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When Do You Read?

I find myself curious this morning. When do you guys read? When do you find the time? Do you steal it in snippets or chunks? My husband gets asked this question a lot in relation to me. People know I read (a lot) but they also know I work full time, am Mom to two children, and have various and sundry other responsibilities that fill up my life. Naturally, they wonder when I do "all that reading." Aaron's answer is usually, "I have no idea!" The real answer is the obvious answer--late at night. The personal me-time reading comes after the kids are in bed. Of course, I get to read with them every day and, after the little girl goes down, the boy and I get a good, solid chunk of reading in before he gets in bed (and proceeds to read Calvin and Hobbes for another hour or so). Currently we're recklessly plowing our way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and honestly it's hard to put it down each night, especially after Harry finishes that second task (last night's chapter) and things are just rushing headlong toward that big, fat climax. So I get to sink into stories with both my kids and that sates my appetite during the daytime and evening hours. Of course, if I'm completely gone on the book I'm reading, I'll slip it out in the car, in the bathroom, and other in-between times to keep my hand in, so to speak, and not lose that oh-so-necessary contact with the characters. But I can't seem to go to sleep at night--no matter how tired I am--if I haven't curled up with my back against the headboard and my knees pulled up, and just read for as long as it takes to make it right. And if it sometimes happens that I reach the point of no return and it's already 2am? Well, I just smile and read straight through to the end. I guess I have to have my uninterrupted chunks and you just can't cheat a book that way, after giving it everything you've got up until that point. The point at which I smile and think to myself, who needs sleep when there are such stories?

So when do you do most of your reading? I'd really love to know.


  1. I find that if I only have enough time to read like 5 pages I won't end up getting into the book and probably won't finish it so I try not to do that anymore. I usually read the most on the weekends, I love to read when I'm alone in the house I get the most done then.

  2. well....

    I wake up one hour early to read a bit then get ready for work and read another 20 pages or so having breakfast. I take one hour lunch time every day and I go to the loft, remove my shoes and read for one hour straight and if my boss is not here and I am not too busy I read on my desk hidden by my computer. I go to the gym and if the book is really good and I can't wait then I read on the tread mill. I get home, have dinner and watch some TV or do other stuff with my partner, then he usually goes to bed reaaaally early and so I read until I can read no more.

    It is a hard life but someone has to do it.

  3. I read at night after everyone else is in bed- it's my quiet time to relax and enjoy the book with no distractions.

  4. I read mostly before going to bed. But I always take my Ereader with me, so when I'm early somewhere (which happens all the time) I read!
    I read for an hour today in the waiting room before my doc appointment. I also used to read at lunch when I was doing my internship.

    So yeah...I read every night and I'll read a little here and now when I can. =)

  5. I used to do some reading at stoplights while I was driving, but for some reason the other drivers weren't that keen on the practice. :) Now (with a ten-month old) I read in snatches here and there: on breaks at work, or in the bathroom, or a little just before bed. But not nearly as much as I would like.

  6. Anonymous12:41 PM

    I am strict about bedtime. 8 pm and my monsters are in bed. My kids don't take naps anymore so bedtime is the only free time I have. I love reading at night, the house is quiet, the lights are dim (probably not good on the eyes, *shrugs*), its very calming.

  7. I read right after work if I don't have anything social planned (maybe once or twice a week), and late at night. From 10pm on the world is mine! Although I usually try to sleep before 1am. But if I'm really into a story I'll stay up all night, read in the bathroom, steal chapters during work (don't tell my boss!), etc. And if I'm really lucky, I read on the weekends. Usually I have other things going on, though. Real life things. *sigh*

  8. Hi Angie! Got here from various blogs (Chachic's, Persnickety Snark and The Book Smugglers), and just thought I'd say hi first before I answer your question. :)

    Okay. I also have a full-time job, so people wonder when I find the time to read. My social calendar isn't so full these days, so most of my reading is done during the weekends. For weekdays, I read while I wait -- for my brother, for a cab, while in the car, in the small in-between times when I find myself not doing anything at work. I also read while drying my hair at the gym, or when I'm doing less strenuous workouts. I even read when I eat, and I know that's not a good habit. ^^;

    Most of my reading during the day is done before I go to bed, though, like you. Unlike you, I don't push through because most of the times I wake up and realize that I already fell asleep. :) I switch from a print book to ebook, and if it's before-bedtime reading, it's usually an ebook. I manage to finish about 2-3 books in a week, and that's faster than my friends, but I know people who read like a book a day, and that's just...well, insane, but in a good way. :)

  9. I read late at night. Like you, I read in bed and can't sleep until I've at least read a few pages - but that usually extends into the early hours. My best reading time is between 12am and 1am, but sometimes I'll just keep going 'til the end. Your post felt very familiar to me! :) Well, except the part about children. heh.

    The other times I read are when travelling (rains are one of my favourite reading spots) and occasionally, as a treat, for an hour in a cafe. But only if I've done my writing for the day, sort of like a reward.


  10. Obviously, I meant 'trains'. I don't know why I'm such an idiot whenever I comment over here. *g*


  11. Before I was a full-time home manager/domestic engineer, I did most of my reading while commuting. I had a bear of a commute (2+ hrs. each way) so I was able to read a lot on the train & subway.

    Now that I have a lot more free time, I usually spend 1-2 hours in the afternoon reading, then an hour before bed. I'm enjoying this extra time to read while it lasts, as I know it won't forever.

  12. Anonymous2:10 PM

    I try to visit my parents once a week so I read during the 1 hour train ride into Brooklyn and the 1 hour train ride back to my place in the city. Reading on the train has always been the best time to read for me because I'm rarely distracted during a quiet ride. I also read in bed at night and in Central Park on the weekends.

    Such a lovely photo. Is this your son? If so, did your husband take it? We hired a photographer and had a long photo session with my in-laws last week. Before this, I actually started checking r/t flights from Utah to NYC to see if we could afford to ask your husband to do the shots. I thought you'd get a kick out of that.


  13. Before my hubby and I moved in together (when we were just courting), I would read late into the night. If I was loving the book then I would rather read than sleep. But all that changed when we moved in together. I can't read late into the night because the "light bothers him", so most of my reading is done in the morning, when he's gone to work, and late afternoon (mostly in a relaxing bath). But I do manage at least half an hour in bed before the lights have to go out.

  14. I read in bed, before I go to sleep. I'm a bit of a night owl, so I find it difficult to fall asleep if I go to bed too early. Might as well read, right?

  15. I have a slow job that I sit at a desk for all day, so reading is done quite often at work!

    My reading happens in the evenings before bed, too. It calms me & puts me in a restful state for bed.

  16. Whenever I have a free moment. Usually it's at night, but sometimes it's at the doctor's office, post office, waiting in line for anything. I also listen to audiobooks on my commute into work. And then I can usually read 2-3 books on the weekend.

    But, I am insanely jealous of people that get to stay at home and can read. (not saying that SAHM's don't have other responsibilities, of course).

  17. I mostly read after our son is in bed, just like you do. Although sometimes I get a little reading in during lunch at work. Now that I have my Kindle I can also read when I walk on the treadmill. Then I listen to audio books during my 40 minutes commute to and back from work.

    Now that I also have my Kindle app on my phone I occasionally get little bits of reading done during small bits of time waiting for things...

  18. I read rather fast. I do most of my reading while riding in the car with my husband or just before bed at night.

  19. I read a bit before work if I wake up early, read during lunch and breaks, read while cooking, while travelling, while in line or waiting, and most of the evening! I really just fit it in wherever and whenever I can.

  20. I happen to be in the lucky position of being an unmarried, childless and jobless student during the summer. So the answer is I read all day. Strange as it seems, I do enjoy sleeping at night (I know, weird). I read when I wake up, after breakfast, afternoon...during the school year I often stay up late during the night, and then there was that one fabulous night I went to the midnight Deathly Hallows party, and read straight through until morning. I'm so glad you're reading your son Harry Potter!

  21. I mainly read on weekends--too much else to do with work and family during the week! When I was on jury duty this week, I had two days when there was nothing to do but read, and I found that without the guilt of having a million other things to do, it wasn't quite as fun as I had thought it would be...

  22. Hah! Just did a post on this. :)

  23. I literally read all the time. During meals, while the kids play, while they watch a movie or tv show, while I watch tv, after bedtime (my kids go to bed early!), while exercising....

    Like I said ALL THE TIME!

  24. Now that you brought it up, I was actually quite curious as to when you find the time to read. Glad you made this post to explain. Like you, I usually read late at night. Reading feels like part of my nightly ritual, unless I'm really tired then I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I also bring the book that I'm reading to work everyday so I can sneak in some reading time during breaks or in the train on my way home or while waiting for a cab. Whenever I don't have plans during the weekend, I read as well.

    I know what you mean when you say that you've reached the point of no return when it's already 2am! You're still up, you know you'll miss sleep so you might as well just finish the book. And then keep yawning later on at work. But there are really some books which deserve to be read this way.

  25. Hello from NYC :) Me, I do the most of my reading on the subway. So I never really complain if the trains are running a bit slow. Just means more book time for me. I'm starting grad school on a part-time basis in the fall, so I'm wondering how that reading will cut into my normal reading pile. I might end up reading my textbooks on the subway now! Although I do try to read before bed sometimes. But it doesn't happen as often as I'd like since I'm too exhausted from work!

  26. Ah, when a book pulls you in and the hour and adult responsibilities become entirely irrelevant! *happy sigh*

    When I read? Whenever I can grab the book--and I always carry it with me, for those stolen moments "in between" other things.

  27. Most of my reading is done on the weekends (which means this has been a slow reading time lately since most of my weekends have been occupied this summer). I do read some at night, but but how much reading I do then varies. There are times I start reading late and end up staying up even later once I get absorbed in a good book, though.

  28. Well, the usual stolen moments during nap times and late evenings. However, if I'm passed the point of no return, I've been known to phase out while my kids are running around in their skivvies and my dog is keeping them safe while the house is turned upside down. But it's worth finishing a great book!! That's not child abuse is it?

  29. Anonymous4:40 AM

    While I am at work reading is impossible so I read blogs, I comment, I think about what to write...I finish work really early at 4.30 pm and I usually go to the gym where I cycle & read until 6 or so, then I better not touch my book or surfing the web until 10.30 (my husband gets really mad if I do!) then I start reading again until bedtime (around midnight).
    If a book is really good I skip gym, I order take away and I dismiss my social life entirely

  30. Hubby or I will read kidlet a bedtime story or two every night, but I think I'll start reading her a longer book, too. No time like the present!

    During the work week, I'm usually starting on a page, picking up where I left off, and by the time I go to bed, I may have tried to read that one page twenty times. I take my book out when kidlet's watching cartoons. When hubby and she go outside for thirty minutes. While I'm drawing water for kidlet's bath. When I'm the only one home with her and she wants to swim, I'll read while glancing up to check on her literally every 15 seconds or less. I try to read while I all but beg husband to just watch whatever he wants on TV so I can just read....eventually getting distracted anyway by the darn TV.

    The only time I get any REAL reading time is if I turn off my house filter (that inevitable guilt that pops up if I'm sitting down and reading, making me feel I need to get up and wash dishes, do laundry, etc.) and am ALONE. As in nobody else at home. I'm too easily distracted and it just seems to get more so that way every year.

    Uh, I'll stop now, because it sounds like a whiny 'ole rant. *sigh* Because I love my family and having a home despite maintenance, I do, but....yeah. ;)

  31. Also, baby girl is five now. I wonder what book would be a good one to read to her? Would something like Percy Jackson be too old for her? She loves the movie, but I have the book and have been wanting to read it anyway. I have no clue, never read a longer book like that to her. Hmmm.

  32. KMont, I have a 5 year old too. I'd maybe try a short chapter book before jumping straight to Percy Jackson if you haven't ever tried anything longer before. Mine loves the Rainbow Magic fairy books-- Ruby the Red Fairy is the first of the color fairies, for example. There's also Kylie the Carnival Fairy and ones like it that are like 3 of the other books in one. :)

  33. When ever asked this question, I never really know how to answer. Mostly, I read in bed at night AND in the morning (if I don't have to go anywhere that day) and in the afternoons after stuff gets done, and in between things, and a lot on the weekends. But the thing is, that's when I blog too. So... if either one gets done, it truly is a miracle!

    Oh, and I do like to throw in there that I actually watch TV too! So really the answer is, I don't know.

  34. Like you, I work full time and have 2 kids (although mine are older than yours). By the time I get home cook dinner, deal with homework, etc, I just want to lie on the couch and read. But there's hubby to chat with (oh yeah, him) and backpacks to check, etc. It's the nighttime reading for me, too. Oh, and weekends. Thankfully my kids are old enough and off on their own (oldest is a junior in high school and youngest is in 8th grade). I also sneak in lunchtime reading at work. Usually in my car. Where I often fall asleep because I was up too late reading the night before :)

  35. It's so funny that you posted this. Just last night I was telling my husband how much I love your blog, and how I've found so many great books because of your reviews. And we were wondering together when you have time to read all those books with your job, two kids, and all. I'm glad you find the time. I mostly read at night too. I sometimes stay up too late, but I do love sleep. With an early rising toddler and a dissertation to finish, I'm not getting through as many books as I would like these days.

  36. I read basically whenever I can find the time AND I'm in the mood. Usually in the evenings right before bed and on the weekends. Sunday mornings is a big reading time for me since Church is sooo late. I try to avoid the LATE night reads, but I've been known to stay up until 2 am to finish a beloved book.

  37. Rebs, yeah, hard to beat the alone time. I'm the same way.

    Ana, LOL. I love your schedule. It's so devoted. You have your priorities straight!

    Roxanne, it's definitely when I'm most relaxed as well. And that can be so important in giving a story your full attention.

    pattepoilue, oh, I love that doctor waiting room reading time. I've gotten so much good reading done then.

    Helga, hehe. Yeah, I have to resist yanking my book out at long red lights. That's time a' wastin'!

    Tiah, it's a sad day when naptimes go by the wayside, isn't it?

    celi.a, I may have been known to read at work once or twice. When I am at a very dire part of my book...

    Tina, welcome! So glad you found your way here. When I'm eating alone I always read while I eat. Though I have to be careful not to get any food on my books. That's a no-no.

    Kaz, oh, if only we had good public transportation here. I would get so much more reading done on my way to and from work...

    Tara, I know how you feel. Our reading times evolve just as our lives do and you just have to roll with the punches and carve out what time you can here and there. I'm glad you're in a period where you have a little extra time. :)

    Karen, that's a happy image of you reading in Central Park on the weekends. And, yes, that's my son Will. It was taken a couple of years ago but it's still one of my favorites. Aaron took it, yeah. And I had to smile that you researched flights from Utah! Did your session go well? Were you pleased with the results?

    Carolyn, I have to say, I am massively fortunate that the light on doesn't keep my husband from sleeping. I always worry that it will because I can't sleep with the light on. But he insists it never does. Just one of the many reasons I'm glad he's mine.

    La Coccinelle, it's perverse but I'm the same way. Too early and I can't go to sleep. Even if I'm so tired. Why??

    Ginger, how nice. And it's definitely calming at night. Can't do without it.

    Emily, yeah, most of the SAHMs I know only have naptime in which to read. If then. I think we all have so many demands on our time. I'm grateful for any reading time I can fit in.

    Ophelia, I recently came into possession of a Nook and you're reminding me that I really ought to take advantage of it while exercising.

    LM, I love reading while driving in the car with my husband. Last summer we read all of Megan Whalen Turner's Thief series that way and it's a wonderful memory.

    Amy, while cooking even! That's awesome. Do you hold the book in one hand or lay it on the counter?

    Lizzy, I miss the days of a new Harry Potter book coming out. DH and I would get it at the midnight party and then go read all night until we fell into an exhausted heap. Heaven.

    Charlotte, that's so interesting to hear you say that. I'm trying to think if I've felt the same way. I enjoy reading on airplanes quite a bit if I'm traveling without kids, which does not happen very often at all. But it's always good reading time.

    Britt, good for you! A true bibliophile.

    Chachic, that's exactly how I feel. The book deserves it. And I *have* to have a book in my bag at all times. It's not safe otherwise. :)

    Polish, hey there in NYC! And good luck in grad school. It does cut into pleasure reading, but I always managed to balance it out somehow.

    Azteclady, oh, I love how you put that. That's how it feels. For a short, blissful while--all those obligations and strains just disappear...

  38. Re: reading while cooking - I do both, on the counter or hold the book in one hand. I will also point out though that I am not the greatest cook and I do burn quite a few things... surprise surprise, right ;)

  39. Kristen, I know. It seems to vary more and more for me lately. And it is different by season as well, as you say. Winters are particularly nestly, reading time for me.

    Liza, nope. It's therapy. Pure and simple.

    Emily, *grin* I like that you "dismiss your social life entirely." hehe

    Kenda, ah, the guilt. I am incredibly familiar with the guilt. Mine is more mom-guilt. But it is real and it rears its ugly head like a monster. I have to keep a leash on it or things can get really bleak really fast. The books help with that. As does the reading with the kids. 5 seems like a great time to start reading some longer books with her.

    Britt, that series you mention sounds very fun. I've had luck with the Chronicles of Narnia and the Ramona books. Peter Pan was also wonderful.

    Suey, there you go. It's a mystery when it happens! And I hear ya on the blogging. It's like a rock and a hard place. You want to read, you want to blog. You have to read to blog...

    Lori, thank you so much for sharing that. Makes me feel not alone in my daily responsibilities and longings. These poor men who are married to devoted readers. lol.

    JoLee, oh my word. You're working on your dissertation now? What's it on, out of curiosity? And kudos to you for all that hard work. I wrote my thesis shortly after Will was born and it required me working out a strict research/writing schedule. I would hit the library for a few hours each afternoon. DH would bring baby boy over in the stroller to visit in the middle of that time each day. And even though it was hard work, they are some of my happiest memories. Both the boy and the thesis were worth all that hard work.

    Also, you have to know how delighted I am that you've found so many good recs here. Seriously delighted. :)

    Alicia, yeah, I can't make a regular habit of the 2 am read to the finish lines or I'd zombify very quickly. But occasionally they're just the thing!

  40. Hey Angie, I'm working on a PhD in Art History. I got my MA in Humanities at BYU and decided to "specialize" (because Art History is not broad at all) in Art History for the PhD. My dissertation is on American artists c. 1900-1950 who created images of dancers. After 2 years I actually still love my topic. Hopefully I'll graduate in the Spring. (She crosses her fingers.) I, like you, have had to be very disciplined with the writing. If my baby is napping I am writing. It means things like housework, dinner, showering have really taken a backseat. My hygiene might not be all that great, but I have made lots of progress in this last year. :) Too much information? Probably, but thanks for the encouragement! It is always greatly appreciated.

  41. Great question. I used to read before bed every night, but lately I've been too tired to get more than a paragraph or two in. I usually get the bulk of my reading done sitting outside in the afternoon or early evening.

  42. I've wondered when you read so much too! :) I'm glad to hear I'm not the only person looking at the clock and saying, "What were you thinking! Time for bed you silly girl!"

    Don't you think that in some ways, we all sneak it in whenever we can? I've thought about this too, because I actually read more when the school year is in session, and wondered how in the world that was possible?!? Personally, I need books to escape in the throes of a busy schedule, so I grab my book when I'm getting the oil changed, at the docs office, or even for five minutes at work. Then, like you, I'm grabbing my book late at night to read until I can't stay up a minute longer.

    My bigger question for you now is, how in the world do you find time to BLOG with all else that you're doing? :)

  43. Lunch is my biggest chunk of time. I have an hour for lunch every day at work and I make sure I pop out to our quiet area for a read.

  44. JoLee, I know about the encouragement thing. That's so wonderful you still love your topic. I felt the same way. And I love how specific dissertations can get. Yours sounds fascinating. Good luck!

    Heidenkind, that's a good time as well. Not too hot, not too cool. Relaxing.

    Becky, lol. You are definitely not. And I think I, too, read more when things get hectic. I need that release and escape even more than when things are calm.

    As for the blogging, it's whenever I possibly can fit it in. I'm not sure myself how that happens!

    Jodie, ahh. Perfect.

  45. Anonymous9:59 AM

    Angie, thanks for asking about our photo session. We chose an excellent photographer we used to live next door to. He has done some pretty famous shots, but wasn't used to shooting family portraits and I think he was overwhelmed by 14 of us (3 children; 3 young adults) invading his studio. Huge personalities, some impatience, kids running around his camera. H and I were pretty tense and it showed in our pictures. Everyone else looked fantastic, of course (grrr).

    Just from some of Aaron's pictures, I imagined he could have spent days with us as we attended family parties on Long Island, walked around Manhattan and sat around catching up. My husband's family is very diverse, from tattooed bikers to wealthy folks in huge houses, so we would have covered all of Aaron's expenses as he followed us around and caught us in all of these places. Oh, well. We're happy with our shots but wish we could have had more creative ones.

    Maybe next time. Though I suspect it will be several years before we have everyone in the same place again.


  46. Karen, oh man. Big groups can be so hard to shoot. I'm glad everyone else looks good, but sorry you and H look tense. Though understandably! It's always the organizers who feel the most worry.

    That hypothetical experience you describe sounds heavenly, btw. :) I would have to tag along, of course.

    In my experience, even if you don't get the perfect shot, in retrospect you're glad you did it as it preserves everyone as they were then and it can be a treasure later. I'm glad you managed to do it.


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