Are you reading as much as you could be?
If you visited the Greenburgh Library in 2018, you may have taken part in our one-question patron survey. We simply asked, What’s the best thing about the library?
People really love this place, for all sorts of reasons, but by far, the most popular answer was BOOKS.
For some people, reading is total escapism. They consume novels like water, never stopping to count pages, chapters, or books. Other people like to keep track of titles, set reading goals, write online reviews, or participate in bookish social media. And of course, there’s a whole spectrum of behavior between these extremes. One thing most book lovers agree on is this: the wish to read MORE.
So how can you fit more reading into your life?
There are lots of tricks, behaviors, and technology you can use to get more reading into your life. We'll get to those another time. For now, we’ll start with the most basic:
Examine your schedule. Are there any small chunks of time in your day? I’ve found two or three “free” times in my week, tucked in among all the things I need to do.
I read before I do anything else. Instead of reaching for my phone when I wake up, I grab the book off my nightstand.
I read at lunchtime. Of course, I work in a library, so there’s definitely a culture of reading here.
I discovered my favorite dedicated reading time by accident. Normally, I come home from work and start cooking dinner. Then there’s cleanup, getting kids to bed at a decent hour, and all the other things that need to happen in a busy household. But on Friday nights, the routine is different. We have a strict Friday night pizza policy, and my husband’s job often demands his presence a little bit later on Fridays. And of course, it's not a school night, so there's no urgency to get everyone to bed a decent hour.
Almost three years ago, I came home one Friday with a new book in my bag. The kids were occupied and pizza was on the menu, so I sat at the kitchen table to read. The book was Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a sweet little volume with an interactive premise.
I’ve written before about my love for unusual formats and this book is a perfect example. Peppered throughout the book are opportunities to “text the author”: Send a photo of green trees against a blue sky. Report a rainbow. Get a link to an exclusive short story. And there’s a website with all kinds of fun submissions from other readers, and additional content from the author!
Rosenthal’s picture books are favorites, but she was not well-known outside that genre until shortly before her death, when this column went viral. Her writing style is informal and engaging, like hanging out with your best friend.
I was hooked from page one. I looked up from the last page two hours later, and the weekend had begun. Gone was the stress of the week, gone was the mild irritation at the commuter traffic and extra responsibilities and that were keeping my husband from home. I was relaxed and ready to enjoy time off with the family. Two years went by, but that weekend kickoff stayed with me.
One day this past fall, I was thinking about mindfulness, hygge, the work-life balance, and how wonderful it is to have the respite of a real weekend. The first thing I thought of was Amy’s book. I brought home a tiny book--I think it was a commencement speech--and Friday Night Reads was born.
These days, when I leave work on Friday, I make sure there’s a small book tucked into my bag-something I can read in one sitting. I get a sense of satisfaction from finishing a whole book. I get one book closer to my reading goal for the year. If I’m feeling super ambitious, I’ll even post on social media, #fridaynightreads. For me, it’s turned out to be the perfect transition to the weekend.
Check out some of my favorite Friday Night Reads:
Coming soon: more ways to read more!