No time to read

I love reading. As a child growing up in Singapore, I would lose myself in the worlds of Enid Blyton and CS Lewis. They transported me out of the neverending sunny days in Singapore, introducing me to the rhythm of seasons, and let me escape from the highly academic and competitive environment that all middle-class Singaporeans live in.
Then, magazines were discovered and added to my reading matter. There was a little music shop I visited every week that sold old issues of Smash Hits. At 14, I graduated to the large music stores like Tower and HMV. Every week, I would wait for its staff to bring out new deliveries of i-D, The Face, American Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar US, Visionaire and Interview. Every title had its own delivery date in the month and I’d worked all of them out. HMV’s delivery of i-D was about 7-11 days earlier than Tower, and $2 cheaper.
Books were neck to neck with magazines, competing for my time. But when you’re young, time is all you have. And so it became, Haruki Murakami, Sylvia Plath and Tama Janowitz formed the staple of my reading diet alongside magazines created by Liz Tilberis, M/M Paris, Glenn O’Brien and Fabien Baron.
Now, much older, married, working, and with three children, I no longer have time. If I love reading so much, then I’d make time for it, I hear you say. Indeed.
But between work, three children, chores, blogging, social media, tv, drinks with friends, WHERE does one find the time? The bus ride home is one block of reading time I’ve identified, and early mornings on Sundays.
So I’d manage about 100 pages a week, which equates to one book a month. That’s 12 a year. I mean, really?
Anyway, at this rate, it’s nowhere near Jax’s Read52 (a project challenging you to read 52 books in a year). Maybe my reading speed will pick up. Who knows?
For now, I’m telling myself it’s quality over quantity.
Do you love to read, but don’t have the time? When’s your favourite time to read?


  1. I keep a list of books I read every year (also what films I see, I’m a bit geeky like that) and I recently found the list for 2003 which had a paltry 6 books listed. Then I remembered that that was the year I had my son, so it all made sense. I was barely able to stay awake that year, much less find the energy to read.

    And I do think that this is more about energy than time. We all have the same 24 hours a day after all. And it’s so easy to lose an hour or two randomly hopping around the internet. So what I tend to do now is close the laptop in the evening in time for some reading. And occasionally I will read a book during the day which feels incredibly rebellious since I am self employed and we’re supposed to be ON DUTY all the time.

    The really nice thing is that once your kids get older you can all sit around and read together. We love doing that.

    • I should start doing that – keeping a list of books that I’ve read.
      And the internet can be such a huge distraction!
      I’m trying to squeeze in the odd 30mins here and there that I have for reading.

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