Friday, June 27, 2014

The Art of Reading: Long Stretches vs. Short Snippets

All bibliophiles have at least one thing in common: the love of books. Still, as I'm reminded every time I talk to another reader, that doesn't mean we express our affection for the written word in exactly the same way. I'm referring to how we read.

This post’s theme: for how long do you like to read at one time? Are you a long stretches kind of reader who hunkers down for hours at a time and immerses yourself in your book? Or are you more of a "there's no such thing as too little time to read" type of reader?
I'm definitely the latter. Given that I read 50-100 books a year, some of my friends act surprised when they learn that I rarely read more than half an hour at a time. For that matter, I usually read more like 5-15 minutes at a time. Of course, do that multiple times a day and it starts adding up. I take a book everywhere and pull it out anywhere I find myself waiting. I even went through a stage where I would read a page or two of a book in between sets when weight lifting. So, yeah, I don't believe there's such as thing as too little time to read. A free minute is time enough.
As for why I don't tend to read for long stretches, it's a combination of a busy schedule and a short attention span. For the most, I just don't have hours to spare that much time at once. Even my off days are packed with errands, social plans, and a strictly self-imposed writing schedule. However, when I do have a full day I still rarely plop down with a book for hours at a time, because I like changing up what I'm doing. I will do something, though, that some people find pretty odd. I will curl up for hours at a time with multiple books. When my interest starts waning in the current book, I don't switch from reading to another activity but from the current book to a different one.
How about you? Do you read for long stretches or short snippets? Any particular reason why?


  1. I find that rather than being a short-span or long-span reader, I'm a reading opportunist: I'll read for five minutes in a waiting room if that's what I have available, but given the chance I'll also curl up with reading material for a couple of hours.

  2. I also forgot to mention that I used to read while walking...including across the street. My mom never liked that habit for some reason.