I should point out, I am not paid to read books all day every day, or in fact for any segment of any day. I am paid to do a great many other tasks, but not reading. Sad face.

And as I work there a fair bit, I have allowed my lifestyle to reign over my reading habits. Apart from my illustrating time, I don't usually have large chunks of time to myself. I flit about the household hoovering up, wiping up surfaces, tidying this and that. My days at work are long. Weekends are about Andy and I, and what we want to do together. I have become one of those people who do not read. I am ashamed, but mostly saddened, by this fact. Because, I LOVE to read. I love paper, I love authors. I love publishers, printers, libraries, stories. I love books. 

I realised that not reading often is no way to behave, no matter what excuse I have, so I have recently vowed to myself to READ MORE.

I've realised that my perception of reading time is sitting for large periods of time, in a comfy place, with a cup of tea, and no responsibilities or time constraints. This perception is based upon my past life, as a child and teenager where I had no responsibilities or time constraints. I could lounge in fields of buttercups with a book, laze in my hammock in my parents' garden with a book for hours on end. Spend a lie-in reading an entire novel, antisocially get my nose in a book for a whole evening. (Once homework was done, of course.) I could read whenever I liked, for however long I liked. I spent most of a summer holiday reading the entire series of Anne of Green Gables. My idea of reading is to devour chapters and chapters at a time, or not at all. I know, that's really poxy, and WRONG!!! 


I have learnt that I need to read, even if for a few miserly minutes a day. I have come around to the idea of reading at even the smallest opportunity; tiny tea-breaks at work, waiting at the dentist, stirring a stir-fry. I can pull out whatever delightful tome I have on the go, and get stuck in. I refuse to be vexed or disappointed by interruptions or having to close my book just as it's getting really absorbing. I will take whatever I can get. And I will appreciate it. And it's working. I have read many books in the last few months that I would otherwise not have tackled. And, even in 2 minutes of reading, have been made to laugh and cry by the words I have read. I can engage from the first to the last word, I can read in no time at all. 

If you feel you don't have time to read, have a think. Where are those few minutes in the day or week where you're waiting for something, or you have a few moments to yourself? Don't think that those moments are too small to use. A book is made of many many small moments. Don't be put off. Pick up your book. 


  1. Yes, I agree with all that. I love a good, long read when possible but am glad to snatch short opportunities too. As you say, in the dentist's is good and I always take a book when I go to Pauline's as she is usually running late.
    Just read a Neville Shute book that my Dad loved, Pied Piper. I read it when I was young and then saw a film with Peter O'Toole starring, not available on DVD :(

  2. Dear Susie
    I came accross your review of Cordelia Cod while I was preparing my subscription for March 2013 releases. Im working at Pan Macmillan SA and we represent Hodder & orchard in South Africa. And needless to say I started to investigate what else you have to say :-). This post on What are you currently reading fell right into the place in my mind where I felt like and complete "readless" person. Fighting with myself for not reading what I love to read and only reading about but not the real thing! working in publishing??? I also love to draw and I love to experience beautiful tings in life. What I actually would like to say is THANK you.. for the advice and also for making me feel not so bad after all and not so alone in this world around me filled with books while I feel as if there is no time to engage and become part of this world so close and yet so stretched out and never be able to jump in. Thank you and thank you and thank you.

    next time, if you see:
    Violet Mackerel's by Anna Branford & illustrated by Sam Wilson

    pick it up and take it home with you!

    Im looking forward to reading more on your blog.

    all the best in reading, drawing and writing.

    kind regards

    Marianne van Loggerenberg

    1. Dear Marianne,

      Thank you so much for your appreciative comments. It's so encouraging to hear that the blog has made a difference, especially exciting to hear I have a reader in South Africa! I will indeed have a look for Violet Mackerels. Sounds intriguing. Do you have a blog or somewhere you display your drawings online? Always nice to see other people's drawings. Take Care, Susie.