I set out to read the book Why School? this week for our virtual book club. I was excited about it. Excited about the book, excited to get back into reading. The thought of the book club conjured happy images for me, like:


image credit: oprah.com

“I will enjoy the sun and breeze while plowing through the text, and then think and discuss and laugh and cry with others over mimosa brunch. But, somehow, reading has not been quite so romantic as I thought it would be. I love to read, I like this book. What happened? 

I’m realizing quickly that in order to read a book in a week (even a tiny, 50-pager) requires me to re-organize my time in some dramatic ways. It’s not that I don’t have any free time. It’s summer, and the rhythm of my work always slows down when kids aren’t in classrooms. But it’s also nice outside and I need exercise, the yard needs work, the house is a wreck, and all those things I put off during the school year are looming (“I’ll do that this summer” is my favorite procrastination tool). When I get home I want to spend time with my husband, who is home all day on vacation. Reading time is competing with a lot of other important stuff.

If you have any of the same problems of tendencies, perhaps this advice from Laura Vandercam might help. She says that voracious readers — even those with incredibly busy schedules — are good at managing the supply and demand of reading. “They don’t have more hours per day than the rest of us, but they have figured out a two-part process of managing “supply” (hours available to read) and “demand” (desire to use that time reading) to turn themselves into bookworms,” she says. 

One tip she gives involves making books more accessible (carry one around, keep books you want to read in plain sight) and another is to use spare moments (waiting for the oven to pre-heat, winding down right when to get home) to get yourself hooked on a book and reading more. So I think I’ll try both of those this weekend.