December was a horrible reading month for me. Not because I was reading bad books; I liked what I read. It was a bad month because I read so little. I finished one review book and half of another (which I basically liked, but couldn’t seem to get through), and managed one book sheerly for pleasure. It had to be the least I had read in recent memory, and it felt dismal.

It got me thinking about when we read. Both during the days and the years. When AAR was younger (and so was I), I was a stay at home mom. The first year I reviewed I easily knocked out 8-10 books/reviews a month, a pace that astounds me now. I had three kids, but no paid job, and my husband worked a lot of nights and weekends at the time, so it wasn’t like I was exactly out on the town, either. I’m not exactly sure how I did it, because little kids are a lot of work – but they must have slept sometimes, because I was polishing off a book every couple of days. I’d read over a hundred in a year.

Sometimes I would get the question: “How do you find the time to read all those books?” I admit to feeling pretty smug about it at the time. “I read them while you’re watching TV,” I’d think. To some extent, that’s true. I’m still astounded by the amount of TV many people can take in. But as the years have gone on and my reading speed has diminished accordingly, I’ve had to acknowledge that TV is only part of the story. A full time job can cut down on your reading time considerably, and the world of online attractions has expanded exponentially. I’m capable of losing a lot of time keeping up with facebook and twitter, and we won’t even mention my little scramble habit. Oh, and I started a new job with a longer commute, so that shaves off some reading time too.

When do I read now? Every night, and usually during my lunch. I don’t work every day, of course, but my days off are usually filled with errands and miscellaneous AAR work – not, unfortunately, reading. If I’m exhausted at night, I don’t necessarily get a lot of reading done, even if I am enjoying my current book. I’d like to turn this around and carve off more reading time, but I’m not really sure how to make that happen (really, I still don’t watch that much TV). Maybe the best solution is to go on more vacations, because I read like there’s no tomorrow on an airplane.

What’s your experience with this? Are you at a time in your life where you read a lot or a little? What factors in your life influence your reading time? And when, exactly, do you find the time to read?

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