Time for a silly thought experiment, friends!
My husband and I recently had a highly theoretical–but no less intense and emotional because of it–discussion of what we would be willing to give up to be able to read more. He was willing, fully willing, to give up certain non-essential body parts such as a finger tip, maybe even a whole finger! to be able to get more reading time in. Maybe even a foot or a hand. He clearly feels the time constraints associated with full-time work (shit, full-time for two people in the last six months; he’s been having his ass handed to him every day for the last six months; there was a distressingly lengthy period in November during which he went to bed no earlier than 2 am and got up no later than 7 am). Also, there’s the taking care of numerous beasties, trying to get some exercise in, and spending time with other humans who aren’t coworkers.
When he had this intense confab I hadn’t yet begun my own f-t job, and so was certain that I was in no wise willing to give up any, not even the teeniest slice, of my bodily wholeness, not even a mere finger tip, to be able to read more. I was essentially unwilling to do anything differently than I had been to be able to read more–which, while it felt right and sincere, also made me wonder a little who had kidnapped the real me, and why.
It’s been two full weeks since I began this working in at this 9 to 5 office thing, and I have to say I’m already beginning to see, as though I’m wearing super-powerful x-ray glasses, where my husband is coming from on this one. I’ve been reading a 200-page Wodehouse for over a week. I say, dash it, a Wodehouse novel is supposed to be the joyous and shallow work of a mere 2 hours! My baby finger suddenly seems like no big deal at all, you know?
I’m sure things will get better as I adjust to the new schedule but it’s sad and disconcerting to think that if I began a fat Victorian novel now, it could take me a month or more to complete it. *tears hair, gnashes teeth, rends cheeks*
Of course, the things that would actually give me more reading time if I gave them up–exercise, cooking sometimes, minimal human interaction, yet even more sleep–are things I’m really not able to give up. Conundrum, I see your hand and I raise you…the white flag. I have no ideas. So, to distract myself, I will ask y’all:
What would you be willing to give up, if it would actually give you more reading time (because come on, darling hubby, a mangled hand wouldn’t do that, except when you were in the hospital recovering from having lost your paw, and that is not the coziest sort of reading nook)?
8 Comments Add yours
I gave up a day of work to read more. win-win and I get to keep all my body parts : )
Lucky to be able to do that!
I gave up TV. Also gave up social media, just for a month, but it made a difference.
I’m thinking tv would be a good thing to give up. We just started watching The Wire, which I quite like–but I’d still rather read.
I hear that’s a good one. I think someone told me it has parallels to Middlemarch, though I might be making that up!
I think we all feel this frustration but I’ve made peace with it this way… my work provides me the means and security to relax and enjoy books when my schedule allows. I’ve also found listening to audiobooks while driving to and from work is a great way to get my literary fix during the work week and that tides me over to the weekend reading binge 😉
I don’t think I could ever handle an audiobook–I can barely stand listening to the radio! I’m dealing with it all right now by reading very short books–so as not to be demoralized at how long medium- to long books take me. So far I’d say it’s working; I’m certainly on track to make at least a small dent in my hundreds-deep TBR pile!
Laura: I confess I don’t see parallels between The Wire and Middlemarch–but I’ve still seen only the first two episodes! It’s hard to imagine anything comparable to Eliot’s great novel, though…